Everybody loves travelling, but it is not that simple to organize the perfect trip. There are a lot of circumstances that should be taken into account. In this article you will find some useful tips and links which can be very helpful when planning your trip. Enjoy reading!
1. How to choose a destination?
The beginning is always the hardest. To choose the destination you should first answer couple of questions:
- How many days do you have for the trip?
If you want to go somewhere for the weekend, you better choose a destination to which you will travel not more than 3 hours per direction. Otherwise you will not have enough time to enjoy the destination and you will feel exhausted. However, if you have a week or even more you can think about a destination overseas or about a multi-country trip.
*Be sure that your paid-off request will be approved before you book the flights.
- How much money can you spend?
Well, definitely a difficult question. There are usually unpredictable expenses and this makes the budget planning very complicated, but you can always take a look at the prices of some vital services and goods to make an approximate calculation. Food prices can be checked here, prices in restaurant and ticket prices for the public transport can be checked here and tickets for sightseeing can be checked in the official websites. Make a rough calculation and you better overestimate than underestimate.
- Do you need a visa?
You can check here whether a visa is required for your stay. If this is the case, then apply as soon as possible, because the process can take more than 2 months.
- Who are you travelling with?
If you are not a solo traveler, then you have to discuss the destination and the dates with your travel buddies. Some people prefer to visit warm countries, while others prefer to visit countries with cultural heritage. Different people have different preferences, but everyone in the group should approve the destination.
- How risky is to travel in this country?
Every country has a certain level of risk for the travelers. It might be security risk, political risk, medical risk, environmental risk or infrastructural risk. In this website you can check the risk level for the desired country and maybe rethink your destination if the risk level is very high.
2. Book flights
After the destination has been chosen, you will need to book a flight to get there. You can book a flight directly from the airlines’ website or you can use a website for price comparison like Skyscanner to compare prices and to choose the cheapest option. However in this case you will have to pay a commission, which increases the price. If you want to book the cheapest option without paying any commissions you can use LockTrip, a blockchain project that will save you approximately 5 % from the flight price. Don’t you have an account yet? You can register here and if you have any difficulties you can check this guide.
*Flights are not available yet, but will be integrated very soon.
3. Book a hotel
Another vital step to guarantee a wonderful journey is to find appropriate accommodation. Searching for the perfect place with a top location, high customer rating and cheap price is always difficult. Booking and Airbnb have a great inventory on low prices, but LockTrip can offer even lower prices for the same properties. Thanks to Locktrip you can save the commission fee for the intermediary (about 20%) and book your hotel on the cheapest price. Here you can find more information about the best websites where you can book a hotel in 2019.
4.What to do and where to go?
Google is the best assistant for searching places to visit. You can always check the rating and the reviews in Tripadvisor and then mark the desired places in Google Maps or any other map you will be using during the trip. I would recommend to check the ticket prices for the attractions in the official websites and if possible to book online. Thus you will save some money and time. In most of the cities there are free city tours in a group and free entrance for some of the main attractions once a month. What is more, some cities offer a special “pass” which will give you some advantages such as price discount for entrance tickets, free usage of public transport, option to jump the queue etc.
5. How to insure my trip?
For EU citizens there is a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which will allow them to use medical treatment in emergency case. The card is for free (there might be a service fee only, which is couple of cents), but it can take about 2 weeks till the card is ready. However, this card is not the same as the travel insurance. Travel insurance is paid, but it will cover much more services and will give you refund if your flight gets cancelled or your luggage stolen. More details about the free EHIC can be found here and about travel insurance you will need to contact a respective service provider.
6. Check the expiration date of your passport/ID card
Always check the expiration date of the document which will be used for identification. In some countries a passport is required while in others you need only an ID card [for EU citizens who travel in EU]. Some countries require a passport that is valid for at least half-year period beyond your date of stay. Make sure also that there is enough empty pages for new stamps.
7.Get familiar with the body language and the local laws
It is always useful to know something about the country you will visit just to avoid awkward situations. For example the O.K sign means “I am OK” in most of the countries, but in Middle East, Turkey and Greece it will be perceived as a vulgar sexual insult. What is more, ignorance of the local laws can get you fined or even arrested. For example in Singapore spitting, forgetting to flush the toilet or feeding the pigeons will cost you couple of hundreds USD while selling gum or connecting to the Wi-Fi of another user can put you even in the jail. If you want to avoid such unpleasant situations and to save some money and stress you can check the cultural etiquette of your destination country here.
8. Phone and Internet access
It is a must to have a connection to your relatives when travelling abroad. Even if you don’t want to use your mobile data or your phone you should have connection in need. Make sure with your service provider that you can use your phone abroad.
9. Money access
It is simple to hold all your money in a debit card and pay with this card during the journey, but you first should notify your bank about your trip. Otherwise your card might get blocked after couple of transactions. You can also ask the bank about the exchange rate and the fees if you pay with card. However, I would recommend you always to keep some cash in the local currency. Although it is 2019 and everything is digital, there are still places where you can’t pay with a card and having some cash is required. Moreover, don’t keep all the cash in one place, if you don’t want to risk losing everything. For example: You can put a portion in the wallet, another one in your jeans pocket and a third one in the hotel.
10. Pack smart and Check in
To pack smart is not simple at all especially for the women who always need tons of cosmetics and makeup, at least 2 pairs shoes for each day and of course the hair tools. I would recommend checking the cabin baggage policy of the airline first. After that you can check what will be available in the hotel. Some hotels offer toothbrushes, toothpaste, iron, hairdresser, shampoo etc. Then you can take only what you will need during the stay.
Last, but not least. Don’t forget to Check-In. Most of the airlines allow online Check-In and this will save you some time and money. Different airlines open the free online Check-In at different times before the scheduled departure time, but this information can be easily found in Google.
BONUS: Go for a walk with Google Street View
After you book your flight and the hotel you can go for a walk with Google Street View. You can plan how to travel from the airport to the hotel when you arrive. What time will you arrive? Will there be any shops open to get something to eat. If not, then make some sandwiches. Will there be any public transport or you have to use Uber or a taxi? If you will be using the public transport you can check which bus you should take. Is there a shuttle from the airport to the city center? How to buy tickets? Which ticket to choose? — a standard ticket, 24-hours ticket or any other option.
Information is power and the more information you have the better decision you will make, so it might be a good idea to read some forums and welcome some recommendations from people who already have been there.