As someone who recently started travelling more, I’ve experienced a fair few ups and downs.
I holiday as much as my budget allows, but I don’t feel that it’s enough! I need to stop comparing myself to friends that holiday up to 8 times a year. How they get the annual leave is beyond me!
In no way would I claim to be a travel expert, however I have put together some useful tips based on my own experiences so far. Have a read, dust off your sunglasses and find that super pretty suitcase!
DO – some research before you travel. I do love spontaneity on holiday as I find it more authentic, however there’s nothing worse than discovering on your last day or back at home that you’ve missed out on something amazing. Trip Advisor and Lonely planet are great resources for finding things to do. Even doing a google search of “places to go in (insert country) may lead to discovering forums and blogs that give ideas that are unconventional and exciting.
I also find it best to do the research at home because you may discover that the Internet connection is unreliable while you are abroad. Some popular tourist destinations may also require advanced booking and you don’t want to end up disappointed
I like to maintain a balance – 50% planned activities or locations and 50% spontaneity – where I’ve spoken to locals and they given me ideas of places to go that may be quieter or more authentic.
DO – pack suitable clothing for the great British weather upon your return. I know, you’re excited about the beach and it wasn’t THAT cold when you left to go.
But somehow England entered the ice age while you were sunbathing abroad. You’ll regret not packing a jumper among those bikinis when you’re shivering at Gatwick airport in the rain in your flip flops waiting for the train to London, and hating every moment spent in this ridiculous country!
DO – upload your favorite holiday photos to social media or send them to your family/friends back home while you’re out there. Just in case the worst happens and your phone is lost/stolen or damaged. People have always asked me why I’m on Facebook on holiday. It’s not because I care who’s pregnant or engaged now; I just want to keep my memories somewhere safe!
DO – fly midweek if you can. I’ve found that the best flight prices are on a Monday or a Tuesday- and they go up on weekends.
DO – work out whether the exchange rate is better here or there. Something I’ve recently discovered is the power of the US Dollar! A lot of countries value USD more than their own currency, so it is worth checking out beforehand.
DO – stock up on medication before you go. This might seem obvious, but even simple things like paracetamol may be hard to find, difficult to decipher due to the language or ridiculously expensive when you are abroad. Also – some medications are illegal in certain countries, so make sure you research prior!
DO – read airline reviews before you book. The cheapest flight might not be the best choice – you might end up paying extra for baggage, and airline experiences really do vary so much, from customer service to in flight entertainment.
While I cannot always afford to be that picky about airlines, I would rather go with an airline that I am familiar and comfortable with, especially on long haul flights, even if it means paying a bit extra.
After a bad experience due to having an allergic reaction on board because the air hostess had no idea what was in the food she served me (I won’t name the airline) I make sure I always read customer reviews before I choose my flight.
I found this website useful and accurate when preparing for my last holiday.
DO – try every experience offered (within safe reason obviously), big or small! There is nothing worse than regret when you are back home with holiday blues!
DO NOT – look for English food, resorts or entertainment! Or even English speakers, unless it’s an emergency! Well you can if you want to. I guess it’s your holiday. If that’s the case, next time save yourself the cash and take a coach to Brighton or something 🙂
DO NOT – go without travel insurance. The NHS is the Holy Grail for a reason!
A lot of travel insurance companies come with big excess fees- so make sure that you would be comfortable paying the fee before you choose the policy.
Apply for a free EHIC card if you are travelling in Europe – it gives you a big discount if you ever have to visit a GP or hospital, something I learnt a little too late!
DO NOT – assume you can go on holiday with anyone and everyone. Even your closest friends may not have the same holiday ideas as you- some prefer lounging on a beach 24/7, others are up at the crack of dawn on excursions. Make sure you go with similar expectations after discussing a potential itinerary or it can lead to frustration and friction. I’ve been there, and there’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money and feeling like you’re wasting your holiday.
DO NOT – write off a country because “everyone goes there” or it’s known for a certain theme or stereotype. Just remember that Aiya Napa is a very small part of Cyprus. Dubai is not all about expats and the champagne life, and Nigeria is not just what they show you on TV. There is beauty in every country and there are always different things to experience to your taste!
DO NOT – assume that you can’t afford a holiday! I used to dismiss holidays for years, thinking it was something I’d never be able to afford. I put off going to Thailand for 2 years, only to realise that my flight would be £450 instead of the £700+ I’d expected.
If you are still skeptical – go onto SkyScanner and enter “everywhere” in the search box. Arrange the results by price (you will see £15 Ryanair flights to random destinations and think “WTF”) – and you will realise that you can probably afford more than you think!
There are always cheaper alternatives- from surprisingly comfortable hostels to Air bnb, to renting apartments, and many more. My friends and family are always surprised at how cheap my holidays are. I find the best deals by speaking to friends that regularly travel, using google search and reading forums and blogs online.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to book that trip!
Lizzy shares her lifestyle and opinions whilst travelling around the world.
Not only is she a young, career-focused professional, she’s a Starbucks and Zara enthusiast.
She’d like to settle down and have kids, but all in good time.