No matter how much we wish it, we can’t have everything go according to plan. It makes no difference how much preparation you do, some aspects of your travel will always be outside of your control. Buses break down; flights get cancelled; jellyfish decide to flock to the local beach just as you lay out your towel. Part of what makes a successful holiday is knowing when to go with the flow, and not drive yourself mad trying to predict what obstacles the universe might throw in your path.
But that’s not to say there’s nothing you can do to ensure your travels go as smoothly as possible. If you’re the type who can’t help but plan, here are the best ways you can prepare for your travels.
You might think being prepared means packing for every eventuality, but that is impossible.
Rather than burden yourself with clothes you’ll never need, first aid kits, travel guides and whatever else might spring to mind, try to pack as lightly as possible. That way, if anything happens to your luggage, it’s not as big a loss, and you won’t have to lug a heavy suitcase around airports and train stations. If you find you’ve forgotten anything, you can always buy it once you’re at your destination.
Read the fine print
If you’ve booked with a budget airline, make sure you know all their rules well in advance. Do you need to print your own boarding pass? What are their rules on baggage limits? Do you need to arrive at the airport for a certain time? Incorporating all this into your travel schedule will make the whole experience much less stressful.
Many people choose to hire a car for their travels, so they can dash around the country without having to rely on unfamiliar public transport. But one of the best ways to familiarise yourself with a new location is to do it in the comfort of your own vehicle.
Companies like A1 Auto Transport can ship your car to your destination for you, so you don’t have to deal with hire car firms and learn how to drive a subpar vehicle before you can reach your hotel, villa or hostel. There are many different transport options available, from door-to-door transport, or terminal to terminal. Visit the A1 Auto Transport website to see which transport method would be most convenient and cost-effective for you.
You don’t want to be one of those tourists who spends hours of their day looking for familiar restaurants selling the same food you can get back home. Experiencing new cuisine is one of travelling’s great joys. Let go of your snobbery and find the place the locals flock to for dinner. Chances are that’s where the best dishes can be found.
Do your research
You want to get the most out of your trip, and that requires planning. While we did say that it’s best to go with the flow, that doesn’t mean you want to be wandering aimlessly every day, when there’s so much you could be seeing and doing.
Research the best place to stay to be close to the action. If you have a free afternoon one day, organise a trip or activity for the next. Tourist forums, guide books and websites are great places to discover hidden gems and cost-saving tips before you even step on the plane.
Learn the language
No one is expecting you to become fluent in Spanish or Thai in the next month, but learning a few of the basics so you can order food, ask for help and make friends with the locals will make your travels much easier, and help you better immerse yourself in the culture.
Make your phone your guide
The days of lugging travel guides, printed maps and translation dictionaries are long gone. All you need is a phone in your pocket, a local SIM card and the right apps. Access reviews, translate directions and find your way around in a few simple clicks.
It’s never been easier to have a smooth travel experience.