tripsology’s Top Ten Travel Tips
tripsology Top Ten Travel Tips
We know only too well that there’s no feeling like it when you’ve booked a trip – the excitement takes over and you’ve started to Google the best restaurants or best bars in town. Yes, travel needs to be researched and it’s good to be armed with the low down on these things but there’s also some great travel advice and tips we should consider which will totally enhance your experience beyond where to eat, and it just goes to show that the best things in life can, in fact, be free. tripsology wants to keep you ahead of the pack when it comes to getting the most out of your holiday. We’ve put together 10 top travel tips from our members (and some of the team too) which have served them well on their jaunts around the world.
1. Before you go
Know what to expect and at least know a little about the place you’re going – and by that we mean, research local traditions and customs – find out if there are any taboos/dos and don’ts so that you can avoid making any cultural blunders.
Another must before you go is to make sure you have organised all the necessary travel documents and met any entry requirements. You don’t want to land at the airport to find border control won’t let you in to play because you’ve forgotten to arrange a visa or whatever else you need for that particular country. We’ve read a few stories in the news lately of heart-broken families being denied entry into the USA because they hadn’t arranged their ESTAs (Visa Waiver programme). Get smart and make sure you have your documents in order.
2. Luggage – pack like a pro
This is another area where you can get savvy. With many of us travelling light these days, taking hand luggage only, it’s so important to keep the weight down to avoid excess charges. However, if you’re putting a case into the hold, you can still make light work of packing, taking only what you need – leaving room in your bag for any spontaneous buys abroad.
One tripsology member made quite a good suggestion: plan outfits and try to stick to the same colours, creating a capsule wardrobe for easy mix and match. And, forget lugging umpteen pairs of shoes with you. Invest in one really good pair of comfortable shoes that you can wear with everything. You’ll also be glad of comfy footwear when you’re walking around. Sightseeing is no fun with sore feet and blisters!
Another valuable tip is to pack a scarf, just any scarf. If you’re planning to visit sacred sites or cathedrals, you’ll be expected to either cover your head or shoulders so its handy to stick one in your bag so you don’t get caught out and you don’t get to see something wonderful just because you’ve got bare shoulders.
As for your toiletries, buy mini travel size shampoo/soap/hairspray/deodorant to get you through your first day or so and then buy your toiletries when you get there. Helps avoid spillage and keeps the weight of your case down.
Remember to keep your passport and all other travel documents in your hand luggage. NEVER pack these in your case.
3. Travel Insurance
We’ve all said it at one point – “oh, we’ll never need it, chances are nothing will happen.” Sure, chances are it won’t, but it might. It’s better to be safe than sorry, letting you travel with peace of mind knowing that if the worst happens, you’re covered, at least financially. If you plan on multiple trips, consider an annual policy which is more cost effective in the long run.
4. Stay Safe
While we’re on the subject, did you know that tripsology has a private encrypted safe within your profile (tripsafe), where you can store all your important information which you can share with family as a back-up, should you lose the lot. Another tip from the tripsology community is to keep a note of them in your phone, or backed up on iCloud, where you can access them from another device or even an internet cafe, should your phone go missing too. Speaking of phones, one idea that came up in the community is to turn on the location sharing function on your device. That way if you get lost or separated from your party, you can track each other’s exact location. Technology has it’s uses when it comes to emergencies.
Okay, that’s all the practical stuff out of the way, here’s the fun stuff…
5. Go with the flow and embrace the vibe of your destination
We can’t stress this enough. Attitude and positivity is key to your mood at any time but even more so on holiday. Even if something goes wrong – your flight’s delayed or there’s a mix up at the hotel and it needs to be straightened out – stay calm, smile and it will get fixed. Some cultures really frown on aggressive behaviour and you’ll come off far better if you adopt a ‘c’est la vie’ approach. Travel isn’t fool proof, and the calmer you are if something doesn’t go to plan, the quicker and easier it will be sorted.
Also, immersing yourself in the local culture and going with the flow is part of your holiday experience. Very often, those unplanned moments create the best times and unforgettable experiences. Give in to spontaneity and see where your day leads you. If you get lost, turn it into an adventure, you probably won’t be far from your base. Follow a procession, join a crowd, you just don’t know what hidden treasures or magical experiences may come from it.
6. Talk to the locals and try out some lingo
There’s no better way of getting the low-down on a place than from the folk that live there. Did you know you can benefit from this valuable insight before you’ve even left the house? On tripsology there’s a feature called “I’m a local” which allows you to chat with local experts in your chosen destination. However, once you get there, you must stop and chat to as many of the locals as you can – be it a bar, a cafe or at the bus stop. These guys have the inside scoop on the best bits of their town or city and you just might uncover a hidden gem from that conversation – such as a secret spot to watch the sun go down or an amazing restaurant that the guide books don’t know about. Apart from anything else, talking to the people around you is the best way of getting to grips with some of the language. The only way to get better is to practise it, getting more confident with each attempt. A few words or phrases, even just please and thank you go a long way to breaking down barriers. Remember, you don’t speak their language so don’t expect everyone in every country to speak yours.
7. Going exploring? Don’t leave it too late in the day.
Yes, we know long lies are nice, especially on holiday but if you want to see your destination’s attractions and sights at their best, go in the morning before the crowds are out their beds but more importantly, do your sight-seeing as early as possible before the sun gets too fierce. Sweltering heat and crowds are not ideal conditions for happy exploring.
8. Food, glorious food. Try something new
Experiencing the local flavours and delicacies is part of your holiday adventure. Don’t go for fish and chips or the full English; branch out and treat your senses to exciting new dishes. Food is an integral part of every country’s individual identity and culture. Say for example, you’re in Mexico…It wouldn’t be very exciting if you opted for a burger and chips. Get those tacos and enchiladas down your neck!
9. Culture on a budget
Did you know that many attractions worldwide have cheap tickets at certain times, or even free entry on some days? Just because you’re watching the pennies, doesn’t mean you need to miss out on some of the highlights or best visitor attractions. For example, if you happen to be in Barcelona over a weekend, then you must take advantage of the free admission slots on some of the city’s great museums and cultural centres. From 3pm until 7pm on Sundays, you’ll have a treasure trove of delights at your disposal and if you stick to this time, it won’t cost you a penny. This happens in many places around the globe so if you simply Google ‘free things to do in … (enter destination)’, you’ll find there’s stuff you can go and explore without making a dent in your spending money.
10. Capture the moment
Finally, now that you’ve been to somewhere fabulous, you must be sure to take loads of pics. A camera is essential, even if it is only your phone. Sure, the memories will stay in your mind forever but it’s great to have proper pictures to show your friends and family when you get home. It’s also great to share your pics on social media – show off all the cool places you’ve been to in beautiful Instagram moments or on your tripsology profile. They do say a picture is worth 1000 words.