We all know travelling can be extremely stressful, especially if you’re trying to organise a trip for your whole family. Being in a new country where the language might be unfamiliar and you don’t know the roads can be a recipe for disaster. But we have some tips for you that will ensure that you finally have a relaxing, carefree holiday you deserve.
The sheer number of options that are available can be extremely daunting. It’s nearly impossible to know where you can trust. rometorio.com has compiled all the ways you could get to any given destination and the prices of all of those different modes of transport - so you can easily compare the cheapest prices without having to jump from one website to another.
Scan a copy of your passport and credit cards (front and back) and emergency details then store them in a cloud storage location such as Dropbox so if your cards or passport are stolen, you'll have a backup copy of what you need to report the loss and the telephone numbers of who to ring.
Particularly if you are travelling to a high risk area for theft, avoid finding yourself in an unfamiliar country with no money or cards by spreading your cash about your person - maybe keep some in your pocket, some in your bag and some in the hotel safe.
For someone who has travelled lots, I should be good at packing light and well but the truth is I’m not! I find it is really useful in the run up to your holiday, to keep a list on you at all times and as soon as you think of an item you should take - write it down! Plan packing well in advance so you don’t have that last minute panic day before you leave and forget something. You don’t want to end up taking your expensive camera without a camera charger… Better still have a saved travel luggage list on your computer that you just tweak each trip. If you want to be very organized, note what stayed in your suitcase completely unworn so you know not to take it next time!
Mini bars are expensive. If you don’t want to buy anything from the minibar, ask the hotel to empty the refrigerator, it not only stops you spending well over the odds for a cold drink but also means you have an empty fridge you can stock with your own goodies.
Communication is key. Always learn the words for “hello, please, thank you, delicious and goodbye” to bring smiles to the locals you meet. A little effort in a local language, goes a long way.
Do make sure you have adequate travel insurance especially if you have any existing medical conditions. There are many specialist insurance companies including International Travel and Healthcare, and Pearson Insurance. Travelling in Europe? Get an EHIC card it gives you discounted medical assistance across all 28 European countries. Do note though that an EHIC card does not replace the need for standard insurance.
If you want a free room upgrade then book for a non-peak time. It often helps to let the reception desk know that you’re celebrating a special occasion. If that fails, ask if they’re doing any incentives - you might find that a room upgrade is extremely reasonable. Tripadvisor is often a good indicator in finding out if your hotel is easily persuaded in giving upgrades.
If you’re travelling with your family then mix up each person’s luggage between all the suitcases so if someone’s luggage goes missing, they still have something to wear on holiday until it is found!
Your hotel concierge is a great source of information but for the really local advice on bars and restaurants, approach the bartender whose friends may work in local restaurants and will know the hottest place for the best price. And when staying at hotels abroad, grab one of the hotel's business cards and keep it on you at all times to explain your address to a taxi driver.
Top tip for glam girls … save yourself effort by getting semi-permanent eyelash dye before you go away. It won’t smudge like mascara, which is particularly useful for long flights, swimming and hotter climes!
But remember,when you’re out having fun though, don’t forget about home. Do not put a luggage tag with your name and address on it. If you feel the urge to use one, put your name and phone number. At the end of the day, your luggage is not going to be posted to you, someone will want to call you if they have inadvertently picked up your case. The insurance industry say proof is hard but they are certain this information is sold as it passes through baggage handling. And keep your social media sites private – and make sure your children’s sites are private too. Instagram, Facebook, and many more social media sites are open to a wealth of people and vast networks who can see you are on holiday – which means your house is empty. Without being too boring about it, manage your risk.
Finally though, remember you’re on holiday. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be patient, enjoy and absorb the different cultures that you come across and observe the life around you. If the cash machine is out of cash – fantastic – make an unplanned journey across town to find another. Relax. Enjoy. Experience