So summer is here and you’re free of Uni! (Well for a bit if you haven’t graduated yet). Of course naturally there’s a chance you’ve made some lifelong friends along the way, or perhaps you’d like a chance to catch up with your school friends now you’re all grown up, or both! So whats’ the perfect way to do this during the break? Take a break together! Be it local to home or miles away, or indeed in another country, here’s some tips to ensure you have a great adventure without any hassle.
Do You Reseah
I know, I know you’ve spent months reeling through books and web searches, but this one is useful even if you’re planning a couple of months in advance. Many people will nip into the travel agent and just accept what the travel agent gives them, or jumps on the most recent Greek or Spanish adventure. And that’s totally fine if you’re into that – but getting a good price is always a wise idea!
Sites such as Hotwire, Skyscanner, KAYAK and lastminute.com all offer great deals and allow you to filter your features easily so you know what you’re paying for. If you do fancy taking a plunge, there is often the ‘secret’ option, where you get to know the features of your accomodation, but know idea what it’s called or it’s exact address until you confirm your booking. Another fantastic place to check out if you’re under 26 or still a student is STA Travel, whom focus on student adventures for student prices.
The same goes for your currency. Whilst sites like XE.com and the currencies provided on News shows provides a pretty accurate exchange rate, these are mid-market rates as opposed to the Bureau de change, whom may add on a commision to the price of each unit of currency you exchange as explained here.
Drinking costs money. And if you’re planning on partying a lot, it might not necessarily be cheaper where you go (even on that amazing exchange rate). So it’s worth pocketing a bit more to be safe. If you’re not a drinker, it might be worth budgeting more for spontaneous adventures you may decide to have. And of course, for taking a big step and travelling halfway around the world, keep a small fund available in case things go south and you have to break your current plans.
For international travellers, when it comes to getting your foreign currency, take the time to make a fine balance of what to carry. Too much cash can put you at risk in case you lose it or go mad with spending one day/night. Too little and you may end up paying out to use the cash machines/ATMs to top up your fund. Do you research to find out what the cost of basic living is if you plan on using supermarkets, or the rough menu prices of hotels. If you go all inclusive, then you’re halfway there!
It’s worth checking your banks to see whom can let you have cash without breaking your bank account. Money Saving Expert have a good article on credit/debit card use here and it’s also worth checking to see if your bank is in a union with other international banks such as the Global ATM Alliance (explained here).
Plan Your Route
If you’re doing travelling, naturally it’s a good idea to have half an idea of where you’d like to explore when visiting another place, rather than just purely than the plan of “see when I get there”. The Internet is a wonderful place to do this with sites like TripAdvisor or even searching a country like Wikipedia to discover popular attractions. If you’re looking for seasonal events or on the pulse reviews, sites such as TimeOut magazine are useful too with a host of city sites available to show you the most relevant information on what’s happening right now and what may be happening in the time period when you get there.
If you’re stuck for idea, check with a travel agent and take a brochure (even if you don’t plan to book with them specifically) or visit STA Travel and pick one of their routes to work off (not sponsored by the way!)
Sort Out Your Documentation In Advance
Yes, I know it’s boring, but to make it through borders and to ensure you can actually sleep in the hotel you pay for, make sure to make a copy of everything to be safe – room confirmations, tickets (even eTickets and screenshots of mobile tickets), card/PayPal receipts, itineraries etc. That way, if there’s a dispute at any point, you have the records to prove it. If you’re leaving the country it’s also making sure you passport is definitely up to date you can make it through border control – not only going there, but making sure you can come home too!
Sort out an International SIM/Cell or Check International Plans
With nearly everyone having access to a smartphone these days, it’s really useful to have it as a form of contact whilst you’re out and about and in case of an emergency. But broadcasting your party on Facebook live in a foreign country on your home contract could cost you an absolute fortune unless you’ve got an international rate set up. If you can’t get something that’ll work on roaming, look at companies such as Lebara Mobile or order a local card for when you get there. When you do, let someone back home know your temporary number, just incase since you can’t alway s rely on having internet access.
Having local-friendly data (where available) or access to free WiFi will also be hugely beneficial to the sharers, so you can Snapchat, Tweet or post without any worries (just as you should whilst you’re on holiday!)
Taking a bunch of you on holiday can sound like a logistical nightmare when you add the concerns above in. But once the preparation is complete and you get there, it’s gonna be great! So kick back, take in a few sights, crack a can or two, go for a swim and enjoy your respective choice of weather!
Have a great summer guys and gals,