Handy Travel Tips & Tricks

When you’re a frequent traveller, there’s always some little tip or trick to learn to help you save, not only time and money, but also to help with practicalities and conveniences along the way.  Here are some that I’ve learned:

1.  Travel with Hand Baggage Only

Travelling with hand-luggage is my main priority for journeys of a week or less.   Be ruthless and minimalist.  I’ve learnt that I don’t need four pairs of heels, large bottles of shampoo and conditioner and an iron.  If you take less you’ll travel cheaper (no check-in hold luggage charges); you’ll travel faster (as there’s no waiting for your bags at the carousel), and travel lighter (only one case means less to carry).

2.  Always travel with a Hoodie

Planes can get cold, especially on a long flight and the blankets they give you don’t always keep you warm, so I always take a Hoodie on board.  It’s better to be too hot than too cold.  Also, Just pull up your hood to retreat from light and noise when you want to sleep on a flight/airport, seat/bus.

3.  Travel Guides

Do your research before you travel so you roughly know what areas and sights you want to see when you get to your destination and then photocopy the pages in the guidebooks rather than taking the guidebook itself.  Guidebooks are heavy and add to your luggage weight and they take up precious room.  Once you have seen what you want to see and you no longer have use of the page, the pages can then be thrown away.

4.  Choose your plane seat carefully

When I’m flying I like to keep to myself as much as possible with as little noise as possible.  If you’re lucky enough to be on a plane without pre-booked seats, then steer clear of children and babies (who tend to whinge and cry), groups of women (who chat loudly and need the toilet more often than men); and (groups of men who tend to drink a lot).  Your best bet is a man or woman on their own.

5.  Never wear flip flops on a plane

I once broke my flip-flops at the airport when someone stepped on the back of one, and my other shoes were in my suitcase which had gone through security, so I didn’t have any other shoes to change into.  Always keep a pair of flatties in your hand luggage if you can’t be bothered to change your flip-flops, just in case.  Also you need sturdy shoes on the plane if there’s an emergency.

6.  Learn a little bit of the local lingo

Try and learn a handful of words of the local language, and use them!  It’s amazing how just a few words like please and thank-you will go a long way, and the locals always warm to those who have made the effort to communicate with them in their own language.

7.  Pre-book an airport lounge

If you’re flying long-haul or travel often, pre-book yourself into an airport lounge.  There’s normally a yearly joining fee that’s around £70, and also a fee of  around £15 per trip, but it provides an exclusive environment with complimentary WiFi, food, drinks (including alcoholic, as much as you want), magazines, newspapers,  etc.  It’s normally used by businessmen so is normally nice and quiet too.  Also, when you leave the lounge, you can take snacks and big bottles of water for the plane.  It’s a cost effective as you’re not buying overpriced drinks and meals in the normal lounge and it’s also a relaxing and pampered way to start your journey.

8.  Always take a sarong

Sarongs are so versatile I always take one when travelling.  They’re light and multifunctional.  You can use them as a cover up on the beach or round a pool, you can use them as a scarf, especially over the shoulders when entering a temple or church; you can lie on them on the beach, you can use them as a makeshift towel for impromptu swims in the sea, a curtain for holding up when you get changed, tied as a skirt or as a dress.  The list is endless and the bigger and sheerer the sarong the better.

9.  Don’t carry too much cash

Most countries have ATMs and it’s very rare that I don’t come across one even in the smallest of towns, so there’s really no need to carry about more cash than you need for at least a couple of days.

10.  Avoid Jet Lag

Try and synchronise your sleep with the local time-zone as soon as you get to your destination.  This way you’ll keep jet-lag to a minimum.

Author: Debbie

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