When taking an extended break or holiday, you really want to make the most of your time away – especially if you’ve only got a few days to play with.
However, planning out a trip needs to be done efficiently so that you don’t actually encourage the stress you are supposed to be escaping. From travelling around when you get to your destination to highlighting a sensible itinerary, there some things that you can do to help things go a little more smoothly and enable you to take full advantage of the time you have.
Follow our five simple steps and you are sure to get the most out of your trip while still being able to relax and unwind.
1. Be realistic
In a city like London, there is so much to see and do that there is absolutely no way you can fit everything in in one trip. The first thing you should do then is to highlight the most important things on your list, and make sure you see them.
If you try and cram everything in, you’ll only end up stressed from traveling around all day. And chances are that when you get there, you won’t have enough time to enjoy each stop anyway!
So, step one is to craft an itinerary that is realistic and that you will enjoy. Pick places to see that are within a reasonable proximity to one another and try and vary it so that every stop isn’t too similar. For London, for example, why not take a stroll through Hyde Park in the morning, visit the British Museum in the early afternoon and then take in a historical monument like the Tower of London before your evening meal?
It’s important not to cram too much in and take it steady on your trip otherwise you’re bound to overexert yourself and get stressed out – which is not what you want on holiday! Take your time and enjoy yourself. We spend half our lives rushing around so just take things steady during your trip.
2. Get ready to travel at your destination
If you are travelling in a place like London, the thought of navigating the Tube all day can be quite daunting. But it really doesn’t have to be an ordeal as long as you prepare properly.
Once you have planned out your itinerary, start to put together a travel plan from place to place. Google Maps is now set up perfectly for this as it tells you which route to take and includes multiple options. It will also give you a list of public transport, so if you don’t fancy spending time underground, there’s always the bus!
While you’re in London, consider using an app like CityMapper so that you can get around with ease. Simply enter your location and destination and the app will bring up a number of options for you. It can also be used for other well-known cities like Paris and Rome.
If you are in London, save yourself the hassle and just buy an Oyster card for your travel fares. They cost £5 but they can be returned as you leave the city.
3. Don’t always do the obvious
Although it’s nice to see the most popular attractions in a city or a place, the likelihood is that everyone else will have the same idea. At least once in your trip, try and plan out an itinerary that takes in some of the lesser-known things that are available to visit.
Not only will this enable you to avoid the bigger crowds, you may get to see a different side to somewhere, one you didn’t even realise existed.
With a little research before your holiday, you should be able to come up with a few alternative things that are “off the beaten track”. Of course, this depends entirely where you are in the world and what there is to do there. But if you are in a big city, chances are there will be lots of things to do that you have never even thought of!
4. Consider a guide
Although not always feasible, sometimes a guide is an excellent idea – particularly in a country where there is a language barrier. For example, in Berlin there are free walking tours (you tip the guide at the end depending on your experience) that not only give you a great insight to the city’s incredible history but it also gives you a good feel for the area and helps you get your bearings.
It can also be a good idea for bigger places such as national parks where you might struggle to find your way around on your own. The salt flats in Uyuni, Bolivia are a good example of this. It is possible to drive to the flats on your own, but it is far simpler (and incredibly cheap) to book a tour guide to take you there.
Obviously, you might not always need a guide but sometimes it can seriously enhance your experience. Do some research online before your trip and weigh up the options that are available.
5. Always show respect
No matter where you are in the world, you should always show respect and be polite to the people you encounter. People will react more positively to you and you are bound to get much more out of the entire experience.
First of all, don’t expect things to be the way they would be where you come from. Different cultures and countries will have customs and routines that you are not used to, but this is all part of the beauty of travelling. Immerse yourself in these new experiences and you will have a far better time.
Also, if you treat the people around you – bar staff, hotel attendants, guides etc – with the same respect you would expect yourself, they are far more likely to look after you properly and go the extra mile to help you out.
You may also need to do a little research beforehand regarding acceptable behaviour in the destination where you will be holidaying. For example, in Japan, greeting someone with a bow is a sign of respect and in India handshakes between men and women are highly unusual.
By following these simple tips, you will hopefully have a stress-free holiday and will be able to use your time effectively.
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