Travel Easy: Tools and Tips
I have been getting a lot of questions from people wanting to know what travel tools I use, travel tips, traveling with visas, deciding the place to go, and all that good stuff. I thought to share some before I blog about my next trip to Munchen, Germany!!! I will keep updating this post as more stuff comes to mind.
How I love to Travel:
- My mini-suitcase – this bag has been through it all. I don’t travel with any cute suitcase (the airlines will be sure to destroy them for you). Though I learned the secret on how you can get your bags handled properly( Not saying it here, it’s a secret hahah). I usually try to travel light. One thing I have learned is you end up not wearing a lot of the stuff you pack. Well for me, I live out of a suitcase anyways, so I don’t have much to travel with.
- Leggings and TOMS – You will always catch me with my TOMS and leggings: Winter or Summer. Very comfortable to travel in.
- A huge carry-on bag – I got a solid leather carry-on that I can fit almost anything in – Laptop(only for trips I have to work on Fridays), iPad, kindle, phones, makeup, documents,earphones, socks, ibuprofen, etc.
- Neck pillow and blanket – For those non-frequent fliers, you may want to bring along a mini blanket, some airlines don’t provide you with this. You don’t want to freeze on the plane. It gets pretty cold up there. I like to have two blankets with me, so I bring mine along.
- Book(s)– Thank God for technology, now we have books on apps, makes it easier. Sometimes I’d pick up a copy of The Economist before my flight, especially on long flights.
- City Guide, Airline, Hotel Apps – I love all my travel apps, they all serve different purposes. I have the Delta, Jet Blue and United Apps, makes checking in and boarding easy. I have the SPG app that helps me view all my hotel reservations with SPG hotels. I also have various City Guide Apps; Guide Pal, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Luxe; use to get quick facts about my destination. Some of them have an offline version.
General Travel Tips : Some tips you may not find on other travel sites about traveling
- Getting cheaper flights – stalk your ticket. There are a couple of travel sites that allow you put a tracker on tickets such as Kayak and Bing Travels. I usually buy my tickets 2-3wks before I travel. The only time I’d buy it months n advance is if I find the ticket for a really cheap price. Best days to buy tickets are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, if you have flexible travel schedule, it is usually cheaper to fly out on a Tuesday/Wednesday and return on a Saturday/ Tuesday. You want to avoid traveling on Friday, Sunday and Monday. We consultants fly out on those days, so they’re usually more expensive.
- Always use travel sites to search for hotel and flight deals. Some travel sites are Hotels.com, Kayak.com, Priceline.com, Booking.com.
- To save money, travel during low seasons – if you can
- Always read up on things to do at your destination. Some really cool sites are Frommers.com and LonelyPlanet.com.
- Always read up on reviews for hotels, restaurants, etc. Tripadvisor is really good for this.
- Always have a pen, neck pillow and blanket , your favorite carry-on tote, 1 suitcase (especially if you are backpacking). Don’t over pack.
- Grab a copy of the book “1000 Places to see before you die”. This book has a lot of information about great destinations and what to do there. It is a great travel kit for planning and knowing where to visit.
- Look up exchange rates before traveling: Most times, it is not advisable to change your money at the airport. Change at your hotel or a local exchange place in the city. An exception to this is in Europe, from my experience, it is sometimes better to change money at the airport but that depends on the exchange rate. If it doesn’t favor you at all, then wait till you are in the city or better still use the ATM.
- Download your Travel Apps.
- Always do a cost analysis before any trip: If you are traveling on a budget, you may want to do create a cost spreadsheet to calculate all your expenses. This way you know how much you are spending and how much you should take with you on your trip. Always over budget a little bit, to account for the unexpected. This also helps you to track how much you spend per year traveling.
- You may also want to print or write out your itinerary before traveling. Remember you may not have cellular network at destination, so you want to ensure you got everything with you before traveling.
- Make sure you look into the various Ground Transportation options at your destination; go with the most convenient for you. I usually go with the cheapest, then I consider convenience. But that’s just the hustler in me. A good travel site for ground transportation option especially in Europe is Seat61.com
- Before traveling, make sure you check with your mobile network provider. Ask about roaming and international charges. I usually use WI-FI when I travel, so I don’t incur any roaming charges.
- If you ever want to book tours or activities at your travel destination, be sure to read up reviews, compare different vendors, and always negotiate. Sometimes it is even better to wait till you get to your destination before booking. Handle it trip by trip.
- For Solo Travelers, I’m going to list a couple of countries you can travel to solo. I think you can go pretty much anywhere solo but some places more safe than the others. Here’s a mini list: Costa Rica, Ireland, Australia, Peru, Amsterdam, Singapore, Arizona, New York, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, St Marteen. You can start here.
- Great Travel article to read: “Nine Great Lessons Every Traveler Must Learn “
Tips for International Travelers needing visa
- Plan ahead: give yourself enough time to get your visas. Especially if you are Nigerian, you may want to give yourself additional time. Something about embassies and the Nigerian passport. They do not like us very much.
- Check online for visa processing time per country. You may also want to email the embassy if you want more information.
- Unless you have to use an agent (if specified by the country), it is usually better to submit your application directly to the consulate.
- Always have a pen in your bag so you can fill out necessary custom and immigration documents.
- If you are Nigerian with a Nigerian passport, you will find that you need a visa for almost any country in the world. Some countries don’t require a visa for Nigerian nationals; very few countries.
- If you have a valid USA or UK visa or a permanent resident card, some countries will allow entry without a visa. Some require you to pay a visa waiver fee or entry fee.