Planning a trip abroad? In this article, we look at five great tips that will help you plan in advance, reduce the stresses involved with travel, help you settle comfortably into a foreign country and, most importantly, make the most of your well-deserved break. So let’s get straight into it.
Tip 1: Plan a budget.
If you’re travelling abroad, it’s likely that you have already set some spending money to one side. However, sitting down and budgeting for your trip can do wonders for your spending expectations. What we mean by this is, quite often when people travel abroad, they take a bulk sum with the mindset that taking too much money rather than too little and risking running out, it’s the best way to go. While in theory this is pretty accurate, chances are, if you have it, you’ll spend it – whether you need to or not. So do a little planning. Look into the costs of living in your chosen destination and estimate how much you might be spending on food and drink, gifts, attractions and so on. Another thing to consider here is whether or not you’re opting to buy your essential in your chosen destination rather than pack them. Depending on how long you’re staying, many people choose to cut down on their luggage weight by deciding to buy essentials such as toiletries, sun cream etc oon arrival instead of taking them along. If this applies to you, factor in those cost whilst preparing your budget. Here’s a bonus tip – if you have the time, do some shopping around for the best bank cards to be used abroad, rather than taking cash. The Starling Card for example offers excellent exchange rates and allows you to withdraw cash and pay by card whilst abroad. You can use the account solely for your spending money, withdraw only the cash needed for your budget each day, and have a little extra in the account overall for the unexpected.
Tip 2: Plan your activities in advance
We all like the idea of a little spontaneity while we’re away on a trip, and allowing for a few unplanned adventures is fine. However, researching in advance the events, activities and attractions you want as an absolute must on your tip will save you time, stress and possibly expense. For example, if you simply wing it and hop for the best, you could turn up at an attraction that has recently closed, or an event where the prices have suddenly seen a huge increase. Research your planned activities, make sure you know that they will be open and running on your planned visit and that you have a good idea of the cost so as to incorporate it into your budget. Your bonus tip here is to have a plan B for every activity you can, just in case, and a map plan won’t go amiss at this stage either. Planning ahead will reduce any potential planning stress whilst you’re trying to enjoy your break and will give you more time to have fun and relax.
Top 3: A simple one: Learn essential phrases
…or at least make a note of them and carry the note with you whilst out and about. You might already know the Spanish phrase for two beers please, but you never know when you might need a little more. For example, phrases that relate to finding medical attention, transport, asking for directions, asking if someone speaks English or, knowing how to make eateries aware of any important food allergies or dietary requirements – these are the essentials. And, they could be lifesavers. You never know.
Tip 4: Choose your accommodation carefully
This one depends on what you hope to gain from your trip abroad. So, do your research properly before you choose your destination and accommodation. Here are some things to consider: Perhaps you want privacy and are opting for a villa- but do you also want an active night life and to be close to a supermarket? Check out your chosen area on a map and shop around. Perhaps you’re looking for all-inclusive, child-free or child-friendly, maybe you want to be close to the beach or closer to the city life, you could be a bar person, a clubber, a nature-lover, surfer or hiker. Take these things into account before you choose your location and accommodation. Your bonus tip? If you’re hoping to use WiFi a lot – choose a hotel or villa where access is included as free.
Tip 5: Be aware of local culture
The last thing you want to do s say or so the wrong thing that could have the locals, the tour guide or the attractions manager sending you packing or giving you disapproving side glances. While places closer to home such as Spain, the Canaries, Portugal and so on, usually have similar attitudes to people in the UK, there may be some hidden cultural references, phrases, clothing, etc, that leave a bad taste in the mouths of those in your chosen destination. For example, did you know that in Thailand that tend to frown upon any tattoos or logoed clothing that includes imagery of the buddha? In this instance, you would take care to cover this imagery when visiting a Buddhist temple, for example. So – do a little digging and respect the cultures and traditions of your chosen destination. If you’re unsure about something, they will likely take kindly to you asking first.
And that’s it. Our overall bonus tip – enjoy every minute. Bon Voyage!