Whether travelers are jetting off to explore exotic locations or simply spending a weekend on the coast, these tips will help make sure any holiday goes smoothly.
1: Pack smart
With airlines demanding increasingly exorbitant fees for going over the weight allowance or bringing an extra bag, “cram in everything but the kitchen sink and hope for the best” is no longer a winning strategy. After hauling those bursting cases around for a while, overenthusiastic packers may start resenting every extra ounce. It’s best to stick to the bare essentials. With cheap, heavy items like festival tents, it’s often more cost effective for travelers to buy them on arrival and leave them behind.
On the flip side, holiday-makers should always check that they have everything they need — suitable clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray, for example. Carry-ons should contain enough essentials for a couple of days if checked luggage goes astray.
2: Don’t leave those street smarts on the plane.
Tourists are a popular target for pickpockets, con-men and worse. In general, similar precautions to those observed back home will be sufficient: travelers should watch their bags, avoid flashing money or expensive gadgets around, carry small amounts of cash, protect PINs at the cashpoint; and whether one is in New Cross or New York, an individual selling “genuine Rolex watches” out of a suitcase may not have one’s best interests at heart.
Some destinations are riskier than others. Wise travellers will find out if there are any special measures they should take to stay safe.
3: Check travel insurance and healthcare
While many airlines offer travel insurance, this doesn’t always offer adequate coverage. Savvy travelers should skip this and obtain their own insurance, checking fine print before signing up.The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covers EU residents’ healthcare when visiting the EU and some other countries. For other destinations, medical travel insurance can be a good precaution. Those on medication should pick up enough for the whole trip before they leave.
4: Explore the local markets
Whether it’s the Boqueria in Barcelona or Hong Kong’s Stanley Market, hunting down the main market is an excellent way to get a feel for the local culture — especially as expressed through their cuisine. Getting an early start is generally recommended.
5: Make the most of your time
Rigidly planning every minute of a holiday isn’t necessary, but travelers who budget their time will squeeze more out of their holiday. Those three hours spent queuing for a capsule on the London Eye might be better spent ambling around the British Museum or the National Gallery, for instance.