Is it the holiday season yet??
Who can say? There must be a long weekend or vacation time coming up in some part of the world. It always is the case…Isn’t it?
How do you decide on your holiday destination?? What is your inspiration ?? — By seeing the flawless pictures from an instagram influencer or after stalking your friend’s facebook page with their awesome party pics 😉 or after reading an amazing blog about the ‘Top 100 places to go this year‘ or just when you remember an old friend, old memory of good times – What is your reason ?? Any reason is good enough. Trust me!! Also, the reasons like ‘I am bored‘ or ‘I need change‘ are also enough to take some time off and head for a relaxing (or adventurous – depends on your taste) holiday.
So how does a travel plan start ?? Ofcourse, everyone researches for cheap or direct flights (based on their respective bank statement and health conditions) , interesting places to see in or near that destination, accomodation (types and costs), etc.. When seeking to go out of the residing/home country, the visa requirements, currency of the respective country, language spoken in that country, etc. are few of the things that we start researching but there are so many other things to consider even before deciding on a destination. All the above things would help you plan for a holiday destination when you already know where to go. But how to decide WHERE TO GO??
Here are the 5 important points to consider before deciding on where to go for your next holiday
1. Available MODES OF TRANSPORTATION
How to travel inside the city or how to travel to nearby towns?? Which modes of transportation are best to have – rent a car, travel by boat/local bus/trains ?? If you are doing day trips, what is the most efficient way to travel. For example, if you visit south of france, there are many small villages (Grasse, Eze, Provence,Marseille, etc.), each with their own beauty and importance.
Rent a car : Ofcourse, a rented car would give you the complete freedom regarding the time spent at each villages, flexibility to go or not, etc. But do your research about the traffic situation before leaving everytime.If travelling by car, another thing to consider is – which side does the driver sit and which side of the road should one drive – left or right and based on how comfortable you are with the driving style, type of car and driving rules of the respective country you can rent the car. Another factor to consider would be the cost of gas or diesel (as applicable).
Public Bus, Train or Boat: If travelling by public transport(bus, train or boat), enquire about the websites (also good if you plan to buy the tickets online) or bus/train daily schedule plans from your hotel if not researched earlier.We travelled to all the villages in our southern france itinerary (more about that in the upcoming blogs)last year by public bus. The bus service was very efficient, quite cheap 2€ per person one way and often, on time. Riding by public transpor means you are bound by their schedule but remember!! you are not the driver. So, you can enjoy your less hectic, stress-free sightseeing. (The picture below was taken while hiking uphill from the coast in a french village)
So, point no. 1 – decide on your possibble options for transportation in and around your holiday area.
2. Research for possible TOURIST SCAMS.
This is the greatest concern today. With globalization, whole world is open for tourists to explore but so is it, for the scammers. They are everywhere, just beware of them. Before visiting Prague this year, me and Rahul were casually checking out youtube for possible scams. You won’t believe but there is a complete youtube channel by a local Prague resident dedicated specifically for this cause (Message me for the link). He makes the tourists aware of the possible tourist scams there, in a funny but informative way through his videos. One of the most common scams (in Prague) to look out for, is the ‘Money Exchange’ scam. Many outlets charge you upto 30% commission and you lose huge amount of money. You may also find people standing just outside the money exchange shops or near the main city area, offering you much cheaper exchange rates. Listening to the alluringly cheaper rates, tourists fall prey to such scammers who give you ‘russian rubel’in exchange for euros instead of czech krone. The value of rusian rubel is very low so you end up losing a lot of money. Check here to get an idea about the currency conversion rates.
There are also other scams in every place of the world to look out for, like, ATM scams, Fake Police scams, Cute Kids scams and many more. I will describe that in a separate post so that we don’t divert from the current topic 🙂
But that doesn’t mean that we get scared and not visit these beautiful places. I am sharing this information so that you be alert and prepared for all kinds of situations. Carry less cash, try to use your card more (keep your card and wallet carefully…that’s also important ;))
So, point no. 2 – ‘BE ALERT’ in every situation. ‘BEWARE’ of scams always. I also believe that there are still many nice, serene, quiet places in the world, about which the scammers are not yet informed.
3. Night – LIFE
Well! In this context, nightlife doesn’t refer to night clubs or the famous pubs. That part of the research you will do anyhow or have already done for your next
holiday/party destination?? Infact, I am pretty sure that there are many experts here regarding the topic. So, I wont comment on that.
Lets talk about the general safety (as a tourist in a new place) during the night time . I’ll tell you a true story – When we were in Naples, Italy around 5 years back, we wanted to go to a sea-side restaurant to have dinner. So, we asked our friendly host from the hotel reception about how safe it was, to go to the coast at that time. He told us to step back, scannned us from top to bottom to search for the possible valuables that we might be wearing or possessing. He told us that it would be safer if we remove our watches, jewellery, not carry a camera, etc. (and trust me it was just my earrings and a ring) but he said, “if you opt to go like this, you better be alert all the time. Any thing can happen as you will have to pass through some shady streets”. We had already encountered few unfriendly people that day while travelling back from Pompeii (also a small town from South Italy famous for the excavations). So, we decided to have a pizza in a cosy restaurant just round the corner of our hotel and called it a night. We never regreted the decision, trust me!!
It’s always good to experience the city in the night time also but always prioritize your safety first. If you feel that you have all the required information then its very rewarding to enjoy the night time view of different places. Below, is a picture from our trip to Budapest, Hungary few years ago. It’s a beautiful place but looks gorgeous during the night…isn’t it?
So, point no. 3 – SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY – be it day or night.
4. Pay for INSURANCE
Having an insurance often makes your holiday a stress-free affair. You can opt for various categories of travel insurances.
Travel insurance for flight tickets – This is the best way to accertain that you get a complete reimbursement for the costs incurred if the flight gets cancelled, delayed, etc.
Travel health insurance – Very important as life is very unpredictable. Its very common to get sick while holidaying and a good health insurance covers all your costs as the medical treatment can be very expensive in certain countries. Also, while travelling in your own country, you might need a special travel health insurance to cover all your incurred charges. So, its best to check this out!
Nowadays, almost all credit cards include an insurance for cancellation of trip due to unforeseen reasons or loss of luggage or theft in foreign country. Please check with your bank if your credit card has this feature. If yes, do opt for this.
If you rent a car while travelling within your own country or in a foreign country, make sure to have a full insurance else you may be charged a heavy amount for any damage. There are also certain places where the weather or the landscape leads to damage of the rented car. For example, in Iceland, nobody recommends ‘Theft Protection’ Insurance but the insurance for ‘Gravel Protection, Damage by Sand and Ash,’ is highly recommended. Even insurance for damage by animals is also highly recommended there. Yes, the playful two horned animals might want to rest next to your car and scratch the paint out with their horns; leaving you with huge repair bills from the rental company.
So, point no. 4 – before leaving for holiday make sure all your costs are covered.
5. Check the LOCAL NEWS
I cant emphasize on this point enough. Check for the possibility of a natural calamity or weather hazards like volcanic eruption, landslides, floods due to heavy rains or a possible cyclone. It doesn’t matter if you plan your holiday in advance or just randomly decide to go somewhere , make sure to check the local news before leaving. It will do no harm rather, help a great deal if you do your part of the research. Take for example, the volcanic eruptions of Iceland in 2010-11 or the recent Indonesian earthquakes or the recent devastating floods in kerala, India. It is better to be prepared than sorry.
Another thing to consider is the degree of chaos in the place. Make sure to get yourself informed about the general ‘peace’ situation of the place. Sometimes, rallies, peaceful petitions or candle marches might give you a whole new perspective about the place. You may understand the people, their culture, unity or their behavior in a better way. It can prove to be enriching in rare cases. But you never know, when and how these peaceful marches take an aggressive turn. It’s better if you dont get stuck in the mid of your holiday. Avoid going to a chaotic, riot-ridden area. Its your ‘rest and enjoy’ time – Remember ??
Even if you hire a travel agent to do your holiday planning, it would still be very responsible of you to check everything by your own before planning for a particular destination. After all its your own life and you must take care of it.
So, Point no. 5 – You deserve a nice and relaxed time at your holiday. So, a little bit of preparation (like checking the local news) won’t hurt.
BONUS point: Make sure to take all the necessary VACCINATIONS before going, if travelling outside your home country. You can find more information regarding this in the respective country’s website where they state their requirement for the entry of foreign visitors .
I hope that having read all the above points and having finished your research, you are now ready with the holiday destination in your mind. So, now, start booking your flights, accomodations, check for currency, SIM card and don’t think too much…You can do it, get your bags packed….Just jetsetgo
So, these were our top 5 things to consider before deciding on your next holiday. Have some more tips? Got more suggestions?? Please write it down on comments below so that we inform each other and everyone else who reads this blog.
See you in the next blog!!
Sonali ( ‘The Travel Enthusiast’ @thejetsetgocouple )
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