This article should rather be called “12 tips not to miss your trip” , because no matter what advice you follow, the success of your trip depends only on you. Successful travel is a personal notion, as I explain in The Myth of the Perfect Journey . It’s your subjective perception , your mood, your mood, the mood … that will determine your overall feeling about the success of your trip.
Nevertheless, some tips can help you avoid problems that could taint your experience. Here are my tips to put the odds on your side for a great holiday!
- Choose your destination
This first tip may seem obvious, but it is crucial: it is the basis of everything. To choose your destination, just let yourself dream a little, to draw in his Bucket List, play darts on a world map or enjoy attractive promotions …
Choose your destination knowingly
The pleasure of daydreaming in front of the atlas must be accompanied by a minimum of information research.
For example , it is better to learn about the political situation of the potential destination country (war, revolution, coup d’état …).
The choice of destination will also sometimes involve vaccines , recommended or mandatory, as well as the need to have a passport or a visa. All these steps require some anticipation and thus limit the “last minute” departures .
Choose your date: learn about the climate
Beyond the choice of the destination as such, the choice of dates is also important. Some destinations have two main seasons , the monsoon and the dry season. Discovering a country in one or the other will not be the same experience at all.
For example , we visited Cambodia in February, the dry season: vegetation was scarce and the houses along the banks of the Tonle Sap looked like great waders.
On the other hand, we discovered northern Peru during the rainy season, and thus had a rather chaotic bus ride due to landslides due to heavy rains.
Choose your date: find out about holidays and holidays
And apart from the climate, choosing your dates wisely avoids the tourist seasons high . School holidays are always very touristic moments, but it is also advisable to learn about local holidays, as well as the festivals and events of the country of destination.
To go to Bolivia during carnival season, to Rome during a canonization, to Santiago de Compostela on Palm Sunday, in Lisbon for the final of the Champions League Cup … will completely change the travel experience!
Being flexible, both in terms of dates and destination, can also benefit from more attractive prices.
- Predict the financial side
To reserve a budget for his trip allows to define a clear frame and anticipate your stay by putting money aside so as not to (too much) deprive yourself on the spot. I would find it unfortunate to reach the end of the world and not be able to enjoy it to discover the country as I wish, for lack of resources.
Personally, I created a bank account only for our trips : it’s been 5 years that we put aside for our project “Back To America” (while continuing to travel in the meantime).
One destination is not the other: the budget for a month in Bolivia or Japan will surely not be the same! If you have chosen your destination and have an idea of what you want to do there, find out about the cost of living on site and the cost of tourist activities to establish a budget.
Which bank cards?
The budget is not the only point of attention to have: think of the accounts and bank cards that you will use: there are specific steps for withdrawal abroad? Are the accounts afloat?
We always leave with cards related to different accounts (in case one of them would be inaccessible, hacked …) and with two credit cards, stored in different bags (loss, theft …).
Do you need to bring local currency? If so, it is not always necessary to get them before departure: distributors are often present in the destination airport. For more tranquility for long trips, it is still possible to take a few US dollars, money used (by tourists) around the world.
- Think about documents
Several documents are necessary or advisable to travel with peace of mind. The basis of everything: identity documents (identity card or passport depending on the destination).
Tips and tricks
In addition to checking the dates of validity (be careful, often you have to travel with a valid passport at least 6 months after the date of return!), Here are some tips to be ready for the worst (loss or theft of his documents).
- Choose and book your means of transport
The plane , although very popular for distant destinations, is not the only option available to the traveler.
Be careful when booking your flight / car / …: before confirming check the chosen cities, dates, connections and all possible options (luggage included? Insurance? Additional fees? Taxes included? …). Price must not be the only criterion of choice .
Some online compactors, like Momondo , can help you in your search and even warn you, via an alert system, of the price update for the flight you are looking for.
Above all, whether for housing or transportation, take the time to analyze the different options before making your choice. It may sound silly, but sometimes, in the rush and excitement of the reservation, one can lower one’s guard and make mistakes by negligence …
Lately, François was wrong when booking our stay in Rome and did not take the same dates for the airline tickets and for the hotel booking.
This kind of distraction can happen to everyone!
Tips for booking your plane ticket
- To enjoy a pleasant flight, choose your place on the plane is important, especially if you travel to several to stay together.
- We must also pay special attention in the case of correspondence.
For the anecdote, on our way to Cambodia ( Brussels-Amsterdam-Guangzhou (China) – Phnom Penh ), we were not able to book our places online and we had the bad surprise to discover the airport they could not reserve us our seats for the flight Amsterdam- Guangzhou .
Once in Amsterdam, we had to register in triple speed and could no longer choose our seats because the plane was already full. We spent 11th of flight with separate places.
- Choose your home
Style, budget, address …: many criteria come into play in the choice of housing. For more tips to travel without breaking the bank, I invite you to read the article “11 tips to reduce your travel accommodation budget . “
In general, the housing situation will have a prominent role in the travel experience. Being well centered allows you to enjoy the excitement of the city … with its good and bad sides: the closer you get to the centers of interest, the higher the price, and the more the risk of the neighborhood being noisy.
Which formula to choose?
The choice of accommodation is also sometimes accompanied by the choice of the formula: breakfast included, half-board or full board. We tend to prefer the first option (or not taking anything at all most of the time). Full board is often a reason to return more often to the hotel to enjoy these “free” meals, which limits the discovery of the region and the diversity of gastronomic experiences .
- Choose your travel partners
Going alone or accompanied changes the dynamics of the trip, the second type of project requiring an extra step in the preparation of the trip: choose your companions! Better to go alone than poorly accompanied … I speak with humor in the article about the worst traveling companions .
More seriously, leaving with one or more people also requires more thought : that everyone knows what he expects from this trip and communicates to others to avoid unpleasant surprises once there. A trip as a couple or between friends is a balance to find between achieving his desires and compromise.