In the past I had relied solely upon advice of travel agents for my overseas travel, especially for more complex itineraries.
When travelling to Canada in 2011, my hotel stay in Vancouver was being booked, and for all intensive purposes that which was booked looked great. Had I not had access to TripAdvisor and people’s reviews of my hotel I would have arrived to a hotel that had in the past month experienced issues with bed bugs. As result of this discovery, I conducted further research and found comparable bug-free accommodation. A few years later I was travelling to New Zealand, part of my journey was on a tour of the South Island followed by a train journey from Greymouth to Christchurch and then I was booked to fly on to Wellington. Had I not looked more closely I’d not have discovered I was still on the train when due to fly from Christchurch. The lessons learned over the years are:
- Check your itinerary thoroughly, never assume it is error-free, we’re all human after all
- Use sites like TripAdvisor to research your hotels ahead of time and check users recent reviews, what are they saying? If a number of users are complaining it may be sagely advice to stay elsewhere
- How much time do you have between your flights? I got stranded in Brisbane for 4 days after a flight left LA late and another carrier in Australia had grounded their planes. I’ve also come within minutes of missing a flight coming back from Europe; longer transfer times in airports may seem a bother, but these can also give you breathing room
- Don’t go without comprehensive travel insurance. Thankfully I’ve never required to use it, but how many times do you see people on the news where something has gone wrong without coverage
- Use sites like SmartTraveller, if your government needs to contact you it’s worth the few minutes to complete your travel itinerary
- Don’t forget to tell the bank, a friend forgot years ago and has all access to her cards cut off during her travels
Do you have any tips you’d care to share?