My Favourite Travel Savvy Tips #travellessons

Sunday, February 19, 2017


It's always strange to think that I've set foot in foreign lands and soil, with dirt and debris, in sleep-deprived or full of energy states and then hope for the best. I'm lucky that I haven't had to deal with any horrifying incidents while abroad, and I'd like to think that part of this is down to a intuitive set of 'rules' I like to stick with.

I'm not usually a list person, but here are some musings that have guided me through safe but adventurous travels... plus, I'm off to Hamburg next weekend so I'm counting this as a routine run through for me!


YOU DON'T ALWAYS NEED TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS A YEAR IN ADVANCE FOR A GREAT GETAWAY

I'm certainly no travel planner, I can tell you that much. I've never booked my tickets more than 5 months in advance, just because I don't have the knowledge of what situation I'll be in during those weeks. Personally, I find that planning way in advance doesn't really change the price of my routes so I tend to stick to giving myself enough time to sort my work schedule and any ~social plans~ before clicking that buy button.

Perhaps it's also because I shy away from 'countdowns' to my next big holiday – I find it more spontaneous and exciting if on a spur of a moment, I want to go somewhere and where time + expense permitting, I can browse and get that next trip out. It takes out the stress of having a set timeline and overloading myself on planning itineraries... Once, I only started Googling 'places to visit in Prague' the afternoon before I was due to fly off and it was still one of the best trips ever.

Another fun fact: I didn't know when I was next going home (a 13-hour flight) until I decided last week to book my tickets!


TRY NOT TO OVER-PLAN

Again, a very untraditional thing to do because most people have a solid itinerary and a good idea of what they want to do / see and explore so they can tick off the boxes. If you're that kind of person, go you! Personally, this again stresses me way too much and I certainly can't imagine doing it myself.

Sure, I'll have a few places I have in mind but I usually like to get to know my new surroundings, have a poke around different neighbourhoods to get a feel for it then make my plans from there. I find this method best for me because I'll be comfortable wandering around the areas, instead of following a solid plan or else.

For all of our past trips (Florence, Seoul, Madrid, Brussels) this was what I did and I don't think it made it my experience any less worthwhile. If anything, it gave me a sense of being more adventurous and we would wander round and discover some great gems.

MONEY GETS YOU PLACES 

This is more of positive reminder than anything: always carry emergency cash or credit cards with you! And don't (an obvious one) stash your cash in one place. This is true for cities like Rome where many people I know have been pick-pocketed, and knowing that you have a way to get round if *touch wood* anything happens will keep your mind at peace. 

Between the two of us, Matt & I have Revolut (great for European travel! #notsponsored), my credit card (I never use it but it's good to have), and our debit cards. I usually use cash whenever I travel because of exchange rates but there were times when we've had to use our cards and I'm glad we packed them. 

Bottom line: make sure you have enough money for your trip. Once, my friend who visited London didn't tell his bank to activate overseas spending and had zero access to cash from a machine completely. I had to loan him money since he didn't have any way of calling his bank either (his phone was also disabled). 

Travel well, kids! 


TRAVEL IN COMFORT 

My favourite of them all! Often, we get caught up with the glamourous pictures of travel bloggers and the vivacious lives they seemingly lead in exotic locations. Note: I have suspicions that's not real life. Unless you have a wad of cash to spare, it's unlikely that you're going to need three pairs of heels and off the shoulder top for that pool shot. 

Or at least, that's never been achievable for me. Whenever I travel, I wear trainers or incredibly comfy shoes that I know won't hurt my feet because I know I'll be walking around (or getting lost) the entire day. Ain't nobody got that stamina to stomp around in heels. I most certainly don't. While I sacrifice style, I'd much rather pick comfort than pain.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I get frustrated and wonder why I don't as good through my sweaty hair and oily face, but that's not the point of traveling, is it?

You don't travel to look good, you travel because you want to and you want to be in a place of new people, unexpected conversations and making discoveries that you'd never imagine. It's easy to forget that in a world of curated perfection, but it's more important to remember why you got on a plane in the first place. (I mean, if you are going for the perfect insta shots then go ahead, no judging!)


What are your favourite wise travel tips? That said, I've still got to finish packing so I don't end up in a last-minute panic before Thursday!

Disclaimer: I wrote this as an entry for GoEuro's #travellessons, you can enter here too if you're interested. 

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