Monday, 29 October 2012

Simple travel tips for dummies

Hello beauties!

Before I say anything else, if you're in the path of hurricane Sandy, good luck. You're in our prayers and we'll be watching the news to see how you're faring. I have family who are being touched by the wrath of Sandy and we'll be praying for the Gordon's in Canada as well!!

Hoping your weekend was as awesome as mine. Got to spend Saturday morning with Liani (which was EPIC in itself.) Girls, make a weekly date with your bestie and just spend some time together doing random stuff. It's good for the soul to see your best friend often. Really. (Ps. Liani, you RAWK!!).

Liani and myself looking steamed for our legendary steampunk shoot.

Speaking of Liani, have you been over at her blog recently? She's doing a training diary on there, so if you need the inspiration to get fit for Summer holidays, go no further that THIS LINK.

Saturday evening was spent with two lovely people, Rita-Mari and Andre. Thank you two, we had an awesome time and we'll see you again soon!! (:

OK, so I stole the title for today's blog from a book. And I have to say that one of the big reasons I'm doing this post is because Liani and Franco are headed to their own travel adventure next year and I figured that sharing tips would be worth it. We learned a lot while abroad, like what to take along, what not to take, which airports are stricter than others and a lot more.

I'm splitting this post in two. Today, I'll tell you what you need to research before your trip and tomorrow we'll talk about what you should take with you, otherwise, this post would be much too long.

The first thing to do, that is after you've decided on a destination, is to do some research on where you're going. This sounds so simple, but so many people don't actually do this. I don't mean you have to spend money to do this research, although Liani bought some books on Italy, which has EVERYTHING in it, from maps to currency to what you should wear. But if you have a cell phone, chances are you have internet. GOOGLE, people. Google knows everything. And this stupid little research step can save you a lot of trouble later on.

Things to research before you go :

* Visas and passports. Know what you need for which country. For example, from South Africa to Mozambique, you don't need a visa, your passport is sufficient. But from South Africa to almost everywhere in the world, you'll need a visa as well. Most countries allow you to see the requirements for your visa applications online, so check it out. This will help you to have everything you need for your visa appointment and could save you the trouble of having to go through the application process a second time because you forgot something the first time.

* Currency. You need to know the exchange rate, what to expect from prices where you're going and if it's safe to take cash. Did you know that Paris is notorious for its pickpockets and that it's not a good idea to take cash with you there? Did you know that Venice is more expensive than some other vacation destinations because it's always filled with tourists?

* Weather. Find out how the weather is going to be during your stay. This will help you with your packing. (GASP! SHOCK! SURPRISE!)

* Places to stay. Make sure you check out online reviews of the places you're considering and see if it's what you're looking for. Also remember to check the location of the accommodation. You can book places at a fraction of the cost further out of the main city, but travel to the attractions you want to see can load the cost so much that it would have been less expensive to just stay closer to the city center.

* PUBLIC TRANSPORT. This is very important when you travel inexpensively. A taxi can cost you up to 300% what the public transport would have. Trains, busses and water ferries can get you there just as fast taxi's and there are usually stations at each of the tourist attractions.

* Tourist attractions. You should know where you want to go. Another (GASP! SHOCK! SURPRISE!) But this is one of those stupid things people forget to do.

* This one of for when you know which attractions you want to see. Find out the entrance fee, hours of business and dress code for the places you want to visit. Some places won't allow you to enter with bare shoulders or with jeans, like the cathedrals in Italy.

* Book online. This, again, goes with the previous two. You can save up to 30% if you pre book and you also get great bundle deals. Just remember to print your tickets before you go and keep them in a safe place. A bonus that goes along here is the fact that you cut out ticket lines.

* Culture. You need to know what to expect of the people in the place you're going to. Know what gives offence, what is expected for tips in restaurants, and simple things, like when is siesta or what they consider polite and acceptable behaviour.

Tune in tomorrow for more on this!!

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,

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