Saturday, 28 May 2016

7 Best Travel Tips

The 7 best travel tips |
I've done more travelling this year than ever before. I absolutely love it, I think living abroad helps because even just going to the next city feels like a new and exciting trip. I love airports, I love long train journerys, I love the excitement of checking in at a hotel.

I know it's easier for some people than others, but I really feel like everyone needs to travel at some point in their lives, it doesn't have to be far or even cost much but there's so much to get out of going! Experiencing new places, new foods, new cultures, new sights, new people. There's so much more out there. 

I never want to stop travelling. I love discovering new destinations. I'm hoping once I don't have to travel with a student loan budget I can get to some more places like South East Asia and South America #bucketlist #goals

I've been doing as much travelling around Germany as I could on my year abroad, as well as seeing a bit more of Europe and I will get to see even more of Europe when I go interrailing this summer. If you want to see all of the places I've been and my travel posts, you can find that all here! Travelling isn't always straightforward though. I've picked up some tips, both from the endless research before trips and my own experiences to help you get the most out of your time away and to make sure everything goes smoothly:  

The 7 best travel tips |

Don't be entirely spontaneous

I get the appeal of being spontaneous when you travel, I do. But from the people I've heard from that turned up somewhere with no plan, no idea what the place had to offer, even no accommodation booked, they didn't get to make the most of it. When you're going somewhere for the first time, it's totally worth putting in a little extra effort to do some research. You don't need to make a minute for minute plan, but just some ideas of things you might like to do or places to eat will make a massive difference.

If you're going somewhere that you've previously been before, then you can totally be spontaneous. That's what I plan to do in Amsterdam this summer, as we did all the main touristy things last summer and we know our way around pretty well. This time I want to experience it more as a local and enjoy the city at a slower pace!

Also if you're travelling on a budget, in peak season, to a popular travel destination, it's probably better to not leave finding accommodation until you get to the place, as you probably won't find the cheapest places and the good ones will already be fully booked.

Learn a little of the language

Not loads, but enough to be polite and make the locals smile. The words/phrases I'd recommend learning are:

  • Hello, Bye
  • Yes, no
  • Please, thank you
  • Excuse me, sorry
  • And numbers

If you can learn general pronunciation rules too, this would make your life a lot easier, so you know how to say the things on a menu, even if you're not exactly sure what they are.

Read blogs

If you're looking for THE best café or restaurant tips, or secret hidden gems in a place, try and find some local bloggers and see if they recommend anywhere. We found a blog written by someone living in the city before we went to Amsterdam which had some amazing café recommendations. One of the places we visited on their recommendation still sits firmly at the top of my 'best brunch ever list'.

The 7 best travel tips |

Decide how you want to remember the trip 

...before you leave. If you want to make a video/vlog of your trip, you'll ideally want to start filming snippets as you leave your home. Don't leave it until halfway through your trip to decide whether you want to do something in particular (such as collecting postcards, taking a specific style of photo at various points, vlogging) otherwise you'll have missed opportunities!

Never overpack

Even if you do have 374824kg of luggage space to use, don't feel like you have to. Travelling light is so much easier and more fun, take just what you need and not the "well I might need..." things. Then you have space in your luggage too if you end up purchasing a load of things you want to bring home.

Consider your mobile data situation 

If you're going abroad, depending on your phone contract, you may be charged extorniate rates to use your data. It's worth checking with your network whether they have deals. Remember that there's nearly always a Starbucks or McDonalds to check on your social media and emails if you need it, and your hotel might offer it too. I'm noticing that increasingly more cities in Europe are offering free wifi in town centres which is good too.

Make sure you turn off your mobile data before you turn your phone off for a flight, so when you turn it back on you aren't immediately charged as it connects straight away!

If you're travelling to one of the countries that the network Three include in their Feel At Home deal, it may be worth checking out this deal. If you're not already on Three, this guide talks you through how you can still get it.
Tesco Mobile have also just launched their own similar deal for summer, with much more European countries included. You can find more about that here.

Better safe than sorry

I know it's definitely not the most exciting part of the trip and probably not something you want to think too much about, but there are some things you need to take into consideration in case of emergency. Always make sure you have travel insurance. It's not just for things like if you fall and break a leg (which as much as you might like to think it isn't, it is unavoidable), but if your flight is cancelled or something is stolen, you'll be covered - though do check exactly what you're covered for as policies vary so much! It doesn't have to be expensive either. My annual travel insurance is less than £20! Also, carry a copy of your insurance documents with you when you travel. What I tend to do is also have a copy of all my important documents in the Cloud so I can access them wherever I am. I keep:- 
  • A scan of my passport, ID, debit cards and EHIC card 
  • All documents including flight tickets and hotel confirmations
  • Photos and serial numbers of expensive possessions I'm taking with me in case they get stolen
  • A document with important phone numbers just in case
I always carry a scan of my passport on me physically and a little card in my purse with contacts if my phone dies and I need to contact someone on a different phone. All just in case! 

I hope you find these tips helpful! Travelling is so much fun and such a great experience, and it's so worth being prepared, from amazing restaurant recommendations to the more important stuff. 

Are you going on any trips soon? Do you have any travel tips you'd add?

Hannah Lane
Related posts:
How To Survive An Overnight Bus JourneyHow to pack for a weekend awayHow to travel on a budget

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