Travel tips – the minimalist approach
They say forewarned is forearmed, so with this in mind here are some hints and tips that may make your holiday go with a bang rather than a whimper.
PACK LESS STUFF
We have all been guilty of carrying ‘stuff’ we think may be useful on holiday only to return home with it unused or unworn. Slimming down the suitcase should be easy but we all struggle with the problem; we don’t want to be left with not having something that we need.
With the advent of hold bags now being charged for on many airlines, if you can travel light, a family could save £100+. Only having one bag between everyone for all those essentials is quite feasible. If you can just use a carry on bag instead, not only will you save money, you won’t have to wait at baggage reclaim.
Instead of standing at that conveyor belt hoping your bag hasn’t been sent to Istanbul by mistake as everyone else gradually gets their bag, you can be out of the airport and on your way in a flash. Each airline has their own cabin bag criteria so it is wise to check your bag isn’t going to fall prey to the cabin bag commandant who will declare it oversize! https://www.skyscanner.net/news/cabin-luggage-guide-hand-baggage-sizes-and-weight-restrictions
Talking of bags on a conveyor belt, another good idea is to ensure your bag is easily identifiable. It seems that the world and his dog now own a black suitcase/holdall. If you do too, then tie a ribbon to the handle, tape some red duct tape around the middle or put a large sticker on the side of it. This way you will easily spot your bag, and, more importantly, no one is going to go off with your bag by mistake.
With most holiday rentals now having a washing machine, is there really any need to take 14 T shirts for your fortnights holiday? Nothing is likely to get really dirty, so a speed wash programme is ideal to freshen clothes up ready for the next day. Check the listing or ask the owner if they provide a washing machine to take advantage of being able to travel light.
Make sure you keep your sensible head on you, rather than lapse into holiday mode with regard to safety.
Before you even leave it is always worth checking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for current travel advice about your destination https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice . Likewise, letting a family member know where and when you are going makes sense, ‘just in case’.
Having a copy of important documents such as driving licence or passport kept safe in case the originals get lost, stolen or mislaid, may help get you home more easily.
If you take prescription drugs check that you will have enough for the duration of your holiday with a day or so to spare in case of unforeseen events. A lightweight first aid kit may also come in useful, although check the contents are appropriate. Given the choice between a triangular arm bandage and a packet of assorted plasters, which would you pack?
Of course, no one should need reminding that relevant travel insurance should be high up on the priority list. Make sure you purchase insurance once you have booked your holiday so that you get covered in case of cancellation due to illness prior to the start date, for example. If you travel regularly, check the options for an annual policy as they may work out more cost effective than a per trip policy.
CHECK YOUR TECH
We all carry an increasing amount of gadgets with us when we travel. From cameras to Kindles, tablets to telephones with more in between, no trip is complete without our tech!
Make sure you leave with fully charged batteries in case you need to use something on the journey. Of course, taking the right charging leads with you is going to make things easier once you arrive. If you are travelling from place to place, then use every opportunity to recharge in case another chance doesn’t come up before the dreaded flat battery symbol starts flashing.
Check with your mobile phone provider, before you leave, the costs of calls and data in your holiday destination. Background downloading of phone updates can result in big bills so it is worth stopping this while you are away.
Roaming charges can be notoriously high. Although EU legislation has placed limits on what phone companies can charge, once you step outside Europe it can seem a bit like a free for all. Three has a scheme whereby, in a selection of countries, you are still able to access your own phone plan http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Phones/Feel_At_Home . If you use a different provider it may be worthwhile to see if they have a similar plan you can use.
ASK THE LOCALS
It is always sensible to check what the locals do, where they go and what they buy as they will often have the insider tips that can make your holiday go from OK to great! With this in mind, learning a few words or phrases of the language they speak often goes down well. Once you break into the ‘secret’ circle of local knowledge, you will often be able to access real local culture rather than the packaged culture often fed to tourists.
GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Very much linked to talking to the locals, finding the less popular, quirky highlights of a destination is often going to be remembered long after you have returned home.
Researching before you leave can often uncover some hidden gems that are not considered mainstream tourist hotspots. If you have managed to find someone with local knowledge, then talking to them about the type of things that interest you may prove useful.
Hopefully you will have found some of the tips and ideas useful. Making sure your trip goes smoothly is often down to using common sense. However, when you are in an unknown environment or you have the stress of getting to a destination, common sense can sometimes fail you. A little preparation and thought can often help jog your memory about what to do. If you have a favourite tip then please do get in touch and share.
Looking forward to reading your travel golden nuggets below.