Saturday, 30 August 2014

[Travel]: 5 Travel Tips To Live/Leave By

1. Plan Ahead: Probably the most cliched of all travel tips - this can help you save some serious cash. Air tickets are cheaper when you buy in advance. Many hotels also have early bird offers if you book at least 2 weeks in advance. Also, if you are a credit card user, make your bookings on or - they offer fantastic rates and in most cases, cancellation charges do not apply. Of course, some hotels are ahead of the game and offer guaranteed best rates if you book through their website. For example, I got a better rate by directly booking on the Soaltee Crown Plaza, Kathmandu website. However, for Club Himalaya, Nagarkot, I got a better rate on These are both in comparison to their published rates. Be sure to cross check rates and read the fine print on cancellation charges.
Planning ahead also has the added advantage of pissing your boss off considerably less than you would if you gave him/her a short notice. It lets you work ahead and makes sure you don't have another ton of work waiting for you when you get back.

2. Invest in Internet: And a smartphone of course. Get an internet-enabled SIM at your destination. There are some fantastic travel apps that let you explore your surroundings. They offer suggestions, tips and reviews from other travelers. Some of them include TripAdvisor, Wikitude and of course, the Lonely Planet guide apps. Make sure you have a weather app and a currency exchange app too. I use WeatherTrax and XE. Some cities have dedicated apps dedicated to themselves, such as YourSingapore. Check if your destination has such an app and download right away. These are usually free. If you are not a fan of taking the train in a new city, then get a taxi application. Guidebooks are for tourists looking to get scammed.

3.Eat Healthy: I'm not even kidding right now, especially if you're on a shoestring budget. If you are travelling to eat, then forget about it.  If you are staying in a hotel, make the most of the breakfast buffet. Load up on complex carbs that will keep you full for longer. If you are in a country where tap water is drinkable, fill up your water bottle before you head out. Stock your back pack with apples or buy local produce on the move to munch on and skip a proper lunch. Under any circumstances, DO NOT come back to your hotel on an empty stomach. Eat dinner outside where you have cheaper options. Room service and hotel restaurants are expensive and usually rubbish. If you get peckish at night, stock up on fruits.

4. Pack sensibly: You don't need new clothes for every day of your holiday. It is unlikely that will become disgustingly dirty. Air out your T-shirt and wear it again after a day. If you're a clean freak then soak it in soapy water in the sink for 20 minutes, rinse and hang to dry. A good pair of pants (weather specific)  be your best friend. Check with the hotel if they have hair dryers (most do) and pack accordingly.
If you intend to shop till you drop, pack an extra bag in your luggage. Whenever I shop at airport duty free outlets, I make sure I have enough space in my backpack or have another carry on bag to place my loot in. Carrying heavy plastic bags can be painful and you stand the chance of losing things from them as well.

5. Research: Research and more research. Whether it's your first time in a city or your fifth, there's always something new to see, eat, explore, attend and buy. Is there a concert happening during your time there? Any festivals? Sale season perhaps? Special sightseeing packages? Check official tourism department websites, Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, personal blogs, friends who have visited. I have gone as far as printing discount coupons  for my destination. This may sound tedious but it will help you save money, lower your chances of being scammed, create a holiday experience that fulfills your expectations. Also, keeping your mind on the holiday also prevents you from wasting money now.

Hope this helps on your next trip. I may sound like a stingy grandma, but hey, I get around. Until then, keep your eye on the prize....

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