7 Tips to Make Your Travel More Fun
Travel requires good preparation if you want it to be fun and a major success. Little things go awry as always but when you prepare well, chances are you will have an enjoyable and pleasant trip.
So, here are some tips that will make you a most effective travel planner.
1. Book Airline and Hotel Early
Plan your trip early so you can book your airline and hotel, taking advantage of cheaper prices. Here are some tips for online booking:
These sites track the choices you have looked at and put up the price. Who knows but this has been my experience so I often just close my computer and do the booking the next day.
Now, with private or incognito search (options you'll find in your browser under File), they can no longer track your visits.
For us, as we often are not sure when we're getting back, we just book one way tickets. This may, however, cause problems when you get into some countries that may ask you to show a return ticket but not many countries do this now. So far, we have not had this experience. When you book, take note of these:
Some airlines make you pay extra for these but it is always better to get the best seat you can afford.
This is especially true when you are flying 8-16 hours. When it is only a short flight, get a cheap seat. Save your money for the long flights unless, of course, money is not an issue.
Being able to stretch out for a few hours gives you that much needed rest. You will be grateful for this rest when you have to show up in meetings upon arrival.
You can relax in a bigger chair and watch movies in a much bigger screen. You can enjoy better service and food as well which makes the experience much more pleasant.
About hotels. There was a time when we never bothered to book a place and just drive to a town or city and start looking for a hotel.
Nowadays, it could be a risk as here are some of the things that can happen:
2. Watch those stop overs.
Once, I bought ice wine in Vancouver airport duty free not knowing that upon transit in Singapore, when you go through security, liquid over 100 ml. will not be allowed.
I was not the only one on transit carrying duty free bottles. One passenger was so disgusted he opened his wine bottle, drank a bit and poured the rest in the bin. I just gave my bottle to the security people telling them to enjoy it.
In some stop overs, you have to use staircases and walk a distance so make your carry on light enough.
Some airlines, in cases where you change planes, weigh your carry on once more and charge you extra if it is heavier than the accepted weight.
3. Pack light.
Before you pack, take a look at luggage restrictions of the airline you are using for your particular flight or airlines if you have connections.
I was following a lady the other day at the airline check-in and I understand it is Christmas but after her luggage was weighed, the staff put it aside and told her to remove some items otherwise she will be charged $850.
In some airlines, get your credit cards ready because they charge $25 per checked luggage within the weight limit. If you can manage to place everything in your carry-on, the better it is for you. Although some airlines weigh carry-ons as well.
Better, before you travel check out your airline baggage allowance. It is in their site so you can prepare yourself and pack what is within limits or have your cash ready if you don't mind paying for extra luggage.
Bring only what is necessary. In some places, there are no elevators (like in some of the tube stations in London) and parking can be far from the place you are staying. Lugging your heavy bags is not an experience you will enjoy.
When the beach is your destination, you don't need much there. Bring a dress you can wear for an evening eat out, your swim suit and sandals. We just finished driving in Spain and Portugal for 22 days and with our coats, nobody will ever know what you're wearing. A change is all you need and wash every night your undies. They dry up fast. Remember, if you really need something you can always buy them wherever you are.
4. Shop for quality souvenirs
When you shop for souvenirs, buy quality. Fair Trade and organic would also be great. Bargains are all over the many destinations you'll visit but most of these things you can easily buy at home in Walmart. So, your best option is to look for artisans who make one of a kind product and support them.
If you have to buy small gifts for friends and family, go in shops maintained by social enterprises helping the poor and the disadvantaged. Get something light and small.
Look for one or two items to remind you of the place, something you yourself will be proud to use or display at home as they show not only the uniqueness of the place and the beauty of the culture you have visited but also your own good taste.
5. Shop for gifts in duty free stores
Shopping in duty free stores not only save you taxes but also space in your luggage as you can carry the bag with you on the plane. It also makes it easy for you to declare what you have brought back once you get through Customs.
There are more choices now in the duty free stores especially in big airports and they have many promotions and sales as well. Have your list of gifts ready and go early for your flight so you have enough time to get your gifts. If you have forgotten someone, there is always the in-flight store.
6. Do your own laundry.
Rates for laundry in many hotels are so high that bringing your own laundry detergent and washing your dirty clothes regularly saves you a lot of money.
We often pack a ziplock of laundry detergent or buy these in groceries when we arrive in a place. Hotel rooms are often dry that your laundry gets dry the very next day.
Or, have a plastic bag for wet laundry. Just bring them along to dry in the next hotel or when traveling by road, spread it out in the back seat of your car.
When you book places now, you can go for apartments and make sure the amenities include a washer and dryer. Most of the time, they supply you with detergents but there are always the odd times.
7. Here's the key. Too much of your own company can be a bad thing.
Actually, if you want to have fun, it is the worst thing you can do. Get out. Talk to people.
Sit in the park and talk with people who are there. Talk to the vendors when you buy food, the waiters in restaurants or the seller in the street. You will really start to have fun when you do these.
Interested in other tips to make your travel fun? Here's a list for you: