So your heading off to an epic destination in desperate need of relaxation but between leaving home and arriving you need to battle with researching things to do in your destination, preparation, packing, airport cues, hours of waiting around, screaming kids on the plane, possibly a long haul flight, jetlag, trying to get a taxi that won’t rip you off and finding an affordable way to called loved ones to let them know you arrived safely. We haven’t even started on other issues like what if your hotel WiFi is only in the foyer or super slow. Sounds like a headache huh? Do not fear, all of these annoyances can be resolved very easily. Let’s start at the beginning…
Researching your destination
Some people like to do very little research and others like to do loads. An easy and enjoyable way to research is to use Pinterest as you can browse hundreds of beautiful photos of your destination and pin them on your very own travel board. Each pin links to the web page the image was taken from. Read our blog post on how to use Pinterest to plan your next trip. If you are a detailed planner then you can also download maps.me before you leave and then plot all of your Pinterest attractions on a maps.me map - you can colour code pins and get directions between each attraction you want to visit.
This bit is easy, just download these free epic travel apps. They cover practically everything you need from navigation that doesn’t need data and personalised postcards to entertainment and travel guides. Make sure you also prepare your gadgets for travel.
If you forgot that essential item like a travel adapter or pack the wrong type so it doesn’t fit the socket, trying to find one in a foreign country can mean you waste a whole day. We love this travel checklist as you can select what type of trip/weather your destination will have, whether you have kids or not, how long you are traveling for etc and get a customized packing list. Easy!
Check-in ahead of time as this is then one que you can bypass completely. Try, where possible, to only take a carry on luggage – often now weight is irrelevant it’s all about size, with the maximum size hand luggage you can actually get a lot in (always check hand luggage allowance for the flight you have booked in advance!) This blog post will help you to pack light. Wear trainers so you don’t have to take your shoes off and avoid wearing any metal or belts.
Wherever you travel waiting around is inevitable and one of the top annoyances for travelers. Make sure you have plenty of entertainment: books, an app where you can watch TV/movies, music, can you get any of your ‘to do’ list done while waiting at the airport or get some shopping done. You could treat yourself or the kids with a virtual reality headset so you can watch 3D movies and block out the chaos around you.
There is always a screaming child on a plane, sometimes more than one. Whether it’s your own or someone else’s you will be pleased to know that you can completely block the sound out with noise-canceling headphones. Yes completely block the sound out! There is a lot of options out there, some are very expensive but you can get a decent pair very affordably.
Long haul flights
Being restrained to the same seat for countless hours can be frustrating so it can become difficult to entertain yourself with any of the ideas above (in ‘waiting around’). First, you need to relax and get comfortable, try neck pillows, cushions, a blanket if required and something to sooth you – a chamomile tea bag (just ask for some hot water) will do the trick or sniff some lavender oil (you can buy essential oils in most health food shops). Once calm and comfortable the journey will go much smoother.
The last thing you need is to arrive at your destination airport barely able to keep your eyes open or to be awake all night and tired all day. Try to get some rest on the plane – even if you can’t sleep if you stay still, close your eyes and listen to soothing music (with your noise-canceling headphones) then you will conserve plenty of energy to keep you going. Check out these cool apps and accessories to give jetlag the boot.
Avoiding rip off taxis
You’re at an airport, possibly tired and you don’t look like a local so you are a prime target for a rip off the taxi to overcharge you. Avoid this and the big taxi que and book an Uber instead.
Calling home to let them know you are safe
So, you have arrived, you feel great as you have followed all of these tips. Most people want to call home to let their loved ones know that they have arrived safely but this can cost you a small fortune in roaming charges and hotel phone costs are just as bad. Either take an international SIM card (it can reduce roaming charges by up to 95%) or take a portable WiFi device (it will give you low-cost internet practically anywhere in the world). With a portable WiFi device simply use an app like Skype, Cheaper calls or Viber to call for next to nothing.
If your hotel WiFi is only in the foyer/very slow/non-existent
Don’t panic, you either have your portable WiFi device from the point above so you can get an internet connection for the lowest rates in 188 countries, or you can get global WiFi access and be browsing the web within 2 minutes.
Enjoy your travels even more with these innovative travel accessories that will change the way you travel forever.