Travel Tips

By James Story
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Our very best tips for travelling, including finding cheap deals on flights and accommodation, plus accessing money.

Let’s be honest, travelling can range from utterly stressful to totally blissful. A lot depends on where you are going, how you’re getting there and whom you are going with. Not to mention what you’ll be doing with your time once you arrive.

This guide is packed with travel tips for every part of the journey and all of the variables. So, whether you’re driving two babies to France, flying solo to Hong Kong or attempting to hitchhike to New Zealand, you’re sure to find a useful nugget or two to suit you.

Flights

The best way to find cheap deals on flights is to use comparison sites like Skyscanner. Not only is it much quicker than perusing loads of different sites, it shows you via a simple format what is the cheapest airline for your particular dates.

Alternatively, if you can be flexible with when you go, click ‘Whole Month’ to find the cheapest dates within that month or ‘Cheapest month’ for the least expensive flights throughout the year. Handy!

Accumulating air miles through the use of a credit card or scheme can also be handy, but this can take quite a few years! Still, it could be worth getting started now for the pay-off down the line.

No matter where you book flights or when for, be open to non-direct flights and flyings at unsociable hours. Due to the fact that fewer people want these, they’re almost always priced lower to attract interest.

Accomodation

Which of the three H’s you chose to stay in – hostel, hotel, or home-stay – is up to you. There are also other options, like camping, although this suits some destinations far more than others!

Travel websites usually offer regular updates and newsletters about their accommodation, meaning you can find the best deals without having to go back and forth. There may also be flash sales that offer extremely discounted accommodation if they’re available on short notice. This is great if you’re looking to explore more of the UK, rather than flying overseas, as your next holiday could be just a quick train ride away!

If you want privacy and your own space, but don’t want to pay for a hotel, look at single rooms in hostels. This is a good trick to pay less but still get a space of your own. ?

Packing

Trying to figure out what to take with you? First off, write a list! Don’t underestimate the power of getting your thoughts in order and having something to refer back to as you go. Keep it to hand if something pops into your mind late at night.

Then, consider what you use every day. These are your essentials. This might include:

-Medication

-Glasses

-Phone

-Laptop

-Chargers

-Underwear

-Wallet

-Keys

Figure out your essentials by spending a day or two taking notice of what you reach for and rely on.

When it comes to figuring out what to leave, make a pile of everything you want first. That way, you can see quite clearly where you may have overestimated. So, if you’re going away for three days, do you really need four jumpers? Same goes for things like shoes and toiletries. Once you see them grouped together you can see more easily what you leave behind.

Kids

Taking a little one on your travels? Try the following travel tips for kids:

- Dress them in layers. That way you can warm them up and cool them down quickly and easily, meaning fewer tantrums along the way.

- Take food and drink for you and the kids, and then take spares! If you get delayed, whether that be on the motorway, in the air or when checking into a hotel, the last thing you want is to be worrying about food.

- Ask for help if you’re struggling with, or worrying about, breastfeeding. Cabin crews to hotel receptionists will almost always give you a quiet space to do so.

- Take spares of everything, particularly clothes and spoons. You might struggle to get replacements while you’re on holiday or during the journey.

Phones and Wi-Fi

Thankfully, data roaming charges are getting lower and lower every year. There is nothing more terrifying than arriving home to a surprise £140 phone bill. Here at giffgaff, we offer a ‘Roam Like At Home’ package, which means you can use your phone at no extra cost within Europe.

Finding free Wi-Fi is also getting easier, and more cafes, restaurants and hotels offer it these days. If you find it, use it! If you have to log in to public Wi-Fi, use an email address you rarely use and check the ‘remember me’ box to make things quicker if you return.

Money

You will pretty much never find the best currency exchange rates at an airport because you’re a captive customer. Always get your currency before you leave and take the time to shop around and find a competitive exchange rate. This is especially important if you need a lot of foreign currency as you’ll save a real chunk of cash.

If you travel often, consider a credit card that offers 0% charge on withdrawals and transactions abroad. Avoid those with charges like the plague which can sometimes be up to 3%!

Activities and Excursions

Visit museums, monuments and theme parks at off-peak times. Not only will you save money, you’ll probably also find smaller crowds!

When it comes to booking excursions, turn down those offered by hotels. They act as a middleman and, in order to make a profit for their work, charge more. Instead, find out which local tour guide or office they use and go directly to them. If it’s an independent businessperson or agency, try some polite haggling. This can be particularly effective if you’re booking for a group.

If what you want to visit is free, but extremely popular, set your alarm and go at the opening time. It will much quieter as many tourists will still be asleep! You may also get to enjoy a more authentic experience, seeing more locals going about their business and catching views that large crowds might normally block.

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