Hello everyone! As my first post I’m going to talk about my 11 most effective tips for stress- free travel. Over the last 5 years I have travelled multiple times to Europe, the USA, Israel, Indonesia and Dubai. Based on my experiences I have compiled a list of activities which ensure that you eliminate the stress from the travel process and thoroughly enjoy your experience.
1. Research, research, research!
The most important step before planning your trip is to have some basic research done about the location. This would be in the form of –
a. Knowing the visa procedures and requirements: This is important, especially when travelling from India, so that you can allot enough time to obtain the necessary visas and permits and have all documentation ready well in advance
b. General knowledge of the rules and regulations of the place (especially for tourists)
c. Finalising where to live: It is important to research the best areas to find accommodation in, taking into consideration your budget, access to public transport, distance from the places or attractions you want to visit as well as the general vibe of the location. For example, when I travelled to Israel, I made my hotel reservations in Haifa while most of my travel was in and around Tel Aviv. The only way to get to the train station from my hotel was by taxi and that turned out to be very expensive indeed!
d. Deciding on things to see, do and eat: I have found it best to have an itinerary in place listing the things I want to see, do and eat during my trip to avoid any last minute confusions. I generally start this process from Tripadvisor which helps me prepare an extensive list which I then pare down depending on my interests, budget and time available.
e. Estimating the average cost of the trip
2. Check and Compare Flight rates before booking
There are several online portals, such as Google flights, which enable you to check and compare flight rates to pick the best choice. The general rule and that the earlier you book, the better rates you get. For my last trip to Europe, I had booked my flight tickets 6 months in advance!
3. Book all your accommodations in advance
Ensure that you have all your accommodations booked in advance so that you are not unpleasantly surprised when there are no vacancies. Also, as with flights, it pays to book in advance to get the best possible rates. I generally check for hotels on Trivago.in with a side-by- side comparison with Booking.com.
4. Have a packing list prepared beforehand
I have prepared a master-list which I use before every travel to ensure that I have all that I need for the trip. Some important things to keep in mind are –
a. Pack light: Avoid packing excess stuff under the assumption that “I may need it”.
b. Have all your necessary documents in place and easily accessible. Also, ensure that you have extra hard copies as well as digital copies of these documents with you.
c. Devices fully charged: Ensure that all your electronic devices are fully charged and keep a power bank with you in case of emergencies.
d. A small, folding bag packed along with your main luggage can be extremely useful when travelling around the city.
5. Weather updates
Ensure that you have the latest weather updates of the place you are visiting and pack and dress accordingly.
6. Get to the airport early
Always try to reach the airport at least 3 hours beforehand to ensure that you complete all your travel formalities at a comfortable pace.
7. Carry an empty water bottle
In some places, especially where the tap water is potable, bottled water can be extremely costly. In such cases, it makes sense to have an empty water bottle which you fill up at drinking water fountains at the airport or from your hotel room taps.
8. Carry some local currency
I always keep some local currency with me when I travel. Sometimes just enough to buy a coffee from the only open shop which does not accept cards.
9. Don’t over schedule
It is quite natural to try and cram in as many things as possible during a trip. But any place you plan to visit has so many things to see and do that it may just not be physically possible to see everything in a limited time frame. Doing so will just mean that you are spending most of your time running from one place to the next without enjoying the process. Many times, you may also experience an information overload where the whole trip just ends up being a blur.
10. Your belongings should always be visible to you
While travelling always ensure that your purse, wallet, money belt, backpack, etc. is always where you can see it. Don’t trust your belongings to any stranger and be on the lookout for pick-pockets. Also, don’t keep all your money at one place, for example, I always keep a secret stash in my rolled up socks!
11. Keep an open mind and go with the flow
All the planning in the world would not protect you from unforeseen problems and difficulties; You miss your train / bus with minutes to spare, the attraction you want to visit has unexpectedly closed for repairs or that local delicacy you ate last night is now causing stomach problems! However, rather than stressing out and putting a blot on the memory of the trip, try to find an alternate solution (there are always some available) and who knows, you may just end up having a better time than previously planned!
So, I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for your next journey. Please let me know how you liked this post and if there is any way I can help you further.
Hi I’m Sonal. I love to travel, eat and read. My dream is to combine all three passions, pack my life into a suitcase and haversack and explore the world!