Here you can find tip to make your journey a better experience. They are based on my own experience.
Booking your trip:
- Check visa requirements for countries to be visited. Some you got to obtain in advance, others at the airport or border crossing if you come with other transportation than airplanes.
- Try to be flexible when it comes to days you can travel. You can save a lot of money on flights and hotel stays. Money which could be used for dining and shopping.
- Stay alert on the different airlines campaigns. There are also other tricks. For example, Thai Air use two prices for the same journey on their website. Visit the best offers or promotional rates, and then you get a better price on the same journey as your ordinary order.
- Check if you need vaccine. Your holidays could be ruined if you get sick. Some countries will also deny your entry if you do not have this in order.
- Check ahead of time if there are ATMs on your destination. It may be that cash is your only option.
- If you separate your journey in multiple tickets, be aware that you may be forced to buy new tickets if you should be delayed.
- Use the contacts from your friends. Do you have friends who have been there before, you may want to talk to them to get tip. In some countries they are also more than happy to be the guide for you. And it can provide experiences you would otherwise not get.
- It is not necessarily cheaper to buy tickets as early as possible. I saved 2500 krone traveling/returning Tromso-Manchester by being patient. About two months before departure, I bought tickets for 2300. The day before they were 4800 and the day after 5300. It should be noted that it takes a lot of patience and a little luck.
- Consider to rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. It can provide a completely different experience, it could be more quiet and you can get much more space. You get a lot more for your of money.
Before the journey:
- Write a list. This prevents that you forget the charger for your phone or the passport. Write down what you want to bring and put a mark next to it while packing.
- Pack light. Most people bring way too much stuff. Especially when it comes to clothes. You can wash your clothes in most destinations. And it also provides a great excuse to shop 🙂 For example, you can travel with almost empty bags to USA and visit an outlet mall or two at the start of the journey, to upgrade your wardrobe by doing many good bargains.
- Triple check the departure time. You got the right date? Twice a travel company booked it wrong for me. And triple check when you have to get up. It’s boring to be an hour late to the airport. Yes, it has happened to me. But I got lucky and got a new ticket without having to pay for it. But this mistake can be a very expensive affair for you.
- Not satisfied with the seat om your flight? Go to the counter and see if you can change. Be polite and smile. It is also possible to try at the gate. I have personally been upgraded to business class at the gate. And to dress nice gives you a better chance to be upgraded.
- Bring something to eat and drink. It’s always nice to have something extra available. You never knows if you suddenly is sitting inside the plane for a long time because of technical problems. And maybe there is nothing tempting on the menu on board.
- Drink a lot of water on long journeys.
- Bring your own travel pillow.
- Consider train or bus on domestic routes. It usually takes longer, but you can get an amazing trip with a beautiful scenery. It’s easier to get in contact with people, particularly trains. And they can and will often give you good travel tip.
- Do not rely on the entertainment system of the aircraft to function correctly. Bring reading material or a couple of movies.
Buy earphones which blocks the sound out. Then you do not have to worry about the noise from the children in the row behind you.
During your stay:
- Do research in advance. There can be large cultural differences and it is not sure it is ok to do things in one country that is common in another. You’re a guest in their country.
- Tip. In several places this a part of the salary. Check what is common in the country you are traveling to. Most can afford to give tips.
- Are you at a restaurant and you do not get anyone’s attention during the first few minutes, so do not hesitate to leave.
- Do not choose a place to eat on an empty stomach. Don’t let it go to much time between each meal, especially when you’re out shopping or sightseeing. Too often you will choose the first and best place for a meal. I’ve done it many times myself, but its so much to reserve a place (even before departure) or pick out something before you walk out the door. It is time well spent to choose a place in advance.
- Avoid the tourist traps when you eat dinner. Get friends and acquaintances who have been there before to recommend places or use tripadvisor. Go away from the city center.
- Choose places where the local eats. And try something you’ve never tasted before. It can provide you with incredible taste sensations. Go outside your comfort zone for food.
- Ask those who work where you live or talk to local people about good restaurants, bars or exciting places to go. They know about locations which are not listed in tourist books and it will give you an experience few other tourists get.
- Are you unsure about something, ask. Most will be more than happy to help you.
- Learn some basic phrases in the their language. Some do not speak English, German, Spanish or French, and most would love it if you try to speak their language.
- Do you hire a car, then Auto Europe would be a good choice. I’ve used it the twice and have only good experiences.
- Rent a bike or motor bike. You can explore more than just walking around. Especially a motor bike can be an excellent means of transportation.
- One of the biggest mistakes you often will do is to try to do too much. Whether you have four days or two weeks, spend some time just enjoy yourself. Dont’ come home from a holiday more tired then you were before you left. I’ve done it several times before I decided to prioritize what I want to see and do, and add quiet days where I just relaxed. Do you have three to four weeks, then use a few days for sightseeing and then a few days rest, so a few days sightseeing and so rest. I did a four week trip to Asia. Yes, there was much more I would have love to see and do, but the rest days at the beach made it perfect.
- Always bring water, and bring more than just a bottle. Local conditions vary widely. The trip can be longer than planned and the temperature can rise a lot and come as a surprise a few hours after you went on a hike.
- Take lots of photos of the same scene. If you only take one picture of each thing you want to capture, you’re guaranteed to be disappointed. The picture do not necessarily turn out good even if it looks good on screen on your digital camera.
- Get people in the pictures. It gives life and movement, and it may help to show, for example, the size of things.
- Get others to take a picture of you. So friends and familiy actually can see that you have been along for the ride 🙂
- Move closer. And then even closer. The biggest mistake most people do is to take the picture too far off what they want captured. And especially when you take a picture of the people you’re traveling with. Do not stand ten meters away. Do not stand five meters away. Compose the picture so the people are in the foreground.
- Take pictures from new angles, high and low. Most people take pictures at face level, but a variety can make the picture way more interesting.
- At midday you will have flat light and images are much duller. Light determines often if the picture turn out good or not. Take photos at sunrise or sunset.
- Do you want pictures of the locals, then ask. Do not believe it is ok. You invade their privacy. As a rule, you get a yea most times you ask.
- Bring extra batteries.
- Bring extra memory cards in case something happens to the card you are using.
- Check which adapter you need so you can charge your battery.