First things first, you need to have answers to these basic travel questions.
- Where do you want to go?
- What do you want to do?
- How much is your travelling budget?
Some say the best plans are made with no plans at all, but if you’re a paranoid traveller like me, you do need to do some thorough travel research every once in awhile, especially when travelling to a foreign land!
Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind the next time you’re itching to plan your next getaway.
Let social media be your source of inspiration. A lot of travel bugs nowadays use Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to inspire their travels and experience something new. For example, plan your visit to Spain towards the end of August to experience the a tomato-throwing festival, La Tomatina, or take part in the famous Thai Songkran held on April 13 every year where you get to throw water at random people walking in the streets! Inspiration is everywhere and it’s all up to you and what you want to do!
Did you know that in Malaysia, KKIA is the busiest airport after KLIA? We have numerous international direct flights to Australia, Bangkok, China, and Hong Kong, to name a few.
My favourite websites to use are Tripadvisor, Skyscanner, and Kayak. One crucial tip that I always practice in searching for a good online deal is to clear my computer cache. Have you ever experienced a sudden hike in the price of the plane ticket or a hotel room that you searched for yesterday? It’s a sign that you should clear your cache ASAP! I always give myself at least ten to 12 months to book a flight.
If you’re feeling spontaneous or still cannot make up your mind on where to go for your holiday, do what I do (sometimes). Go on Skyscanner and click ‘everywhere’. This way, you can find available flights from your city of departure and you can select your travels with the price point that you’re comfortable with.
Before you book anything on your credit card, always double-check the booking terms and conditions. It is important to take note on the airline luggage rules. Most airlines now only allow seven kilogrammes of carry-on luggage. This clause also comes with size specifications. If you are aware and adhere to the rules, you can avoid the hassle and the drama at your departure gates. You wouldn’t want to be stuck at the departure hall, embarrassingly unpacking “unnecessary” things from your carry-on, now would you?
There are some things travellers tend to overlook. Always ask questions! When searching for accommodations, always check the distance of the nearest airport from where you’re planning to stay.
- I once went through a hectic situation when I was in London. I was still in my PJ’s when the hotel reception called me at 10:30 a.m. to inform me that check-out time is at 11:00 a.m.! I scrambled to pack up my things as fast as I can. As if that wasn’t enough, I had a mini-heart attack when I found out that my next flight will be departing from Luton Airport (LTN) and not Heathrow Airport (LHR), the airport which I landed at. FYI, Luton Airport (LTN) is two hours away from London city. Long story cut short (minus all the panic and curse words), I made it there just in time. Life lesson learned.
Tip: If you’re planning on bunking in a hostel, check if they have towels available. From my experience, some hotels do not provide towels and you will be left with the option of a doormat!
Talk to your local agent
If you’re a first-time traveller, I encourage you to meet with a local travel agent. Nowadays, many travel agencies have ongoing special promotions especially during MATTA fair season. These agents usually have better offers such as free room upgrades or even free dinner meals included in their travel packages.
Get to know them too! Once you’re buddies with your travel agents, you will be well-informed of upcoming packages with special discounts or offers which will be offered at a certain time, and they would advise you to make your bookings then. Reputable travel agents will always put their clients first!
Always check for visa requirements! If you’re not sure about it, you can always refer to the internet. Most travellers, especially first-timers, are usually ignorant about the need of applying for visa to certain countries. This would lead to finding out about this very crucial detail to your travels at the eleventh hour, or even worse, while trying to board the flight at the airport. It would be a pity for you to arrive at your destination only to be deported back home because of denied entry.
For you lazy fact checkers, YES, we still need to apply for visa to Australia although we are part of the Commonwealth countries. A friend of mine was en-route to New Zealand and was denied entry at Brisbane Airport (BNE) because she did not know that she needed a visa to enter Australia EVEN IF she was only on transit. (Bye-bye cuti!)
I’ve witnessed many incidents where people are not covered by insurance. From losing their luggage, to missing their flights, and to the worst case scenario – death. Since lack of traveling gives me a bad migraine, I tend travel quite often. I will usually buy a one-year travel insurance coverage that costs me about 1MYR a day. Being the ultimate paranoid traveller, knowing that I’m covered gives me a peace of mind.
- My luggage once went rogue and went to Manila from Perth rather than going back home to KK with me. I only got my bags three days after. Luckily, this happened when I was already home and not at the start of my travels! Otherwise, it would have ruined my vacation.
Things to do
Now that your flights and accommodation are already booked, it’s time to plan where to take those Instagram worthy pictures and where to eat local foods. My best tip for you is to read up on travel forums, travel itineraries on TripAdvisor, or religiously read a lot of travel blogs that covers the destination that you’re heading to.
However, if you’re a lazy reader like me, just watch YouTube! Many of the famous places of interest would have already been covered by YouTubers. Some of these YouTubers are also dedicated foodies so they would easily have great breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals covered, planned out, and recommended for you.
Now that I’ve started your travel engines, what are you waiting for?
Save up, apply cuti, and book your next travel destination!
Three words to describe Dan – paranoid, organized, and fun. He loves (organized) long walks on the beach, smile and joke around while making new friends (vaccinated; and as long as you’re not touchy or clingy), and (responsibly) living life to the fullest!
When Dan is not working his day job, he’s probably jet-setting off to a new destination.
His next destination: Spain – Portugal – Germany.