Words of wisdom from someone who needs to follow her own advice!!!
Notify your Credit Card Company before you set off on your travels. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve ended up with blocked cards – we’ll never learn. It’s great to know that the companies are vigilant but it’s awkward when it happens. Make a note of the contact details just in case – I know they’re on the back of the card but have you seen the size of that writing…try reading that under pressure!! Lucky you if you carry a backup card – another working card could be useful … unless that’s blocked also of course!
Check out airport shopping before you leave home. I recently spent €53 on a gift set in an airport and saw it 3 days later in Bristol airport for £29.50!! Allowing for currency exchange that’s still some difference! When I got home and checked, the item was clearly listed on both airport websites. Browsing in airports is the norm – but I bet you gravitate towards the same brands if you’re shopping there so do your homework.
You can NEVER pack too much Immodium!!
Prebook your tickets for major museums, galleries, etc. You don’t actually HAVE to queue for several hours outside the Uffizi in the August heat!
It’s OK to compromise – use local drivers, guides and tours – don’t worry, we’ll still call you an independent traveller!
Try to be absolutely certain about your airport transfer options before you arrive at your destination. How many times do we fall out of the arrivals hall both hassled and exhausted and just head for the taxi rank because we can’t quite remember what we’d read about the buses or shuttles.
Don’t take anything for granted! Last year I booked a hotel room with a shower in Lisbon. We arrived late, checked in and headed to our room. Hello!!!… where’s the loo? It never crossed my mind in this day and age that shower didn’t mean ensuite! (Actually it worked out OK – the loo was across the hall and we didn’t seem to have to share it with anyone while we were there!)
USA road trips:
3 Absolute Essentials
*After you leave the airport, pull into the first gas station /supermarket you meet and buy a styrofoam coolbox for a few dollars. You’ll get ice there and probably a slab of small bottles of water. Put something under the coolbox in the trunk – they tend to leak after a few days!
*Find all those cool country music channels on the radio.
*Buy the biggest sack of sour cream and chive crisps (chips for you Americans!) and plonk it between driver and passenger.
3 Minor Essentials
Whatever your budget, try not to skimp on vaccinations, holiday insurance and car rental companies.
Don’t overplan. Here’s the shocker – people actually travelled BEFORE the internet! We recently travelled to Oxford for a few days. Upon arrival I not only announced where we were eating that night but also WHAT we were going to order!! Where’s the adventure in that!! So read less (apart from this site of course!) and keep an open mind!
Finally – memo to self!…. Read the above tips before you set off again !!!