Travel Advice & Tips for Traveling Abroad - Part 1

Travel Advice & Tips : Part of Travel Planning is finding your travel destination. What are you looking for?
Travel Advice & Tips : Part of Travel Planning is finding your travel destination. What are you looking for? | Source

Travel Planning

It is amazing what you can learn from traveling as traveling is the best form of education. You get to see new cultures and traditions, taste new foods and you may pick up a few words of the foreign language.

To ensure a safe & enjoyable journey as well as to stay on budget, plan ahead your travel itinerary and get current travel information.

This article will cover the initial planning stage including preparing the budget, buying air tickets and booking your accommodation.

Part 2 will cover topics on how to pack, what to do before you take off on your journey, what to avoid at your holiday destinations, and what to do if you suffer from jet lag.

Initial Planning for Travel Abroad

Travel Tip: Do Your Travel Budget

There are instances when your travels can be planned months ahead, and some that are last minute decisions as in the business travels.

Advance planning can reduce travel cost as airline tickets, hotels, car rental, etc. can be a lot cheaper if you buy them well ahead of your travel dates. Gather as much information as possible and make sure these are current information.

For this article, it is assumed that:

  • This is a not a last minute travel plan
  • You had confirmed your travel destination
  • You will not be traveling on group tours, but as a Free Independent Traveler (FIT).

The first step is to do online research to get a rough estimate on cost of living at your travel destination. Visit several travel sites and check the prices for hotel, food and transport.

Is there any requirement for any specific vaccination or other conditions that might change your budget? Check the destination country's tourism website for these info.

Check the US Department of States for any alerts and warnings as these risks might cost you more.

For easier budget planning, the budget should be split-up into 'Before' and 'During' the trip expenses and are as follows:

Travel Advice - Pack Smaller Items

Buy smaller bottles of all toiletries and other personal items, for easier and lighter packing. The free perfume samples (in a tiny bottle about 1 inch high) are great for your 1 - 2 weeks travel, or even for a 1 month travel!. You may want to try the 'once a week' deodorant during your travel (it actually works!). This way, you don't have to carry the bulky deodorant stick when traveling abroad.

'Before the Trip' Expenses

This will cover cost for the followings:

  • Photo and Passport
  • Vaccination cost
  • Visa cost
  • Flight tickets
  • Travel insurance
  • Currency exchange loss/gain
  • Travel gears (luggage, clothings, toiletries & personal items)
  • Other related needs for the trip (if you intend to go scuba diving or mountain climbing or forest hiking or golf.)

'During the Trip' Expenses

This will cover cost for the followings:

  • Food & drinks
  • Accommodation
  • Local transport/car rental/gasoline/toll charges/parking charges
  • Phone calls/internet access
  • Sightseeing cost (joining the local tours, entrance fee to certain places like museums)
  • Souvenirs
  • Entertainment (cinemas, local cultural or musical shows)

Do Your Budget - Where Should I Splurge?

Going on holiday gives you a reason to splurge, sometimes!
Going on holiday gives you a reason to splurge, sometimes! | Source

Your once a week deodorant

I have tried this and it works for me! I use it all the time when I travel. Since you use it only once a week, it's very convenient if you are outdoors most of the time.

Buying Your Air Ticket

Book a Direct Flight

In order to minimize any possible missed connections, always book a direct flight. If this is not possible, get a one stopover flight, but the continuing journey must be with the same airline or its partner airline. Should there be changes in your travel plan, you liaise with only one airline. However, if your flight booking is made through a travel agent, then contact the travel agent for the changes.

Compare Prices on Both Airline Website & Travel Websites

It is cheaper to buy air ticket online as you don't have to pay the additional travel agent fee. However, check with several travel sites and the airline websites. Sometimes, ticket price can be cheaper through the airline website compared to the travel websites such as Travelocity or Hotwire. Spend time to do these research and you will be rewarded with some best buys.

Book Your Seat in Advance

Most airlines will give you the option to book your seats in advance, for a fee!. But if you wait, some airlines will let you book your seats for free. This usually happens 48 hours before your travel time. This last minute seat booking may not get you your prefered seat, but at least you save some money and can spend on other things.

Book Your Special Meal

When you buy your ticket online, you can also book your special meal if required (e.g. vegetarian meal etc.)

Online Check-in

Most airlines offer online check-in or via other modes such as SMS on mobile phones. This will saves you the hassle at the airport especially if there is a long queue at the check-in counter. However, you still need to join the queue to check-in your luggage, if any. This will be at the baggage drop off counters. Some airlines provide a self-service baggage drop off counters at selected airports. Check with your airline for these facilities.

For Hotel Rooms, Check Hotel Website & Hotel Reviews

Travel Advice & Tips :  Are the facilities up to your expectation? When we travel, we have to lower our expectation of things that we are used to, in order to stay on budget.
Travel Advice & Tips : Are the facilities up to your expectation? When we travel, we have to lower our expectation of things that we are used to, in order to stay on budget. | Source

Booking Your Accommodation

Prepare Your Travel Itinerary

Do your research and check what are the sights and activities you want to do. Prepare an itinerary. It may not be the final plan, but at least you have a rough idea of what you intend to do. This will help you on accommodation decisions as well as in your travel budget preparation.

Then Book Your Hotel Room

If your travel plan or itinerary is still unclear, then book your hotel room for only 1 or 2 nights at your first destination. This will at least help you recover from any jet lag and gives a better orientation of the place.

Book hotel that is near the subways or along the local bus route or within walking distance to shops and restaurants. This will save you a lot of time as well as money on taxis.

As security can also be an issue, book a hotel that are in 'safe location'. Depending on your budget, you may want to stay in the larger hotel chain group for better security control. Hotel rooms that are on levels two and above are another added security measure to consider; to deter any possible breakin from ground level.

Travel Advice - Did you buy travel insurance?

Travel Advice & Tips : If scuba diving is part of your holiday activity, make sure it is covered by your travel insurance
Travel Advice & Tips : If scuba diving is part of your holiday activity, make sure it is covered by your travel insurance | Source

Travel Plan - You may want to pre-book a local tour

If this is your first trip to this destination, then you may want to pre-book a local tour to give you an overview of the city. Check if they offer the hop on, hop off tour. If they do, then there's no need to pre-book a tour. Just get on this hop on hop off tour, for the initial overview of the city. Once you have familiarized yourself with the place, (and after feedback from the hotel staff and tour operators), then book other local tours there.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Travel and See the World

To quote James Michener, an American author who wrote sweeping family epics that were set in exotic locations:

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home."

So, plan ahead and travel the globe and learn a little of people in other parts of the world.

For your next travel plan, let's check out Travel Abroad - Traveling Tips and Advice Part 2. for tips on how to pack for the journey, check list before you leave for the airport, how to handle Jet Lag and things to watch out for when you are at your foreign destination.

______________________________________________________________

© 2012 Mazlan

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Any Travel Tips or Travel Advice to Add? 9 comments

toni 3 years ago

its nice to have a plan to have vacation in some place especially to does have their work i plan to go in Philippines in http://www.boracaypackagetour.com/


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi sarahshuihan , thanks for your feedback. Yes, you are right; planning is important for all work including traveling.


sarahshuihan profile image

sarahshuihan 4 years ago from USA

great advice. I've traveled a lot too and it is always helpful to plan in advance!


dommcg profile image

dommcg 4 years ago

An excellent article, thank you. I have travelled far and ensure i follow most of your tips, personally tho i never book tours in advance as they are usualyy a fraction of the price over there and are easily available. Voted up for useful.


old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi greatstuff. It would be nice to travel as you have done, but Spain is all I manage these days.

Best Wishes.

Graham.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

Thanks Graham, I see that you too travels a lot. Should come to this part of the world..it's hotter and cheaper than Manchester!!


old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hello greatstuff. Great advice from a seasoned traveller. Thank you.

Graham.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

ChinSyme, thank your for your comment and compliments.

I am glad this article has been helpful. Thanks for bookmarking!


ChinSyme 4 years ago

Good and Informative article. Very useful. I have book marked for my reference.

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