So, you’ve been persuaded by your someone close to you to make reservations for an exotic place. But you can’t even say the name of that travel destination. You know almost nothing about your travel destination.
What’s your plan? When it’s time to travel, are you just going to jump on the airplane? Don’t you think a few minutes of research is going to pay great dividends? I promise you it will.
There are times when traveling ‘blindly’ may have it’s attractions and yes nice surprises too. But often times the key to your nice break from work is to know a little about your travel destination.
Look, you needn’t spend a huge amount of time finding out everything about a place but some basic information before you travel saves you a lot of time when you are at your destination. This in turn means that you will get the most out of your stay rather than to spend a big portion of your time searching and deciding what to do when at your travel destination.
Why not visit the travel section in your local library but do this online to save time. Don’t just look for where you are going but also look for nearby places too. Here are the question you will want to answer:
1. How far is it?
This will dictate whether you need to take more or less reading/entertainment material while en-route to your destination. Also if traveling with children or youngsters you’ll need to cater for their needs to.
2. What is the spoken local language?
You can’t imagine how flattered most locals are when a visitor makes an effort. Just hello, thank you, please, good bye, where is, what time etc make a huge difference.
I can’t tell you the number of times I have had locals bend over backwards to help me out of trouble when I used just three or four basic phrases … they have at times grabbed some local English speaker to help me out. Make this effort.
We’re talking about a tiny phrase book that you can even point to while at your travel destination and the locals will read your phrase in their own language. But learning the basic phrases will not take more than half an hour.
3. What is the currency and can you easily make conversions to your own currency for comparison purposes?
In most countries, your destination hotel is probably one of the most expensive places to exchange currency. Think about it. They don’t service all that many customers, so they make their money out of larger commissions and bigger currency differences than the average bank.
Add this to your list of things to do before or after you get to your travel destination: Where is the nearest high street bank and look for a main branch of a main bank. Hopefully their volume trade means you get better rates.
4. What are the customs regarding tipping?
Do not get ripped off. Find out what the tipping rate is so you don’t spend a big percentage of your money on over the top tips.
5. What, if any, is the time difference?
Don’t underestimate the effect of time difference on your daily schedule when you get there and when you get back from your holiday. If the difference is more than 2 hours, do try to alter your timing for sleep, wake up time, eating etc just slightly, before you go on your vacation.
When you get there, adjusting to local time is going to be much easier. You will spend less of your precious holiday time recovering from the journey.
Do the same adjustment a day or two before you get back and you lose less precious work time when you get back. Somehow I don’t think this one bothers too many people.
6. What is the expected average temperature, and how much does it rain?
You already know how much the weather affects our daily activities. Then you agree that the weather absolutely *rules* your vacation at your travel destination.
Be prepared in terms of clothing but also in terms of the activities you plan and possibly pre-book. For example, if you are going to Britain you will find rain is a year round certainty.
Knowing that in advance means you won’t pre-book a Shakespeare open air play unless you are allowed to cancel without penalties. You will just buy the ticket on the day, if the weather holds up.
Similar considerations go for pretty much any destination. Know what to expect and then you won’t be disappointed.
7. What places do the travel writers recommend visiting?
Many travel writers have got their work down to a fine art. They place the correct emphasis on the relative importance of one thing compared to another. They will pint you a good picture of what a place is like.
Just do a search in the online search engines for something like “London review” or “London holiday review” and you will find plenty of references. The search engines will probably show you the most “liked” reviews because these are the reviews that most people have enjoyed and therefore made popular.