Hi there! Now that we are getting into Easter holidays, I would like to share with you some tips for having an amazing vacation, by using the available technology in our smartphones:
- Avoid peak weeks. Google usually shows a prediction about the amount of people who will be visiting certain places. If you don’t have children in school age, try to avoid going to famous destinations in the peak season.
- Book ahead! Although you think you could get some last-minute deals if you wait, you will always get the best deals when you book ahead. My suggestion is to book the big things at least one month ahead (hotels, transportation, and main attractions), and maybe leave the minor attractions for when you arrive to your holidays destination. For example, if you’re traveling to Rome, at least book the Vatican tickets ahead for Christ sake! Trust me on this: prices won’t be better when you get there, but you will save a lot of time and money when booking ahead.
- Always book online. It’s always faster and safer to book online. You avoid the giant queues with people paying in cash, and you also avoid the tour resellers, who are always hunting clueless tourists willing to pay in cash their expensive last-minute tours. All the information you need and the best prices are available online!
- Book trains and flights ahead. This is an old one, but we usually procrastinate buying our plane and train tickets, and they always get more expensive as the departure date gets closer. And remember to be green: there’s no need to print tickets anymore, your mobile phone is your ticket to the world.
- Use Foursquare. It’s always a wonderful experience to wander around looking for a nice place to eat, but if you’re hungry and you aren’t finding any good options close to your location, or you have some concerns regarding the price and type of food, try Foursquare! Usually, their user-based recommendations derive into nice eating experiences matching your expectations!
- The highest ranked option is not always the best one. All right, I know I’ve recommended to use Foursquare in the previous point, but don’t get obsessed with it. Foursquare is not the ultimate authority of the eating universe, and sometimes their #1 recommendation might be overcrowded and overrated. Don’t be such a mainstream tourist; instead, try other places with a decent ranking. You will get surprised.
- Rely on e-business platforms. They are amazing. You don’t need to put up with bad-mannered taxi drivers or to sleep in crappy places anymore. You can find affordable rides in Uber, wonderful recommendations in Trip Advisor, and amazing places to sleep in sites like Booking or Air B&B. These community-based platforms always show ratings, so you can have a very accurate idea of what will you be paying for, and you can find tons of options matching your budget. And the staff will usually try their best to offer you a good service, waiting for a fair review in return.
- Don’t know your way around? Fret not. Use Google Maps app to know the best route to your hotel or to the attractions. It will show you everything you need to know about timetables, distances, bus routes, metro routes, Uber prices, opening hours, etc.
- Always hire a mobile plan or roaming. Don’t save money on this one. You can forget your sunglasses or try to save some money by eating in McDonald’s, but do hire an internet plan for the cities you will visit. It will be extremely useful for a lot of things: finding a route, requesting a taxi, buying tickets, booking a last-minute hotel, find opening hours, etc.
- Enjoy the small things! In my experience, most places when you’re traveling aren’t “extremely expensive” or “extremely cheap”. So, don’t overthink it and instead, combine them! Maybe you can treat yourself with a fancy lunch in a nice place, and you can compensate it later in the dinner by buying salad and wine in a supermarket (there’s always one close to your hotel). Enjoy the small pleasures of life! You deserve to have a nice meal, but it’s also delicious and funny to share a cheap dinner with your friends or significant other…you will always laugh about how you managed to eat so cheaply that night.
Do you have any other interesting or funny tips for traveling in 2017?