Whether you’re travelling for the first time or are a seasoned globetrotter, there are basics that will help make your trip as smooth and enjoyable as possible. These ten essential tips contain ideas that will help plan, save money on your travels and generally make the most of your trip.
Before your journey
1. Do your research
The first step in your travel plans should be to conduct comprehensive research about the destination you plan to visit. This will help you plan your budget and itinerary. You should also learn about local customs, so that you know how to act and behave when you arrive at your destination. There are lots of websites and resources online to help with your quest for information. It is also a good idea to pay attention to reviews and opinions. They provide relevant information from people who have been there to help you make the most of your trip.
2. Confirm travel requirements
Many countries around the world require a visa or some form of official documentation before you can enter. Make sure you have the necessary documents and visas for the destination you plan on visiting. If you are using a travel agent, then have them confirm these details for you. You can also find out the requirements by visiting the immigration website for your country of destination. The same applies to passports and identification. Make sure your passport is valid and meets the requirements for the country(s) you will be visiting.
3. Protect your health
It is important to protect your health as much as possible before you embark on any journey. Visit your doctor for any vital vaccinations against diseases you might encounter along the way. Tell your doctor your travel plans and where you expect to be visiting. This will allow them to advise the relevant vaccinations for common diseases in the areas you plan to visit.
4. Purchase adequate insurance
Even with the best made plans, things can go wrong on your journey. You could be involved in an accident, lose your luggage or have items stolen. Having travel insurance is important. If things go wrong, you need to have a backup plan. With travel insurance, you can have the peace of mind that you’re covered.
5. Duplicate your documents
The market for stolen passports and documents is huge. Criminals and pickpockets target airports and crowded places with the intention of picking an unsuspecting tourist’s pocket and making off with their passport or wallet. Make a scanned copy of all your important documents and store them on a removable device (on your phone and in your cloud accounts). This way, should you be unlucky enough to be the victim of a petty crime, you have backup to refer to until you can get replacements.
6. Get cashed up
If you are visiting a foreign country, you will need money to pay for little things like taxi fares, meals, coffee and tips. Get cash in the currency of the country you are visiting. You can use your credit and debit cards, but this will likely come with extra costs. Card companies charge foreign transaction fees on international transactions. Also, some countries and stores may not offer card purchase facilities.
At your destination
7. Spread your cash
It’s never a good idea to carry all your cash in one place, such as in your wallet or one pocket. Only carry the amount of cash you feel will be enough for your day and keep the rest in a safe place where you are staying. The money you carry should be distributed in a variety of places on you and in your bags. Make use of all pockets, as if you happen to be the victim of a pick pocketing, the culprit won’t get away with all your cash in one swoop.
8. Save money where you can
There are times when you have to splurge, but it’s also prudent to save money where possible. One way to save money when you travel is to eat the local food. Look out for any establishments where local people are eating and follow them. Eating in hotels when overseas can be expensive, but local eateries are usually quite affordable. When you want to go sightseeing, try using public transport, as this is much cheaper than taking a cab. Depending on where you visit, you might even be able to hire a bicycle for getting around.
9. Get off the beaten track
You might be tempted to stay with the crowd, but sometimes, getting off the beaten track will take you to beautiful locations not many people know about. Many tourists and visitors follow guide books, which can be a good way to get your bearings in a new area. However, there is no substitute for local knowledge, and it is the locals who know where the best restaurants are and where you can find the best entertainment. After you’ve exhausted the advice of guide books, trust the word of the local people and visit the places few visitors know about.
10. Pay attention to your environment
Every city has its collection of criminals and touts. You need to be conscious of your surroundings. Avoid dangerous neighbourhoods and dubious looking characters. Try to have the number of the local emergency services to hand, as this may prove vital.
You want to have a good time on your travels and the above 10 essential tips will help you do exactly that. So, have a pleasant travel experience and stay safe.