In the days of the all-inclusive resort holiday, the difference between a good and bad time was often down to whether the operator behind the experience had advertised it accurately. This meant that when a vacation went wrong, it went really wrong – but there was also a clear point of responsibility, which could help in getting a refund (or at least knowing who not to book with again).
Today, travel tends to be much more free-gwheeling, with most tourists looking for new and unique experiences (even if they’re guided through them). As such, there’s frankly more that can go wrong. But this is no reason to abandon your adventurous spirit – as we present here four ideas to steer you smoothly through, wherever you go and whatever you do:
Do your research
Perhaps this sounds obvious, but it really can’t be stressed enough. We live in a time when the internet offers you, the traveller, all the resources you need to prepare to travel just about anywhere in the world.
Firstly, check what weather you can expect (given the time of year you’ll be in-country), and make sure you take appropriate clothing and gear. Next, know your options for getting around when there, plus where you might eat (this is especially important if you have particular dietary requirements). If you need inoculations, make sure you get them in plenty of time (it sometimes takes weeks for such shots to become fully effective).
It’s also very worth knowing something of your destination’s culture – primarily so you know what’s acceptable and what’s not. Offending your hosts is one of the quickest ways to feel unwelcome which, in turn, can easily sour your stay overnight.
There have been many innovations in travel technology over the last decade, and having the right gear can be a huge factor in how you cope with unforeseen circumstances.
Most simply, there’s the standard smartphone GPS and mapping app which is an incredible aid against getting lost (at least for long). But that won’t help much if you failed to bring a charging adapter or an external battery.
Good quality locks will also pay for themselves if they deter theft of your items, while noise-cancelling headphones can really make waiting or travelling in noisy conditions much more bearable. And, if you’re expecting to do a lot of walking, the right footwear is genuinely one of the best investments you’ll make in ensuring comfort and safety.
Know what you can – and can’t – safely do
This isn’t mystical advice, but a simple instruction to honestly assess what level of activity you’ll be capable of on your trip.
VFor instance, if it’s your first time skiing – or surfing – or diving or hiking – make sure your itinerary is suitable for your skill level. It’s great to push yourself. It’s not so smart to put yourself (and possibly others) in danger because you assume everything will work out. Sadly, for a small but very real amount of active holidaymakers each year, injuries ensue – and the costs incurred can be considerable.
Keep the group happy
If you’re travelling alone, you only have yourself to please and can thus skip this tip – but most of us will generally travel with at least one other, and it’s important to remember it’s everyone’s holiday.
And, while rows on the road may not seem as serious as some of the other bad situations outlined above, group harmony could very well be the difference between a fondly-remembered trip and a time you and your companion (or companions) never talk about.
After all, journeys are best when they bring us together, not drive us apart.