As another year draws to an end, we start to look towards the exciting adventures that the new year has in store. For some of us, the new year promises the backpacking trip of a lifetime, while for others it will be that much-needed tropical vacation with the kids.
Whether you’re celebrating the end of essays and exams with a tour through the cities of Europe, or just treating the family to a few weeks of beachside bliss, we want your next year of travel to be no-fuss and disaster-free.
But the unforseen can sometimes make your getaway an unforgettable experience for all the wrong reasons. So here are our top do’s and don’ts to help your 2016 travels go off without a hitch.
Do – Read the reviews
Review websites like TripAdvisor should be the first port of call for travellers wanting the inside scoop on accommodation, tours and restaurants. Guests rate everything from cleanliness to bar service, and post personal reviews about their experience.
Hotels can be deceptive with their online advertisements, with edited photos showing conveniently flattering angles of what are in reality substandard rooms.
When choosing your accommodation, a quick read of guest reviews can help you avoid unpleasant surprises on arrival.
Don’t – Underestimate your bag
As the most seasoned travellers well know, your bag can be everything. Making your flight on time can be demanding enough, without having your tattered luggage spilling your worldly possessions across the airport floor.
Travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding top quality luggage options. Theft-proof, micro-chipped and weather-resistant, there are now durable bags out there for all styles of traveller.
You should consider investing in a new bag the beginning of a beautiful relationship. After all, you’re about to see the world together!
Do – Wake with the sun
The streets of Paris are a beautiful setting on any occasion, but having the chance to roam them without the bustling hordes of other travellers is a particularly special treat.
Getting amongst the action while fellow tourists are just rising for their buffet breakfast is a sure-fire way for you to maximise your trip and avoid the crowds and queues.
The soft morning light is also great for giving those holiday snaps a romantic feel, making everyone at home suitably jealous.
Don’t – Over plan your trip
The thrill of the unknown can be the most alluring thing about heading to foreign shores. While it’s good to be well prepared, meticulously planning every aspect of your holiday leaves little room for spontaneity.
Being open to exciting opportunities as they present themselves is the best way to truly get the most out of your adventure. It could mean the difference between joining the throng of tourists at a popular restaurant, and discovering a local hotspot that didn’t make it into the guidebook.
Sometimes the best strategy is to have none at all!
Do – Select your tech carefully
We understand that the modern day adventurer likes to stay well connected. But overloading your baggage with expensive and clunky electronics can cause unwanted distractions, and even leave you vulnerable to pickpockets.
2015 brought with it some great innovations designed to make the lives of travellers easier and more enjoyable.
Why not consolidate some of those digital devices into one multi-purpose gadget? Or even consider leaving all your tech toys at home. Unplugging from your tech gear will free up your time, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your new surroundings.
Don’t – Get caught out
You’ve just had the time of your life jet skiing across the blue waters of a Thai beach, only to be aggressively accused by the owner of causing damage.
Unfortunately, there are those who make a business out of exploiting tourists overseas. Seemingly harmless situations can leave you out of pocket and even in danger, and nothing takes the shine off an otherwise serene vacation like feeling ripped off.
Thankfully, many who have fallen victim to scams overseas have posted detailed warnings on the internet for other travellers. A quick online search for reputable rental companies is always recommended. And remember to take a photo of any equipment you hire before signing a contract so you have evidence of whether the damage already existed.
Do – Document your trip
Whether you keep a travel journal for your own personal use, or update a regular online blog for the world to see, documenting your adventure can be half the fun of having one.
Letting your friends and family at home share in your overseas getaway is a rewarding experience for all involved. Starting a blog is the easiest and most popular way to share your photos and feelings with a wide audience.
Find out how to start your own travel blog with these top tips.
Don’t – Forget your health
It’s easy to overload on the rich wines and cheeses when traipsing through Europe, but there are some simple strategies you can use for keeping your health in check.
Going out for regular walks means you can explore the city whilst digesting that five course meal. You can also make the most of your time outside by taking a few holiday snaps. Or if you’re vacationing somewhere mountainous, how about some cycling or hiking to get the best aerial views.
Keep a check on how much alcohol you’re ordering at the bar and try and consume a few glasses of water to stay hydrated. The last thing you want on your holiday is to spend the next day in a hotel room with a headache!
It’s important to know that we’re not able to cover customers who are under the influence or effect of alcohol, solvents or drugs (other than a drug administered or prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, and taken as prescribed).
Before you leave, always check in with the New Zealand’s Safe Travel website to find official health and safety information, including vaccination requirements.
Do – Pack a guide
Travel guides are a must for those short on time. Lonely Planet has been the industry leader in travel guides for over 40 years, providing comprehensive resources for countless destinations.
Maps, recommendations, reviews and safety tips make these guides a great starting point for learning the ins and outs of a city.
Visitors to countries that speak a different language will find a phrasebook is another vital resource. Not only is there less chance of missing must-see attractions, the locals will appreciate your efforts to engage with their culture.
Don’t – Limit yourself
If you let it, 2016 could host the trip of a lifetime. With competitive airfare deals to exciting destinations across the globe, there’s no better time than now to begin planning your next adventure.
Wishing you a healthy, happy and adventure filled New Year from everyone at Southern Cross Travel Insurance!