6 Things you learn about travelling after a trip



6 Things you learn about travelling after a trip

Every trip you take, no matter where you go or for how long, gives you the opportunity to learn something new. Something about yourself, the world or possibly just about the act of travelling itself. And it’s the latter which could make your trips even easier. Soon, you’ll be a pro traveller who knows exactly what to do and when. Here are tips and tricks you need to know about before you can claim your pro traveller status.


Are you certain about visa requirements?

Visa requirements for the countries you’re planning on visiting on an upcoming trip may change without you realising it. It’s important if you’re going to be travelling soon to check up regularly on the visa requirements. Could you think of anything worse than arriving at the airport for your trip, packed and ready to go, only to be told you need a visa you didn't know about? Sometimes, you can apply online quickly and easily. But sometimes you’re not as lucky. It’ll only take a couple of visa mishaps for you to learn to do careful research about all requirements. A good idea might be to put the country’s name and other keywords like “visa” into Google alerts so that you’ll be kept informed about any changes to requirements.


Don’t book early morning flights

These are the worst. You might think it’s a good idea because you can get to your destination that little bit earlier. But in reality what it means is that you’ll have to get up before the sun rises and attempt to organise a taxi, hail a cab or book an Uber. All of these are often not easy first thing in the morning. Give yourself the opportunity to sleep in, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your luxury self-catering accommodation spot and make your way calmly to the airport. Of course, sometimes you won't have a choice. But when you do, be sure to take full advantage.


Sometimes it pays to go direct

You’ve been in this situation before, no doubt. You’ve booked yourself onto a specific flight because it was the cheapest option. But when you look closely at the ticket, you notice that you have an 18-hour layover in Doha or nine hours waiting time at OR Tambo International. Look a little closer at the available tickets and you may notice a flight that goes directly to your destination which costs just a couple hundred or thousand rand more. The reality with travelling is that it’s the physical travelling, the getting there, which takes the longest. And when you only have 15 or 20 days’ leave each year, each of those hours is precious and you need to take advantage. Decide for yourself before booking your trip what you’d be willing to pay for an extra half day on Thailand’s best beaches. Perhaps, suddenly, that extra few grand doesn’t seem so bad.


Check your gate number on the board

Speaking of flights, check and double check the gate number of your flight on the electronic board. Gate numbers are regularly changed so you can't trust the number printed on your ticket. And you know you’ll never hear the gate change announcement over the public address system. It's essential that you check, double check and then re-check again your gate number on the actual board in the airport. When in doubt, ask an airport staff member. They should be able to point you in the right direction.


Properly research the weather conditions

It’s one thing to know that you’re travelling to a country currently experiencing spring, with highs of about 15°C. Easy, you think. You’ll manage just fine with packing jeans and a light jacket. But did you know that nearby snow-covered mountains ensure a freezing breeze is blown into town daily? Probably not. That’s really the kind of thing you only learn when you arrive and your ears experience that first frosty nip.


Be sure about your accommodation bookings

Your hotel might have sounded welcoming on the bookings site. But did you really research what exactly it is you’re getting yourself into? Sometimes, accommodation sounds like it’s exactly what you’re looking for. But in reality, it’s your worst nightmare. For instance, a hotel which describes itself as having a long history might make you think they’re experienced and can offer the best customer service. In reality, you’ll find a small hotel room covered in stains and smelling like cigarette smoke.


Sometimes, taking a taxi is worth the expense

You won’t rent a car or arrange transport ahead of time, you think to yourself. You’ll be able to take public transport. But when you arrive at your destination, you find the bus and train maps are an incomprehensible jumble. It’s in cases like these that taking a taxi is worth the expense. It may cost a little more than you’d anticipated, but you’ll travel from the airport to your accommodation with ease and feeling relaxed.