travel

Making the most of last minute opportunities | Stress Free Travel

Judging by the ‘wish I was on holiday’ tweets that fill my timeline every day, I know I’m not the only one who’s constantly thinking about their next trip or obsessively trawling Skyscanner.  The more I travel, the more I see others travel, the more I want to travel.  It’s oh so addictive.  A sunny sandy beach would hit the spot right know, you know?  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be keeping a beady eye on last minute deals and be ready to pack your bags and head off tomorrow should the opportunity arise.  Whilst the UK’s still doing a half assed attempt at summer (read: sun for 2 hours then cloudy for a week) it’s oh so tempting to escape to sunnier climes for a couple of days.  I’m hoping to do so myself after exams at the beginning of June, and you bet I’m counting down the days already!  Whether it’s at 2 months or 2 days notice, I’ll take any opportunity.  Last minute or quick turnaround trips can be a bit hairy organisation-wise, but I think I’ve managed to streamline my prep a little bit over the last 12 months.  So if you’re aiming for stress free travel, read on!

— Take out yearly travel insurance rather than single trip.  Even if you don’t have anything else in the diary for the year, it’s better to have it at the ready.  Yearly insurance becomes better value very quickly, as it’s not hugely more expensive than cover for a single trip anyway.  Also, whilst it isn’t a subsitute for insurance, it pays to have an EHIC card too.  I’ve (touch wood) never needed to use mine, but I’d rather not run the risk of being slapped with a bill should I break a limb.

— Print/write out EVERYTHING to keep in one place.  Literally everything you could possibly need.  Yes, most airlines have apps for boarding passes and you can screenshot your hotel’s address, but it’s worth writing down anyway.  My phone has a fun little trick of dying when it’s supposedly on 40% battery (I hear iPhones do the same) and it’s just Sod’s Law that it’ll die the moment I need it.  Really isn’t worth running the risk.  For this reason I print out all documents as soon as they’re available (boarding passes, hotel maps, travel insurance) and write down a bajillion other details too.  I’ll always love the handwritten word anyway, but in this case it’s for practicality too!

In most cases you’ll be hopping on public transport once you leave the airport, and I’d always, always recommend having your route written down in great detail.  A lack of planning does not stress free travel make.  Note down the shuttle bus operator, the metro line (and its end destination – you don’t want to be confused knowing you need Line B but WHICH WAY), the phone number of your hotel, the lot.  This is where the handy travel wallet comes in!  Previously I’ve just used an A4 wallet but the lovely people at Aspire Style sent this cute one my way and needless to say it’s a whole lot A) prettier and B) more useful.  Everything has a slot so I can hopefully stop fretting about my passport every 2 seconds now!

Always have some euros at home.  Obviously this won’t prepare you for every destination, but most last minute trips are probably going to be short haul (if you’re hopping across the Atlantic tomorrow – I’m v. jealous).  Fretting because you have no currency when you land isn’t ideal so if you *might* be heading away at short notice, get those monies sorted in advance.

Prepack a toiletry bag to have at the ready.  I just keep all my travel related paraphernalia in my suitcase (seems sensible but if you think it means I don’t forget things… you’re wrong) and a toiletry bag is always ready to go.  Just with the basics – I’m not one for taking 6 bags of cosmetics with me anyway – but it’s definitely handy to have one ready to go.

Pack all techy stuff in a separate pouch.  Don’t just throw it in with the rest of your things, whatever you do!  Forgetting things becomes 10x more likely when you’re packing in a hurry and chargers, SD cards and the like are always the first to slip your mind.  I’ve made the mistake enough times myself that’s for sure.  Dedicating a bag/pouch/whatever solely to techy stuff (and double checking it) helps so much.

Just for bloggers:

During the last year or so I’ve been on a learning curve with travel blogging too, so I thought I’d add some blogger specific points to the end here!

— If you’re featuring the accommodation, take photos as soon as you arrive.  Before unpacking, before chilling out or anything.  Get those photos done before you make a mess!  So much easier to photograph a hotel room when you don’t need to spend 10 minutes clearing your clothes beforehand.

— Similarly, list the details/views/places you definitely want to photograph, with an eye to the blog post.  Not ideal to get home and realise you really needed a landscape shot of the hotel for your blog header for example.

– Cruise through Instagram/Pinterest/Google for places that look cool on camera, and save them to your Google maps.  It’s not always the obvious tourist attractions in the guidebook that are the most photogenic, and you can’t rely on just happening upon the gems!  Starring your Google maps and regularly checking to see whether you’re near stars (or planning your route to pass them) is a good way to make the most of photo time.  Just don’t copy the original shot, obviously!

Lily Kate x

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