Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased. – John Steinbeck
Over the years I have traveled a lot. As a Travel Agent and Travel Designer, I really enjoy discovering fabulous places and, more importantly, passing on advice and tips that will make my clients vacations more stress-free and enjoyable. There’s a lot of planning that goes into crafting the perfect itinerary. What I would recommend for adults is obviously different than what I would recommend for families, however, there are some general tips you can follow to ensure you each have a memorable experience.
When traveling overseas, it is vital to think about time of travel both in the scheduling of the locations right down to sleeping schedules to make sure you are not grumpy and jet lagged. I always begin looking for flights 6 months in advance of travel and check regularly for the best fares. I recommend that flights be booked direct if at all possible, especially with children. When that is not possible, I try to get the flight transfers to occur at times that allow for the most sleeping, i.e. during your family’s normal sleep patterns. I also encourage you to plan to travel during the winter when it is off season so there’s the highest potential for a few extra seats as not many people are traveling and there’s at least chance of an extra seat that can be stretched out on to… you got it… sleep!
Prior to leaving for your trip there’s a few things that you can do that will help prepare both yourself and your children for adventures. The smaller the children are the more you’ll want to prepare them, so everyone has a great time and knows what to expect. Knowledge of what is going to happen is key to a happy traveling family! I recommend that you create a visual board of places you will be visiting, activities that you have planned and even prepare foods and listen to music of that place that you are fix’in to travel to. If there’s going to be a giraffe or a shark involved, you’ll find a lot less fear if you talk about that beforehand.
Once you have arrived you will want to have pre-arranged transfers from the airport to your initial destination so there’s no scary transfer with luggage into a taxi or unfamiliar bus. This is easily set up in advance and when you are jet lagged it’s worth the money to be safe and stress-free so you can settle in and gear up for a great adventure. Speaking of destinations… I always recommend that you stay near the center of the city that you are learning about. Yes the hotels are a bit cheaper on the outskirts, however you end up paying to get yourself to and fro and in the long run it is more economical and a better experience by staying near to the attractions that have drawn you to list. I also recommend that you carry cash. You will still want to carry cards but having cash on hand and having it exchanged prior to your departure will avoid fees and stress when you need to pick up something like a snack from a little local shop or take the bus. Buses in Europe do not take cards generally so this just makes your experience easier by planning ahead.
Your cell phone is an important tool when traveling abroad because you can use it to map out where you are, find unique places that only the locals frequent…even utilize a translating app but racking up roaming fees can be a huge whack on your budget. Be sure that you call your cellar carrier before leaving and pay for the extended plan which is cheaper than roaming and well worth the price.
Aside from destination entrance fees at museums and other attractions the biggest hit to your travel budget will always be food. Dinning out daily can be very expensive so I suggest you purchase snacks that can be a quick meal during the day and go to places that the locals go to pay what the locals pay! Of course, you can splurge here and there this is a vacation of course, but you’ll save a ton by being moderate in how and where you dine. Also if you are staying at a Airbnb, then by all means, l ask around about shopping at the local markets and do some cooking for yourself!
Keep on wandering. it’s good for your soul~
Alisa Murray Travel Design is a full-service Travel agency. We specialize in “cultivating amazing experiences that last a lifetime!” Call 713-598-2207 or visit www.alisamurray.com.