A holiday is a precious time, time away from the “normal”, the chance to unwind and relax with loved ones or for some time to explore a new world and add some adventure and a change the “routine” that is WORK and LIFE! As an avid traveller I have been able to work out a few tips for travel that I live by every-time I go away and I hope they help you save a little bit of that precious time and money but also have a great time while you are away on your holiday. so here are my top 10 travel tips.
My top 10 travel tips:
No.1 – Research
Always do some background work before you travel anywhere? Know the basics of the country you want to visit, find out about the laws, the currency, which main language they speak, is it safe at night and what are the most popular places? And do you need any paperwork like VISA or ETA? The Internet is a wonderful thing and you can find all this out long before you travel on numerous websites like Lonely Planet or even GOV.com – I have linked a few of them below to help get you started.
But research also matters when looking for the right holiday, don’t just go for the first deal you see, take your time and check multiple websites as they will all offer something slightly different and don’t forget to check out the local high street travel agents if you are still lucky enough to have one near you. I can tell you that the last 3 trips I have been on they have been cheaper than the internet. It means you don’t need to buy a thing right away but what’s the harm in checking it out first before you spend your hard earned cash. All the trips and holiday’s I have ever been on I have never paid the first price I have seen and always managed to get deals because I spent the time to research and check it out first.
No.2 – Learn the Lingo
There are some beautiful languages in this world and I am not asking you to learn each of them fluently, however it doesn’t hurt to learn the basics like “hello”, “thank you”, “Please” or “See you later”. When it comes to the locals it goes a hell of a long way that you’ve made an effort and most of the time in my experience they will respond in a positive way and maybe, just maybe not see you as an annoying tourist.
No.3 – Itinerary Time
I find it always helps when going away to have a small list of things you want to see and do, it saves time when you get there and allows you to relax and get sightseeing straight away, we all know that plans can change. Believe me, I understand more than most when you have planned to visit somewhere and something out of your control happens, but that’s also why it’s important to have a small plan because of instead of stressing, we just move onto the next place on the list and maybe go back later during the holiday. Besides, you picked the destination for a reason so make a little itinerary to make sure you can fit it all in. I find the best place that always helps me is TripAdvisor, it’s simple to use and uses travellers options instead of the management teams and companies in the hotels and resorts, it’s never let me down yet – here is the link to the website https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ and here is the link to my profile page for all the trips I have been on and places I have visited – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Profile/Stick1985
No.4 – NEVER buy in the Airport
We always know how expensive airports can be, they have a captive market which means they charge what they want and because people are stuck there for some time you are more than likely going to buy something. BUT unless it’s life threatening DO NOT and repeat DO NOT buy anything in the airport because I grantee you will find it much cheaper once you have left the airport and head for your destination/hotel. I hear you all saying, hang on what about food and drink? Well, I would say if you can hold out until you get on the plane you have already paid for your food and drink which with your ticket but that only applies flying long-haul. If you are flying short haul with a low budget airline then chances are you are going to have to pay extra for any food and drink so again just bare that in mind. For an example, a bottle of water in WH Smiths in Heathrow departure lounge will cost you on average anywhere between £1.90 – £3 which is high priced as they know you can’t take liquids over 100ml through security however there is nothing stopping you from taking an empty bottle through and filling it at a water fountain within the terminal, many UK and worldwide airports have them that way a little bit of money saved.
No.5 – Make Onward Plans
Arriving in a foreign land is a scary thing so to help with those stress levels when you arrive in a strange pace and figure out where the buses/trains/taxis are I always make sure I have transport sorted before you arrive at your destination to get you to your hotel or apartment. If you don’t you could start the holiday on a very bad foot with long delays waiting for buses/coaches/trains and taxi companies ripping you off, I once paid £85 for a taxi from the airport in Singapore to our hotel but on the way back to the airport at the end of my trip the hotel arranged transport and it only cost £52. It also means someone will be waiting to collect you at the airport so you be at your hotel/apartment or destination quicker meaning you can really start the holiday saving some of that precious time.
If you are hiring a car no need to use public transport but I would suggest make sure you have all your documents ready with you. I remember one time it took us over 1 hour to sort out the hire car on trip because I put the paper in one of the main cases and forget which one. We had to empty most of the cases in the shop, it was extremely embarrassing and so much time wasted.
No.6 – Make Friends or Chat with the Locals
I can’t recommend this enough. The locals can be your travel guides, they live there and if they say something or somewhere is pretty awesome then it will be awesome and if they say it’s not, then odds are it won’t be. Locals don’t just mean random people you meet in the street although this does help but it also means the staff in your hotel, the taxi driver or bus driver or the waiter/waitress in the local restaurant. Maybe you meet some follow travellers in reception or at your hostel bar. They are all on offer for free travel advice on what’s good and what’s not, where you should go and where you should avoid I have countless examples of this when we have been away but one that always springs to mind is when we were in Hawaii, we were having dinner on our 4th night and started chatting with our waiter, he told us a cool place to check out was “Diamond Head” he told us how to get there and he wasn’t wrong at all, it was beautiful and we had a fantastic day out. We went back to the restaurant to thank him the following evening, so it really helps and works.
No.7 – Case drop/Check-In
I learnt this tip a few years ago and it hasn’t failed me yet. If check in/bag drop says it closes at 10am then make sure you get there for 09:30 – OK there might be a queue but it will be worth it. The bags are placed on the plane in the order they are dropped off 9 out of 10 times so by being one of the last few to be loaded onto the plane your bags will be the first ones off the plane at the other end meaning you can get out the airport and start enjoying your holiday as soon as possible.
No.8 – Be nice & Approachable
This is a given really but I am always shocked to see passengers or tourists acting in the most selfish of ways. From the check in staff at the airport to your hotel staff, to your follow passengers, all it takes is a little kindness. By being nice to people we have actually managed to strike up some good conversations, made friends and even in some cases managed to get some better deals like when we got upgraded to first class travelling to Hawaii. You may find you get upgraded rooms or flights just by being nice. I always look at it like, if I was struggling and needed a little help or having a rubbish time and someone was just nice and gave me a smile it makes everything OK. Just saying “hello” to someone can make a huge difference when travelling so I recommend it, you never know where or what it might lead to. On a flight from Italy I got talking to a follow passenger and since then we have kept in contact and remained friends that was 7 years ago now.
No.9 – Public Transport
Now this is going to sound daunting and controversial I know, but hear me out! Whenever we go away we try to always use public transport as best we can, it saves money and means you’ve got more to spend on the things you want to see and do. For example when we went to Thailand a taxi to our destination would have cost 880THB (Approx. £22) but we used public transport in the form of the underground and it cost 70THB (Approx. £1.75) and if you doing this each day it soon adds up to massive savings. I know public transport isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and in some places around the world it doesn’t even exist but where you can even if it’s just one or two trips a week use the public transport, you never know you might enjoy it. If you plan on hiring a car, which I also do recommend depending on where you are travelling to then please check out all the companies and prices before you agree to anything, in South Africa public transport isn’t great or reliable so we hired a car but because I did my research (Tip No.1) I found out it would be cheaper to hire once we were in South Africa so that’s what we did, we managed to get 2 weeks car hire for £102 which was a brilliant deal.
I sometimes use this website for car hire prices: https://www.holidayautos.com/en?clientID=564266&_$ja=tsid:|cid:367501509|agid:1293025994782318|tid:kwd-80814305975769:loc-188|prd:|crid:80814202177924|nw:search|dvc:c|st:car%20hire%20comparison|mt:be&msclkid=52a414b0845e1821ee544bef5102d21b#/searchcars
No.10 – Make every moment count
It is 100% true what people say, every day is a new day and anything can happen. Make sure you make the most of it because before you know it, it will be time to time packing up that suitcase again to head home and you will wonder where on earth that time went. Embed yourself into the culture and atmosphere of the destination you have chosen, after all you did chose to travel there and spent your hard earned cash to get there so make the most of it. Make sure each day is filled with sightseeing, food and people. Enjoy the surroundings you are in and try something new, a new activity, sport or try speaking the native language because you never know, it might be something you actually enjoy. I know being busy and sightseeing isn’t everyone’s idea of a good holiday, some people just like to hang out around the pool in the sunshine all day with a good book or a good beer and that’s fine if that’s your thing, but for me travelling is a whole lot more. I always have a little motto when I go anyway and that is, “when was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Until next time….