As some of us know from experience, planning the perfect getaway with friends and/or family can be a stressful affair. Disagreements on flights, misrepresented Airbnb’s, you drank the water…all sorts of snafus can lead to a memorable (albeit for all the wrong reasons) vacation. We chatted with a travel expert to get you the best tips for traveling without stress.
Book early…then stop looking!
This will get you the best prices the vast majority of the time (FYI, flights become available around 11 months before departure). That’s because airlines segment economy into blocks of anywhere between 4-9 seats based on the size of the plane. As soon as that amount of tickets are sold, the price goes up. It doesn’t matter where the seats are-you could be in row 35 sitting next to someone that paid $100 less or more than you depending on when you booked. Obviously, there are exceptions as in the very rare scenario that the flight is undersold close to departure, they may offer last minute deals. Most times, though, that’s going to land you with the most expensive ticket for that flight.
Don’t get stuck in super touristy areas…
…and don’t feel like every meal or drink has to come from a restaurant or bar. The fun in going to a new place is experiencing that destination the way locals do. Tourist centers are made to give you a tiny bit of the local culture while making you feel like you didn’t leave home, and hiking up prices significantly. Make friends with locals, or even just ask the concierge or front desk at your hotel where the locals go and get out of the city center wherever you’re going. Just because something is not downtown doesn’t mean it’s going to be awesome, and will likely be way more fun, authentic, and most importantly, cheaper! When it comes to food and drink, there are plenty of destinations without open container laws that just ask that you don’t bring glass in the streets. Go to a local store, pick up some snacks and drinks, and opt for a picnic instead of restaurants for every meal.
Sleep on the cheap.
I prefer cheaper hotels. All-inclusive resorts are fun, but when I travel, I don’t spend a lot of time in my room or on a property. I like to get out into the destination, meet lots of people, and experience everything I possibly can while I’m there.
Pearls of travel wisdom.
Wherever you’re going, study up on the culture and if the language isn’t’ the same as your first language, learn some of the main phrases. Don’t use online translators-they give you a word-for-word translation, but a lot of languages (when translated directly) sound strange in English. Find a source that will tell you how they actually greet each other, say goodbye, please and thank you, how to order in a restaurant, etc. People in a majority of locations are very appreciative when a traveler isn’t completely ignorant to their way of life and will often return the effort in some way. In my personal travel experience,
I’ve been given more free food and wine/beer and had people change direction and go out of their way to walk me to where I was going, all because I tried (sometimes extremely poorly) to speak their language with them, or was just friendly and listened to them.
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