Saturday, 6 April 2013

Make holiday travel a pleasure, some tips

Following are some tips to make holiday travel a pleasure.

1. Start a diary

Start a diary exclusively for the holiday travel. This will later serve as wonderful memorabilia! Might help in blogging, updating Facebook and Instagram as well :) It will be interesting to read the notes that you made afterward. Make it a point to record everything on it including your initial thoughts about which destination to visit. You can, later on, refer to it and write an honest review about the place for the benefit of others! If you blog, it will be an interesting read to all your friends. It might also help them to make well thought of plans for their travel as well as other things.

2. Group leader

If you are travelling as a group it is better to designate somebody as the group leader. He/she will be responsible for all aspects of travel. But that doesn't mean that the other team members are just followers. They all must make their own plans for travel, be responsible and co-operate. Convene group meetings at regular intervals. Each team member must carry out the tasks allotted to them efficiently within the time frame allotted to them. Each member must research and contribute to the travel. So the selection of the group is very important.    

3. Where to go?

Have a definite idea about the destinations you plan to visit. Its is a common tendency to be in a dream world going through beautiful photoshopped pictures in glossy magazines expecting paradise like living conditions over there only to get disappointed later on when you reach there being welcomed by virulent mosquitoes and dirty, stinking lakes and ponds. Most of the travelogues are written by people who were sponsored by hotels or tour operating companies. So expect bias in their writings. If you are traveling to a place where you never have been ever before, try to read positive as well as negative reviews about the place in the Internet. Before deciding where to go it is better to research and decide about the destination in whatever ways possible. It is very important to read the negative reviews as well. So-called 'negatives' may well be realities! Yes! Try to form your own opinion about the place. Watch videos of the important attractions. Talk to your friends and relatives who had been there previously. Research the internet thoroughly.

4. Budget

Once you have decided where to go, make a budget. It must include the following.
  • Cost of travel
  • Visa fees
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Transport at the destination
  • Shopping expenses
  • Entertainment 
  • Miscellaneous 
  • Unforeseen expenses
Find out from different travel agents about a better deal of travel costs, the best mode of transport and the easiest route. Estimate the cost and plan your budget accordingly. Don't forget to include airport taxes, entry fees and other types of hidden travel costs, if any.

Call upon the embassies, if you are traveling abroad, to find out about the visa fees and other formalities. Check if they have issued any cautionary notices or warnings about travel to that particular country! Check their websites.

You can read so many reviews about the different types of accommodation available all over the world in the Internet. Here also you may see a lot of wonderful photoshopped pictures of hotel rooms on the Hotel's website. Cross-check the information and have an idea about the costs. If possible book well in advance. You may get a better deal if you book early.

Find out what type of food is available. In most hotels staff will assist you in finding good eateries outside once you become bored of trying their delicacies. But before arriving at the destination have an idea about what you are going to eat and how much will it cost.

Have an idea about the transportation facilities available. Find out how much the taxis, buses, metro trains, and ferry cost. Always choose safe, convenient and reasonably priced modes of transport. Try to download a map during the planning stage itself.

Be careful with your spending if you are traveling with your credit cards. It is better to have an idea about how much you are going to spend every day. Resist the temptation to be on a shopping spree while on holiday. You may see so many attractive things at your destination but think carefully about your needs and wants before you reach for your wallet.

Plan the entertainment expenses even before you actually start your journey. Try to be safe and have everything ready for having fun safely. Be in control all the time and enjoy with full confidence and peace of mind. Booze above normal limits blurs senses and that is where the trouble starts. Be safe!
   
5. Travel plan

Okay, you have decided where you want to spend your holidays, you have included everything you wanted and made a very reasonable budget. You have enough funds to cover all the expenses. Now is the time to make a travel plan.

Decide the dates. Inform your employers, colleagues, and friends online as well as offline about your probable dates of travel well in advance.

Contact your travel agent and request them to block the dates of travel. Many Airlines will do it without you paying any fee. You will be given a date before which you need to buy the ticket. But with most of the low-cost, no-frills airlines this is not possible. Cancellation or even change of dates for that matter will cost you money. So be one hundred percent sure about your travel dates if you plan to fly with them.

If you are planning a journey by road have a route map ready and discuss with your travel agent and their drivers your travel plans. This will give you as well as the drivers better idea about your journey ahead.

Get a Railway map and timetable and note down the details of important stations and other details. If you are planning a cruise by sea ask for a map and travel plan and have a better idea about your trip.

Now plan your travel at the destination. Find out the different modes of transport over there and how much it is going to cost you. Try to download a map of the area you are going to visit. Nowadays GPS systems are available; if you can afford it is always better, your smartphones if equipped with one will come in handy. Bilingual maps will be an added advantage, if available. Try to get the addresses typed in the local language so that it will be easy for the taxi drivers to understand where to take you. Also, it is better to learn some words in the local language as well. Always learn to pronounce it well and have it written in the local language in your notebook so that you can show it to people when you ask for directions, eateries or for toilets. You will find plenty of such things in the Internet.

Plan your return journey also. Did you book the return ticket? Make a travel plan for this part as well.

6. Pack your bags

This is a very important part of travel.
Find out how much you can carry without paying anything extra if you are traveling by airplane. Also better to inquire how much they will charge for extra kilos, just in case. You will be shocked to hear the exorbitant cost of the extra weight of the luggage. Less luggage more comfort! In addition to searching the website of the airlines, chat with them about their latest luggage policy. Weigh your hand carry and luggage before your journey. Attach a name tag with destination details and date of travel along with the name of the airlines.

YOU MUST PACK YOUR BAGS PERSONALLY, NEVER ALLOW ANYONE ELSE TO DO IT FOR YOU! YOU KNOW THIS IS FOR SECURITY REASONS!

Buy only good and reliable bags. Lock it securely. Keep the keys safely. Find out if there is some specific requirement by some Airlines about the bags and cases you can carry. It is a good idea to keep the duplicate keys safely.

Make a list of everything you are planning to carry. Here are some suggestions.

In order to keep your freshly pressed clothes without wrinkles, you can wrap each one in plastic bags. But its better to pack a small, portable electric iron. Some hotels will provide free ironing facilities.

Take with you a Universal electrical plug adapter with you. Find out details of voltage.

Don't forget to carry your cell phone charger. Also, carry your camera battery charger.

Keep a flashlight or a small torch in your bag.

You also buy some candles and lighter at your destination and keep in your hotel room. It may look like an unwanted item but you may never know when power failures or natural disasters occur especially in tropical countries. Also, carry or buy mosquito repellant gels and other paraphernalia, serious diseases are quite common in many parts of the world spread by mosquitoes.

Note the location of the fire exits in the hotel.

Pack some chocolates, cookies and canned food items. These will come in handy sometimes. Always check with the Airlines what food items they allow you to bring into another country. Be aware of the customs regulations too.

Check your toiletries bag. Fill it with everything you might need. Don't forget to carry Antibacterial hand gels and wipes. Check with your airlines what all things you can carry. Pack some face masks and sunscreen if you are planning to get a lot of Sun.

First aid materials and medications for common ailments are very important. Don't forget your regular medications. Get a prescription from your doctor even for over the counter medicines for simple ailments before travel to avoid problems in another country. If you are a frequent traveler keep some of these things in your bag so that you need only to check and replenish when you travel next time.

Keep a card filled with your full addresses and contact numbers inside all your bags. No harm in packing a small handy electric kettle and a glass. Some tea sachets or coffee bottle will not be a big burden to your luggage especially if you are in the habit of taking such drinks at odd hours.

Mobile phone - very important. Find out the roaming charges, do not get ripped off! Try to get details of the SIM cards and their cost at your destination. Better to have a stand-by phone while traveling.

DON'T FORGET TO TAKE PASSPORT, TICKETS, CREDIT CARDS OR MONEY AND ALL OTHER TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION DOCUMENTS.
Keep copies of all these as well.

7. Travel

Relax and pray for a safe journey. Do some breathing exercises and relax well. After all, you are going somewhere to spend your holidays, so try to be calm and cool all the time. You have prepared everything well and now its time for you to enjoy the travel. Make notes, take pictures and videos. Have fun!

There can be flight delays and other things but try to enjoy your time. Everything might not go well according to your plans sometimes but take it as part and parcel of holiday travel but the important thing is to enjoy maximum. Buy travel and health insurance.

8. Touts

Always watch out for touts and pickpockets. Try to locate somebody responsible like a Policeman while asking for directions etc. If possible hire a registered guide. Let common sense be your guide in unfamiliar places and uncomfortable situations. Looking like a tourist at odd times in a foreign country can bring about trouble sometimes. Give paramount importance to safety wherever you go!

Have a pleasant and comfortable journey. Always travel light with ease. Enjoy your travel. Don't squeeze in so many places to visit within a limited time span and hurry with everything.

Always be familiar with the sensitive sociocultural issues relevant to the particular region and respect them.

Bon voyage!

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2 comments:

Milica Petrović said...

Great post! It's very helpful! Everyone should read this post before going to trip or vacation! Thank you for your comment on my blog!

http://lavieenrosemp.blogspot.com/

Rajiv said...

Thank you Milica.