Following-on from our successful Top 10 Tips articles, here are eurochange's top ten tips for travelling the easier and safer way.
1 Know where you’re going
Sounds silly, we know, but to be specific, we’re talking about the places you visit once you’re there, rather than the destination before you fly.
Which side of the road do they drive on (likely the wrong side if you’re in Europe), is there a travel card for public transport during the period you’re there (cheaper than the daily tickets) and is it customary to barter for goods? These are just some of the little things you should think of before you fly or at least before you start spending those new notes in your wallet.
2 How are you getting to the Airport?
These days there are more methods of travelling to your airport of choice than you might imagine. Weigh-up all the options. Some might be cheaper than you think;
Train – If you’re lucky you live locally to a train station and a short or at least comfortable commute on the train is an option.
Bus/Coach – Cheaper than the train, but usually longer. The bonus in this case is that the coach takes you direct to the terminal.
Car – Door to…not door. There’s the convenience of taking your trusting motor, but then you have to park it. Parking at the airport can really rack-up the pennies, but these days, ‘off-site’ parking with a shuttle service is considerably more accessible.
We’ll ignore cycling, just because and move on to our last option;
Mini-Bus – Pick-up at home and drop-off at the terminal….rinse and repeat; convenient and often cheaper, mainly because the mini-bus takes upwards of ten people at a time. It might take a little longer to pick-up your travel mate, but then the stress is gone…until you arrive that is.
3 Know your rates/conversions
How much is a bottle of water? If you haven’t looked at the rates board at your local eurochange (wink wink), a good rule-of-thumb is likening one common product at home to one abroad. Of course, some countries have higher taxes on things you might not think of and in the USA they add the tax after the price on the label. Be aware.
4 Be App Savvy (link to older post)
We have a blog post
top help you with this one, but here goes. Free WiFi abounds in Europe and as a result, those communication apps that litter the market could come in really quite handy. Whatsapp, Skype, FaceTime, etc.; cheap or free calls home to make sure your teen son or daughter hasn’t thrown a wild party. Translation apps – the locals really appreciate the effort, just like you do when they’re speaking to you at home. There’s more, just click HERE.
5 Get Insurance – don’t be a fool
Insurance is one of those things that you get, don’t use and then berate yourself for bothering in the first place, because, let’s be fair, nothing ever happens to yo…Oh Wait!
Travel insurance and medical insurance – you protect your car and home, why not your iPhone and your own body? The starting price for travel insurance (most include medical care – best checking though) is around £9. So, that’s a couple of pints down the local or a potentially lifesaving procedure and relocation to the UK. You’re choice. Beer’s generally cheaper abroad anyway!
6 Where’s my Embassy?
It’s worth knowing. The world is in flux, as we know and despite not going to a High-Risk destination, you never know what might happen. There’s also the risk of lost/stolen passports. Know where to go before you…go.
7 Learn a few phrases off by heart
Those translation apps we mention really help, but being able to say ‘Hello’ in Portuguese (Bom Dia – Good Day) without referring to your cheat sheet is a nice touch. The locals will smile and who knows, maybe they’ll be even nicer to you.
8 Photocopy your important documents
This takes us back to the Embassy section a little. It’s always advisable to have a photocopy of your passport, insurance and whatever else you deem irreplaceable while on holiday on your person. This means you can leave the originals, safe and sound in your hotel safe and still feel secure in the knowledge that you can prove your identity and have your info to hand.
9 Pack clever (link to packing post)
Again, you can check our earlier blog post, but if you only have time for the quick tips, here goes. Pack light
. Take a case within a case – then you can fill the larger one with holiday buys and likely-as-not stay within your luggage allowance. Wrap your bottles in plastic bags, then in socks and then top and tail with trainer; the inner padding provides added security against in-flight breakages.
10 Hotel number and address
We can all be forgetful, especially after a few cocktails in the town centre. Rather than trying in vain to describe the hotel’s façade and location in your broken or non-existent Italian (usually punctuated by International sign-language flailing), write the name and address in your phone or on a piece of paper – possible two, one for you and one for your other-half. Better safe than sorry.
Now you’re set, go and have fun…and bring us back a souvenir.