Tips & Advice to Help Out the Traveling Challenged
“Flights available, hotel vacancy, sights to see, cab fares, public transport schedules, food, shopping spots, budget, booking, language barrier, passports, visa, packing, luggage, insurance, ForEx”- Are these the first words which pop into your head when you think of ‘travel’? Does the fear of fulfilling this endless list deter you from what you love doing most, namely travel? Then you, my friend, are traveling challenged. Don’t worry, you are not alone. There are a host of others who feel that the preamble to traveling and its subsequent preparations outweigh the joy of traveling. But the bottom line is that you are missing out on the experience of a lifetime, just in the mere anticipation of preparing for a journey. Here are a few tips that are designed to help you make your travel experience a breeze and whet your appetite to experience something anew.
Package Tours: From flight booking and hotel reservations to food and must see sights, everything is taken care of and chalked down to the tee. If you are someone who likes to travel in a group and make new friends, then a package tour is a fantastic option for you. Package tours not only take care of Visas, insurance – both health and travel, they also offer knowledgeable guides who ensure that you are well versed with the stories behind each place you visit. Some tour operators also let you choose a custom itinerary to fit your personality and tastes. For instance, you can opt for Grand Canyon guided tours or a Hawaiian extravaganza, where there is no stopping the adventure traveller or the beach bum in you. Most good travel operators are members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). All you need to do is make this basic check before you choose your tour operator and everything else will be done for you.
Use Review Sites: What’s the best way to gaining quick experience? Learning from others mistakes. If you are confused about which airline to fly, which hotel to pick or what sights to see, there are literally thousands of travelers out there who are more than willing to share their wisdom with you. Sites like tripadvisor.com, fodors.com, frommers.com and virtualtourist.com give you all the information that you can possibly need to ensure smooth travel.
Use Budget Airlines: The beauty of budget airlines is that they have a high frequency and no frills policies. You can save precious travel dollars flying these airlines. They have simple luggage policies. For instance, EasyJet lets you carry up to 22 pounds of cabin baggage. Virgin America, Southwest and Frontier also have a ‘no-frills’ policy. A great way to find airlines according to your preferences, all under one roof, is to use sites like Expedia.com and Travelocity.com. They offer an easy and hassle free way to choose, compare and book airlines.
Buy Passes: Not up to picking up which sights to see? Just pick up a city pass. Passes are an easy way to gain insight into which are the main attractions on offer in a city. What’s more, you can access these sites at a heavily discounted rate. Most city passes also have discounted rates on metro and public transit, making life easier and much more affordable for you. For instance, you can pick up pass which gives lets you access Grand Canyon activities & attractions at a discounted rate. Furthermore, If you are planning to visit multiple countries, for instance – France, Belgium, Italy and Germany, consider getting a multiple country Eurail pass. It gives you extreme value for your Euro.
Get Tech Smart: It’s raining tablets, smart phones and other PDAs. With these heavy duty technology platforms, come super smart apps. From interactive travel guides, GPS enabled Maps, hotel and restaurants searches, audio guides and historical perspectives; there is an app for everything. Best of all, you do not need to be connected to the internet or have a working telephone line, all these apps are designed for offline use. Recommended travel guides include Fodors, Triposo, Timeout and Lonely Planet.
Travel Light: One of the most cumbersome aspects of travel is of course, your luggage. You may not realize it, but your luggage actually dictates your travel behavior. The mantra for all those travel challenged therefore is – Pack Light. Pack Essential. A toilet kit (preferably containing 3 oz packages – you can always buy refills), three to four pairs of clothes, a light jacket, two pairs of socks, basic first aid, and required travel documents. A book and a heavy jacket can be carried in hand. Now, instead of first checking into a hotel to unload chunky pieces of luggage, just sling your backpack on and head off to directly to see the museum that you know shuts early.
Eliminate Visa Woes: There are several countries which do not subject you to lengthy Visa processing procedures. Visas are given on arrival and for a specified period of time. These countries are equally stunning, if not more so than those that require a ‘drown-in-paperwork visa process’. These are just nations that are very welcoming and are looking to give their tourism wing a shot in the arm. Some Visa-on-arrival nations include – Bahrain, Cambodia, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the UAE.
Be Impromptu: Just throw caution to the winds, throw on a backpack, take your GPS enabled smart phone, walk around and be willing to get lost in a city. This is the best way to find yourself as well as beauty in the most unlikely of places.