Nothing is more exciting than taking a break from work to go on an adventurous trip to new places. It’s either going to be a sprint or a laid-back trip depending on the time. It’s important to start planning ahead to make your travel more organized. First time travellers may find travelling somewhere far a little bit daunting and overwhelming – that was my first experience but doing some research beforehand can save you a lot of time and stress.
Before your flight
Check your passport and make sure it’s up to date. You also need to be mindful of any required visa as many countries require citizens of other nationality to obtain a visa before they enter their country.
A lot of people overlook the importance of having a travel insurance. Travel insurance provides financial coverage for things that might occur while traveling. The insurance might cover flight cancellations, medical bills, lost luggage and other things.
Get the most for your money overseas by doing a little homework first. Although you can rely on your credit or debit card, it’s still important to carry a little cash just in case your cards don’t work. It’s also dangerous to use your card all the time because mindlessly using your cards or withdrawing cash as-needed will often cost you a fortune so having cash beforehand can help you with managing your budget.
On choosing flights, these are my favourite websites for best deals guaranteed. I made some price comparison offered on these flight search engine websites and the airline’s websites and found that the search engine is usually cheaper. The other best thing about using these websites is you can compare prices between different airlines (connecting or mixing between 2 different airlines) and also compare prices via dates. These are the two main websites I’ve been using:
You can find flights, hotels and car hires using Skyscanner. It’s very convenient and practical when comparing prices between different airlines. You can also find flights for multiple cities at one shot. I bought my flight to Paris %30 cheaper from the airline’s website through Skyscanner that directed me to Gotogate.
What I love about Momondo, not only it functioned as a flight search engine, it also have a section called Inspiration where you can get travel tips and news that are useful for your future trips. You can also find a cheaper flight by date (see the top part of the image below) and also find which suits best for you, either you want the cheapest flight, the quickest or the best (in terms of layover time etc).
These are my sources when I need help on any travel-related problems and questions:
Finding Tips & Recommendations
I’ve been using TA since many moons ago, mostly to read reviews on hotels and make comparison after, and also research on things to do. TA will always be the first source I go to because I personally feel it’s reliable and (arguably) unbiased.
Trippy is such an amazing site. You can ask about anything in there and get useful tips, advices and recommendations from experienced travelers. I mentioned on my doubts on the packing part and did seek for help via Trippy and the replies I get were brilliant and practical!
Read all the replies HERE.
Update: I end up bringing a check-in luggage for this trip and amended my plan.
Quora is also a question-and-answer website, not just limited to travel questions. I’m also relying on this website because of the useful input provided by the community of users. I weighed my choice on choosing between Milan, Rome and Florence based on the answers I carefully read through from this question.
I’m an avid user of Couchsurfing. I’ve hosted some people and have been hosted once before which turned out to be a great experience because my host was an absolutely awesome guy. You can read my experience here, I’d totally recommend him. I use CS to find locals that can suggest me places to go or even meet up for coffee and drinks because I’d rather meet locals who know the ins and outs of the city. I don’t really like to visit a touristic area but I know it’s hard to avoid that at some places.
As for lodging, some of the cities I’m going to have really cool and hip hostels that I really want to try. I’m up for any type of accommodation, it also depends on how expensive the city I’m visiting.
This website is my preferred choice because some places can be booked without a credit card and free cancellation / amendment is allowed before certain date.
A site that compares prices for over 730,700 hotels from more than 200 booking sites? How convenient is that? It helps me save time rather than having many tabs opened just to compare prices from different booking sites. I will use Trivago when I don’t have any specific hotel I want to look at and to find the cheapest place.
What To Pack?
Always remember not to overpack. Only bring the essentials, enough inner clothing pieces and rotate the outerwear. I’m only packing what (I think) I need and if I’m missing out on any crucial piece I need for the weather, I will just get one at any shop. I overpacked for my Portugal trip and barely used half of the things I brought, so I’m not going to repeat the same mistake.
So remember to always check the weather, plan ahead, adjust the time zone, map out your journey; from the airport / bus or train station to your hotel, have internet on your phone and always keep your important belongings with you at all times!
HAPPY HOLIDAY EVERYONE!