Planning and Time Management
So you’ve decided to go travelling and you don’t know where to start or how you even begin to write a task list, or how to allocate your time. Check out my Planning Tips section with step-by-step guide to travel planning and learn all about The Pomodoro Technique.
Books, Websites and Destination Guides
- I recommend Lonely Planet and Time Out – my agent also recommended BRADT Guides for authenticity/expertise.
- In terms of destination guides found online, Nomadic Matt is definitely worth checking out.
- Trip Advisor usually has a good overview for areas so it’s worth scrolling through people’s comments for travel tips. I found one post on Trip Advisor about the Amazon (Leticia, Colombia) particularly helpful when planning my trip.
- Other blogs/sites that stood out for me included The Backpacker Report and her packing list.
- Visas and specific Entry Requirements to countries you are visiting: www.gov.uk/foreigntraveladvice. This information could apply to anyone travelling – not just UK citizens. It’s a good government site, it’s clean and user-friendly.
- Vaccinations you need and price comparisons: check your local doctor’s surgery for what you can get for free and Google travel clinics locally to you. Check out:
- MASTA Travel Clinics and find out what vaccinations you need by booking yourself an appointment via www.statravelclinic.co.uk (NB you don’t have to keep the appointment if you don’t need the vaccinations. Just take what information you need and cancel the appointment).
- Visit Fit For Travel for more advice
- Visit MedExpress for Malaria tablet price comparisons. Worth doing an extensive search online and checking with your local pharmacies, as prices vary dramatically.
- Money, money, money!
- For foreign currency exchange and cheat sheets that fit into your wallet visit Oanda.com
- The banks I chose to join based on free / cheaper cash withdrawal rates abroad were Norwich and Peterborough Building Society and Metro Bank. For those who bank outside of the UK, Nomadic Matt’s advice on ATM charges and foreign exchange seemed to be the most useful. There are lots of useful comments on this page as well.
I’ve written about the above topics in more detail in my planning section.
Travel better, cheaper, longer…
When I started planning I visited Nomadic Matt’s website. It’s a terrific place to start.
Nomadic Matt has been travelling the world since 2006 and has made a career from blogging about it. On his site you’ll find a curated list of all the best articles related to planning a trip – whether it’s a two week vacation to Italy or a year long trip around the world. The tips are broken down into categories (and steps) so you can find the information you need fast and effectively.
My top picks from this site:
I personally wanted to wing it on the accommodation front – just arrive and see what was available. I then realised that travelling at high season (especially around Christmas time) meant I would probably need to book quite a lot of my accommodation far in advance.
I have been told that it is best to book accommodation in advance nowadays as the internet really has taken over and by booking in advance you are more likely to get the best deals.
I spent a good few weeks playing email tennis with various hostels around Cuba and Mexico, desperate to book a decent room. A lot of places that looked great informed me that they were already fully booked. PANIC!
These websites are AMAZING! The sites are easy to navigate, the accommodation options are endless, there are reviews, photographs and unlike Trip Advisor (which is also great), it is tailored with the budget traveller in mind. A good tip here is to cross reference reviews on these sites with the reviews on Trip Advisor, as it gives you a more balanced insight.
The good news with third party bookings:
You only pay a small percentage, meaning that if your plans change suddenly, you haven’t lost a great deal of money, depending on how long you have booked to stay for it could be just £3.
Nomadic Matt has useful tips on how to get cheap accommodation.
Set up a PayPal account for easy/charge free transfer of money abroad. Handy when booking accommodation in advance or paying online for a trip.
Top Tips for Travelling Girls
Check out ‘her packing list.’
This website gives you a great insight into how other ladies pack, travel and survive on the road. Guest bloggers share their tips on travel essentials.
“Her Packing List has produced over 100 packing lists (for various countries and activities around the world), along with numerous backpack reviews, gear reviews, and posts containing solid female travel advice.”
This site helped to inform my own packing and check list.
My favourite bits:
So my hair is naturally dark but about 10 years ago God, in all his glory decided to turn my hair completely white and leave my eyebrows dark. At least He spared me the anguish of going grey first but still, to avoid the Alistair Darling /Pepe le Pew look I have to dye my hair roughly every 3 weeks (and that’s pushing it).
I asked my hairdresser for advice on how I can manage these complicated locks on my travels. I have to admit, the man is a GENIUS!
Here’s what he suggested:
Mascara. Apply some waterproof mascara to your roots where the parting starts and just rub it in. Sure it may feel a bit manky at first but after it’s dried, unless you’re diving into water every day, it actually stays in your hair. I tested the theory before travelling and found I could leave my hair for up to 4 weeks without hair dye. It’s the BEST hair hack I’ve ever come across.
Mascara comes in all sorts of shades and you can get special hair mascara as well but I just use the one I use for my lashes. I also use a hat if I get desperate; sun glasses perched on top of the head are a good disguise, as are bandannas and hairbands.