Although we usually look forward to our relaxing summer holiday months in advance, sometimes the run-up can be anything but stress-free. With passports, packing, currency and so much else to get organised before you jet off, preparing for your getaway can be a bit of a headache.
Online flight comparison Skyscanner recently compiled its staff’s Top 50 travel tips to help you to make the most of your next holiday, so if you’re flying out to your timeshare resort soon, you might want to keep this list handy..
1. Pack less
When it comes to clothing: less is best.
Do you really need two pairs of heels for each day you’re travelling and six packets of PG Tips? Aim to travel with just hand luggage and not only will you avoid soaring luggage fees, you’ll also avoid having to wait for your bag.
2. Ditch the guidebook
Rather than taking reams of guidebooks, simply photocopy the pages you need.
3. Never join the security queue with families
Go for the one with the ‘suits’. It will move much quicker.
4. Never wear flip flops on a plane
In the unlikely event of an emergency, it’s best to be wearing sturdy shoes that will protect your feet.
5. Avoid turbulence
Counteract air turbulence by slightly jiggling your body, apparently – according to those who know – you won’t feel the turbulence so much.
6. Avoid sitting next to babies – best to sit next to men
If you can pick your seat, it might be best to sit next to a man. Avoid sitting near babies, groups of friends who will chat, or women, as men tend to need the toilet less often.
7. Learn the local lingo
Learn some of the local language, then use it – locals warm to those who have made the extra effort and will appreciate it.
8. Close your mouth
If you are in a country where it is unsafe to drink the water, keep your mouth shut in the shower to avoid any bacteria-infested water entering your body.
9. Rent a room in a private home.
Avoid overpriced hotels and noisy hostels by renting an apartment or room in a private home – a lot of travellers in the know are doing this (GoTimeshare editor’s note: better still, buy a timeshare so you have complete freedom and a real ‘home-from-home’ style self-catering apartment to relax in, while you and the family enjoy all the facilities at your resort during your stay!)
10. Go on your own
If you’re newly single, travelling on your own may seem overwhelming, but you will enjoy some amazing experiences – you may make friends for life and enjoy yourself a lot more than you expected.
11. Travel in a hoodie
Wearing a hoodie is a great way to escape from noise and light when you want to sleep on a flight or on a bus.
12. Choose the veggie option on the plane
Not only will this mean you get fed before anyone else, but avoiding too much stodge will also help you to skip jetlag. It may even taste better since the food is made in smaller batches.
13. Bring ear plugs
If you struggle with sleeping while travelling then ear plugs are a travel must-have.
14. Pre-book an airport lounge
If you’re flying long-haul, pre-book yourself into an airport lounge. The fee is worth it for the peace, complimentary drinks, food, magazines, newspapers, and Wi-Fi.
15. Bring your iPad.
If you’re travelling for a long time, it’s worth bringing a device which can pick up free Wi-Fi. Handy when you need to access bank accounts, or make new travel bookings.
16. Bring a blanket on board
Always travel with an extra top or blanket as the on-board blankets tend to be very thin and scratchy.
17. Pack a sarong
You wouldn’t believe the use you can get out of a simple sarong – lie on it at the beach, cover up when you’re cold, use it as a skirt, or even an emergency bandage.
18. Bring a DVD player
Mums and dads will know this one! When flying with small children, bring a laptop or DVD player to give yourself some downtime while the little ones watch their favourite games and films.
19. Invest in noise-cancelling headphones
The price tag may be hefty, but noise-cancelling headphones are well worth the investment as will tune out all annoying noises on-flight – particularly if you are noise-sensitive and want to sleep, but can’t.
20. Pick up a Kindle
Kindles are perfect for travelling as they mean you can save on luggage space. No more getting soggy paperbacks by the pool too!
21. Look before you leave
Whenever you leave somewhere, whether it be a restaurant, airport lounge or plane seat, double check to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
22. Roll your clothes
Don’t fold your clothes when packing – roll! The experts swear that “rolling” saves on precious packing space so you can squeeze in a few extras.
23. Use your body
When you don’t follow the local lingo, don’t be tempted to shout in your own language. Instead, use body language and lots of smiles.
24. Bring a money belt AND a wallet
This way, if you get mugged, you can hand over the wallet and carry on your holiday without too much stress.
25. Shop around for exchange rates
Forget changing money in your hotel, where you’ll get a poor exchange rate. Instead, shop around and find a credit card that doesn’t charge for purchases abroad.
26. Don’t carry too much cash
Most countries will have their own ATMs, so there’s no need to carry around large wads of cash. Just take what you need for a few days, then top it up.
27. Pack a deck of cards
A pack of cards is a great way to pass a few hours, especially if you have had flight delays. They also happen to be a great cultural barrier, so can help you to make local friends too.
28. Get a guide
Always make full use of local guides for the best tips and advice – they will open your eyes to so much more about your destination.
29. Be flexible
If you’re flexible about your holiday, then you’ll be able to save far more money. Skyscanner offers handy month charts to find the cheapest days to fly in any given month.
30. Get over jetlag fast
To escape the dreaded jetlag, try to sync your sleeping pattern with the new time zone as soon as you land.
31. Get insured
Always, always take out travel insurance – this could save you from losing a lot of money if things go wrong.
32. Stay loyal to airlines
If want to bag a flight upgrade, then join the airline’s loyalty programme – you will get rewarded before any other passenger, even if it’s only a small upgrade.
33. Take some Tiger Balm
TB: a cure for a multitude of travellers’ ailments
This all-round wonder balm works a treat on holidays – not only will it soothe tired muscles, but it also makes for a fantastic insect repellant.
34. Always remember – you may be understood!
Just because you think someone may not understand you on holiday, don’t assume this is the case. Always be wary of mouthing off in a language you think no one else understands – you never know.
35. Recognise we are one
The more you travel, the more you come to realise that we are all the same.
36. Avoid the guidebooks
If you want to escape the crowds, then buy travel guides and avoid everywhere featured in it.
37. Don’t plan
While it may be tempting to plan a full holiday itinerary, try to go with the flow – unplanned days can often lead to the greatest adventures.
38. Keep an open mind
Don’t worry about minor details and always try to keep an open mind – ravel can be frustrating, but you will treasure the memories forever.
39. Hire a car
To experience a country and all that it has to offer, hire a car and make your own way round. Freedom will often lead to the best experiences on holidays.
40. Slow down
Forget rushing around – you do enough of that in your day-to-day life. Instead, slow down and try to take it all in. You’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll discover.
41. Don’t take the shortcut
Don’t be tempted to take the “easy way out” on holiday. Usually, the more difficult it is to get somewhere, the more worthwhile the visit.
42. Travel is tiring
No matter how you are travelling, remember that it is tiring. Let yourself relax for a day or so once you hit your destination.
43. Go for it!
If you want to travel but keep putting it off because of money, children, parents, or jobs, stop delaying now – just go! The only regrets we have are for the options we didn’t take.
While it is advisable to stay streetwise, try not to be paranoid – not everyone is out to mug you or rip you off.
45. Hide your guidebook
If you need directions, but everyone is ducking to avoid you, then hide your guide book and map. People will be much easier to approach!
46. You can always buy Duty Free gifts
If you’ve forgotten to buy gifts for your loved ones on your trip, then fret not! Don’t spend the last day of your trip buying cheap tat – there are always gifts to be bought in Duty Free, and everyone loves Toblerone!
47. Don’t waste energy with getting angry
Don’t waste your precious holiday time by getting angry or frustrated with other travellers who don’t have the same etiquette as you. Does it really matter if they’re not on the ‘correct’ side of the escalator?
48. Steak Tartare is not steak with tartar sauce
You have been warned…
49. Saw your toothbrush in half
Rather drastic but if you’re squeezing everything into a small bag, to save space, saw your toothbrush in half.
50. Pretend to be asleep
If you embarrass yourself on the flight, you can always pretend to be asleep…