Traveling tips, tricks, advice and what not to do.

Travel Tips

Traveling tips, tricks, advice and what not to do

 

 

As you can see from a lot of my hubs, I travel quite a bit. Possibly I can share some of my experiences with you.

Planning the trip

 

  • The first rule of any vacation is planning. You need to start off with a few simple lists:

     

  • Where are you going? Make a list of your destinations.

     

  • How long do you intend to be away? State the number of days

     

  • What mode of transport do you plan on using

     

  • How long will the traveling take? Add this to your total holiday days above

     

  • Where do you intend staying e.g. hotel, camping ground etc.

     

  • What do you intend spending per day? Break this down into overnight costs, meals, sundries (don’t forget tips) transport at your destination. Scenic trips etc.

     

Research

 

Now that you have basic plan you can do some research. Using Google, or some other search engine get information about your destination. Find out about hotels, guest houses and alternative accommodation. Lastminute.com is a good site for hotels. Go to the airline websites if you are flying and compare prices. Ensure the dates and times of travel match your planned itinerary. Ensure that you allow adequate transfer time if you are changing planes. It is a good idea to stay with one airline (and it’s affiliate operations) for the duration of your trip. This makes luggage transfers much easier. You can simply book luggage to your final destination

 

Be aware of weight restrictions and the restrictions on gels, liquids and aerosols that may be taken on board with your hand luggage. Don’t put jewelry, watches, electronic goods (cell phones) or laptops into your luggage. Carry these on board.

 

Now book your flights and accommodation on the web. Tip find the hotels on the websites and contact them directly and compare their walk in prices against the web specials, you may get some surprises.

 

Visa and travel documents.

 

If you are raveling abroad, make sure that you know the visa and health certificate (inoculation) requirements. Log on to the countyweb sites and get visa requirements and download visa application forms. These are great timesavers.

 

Ensure your passport is valid for at least two months after the trip. Make sure you have at least two or three empty pages in your passports. Some countries may deny you entry even if you have a valid visa and the space requirement is not met. Ensure you have adequate health, travel and disaster insurance. You never know what can happen.

 

Cell Phones

 

Ensure that your service provider has service in the countries where you will be traveling. Find out the best deals on roaming rates or buy a pay as you go (prepaid) card) in the countries in which you travel. Divert your phone to messaging so that you do not pay for received calls and leave a message asking your callers to text you (much cheaper) and you can reply on your prepaid card. or by texting , if you wish to.

 

Travelling in Europe

 

If you plan on visiting a number of countries in Europe, the most economical and comfortable way to do this is by buying a Eurail pass. This is valid for a period, or a number of trips anywhere in the European Union, Switzerland and Ireland. It is not valid in England. It also covers some boat trips up the Rhine and is excellent value for money.

 

Eating in Europe

 

Bear in mind you pay extra for outside seating, tablecloths and bread. It is cheaper to eat and drink standing up at the counter. If you want a decent size cup of coffee ask for American coffee. Read the menus and pricing outside the restaurant to ensure that you can afford it. Pay particular attention to service charges (included or not included). If you want a fair priced meal and coffee go to a Macdonald’s or a Burger King. I know, I know you would prefer to eat and drink in a chintzy little café but do what you can afford.

 

Walk in hotels are often cheaper than the internet. The local information bureau generally gives you good priced hotels and guest houses. The IBIS group is well priced. Airports at weekends tend to have specials. Business areas on week ends have specials. Cafes and bistros near railway stations have the best priced food. Go to a supermarket for rolls, cheeses and wines for a snack.

 

Transport

 

Public transport is great , busses, underground and railway are the best and cheapest means of transport. Buy day passes or return fares. Buy from the automatic ticket dispenser. It accepts credit cards and has a British flag to enable you to transact in English. Use your credit card (you can use local currency, if you have. Keep very little cash and don’t offer to ay in dollars. You will generally pay too much. Have a calculator handy for currency conversions. Use on line booking and pre-boarding over the internet for flights. This works well in most of Europe. Airport busses to the downtown area are often best. If there are 2 or more of you with lots of luggage a taxi may be worthwhile considering.

 

When using a taxi’ ask the three important questions:

 

· Do you speak English? (it is difficult to argue about fares if you don’t have the language!)

 

· Do you know where this is (preferably a printout or a business card (of the hotel, restaurant or whatever?

 

· How much? (before you get in) remember they may charge more for luggage.

 

Foreign currency

 

Most countries have ATM’s draw as much cash as you need and don’t keep lots of cash on you. You tend to spend easier without keeping track of how much it is really costing you.

 

That’s about it then. But despite careful planning the fun is till in the trip,

Oh by the way buy a copy of Lonely Planet or Lets Go! These are invaluable sources of information and are generally very reliable!

 

See Venice, the rest of Europe (by train) and Cruising holidays for more info and what can go wrong.

 

Another Great Hubmob by Sixtyorso

Comments 14 comments

Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 7 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

Good hub, filled with useful tips. Now with the amount of unrest at the moment, would check with the Embassies for any travel advisories.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Rodney

Good point about the travel advisories. Thanks.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I LAUGHED at that video, loved it. Americans pretending to be Canadians. When we were in Spain, we were asked almost everyday for our Canadian lapel pins....which we wore so everybody knew we were Canadian instead of American. It was the Spaniards that were asking us for them, though.

Great hub, Sixty. I haven't travelled other than to the States for a few years....everything sounds so different now.

Re having enough pages in my passport, nobody ever stamps it! I wanted it stamped so I'd have it like a souvenir. Sometimes, I'd ask them to so I'd have it. Maybe that's changed now.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

Hi, very good advice about the use of your mobile phone, I'll do that next time, it wil save me a lot of money! How didn't I think about doing that before?


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Shirley Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am glad you enjoyed the video. Yes since 911 a lot has changed I am afraid and not always for the better. Of course once you are in Europe, no passport inspection (or stamping) takes place but going in and out has now become quite an issue.

Princessa, Thanks for stopping by and I am pleased to find that the mobile phone tip is useful.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

this should help the newbie traveler or the seasoned. Great tips for eating and hotels...I would never have known they charge exra for outside seating, cloths and bread?? wow, a lot of differences between what's the norm there and here.

Very good, as always Sixtyorso!! you reign. =)))


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Lots of great and useful information on traveling from soup to nuts.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa Author

Marisue and Dotty Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you foud the hub informative, It is my first attempt at a serious hub.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Sixtyorso- Very good information. Out of the many countries visited in Europe:

1) Which country or countries would you rate as most economical for tourists on a budget.

2) Besides UK what other countries in Europe English is widely spoken/understood.

3) What are the things most economical to buy in the mentioned countries.

4) Are water fountains & public restrooms widely available and free (like US Rest Areas)

(I know the last question seems silly but one of my friend told me even water has to be bought and very few free public rest rooms)

Thanks again for the hub.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa Author

CW to answer your questions

1) Prague, Most other countries in the European Union are about the same. France and UK are by far the most expensive.

2) English is spoken in all countries to a limited extent but Holland and Belgium (and possibly Prague) are about the best for wide spread English.

3) Each country has it's own local specialiities eg Leather in Spain, Chocolates and lace in Belgium, Carpets in Turkey but in general for normal goods, you just have to hunt for bargains. At the end of summer there are summer sales (Clothing in particular, is well priced at these sales). Likewise there are winter sales at the end of winter.

4) For the most part water should not be drunk at the (very few) public fountains. There are very few public rest rooms and where they exist you pay about one Euro ($1.30) per entry. Your best bet, if you are respectably dressed, is to go to the larger hotels (preferably well known chains) or buy a coffee or bottled water at a cafe and ask (only after making the purchase) to use the rest rooms.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Sixtyorso- Thanks for the detailed response. I guess some of the points I asked could be a hub in itself if elaborated. Btw you mentioned "Prague, Most other countries in the European Union are about the same." did you mean they are inexpensive? Have you been to any of the nordic countries (norway/sweden..) and also how about Italy and Greece which are high on my list of places to visit.

We are so spoilt in US with good drinking water at water fountains and free public restrooms (I guess I will have to practice drinking less water for the duration of the Europe trip)...LOL


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa Author

CW Europe (except for Prague) is in general expensive. The adoption of the Euro has meant uniformity in pricing. This has particularly applied to the bottom of the scale. Coffees and cokes cost about €2.50 Italy and Greece are part of he EEC and this pricing upwards has applied since they introduced the Euro as a currency too. Norway and Sweden are expensive countries both to travel to and as far as living costs are concerned. Have a look at my other travel hubs Venice & Venice part 2 as well as the Emerald princess hub for more information.


mhei profile image

mhei 7 years ago from Philippines

Hi sixtyorso!

Great hub! I agree with having to check the prices of the food outside the restaurant or you'll end up eating hotdogs all throughout your stay in Europe, which happened to my friend. hahaha. We have to be sure that we bring extra cash for we will never know what might happen. :)


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa Author

Mhei Glad you stopped by and enjoyed the hub. Unfortunately I had to learn all of my tips and tricks the hard too. Yes extra cash or prefereably a bank card is great for those unexpected costs. Thanks for your comments too much appreciated.

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