Tag Archives: travel tips

How to dress when travelling

6 Aug

There was a time when I felt I had to really dress up when travelling. I would make sure my hair was well coiffed, full face of makeup and dressed to impress: nice jeans, cute top, chandelier earrings…basically I did the most.

As I progressed in life and began travelling more frequently my need to look dressed up dwindled and was gradually replaced with functional dressing until I reached the point I’m at now…comfortable.

TIPS

Comfy pants– For me, that’s leggings but joggers or sweatpants can work.

Layer – I usually wear a tank or other lightweight top so I can keep cool if I’m running from one gate to the next but then I carry a long sleeve button down to bundle up in when it gets cold.

Easy shoes– After travelling in flip-flops and sneakers, I’ve finally found my sweet spot… slip-ons. Let me tell you why. Slip ons are comfortable and durable like sneakers BUT super easy to get on and off when going through security.

Change of clothes– This is for when you travel from one climate to another e.g. going from a colder to a tropical climate. I would toss a change of shoes and bottom in my carry on luggage.

Limit jewelry– All the bangles and rings look fantastic especially for selfie purposes but become a bulky chore both when going through security and trying to get comfy in your airplane seat.

Bare your face– This was my personal “AHA” moment. Despite dressing down I would still make an effort to have my face done, so as to look presentable. But guess what, nothing and I do mean NOTHING feels better than travelling sans makeup save for a bit of SPF (except that moment you take your bra off …but I digress). If you’re on a long flight your skin gets a chance to breathe and you won’t have to worry about touching up after half of your makeup comes off on your neck pillow.

That’s my 2 cents on how to dress when travelling. I find when I go this route I feel relaxed and I have one less thing to stress about when travelling. Have an awesome day!

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Travel Tips- Transport

3 Nov

Oli Oli Bus in Oahu Hawaii 
Hello
Today I will talk about transport options to consider while travelling. I have touched previously on money saving transport tips but I wanted to take a more in-depth look at it.
I really love travelling but as I’ve said before you can easily spend half your vacation budget on transport and for me that’s not good. I will take a look at the major forms of transport and some tips on how and when to use them.
1) RENTAL CAR

Rental vehicles are useful if you are traveling in a group or visiting someplace not easily explored via public transport. For example, I had a family vacation earlier this year to Orlando FL. There were five of us and we went to various theme parks and malls. Due to the layout of Orlando and the number of persons, a rental vehicle was our most feasible option. We split the cost and shared the driving load and it worked out well.

TIPS

Shop around– There are dozens if not hundreds of rental car companies out there. Don’t just rent the first thing you see. In some instances you can even bid for a car. Also, most rental companies don’t charge you on booking but only once you actually rent the car so even when you arrive at your destination you can check out different companies for the best deal.

Read Contract/Policies carefully– This is so important. Make sure you are fully aware of the company’s policies on gas, tolls and damage.

Be wary of upgrades– I fell so hard for this the first time I rented a car. I see upgrades the way I see the tactic fast food companies use when they offer you fries with every meal or convenience stores that offer you gum or water: Trickery via the power of suggestion. 

If an upgrade is recommended be sure to get all the details needed. Sometimes the upgrade ,often sold as being a better deal excludes important and mandatory aspects and it is only revealed when you receive your final bill.

Consider Insurance – All rental companies will offer you insurance for extra money per day. This can drive up the cost of your rental in a major way. 

I say consider because the truth is most of us go through most days without having any accidents at all so the chance of one happening in the few days you rent the car are slim. That being said, in the off chance something should happen you may regret not having that insurance. My advice is to clarify how much the insurance covers and if it seems appropriate then get it and protect yourself.

Nix GPS-By this I mean do not rent the company’s GPS  system for $15 per day. In 2016, you can use Google maps or waze or a similar app and use it for navigation. If you are travelling outside your country you can invest in a sim card so you can use the apps.
2) TAXI

This refers to original taxis, not services like Uber. Taxis are typically safe because taxi drivers are lisensed and members of associations and companies. They have to display their names and credentials and rides are either metered or list preset prices for various destinations to avoid overcharging . However ,  taxis are expensive and this is what has fuelled to popularity of  Uber et al. 

For me I use taxis to take me to and from the airport on trips where I haven’t rented a vehicle or on the off chance I am out someplace after buses have stopped running. Apart from that I am very wary of taxis.

TIPS

Ask about average prices beforehand– Getting a vague idea of how much it costs to go from point A to B prepares you for what you will pay and can clue you in if it seems too pricey.

Get an idea of the fastest routes– The meters go according to distance. If your driver takes a more convoluted route, your price will go up. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the routes via Google maps etc so you know if you’re both literally and figuratively being taken for a ride . This has happened to me before.Don’t let it be you!
3) UBER/LYFT

These are known as ride sharing services. The original and best known is Uber but there are now many similar services available worldwide . For anyone unfamiliar, the service involves using an app where you request a ride from a driver nearby. You are aware of the cost of the ride prior to getting in and payment is via credit card. If you don’t take the ride, you aren’t charged.

The major difference between this type of service and a traditional taxi service is that the drivers are not lisensed taxi drivers. This results in lower fares and makes it a preferred option for many because of this. On the downside there is minimal regulation of said drivers and there have been some unfortunate incidents involving drivers. 

I say use these services with caution. Obviously I advocate for the most cost effective options but safety always comes first . 

TIP

Read reviews – This is a saving grace where users rate drivers and vice versa. This can direct you away from problematic drivers and towards the good ones.
4) PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This refers primarily to buses and trains. This is likely the second most cost effective way to travel. In most well planned cities and even in rural areas there are regular reliable bus/train services.

 I recommend using public transport if you are travelling to a busy city or of you are on a leisurely vacation where you aren’t rushing to go anyplace (’cause public transport can be tedious!) I also recommend this mode of transport if you are alone or in a small group of maybe two or three persons where it is less expensive than car rental.

TIPS

Get a schedule– So you know when and where the bus you want will be arriving. Many bus services now have apps where you can see in real time the current location and estimated arrival time of the next bus or train.

Plan to leave well in advance– As I said , public transport can sometimes be tedious. As the day wears on there tend to be more and more delays. Additionally ,  buses and trains make stops, a lot  of them. This means that a trip that may take twenty minutes in a taxi could take an hour by bus due to these factors. So leave home well before you want to arrive at your destination.
5) WALK

Sometimes this is the best option. If you’re going someplace nearby and you aren’t in a hurry this can be ideal . It is certainly the cheapest as it’s completely free not to mention getting that cardio in.

TIPS

Know your route-Make sure you know where you are going. Google maps etc can help you plot your course.

Make sure it’s a safe area– Keep to well lit, busy areas especially if you are alone.

 I was once the person who took taxi everywhere and it burned my pockets and my very soul, so I know how important it is to choose the right mode of transport on the right time on your trip.

I hope my breakdown and tips have offered some help to anyone planning a trip and I hope you have an awesome day!

Ten (money saving ) Travel Tips 

31 Aug

Bags…CHECK

Passport… CHECK

Money saving tips..CHECK,CHECK,CHECK

Hello

I’ve done my fair share of traveling -on a budget of course and I wanted to share a few tips I’ve curated and cultivated along the way. Some may seem obvious and others may be something new, so read on…

1) Book your ticket early

I cannot stress this enough. Typically flights, train tickets,  boat tickets go up in price the closer it gets to the date of travel. I have paid 3 times the normal amount for a ticket because I waited 2 days before the flight to book it.Don’t let that be you!

2) Use multiple sources/sites to book your hotel/ticket /rental car

I remember back in the day in order to get a flight you had to make an appointment with your travel agent, pay whatever price he or she gave you and get a thick wad of papers (your ticket) in return.

I also recall that in order to get a hotel room you flipped through brochures looking at pictures of a room boasting vistas and furniture that was far better quality than the one you would actually end up staying in while the travel agent “booked” you in.

Now, you just go online and find your flight, your room and your car sometimes on the same website.

However,  don’t just book the first thing you see. There are dozens maybe even hundreds of websites you can use to view, compare and even bid for your hotel rooms and tickets. Use these. Also ,never completely rule out the usefulness of a travel agent,  they have unique access to certain packages and sometimes remain the best option.

Some websites I have had good results with are Kayak and Expedia.

3) Recheck your flight !

Do this for the date, the time and the carrier.

My sister ended up completely missing the wedding of a family friend because she thought her flight was 7pm when it was really 7am.Don’t let this be you!

 Always recheck everything a few days before then again on the day of travel. Also make sure you read any emails or text messages informing of flight changes.

4) Plan your activities 

Museum visit, shopping, tour, dinner. All of the wonderful things we experience when on a trip. Depending on where these things are located you can find yourself traveling very long extended distances and using loads of money in gas or taxi fare.

Before you venture out, take a good look at Google maps and plot your course so that all the things you do in a day are close to each other or form a loop.

5) Use Public Transport 

Do this when feasible,  when reliable and when safe.

Certain places especially large cities or areas that cater to tourists have excellent,  affordable public transport. For example trains in London or the iRide Trolley buses in Orlando. Often times you spend a literal fraction of the cost when using these methods rather than a hired ride whether taxi or Uber or Lyft. 

It is worthwhile to compare the cost of public transport with that of a rented vehicle, in some instances it is more feasible to rent than use public transport.

6) Buy your food from the supermarket 

This might sound counter productive especially if you’re a big time foodie like myself. Isn’t eating out and about half the fun if a trip? Yes, however you don’t need to eat ALL of your meals from gourmet cafes. Sometimes all you need is a yogurt and apple for breakfast and a protein bar for lunch. 

Purchasing breakfast items and snacks as well as water from someplace like a supermarket where things are cheaper can conserve your coins for a real feast. 

If your hotel includes breakfast you can also take a long some of the fruit, muffins etc to last throughout the day.

7) Use coupons!

I started doing this about five years ago and I can’t believe I wasn’t doing it my whole life! I use coupon codes for everything from $10 off at clothing stores to free appetizers with dinner to discounts on tours. They are very useful and you can opt to print them or just download them to your phone.

A website I often use is retailmenot.com

8) Check the weather

You can often get a predicted forecast up to two weeks ahead of time. This is important, you don’t want to show up with shorts and a bikini expecting to lay on the beach when there is cold weather or a storm coming. A particularly concerning weather forecast can even mean having to postpone. Additionally also have an idea of things like civil unrest, certain customs, dresscodes etc.

9) Price check (BEFOREHAND)

As much as we hate to think it, tourists are targets for price gouging. You want to buy something or do something and you have no idea of the cost so you pay whatever is asked. Don’t do it. You can look up different tour prices online beforehand, you can also peruse the many travel blogs where people give this kind of information and you can ask an unbiased local. I usually approach police officers or hotel workers and verify predicted costs of certain things . Don’t get taken!

10) Be safe!

I mean this in all senses of the word. Physically safe and financial safe. 

If you get a bad feeling about the way a hotel looks or the street you’re about to go down, trust your instinct! 

Also, watch your money and cards. Be careful pulling out large bills and be careful who you give your credit card to, even the cashiers. A few months ago I discovered charges made from my credit card in New York (where I hadn’t been in two years) and Texas (where I’d never been). I had spent a few days in Miami and I didn’t lose my card, so who knows who got that information and how.

I hope my tips are useful and that you have a great trip and an awesome day! 

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