Going away for no matter how long can be a scary prospect for most and if you’re anything like me then you would be stalking the internet wanting to find the what to take, what to expect, planning and the overall do’s and don’ts to have the best time. One thing that you have to remember is that you will never find the answer because everyone’s experience is so personal. BUT there are a few things that make life easier. I have to say that I have learnt this the hard way!
Here are my most important tips:
Make sure you have travel insurance!
Thank god we had some because ear infections are not fun and believe me medical care abroad can be hella expensive. If you don’t have an insurance than this can seriously cut into your budget and when you can’t pay, they will not let you out the Hospital. True story.
When it comes to insurance don’t just buy the cheapest one. Actually, make time for it and have a good shop around, there are so many options and you can find good deals depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing. Read into things flight cover, healthcare and delays. Try not to go for third party insurance. Make sure you go for one which has a 24hr helpline, you never know when you’ll need to give them a call. “The money advise service” give a good general overview of what to look for in insurance!
Use public transport
This is actually one of my favourites! Comparing TFL to other types of transport around the world puts us to shame, we have the most expensive travel service in the world but one of the most annoying. It seems like every other type of transport in the world is cheaper, cleaner and faster! I also love that most places in the world don’t actually let you eat whilst on public transport, it actually makes the journey so much more pleasant when you don’t have to worry about tripping over a coffee bag or sitting on a half eaten burger!
Shop around when looking at tourist attractions
People will try to rip you off and they will feel no way about it, that’s a fact and it’s a part of life. You have to learn to barter and do it well. Know your facts and the price that things go for. If you choose to go on a day tour or buy an item at a market, then you will definitely find the same tour at 10 different stalls and 10 different prices. Remember that people also need to make money, so be fair, but set a price in your mind and try not to go above it. You’ll be greatful for it when you can use that money towards something else or be able to travel for longer.
Get a sim card (a good idea but not a must)
One thing you’ll find is that you won’t be able to get free wi-fi everywhere. Tough luck. Find ways around it. If you don’t want to be paying extortionate amounts for using your network abroad then get a sim card. They are cheap, efficient and bonus…they often come packed with data!! Believe me when I say that most countries still function using pay as you go top ups and not contracts. So if your phone can support different networks then go for it!
Don’t stay up the whole night before an early morning flight, or you’ll oversleep and have to leg it for your flight! It feels like you’re having a heart attack because you don’t know if you have enough time to wash your teeth or if you should leave the hotel ASAP or you won’t make it! I blame my passion for books. I have definitely learnt my lesson – I will never again pick up “The girl with the dragon tattoo” the night before a flight.
Don’t use a bank card with fees
What I found hard before I went travelling is finding out how to take enough money to last me without carrying a ton of foreign money on me. What I found out is that using your bank card abroad can be easy and handy. BUT don’t use it without finding out fees. Before you go away make sure you tell your bank so they don’t block your card, as well as, not charging you extortionate amounts. From my research, HSBC, Barclays and Santander did good rates, but don’t trust my word on this as it changes all the time. Have a chat with your bank and see what they offer.
Don’t rule out hostels
People seem to have this idea that hostels are old, crummy places with 20 beds in them and crap facilities. Forget that because there seem to be loads of new modern ones with safes, great locations and loads of people in the same boat as you! Whether you’re travelling alone or with friends make sure to at least stay at a hostel for one or two nights, you can’t knock it till you’ve tried it! BONUS – THEY’RE CHEAP AS CHIPS!
Don’t forget to have fun!
After all, you’re on holiday!! If you’re not having fun then you’re not doing it right! Do the things which you wouldn’t have before and make the most of it. After all, the things you will remember in the future are the things that stand out and have made time on this planet worth it. The world is literally full of wonder.