1. Bring more cash than what you need.
You may be staying for 3 days or 2 weeks. But I always bring more cash than what I need. By cash of course I mean, the travel currency in your holiday destination. It saves you having to fall back on reserve funds aka credit cards and bank information stored in our go to apps which we can use anywhere like Uber which just deducts the amount straight from your bank account.
A lot of the time banks can give poor exchange rates and even charge you for using their service to exchange to the local currency. The same goes for withdrawing cash at an ATM. If you are taking your card out there in case of those possible emergencies always speak with your bank first to let them you know your travelling abroad to avoid any blocks or limits on your account and find out what charges there are, if any for withdrawing cash or using your card abroad.
If you are really on a budget then you can always plan your trip to a T. It can be done! When I went to Barcelona in July, I looked at how much I could afford to bring and based my trip around my budget. I searched on various forums including Tripadvisor of what free or low cost excursions I could do while I was out there, to reduce my cost. Who said you had to blow your load in abundance? Balling on a budget is what I say! Do your research and see what you can find. It may even prove a much better way to explore the culture and make your experience a lot more fun!
2. Travel insurance
Now this one may be a bit more controversial. I am not sure how you feel about insurance but I like to ensure I am covered for every possible worst case scenario outcome. So far, I haven’t had to make a claim through my travel insurance (you can say that’s a good thing depending on what way you look at it). But spending a couple of extra pounds to make sure your fully covered is worth it.
Many people take out insurance mainly for their health and medical bills but I am gadget orientated and only being covered up to £250 for a £600 iphone and any other gadgets I decide to bring with me, is simply not practical. Now I know what you’re thinking, if I am going on holiday, why on earth would I need to bring more than just my phone. Well I say its simply down to personal choice, but what ever you decide to bring, make sure its covered. Losing your passport and any other valuables would be a complete nightmare, so why leave it up to chance? Shop around. There are loads of comparison websites to help you find the best deal for the best price.
3. Plan your trip and find 3 things to do for free
Various different cities and towns no matter what part of the world you are in hold events or fun activities which are completely free. It could be a festival, a guided tour or even paying for one or two beverages to some free tapas. I guess we all travel abroad for different reasons, mine is purely for the cultural experience. Having travelled to Barcelona twice now, I got to do a whole lot more the second time round because I had to plan exactly what I intended to do. That meant finding activities which I actually thought I would enjoy. It’s a failsafe way to make sure you really utilise the time you have while on your trip, especially when you are on a city break and not aimlessly walking around trying to find something to do and if your travelling with someone, it can be ever more difficult trying to create a plan around doing things that you both like.
4. Check out their security and safety laws
This one doesn’t really sound like much fun, well because it isn’t but its always important to become familiar with the country’s customs and what you are most likely to be at risk of so that you are alert and on guard. Being alert to pickpocketing is just one example. Although you may feel this could act as a deterrent to that all perfect holiday, ensuring that you are aware of your surroundings and any risks can potentially prevent you from getting into any harm or danger.
Now, for this one, I really need to take my own advice. Purchasing travel insurance from your mobile whilst your strapped up on a plane taxi-ing the runway at full speed is really not ideal (yes this did really happen). But I guess there could be worse things at sea like this story:
I was at the wrong airport. My flight was from LaGuardia, not JFK. Had I taken my original flight a week prior, it would have been from JFK. But I never even glanced at my ticket once I extended my stay in NY; I just assumed it was the same airport because the time of the flight was identical.
Staring at the departures board for another second, I finally roused myself and took out my phone. It was 650pm, my flight was at 850pm at a different airport, and it was rush hour.
I am sure there are so many more stories like this one. I think there was even a whole TV programme dedicated to this kind of panicked yet slightly bemusing mishaps. Safe to say in the story above, the passenger made their flight and the right airport.
My point is, plan in advance for your trip. Up to date passports, sturdy suitcase, sufficient clothes, toiletries, etcetera and etcetera. I don’t want to see you on an episode of border control because you brought your mums passport. Create a list or use a dedicated app, there really is no excuse these days.
6. Watch out for the food!
Now, remember the point I made about being a culture junkie? Well this is this exception. Of course I don’t mean all food but mainly fruit, salad and probably diary products too. Depending on the country we cant be sure that we will process and digest the food in the same way we do at home, so if your eating a local restaurant just be mindful. You may not have a bad experience (gross) but if you do, it wont be pleasant. So be safe and be cautious! I bought some fruit from a beautiful and colourful market at La Boquiera in Barcelona but I questioned whether I might get sick (sensitive tummy and all). I did give it to a homeless man so it didn’t go to waste, which made me really happy. Its funny how life shows you that even where you don’t have a need or a want for something, someone else will. Tangent. I guess you could say I was being a little over cautious but it saved me from only goodness knows what
7. Take photos!
What’s a holiday if you don’t share the memories or don’t have any to look back on? Your camera doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy! I did purchase a DSLR to improve my photography skills since I started my blog, but having a DSLR isn’t completely necessary. In fact, I use my Iphone to take the majority of my own Instagram photos! If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a DSLR you can get this detachable lens for your phone which is a great alternative to the DSLR. So get snapping!
8. Take public transport
l love using another country’s transport system just because I feel like I get to experience part of their culture. Plus it’s a really great way to explore, find new places and see new faces! Usually public transport is really cheap too which can get you some pretty decent savings compared to renting a car or taking a taxi. I travelled to Barcelona last summer and was able to get a 2 day travel card plus entry into over 20 attractions for free or at a discounted price, which I purchased before I went and collected my pass once I arrived. Its definitely worth seeing what savings you can make before you travel and it saves so much time, giving you extra time to travel and make the most of your holiday!
9. Visit top attractions
It wouldn’t be worth travelling abroad without going to see the most talked about attractions! The best way is to plan ahead to avoid disappointment. Book tickets in advance, which again usually give you really good savings compared to booking on the day or just turning up. Viator has really good discounts and day passes for sighseeing attractions worldwide, which is definitely worth checking out if you’re planning to go away! Don’t forget to visit unusual places and places you can get into for free. Seeing a host of different places on your travels is really part of the true travelling experience and not just the main attractions to visit but at least you can say you’ve ticked them off. If you haven’t, well its more of an excuse to come back!
10. Learn 5 local phrases
Who can deny that a really fun part of going to a different country is learning a good couple of phrases and coming back as a bi-lingual pro? Its great to get by in a totally new country knowing a good few phrases to engage with the locals. Better still, you might get some decent recommendations for food or places to visit WITHOUT having to rely on tripadvisor. Yes, it means more than learning hello, goodbye and thank you! Get learning a couple of phrases and have fun with it. That’s what travelling is for right!
Save it for later!