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Travel Tip #8

Don’t forget to check if you need a visa, what the requirements are, and how long the processing time is.

A very important item that should be on your to-do list before you travel is checking visa regulations – and early!

Regulations change from destination to destination, and can vary due to the nationality of the visa applicant. Also, don’t rely on word of mouth because requirements can change and what applies for someone else may not apply for you. It is so important that you check visa regulations and how long processing time is. If the processing time is 2 weeks, you should allow some additional time in case there are complications. Some countries have very strict requirements, even for a tourist visa, so make sure you an fulfill the requirements before you apply. You also need to check whether you need to physically need to visit a consulate in order for your visa to be successful.

Some examples (from personal experience as a UK passport holder):

  • As a UK citizen applying for a Chinese tourist visa, we needed to supply an itinerary of our entire expected stay in China. We also had an invitation letter from a friend in China, although this is not always necessary if you can fulfill other requirements.
  • For Russia, we would be expected to go to a Russian embassy in order to apply for a tourist visa.
  • However, we did not need to apply for a visa to visit Japan.
  • For Australia, we had to apply online for a tourist visa – but it was free

Remember, if you don’t get the correct visa, you could find yourself on the next plane back home.

Travel Tip #7

Exchanging Money

This tip is useful if you’re unsure of how much money you’ll actually need when on vacation, but you don’t want to exchange too much and be caught in the hassle of trying to convert it back.

A good idea is to convert the minimum amount of money you think you’ll need, but also take some of your home currency too. There are usually places that you can convert your money into the foreign currency, so this means you can feel safe in the knowledge that you can get more foreign currency if you need it, but also not have to worry about losing money if you need to convert excess currency back into your home currency.

Travel Tip #6

Use Vac-packs to help you save essential space.

If you didn’t know, or you know them by another name, vac-packs are those transparent bags that you fill and then use a vacuum cleaner, or you roll it up, to get rid of any air that is inside of it. These bags come in many sizes, so you can choose a size most suitable for your luggage, and they can really help you save space in your bag. They can be quite cheap and most of them can be used by rolling them which is ideal for travelling.

Vac-packs not only save you space in your bag, but they can keep your clothes fresh and organised. I always worry that during transit, a suitcase will break open and the clothes will go flying everywhere but, by using a vac-pack, at least all of your items will be together in the bag.

I use Vac-packs whenever I go travelling. I really find that they save me space and allow me to use a medium sized luggage bag while packing everything I need and more.

 

 

Japan Post #1 – The Planning

In April 2016, my husband and I headed to Japan. In this post I’ll be sharing how we planned our trip. In later posts, I will share our itinerary and our opinions of the places we visited. Knowing we had just under 2 weeks off, we planned to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka as our main destinations. In addition, we wanted to visit Himeji Castle and Nara.

This is how we planned our flights, hotels, and our JR Pass (train ticket) for Japan.

Continue reading “Japan Post #1 – The Planning”

Travel Tip #5

Check baggage regulations.

Make sure that you check the baggage regulations for your specific airlines. These regulations can change and differ from airline to airline, or even destination to destination with the same airline, so it’s important you check your airline’s regulations to avoid any nasty surprises at the check-in desk.

Remember that it’s not only your checked in baggage that has weight limits but also your hand held luggage. Recently I’ve seen more cases of check in desks weighing all bags – cabin and checked in – to ensure that people aren’t trying to cheat the system by putting the over-limit weight into their cabin luggage.

If you think you will be over the limit or be checking in baggage which isn’t included in the flight fare, it is usually cheaper to book this online before heading to the airport. While traveling with budget airline Jetstar in Australia, we had pre-booked our baggage knowing that we would need an additional bag. At the airport we saw a family having to pay for an additional bag because they had tried to cheat the system (as I explained above) and the price difference between what we had paid online and what they needed to pay at the desk was shocking (at least 3 times more).

Travel Tip #4

Free cancellation can save you hassle and money.

Sometimes you *think* you’re going on vacation but you’re not too sure, or you know you’re going but you’re not sure for how many nights etc etc. A few hotel comparison sites are now offering free cancellation up to a certain date before your expected check-in date. This means you could lock in that great early-bird deal without worrying whether the plans are set in stone or not. They do require you to put in your card details, however you won’t be charged.

Yes, it may be a small amount cheaper to not take the free cancellation option, but I think that if there’s any uncertainty then it’s worth going for the free cancellation option to save you stress and possibly money in the long run.

Just make sure you remember that you’ve booked those dates otherwise you may end up paying for a hotel that you didn’t stay in. 

Website – airbnb.com

I may be late to the party but I recently used airbnb.com for the first time and I thought I’d share my thoughts.

airbnb2

Airbnb sells itself on the idea that you rent off a local and therefore get to live like a local. This can be appealing to those looking for an authentic cultural experience but airbnb is also useful for those looking for a place to stay if you’re planning on just sightseeing. Here I lay out the pros and cons of staying at an airbnb – an alternative way to stay – before offering some tips.

Continue reading “Website – airbnb.com”

Travel Tip #3

Check direct before you book.

Comparison websites are great but they aren’t always cheaper. When I used to work in a hotel guests would come in having paid over the odds through a third-party website when they could have paid directly cheaper. This isn’t always true and there can be advantages to booking through a third-party site, such as free cancellations, but it may be worth a check on the direct website before you book.

 

Website – triphobo.com

Personally I like to go on vacation knowing that each day has something new to see and that I won’t be wasting any time during my adventure. When I was planning a jam-packed trip to Australia, I found triphobo.com and I feel like it’s a good site to share.

triphobo

What is Triphobo? 
Triphobo is a website that helps you plan your itinerary. It can recommend attractions, help you book hotels, allow you to add on your flights, and even let you see other traveler’s itineraries to give you inspiration.It also has an app on the Android store and App store – however you need an internet connection to access it which is not always possible on vacation. Continue reading “Website – triphobo.com”

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