Are you going for a holidays soon and do not know where to start?
My love and passion to travel started from a few adventure camps, which I took part during summer as a child. For a shy 10 year old visiting new places, meeting new people, spending time with them 24 hours a day for half a month was a huge independence and confidence boost.
I was quite lucky to pursue my passion and travel quite a bit in my life. I have had the chance to visit and travel to Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, England, Sweden, Dennmark, and Scotland, as well as living and working in USA, Iceland, Poland and the United Kingdom. There is so much more to see! My wanderlust knows no boarders.
As a teen I had the chance to do a few trips. After getting back home I felt I did not make the most of my time. I did not really know how to start and organise myself. However every single business and leisure trip taught me something new I should pay attention to to enhance my time away.
|Dream Come True Grand Canyon Rafting|
How do I make the most of my trips now?
Matt Gross, in his article for New York Times claims, that research is a traveller best friend (here). Matt is so right, I can not even express how much I agree with him. Research is always a great idea, especially if you are going to a new place. It is worth it to have a look on Tripadvisor, find even more travel inspiration at Pinterest, and check if you can find local blogs. They very often include places worth a visit. I love to share places I love in Scotland such as coffee shops, bars, tourist attractions e.g. Quirky Footdee, Drum Castle etc. I am sure you will be able to find at least one blogger with the same passion to share all the gems from their city as I do. In regards to the trips I was not fully satisfied with, lack of research was definitely a big factor affecting quality of my travel.
|Beautiful Duthie Park in Aberdeen|
Do you know the feeling when you really want to go and see the Musee Picasso in Paris but instead you see closed doors? I do, and believe me it is not the greatest when you are craving to see something for so long but will not due to not checking opening times. I would sternly suggest to check opening times, especially when there is a place you want to see. Additionally, it can help you to save money as some places offer free entrance at certain days/times. Win win if you ask me. I get to see what I want to see, and I can treat myself to a fridge magnet (I always buy one when I am way).
Google Street View is perfect to check where is your hotel is, and how the area looks like. If you are unsure if you want to book a hotel having a look at the are might determine if you will feel comfortable and happy in a place where you will start and finish your days. I would suggest doing this especially if you travel solo. It saved me scary trips back to my hotel in a few places.
|Best things in life are for free - sailing in Cambridge|
Talking about saving money: Go online! I always check websites of hotels, restaurants,and museums as very often they have a special deal for bookings made online. I know they are not as popular as they used to be a few years ago but voucher and coupons websites are still out there waiting for you to save money. Yes, some of us probably have been there having a horrifying hairdressing experience because of this amazing, cheap offer but... More often than not it is worth it. You might only speak English but most of the websites with deals such as Groupon can be translated. I managed to get cheaper tickets to Disneyland in Paris. Remember to check terms and conditions as well as book in advance.
|Tranquil Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco|
Last but not least advice: Ask Locals! I remember being highly disappointed in the middle of Italy due to my lack of luck to find delicious, little restaurants everyone was talking about. It seems like everyone but me was able to find mouth watering food, whereas I was stuck with frozen pizza. However, the magic happened when I stayed in a small, family hotel with a friendly, and extremely helpful owner. I was talking about my experience and within two minutes she prepared a map of La Spezia with places I must try. Believe me, I have done my research before and it seemed like most of the best places she suggested did not even appear on Tripadvisor or anywhere else. If you are an introvert it might sound daunting at first but I promise, it will be worth it! As a rather shy person I know what I am talking about. If you are really unsure about asking locals download apps such as: Foodspotting for gastronomic heaven, and FourSquare with tips of places to visit.
How do you make sure to make the most of your trip?