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Travelling Advice You Wish You’d Heard Before

Travelling Advice

Holiday nightmares are easily avoided, though they usually come down to forward-thinking – or a lack thereof. They can range from small niggles to glaring omissions, ultimately undermining what could be a fantastic trip. With the top tips below, you too can overcome these situations and enjoy the perfect break, whether it’s in New York or Newcastle.

Pick the Right Clothes

Say you’re heading to Scotland in October – why wouldn’t you pack an overcoat or an extra jumper or two? Some people prefer to do without in order to save space, though they’ll come back with the latest and greatest cold, or worse. On the other hand, I headed to New York and New Jersey for the summer and I packed three pairs of jeans and some trousers; I was barely out of my shorts for three months!

When packing for the local climate, play it safe with dependable brands that provide flexibility – Henri Lloyd offer some great foul weather gear that can be used in sunnier weather too, keeping you nice and stylish. Meanwhile, you may be able to pick up bargains in your destination of choice – I was lucky in the US as I was able to buy T-shirts for as little as £2 from the likes of Walmart and Marshalls.

Travel Insurance is a Lifeline

You may think that a trip abroad won’t be life-endangering unless you’re skiing or watching a rally from the sidelines, but you may want to think again. In 2010, my auntie visited a Greek island and, following a night-time meal, couldn’t see an open manhole cover; she ended up doing serious damage to her leg. Two surgeries, many prescription pills and one helicopter ride to the UK later, her sub-£100 policy had covered nearly £10,000 of costs. If it happened to you in the US, you’d be looking at three times that amount.

Disposable Books are Your Friend

Head to a shop like HMV, Waterstone’s or a charity shop and pick up a book for £3 or £4, but choose one you don’t mind leaving behind. Not only do you not have to take great care of it, but it won’t take up space on the way home. Make a friend by leaving it in a hotel or bar with contact details, if you’re feeling brave – especially if you’re not going to finish it. You can learn the ending from someone else if you don’t finish it, after all.

Driving May Not be as Easy – or Cheap – as You Think

After paying around £1.60 for a gallon of petrol in the US in just 2010, I thought that driving would be one of my lowest outgoings when I budgeted for a return trip in 2011. How wrong I was! This time, it was £2.15 or more for a gallon, and I’d rented a car with a 3.5-litre engine. It was the smallest-sized one going, would you believe. The long and short of it is that it’s not just the UK that suffers from huge price rises in the cost of petrol, so do research beforehand – and rent an economical car, especially across the Atlantic! Bear in mind this applies to other costs, too – food, beer, you name it.

Disposable Prepaid Debit/Credit Cards are a Great Option

While travel money is a holiday staple, you might find it uncomfortable to carry so much around with you. Instead, consider the deals they have going at Post Office or the likes of Travelex. You may want to consider investing in a prepaid card that you can remotely top up, which you can use at any ATM in the US, Europe and further afield without incurring any charges – even if they’re asking for £5 just to make the transaction!

Duty-Free Isn’t Necessarily the Best Option

Unless you’re using it to get rid of loose change at the end of the holiday, remember that duty-free goods aren’t necessarily always the cheapest. You may be able to grab yourself airport staples such as a massive bottle of alcohol or 200 cigarettes at much lower prices in the country of your choice than you would prior to check-in; you’ll also have a much bigger selection, too. Just be sure to pack it in your main luggage, and don’t go over the legal limit!

Don’t Mess Around at Borders or in Airports

As a young, annoying teenager at the age of 15, I thought it’d be hilarious to smirk or act up a little when asked security questions on the way into Germany. Everyone should know by now that you just can’t do this, whatever country you go to. I was made to look like a fool, my check-in took another 30 minutes and they made an example of me, searching through my bag – it was no-one’s fault but my own.

Of course, there are dozens of other things you need to do to ensure a safe and spectacular trip, but in my experience these are the key factors to bear in mind when you’re on holiday – you never know how much time and money you’ll save in the process.

Clothe comfortably during your vacation with a moisture absorbing t-shirt and soft synthetic sneakers.

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