After months of working hard, and months of saving money, it’s holiday time. You finally get to visit your bucket-list destination and take it all in. the sights, sounds, tastes, culture, and atmosphere. There’s nothing quite like touring your favourite city and country. However, your holiday could go south if you go into it without proper planning and tips to make it the best vacation ever. So, whether you’re going on a solocation, baecation, girls’ trip, backpack, camping, family holiday or a short weekend getaway, keep reading to learn how to tour like a pro.
World Tourism Day
Every year on 27 September, the world commemorates World Tourism Day. This special day was designated by the World Tourism Organization in 1979 and is aimed at raising awareness to all international communities about the value tourism has in the social, cultural, political, and economic spheres.
The Best Time To Travel
If you ask me, the best time to travel is all-year round. But, realistically speaking, this isn’t possible for most of us and so we must plan the best time according to various things. Have you saved enough? Do you have enough days to take off from work? Are you looking for snow or sun? Beach or city escapes? And of course, will the main attractions be open and available for you to experience at the time you choose to go? So many questions.
The best time of the year to travel is September. It’s the perfect month whatever hemisphere you play to tour in. In the northern hemisphere, the peak summer season has wrapped up. The cities are much quieter, most tourists have returned home, and the prices are once again more affordable. In the southern hemispheres, winter has passed, and the weather is warming up again. You won’t be lugging around coats and jackets and rubbing hands by the fire. The weather isn’t too hot, so you’ll still be able to enjoy your days without searching for the nearest pool to jump into.
Tour Like a Pro Essentials
Before you jet off to your destination, there are a few essentials you need to ensure are in place. They may seem boring, and yes, they may be, but are necessary and will save you a lot of trouble if the need calls for them.
- Travel insurance. This is essential especially if you’re traveling to another country. You don’t want to imagine the worst on your trip, but should the unthinkable happen, your travel insurance policy will cover medical costs, lost luggage, flight delays and more. Coming home with an exorbitant bill will sour any holiday.
- Book flights in advance. If you can, it’s advised to book your flight tickets in the opposite season of the time you want to travel. So, if you want a winter holiday, book your tickets in summer. And if you want to tour during the summer months, book your tickets in winter for the best prices. Additionally, the best days to book your tickets are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
- Medication. Some places are prone to outbreaks and diseases and require you to be fully vaccinated. Consult ahead of departure and make sure you have all the right shots and pills. Don’t forget to check your prescriptions are filled for any prior health issues you may have.
Tips To Tour Like A Pro
Now you’re ready to go. The boring stuff is out of the way, it’s time for fun.
It’s easy to fall into the tourist trap when visiting another country or city. The Eiffel tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome. Every city has ‘must-see’ spots like these and it’s not to say don’t go visit them. Because did you really go to Paris if you didn’t take a photo with the Eiffel Tower in the background? These tourist attractions shouldn’t be all you see and do. It’s often been said that the best way to see a city is to experience it like the locals do. Check out a few more tips to get you from beginner to pro.
- Pack light. Dragging bags of clothes across airports is well…a drag. Pack the essentials and leave room for shopping ahead.
- Portable charger and power banks. Pack the right adapters for the country you’re visiting and an extra power bank. You don’t want to be stranded without a phone. It’s light and handy and won’t take up space.
- Learn the local language. No. We don’t expect you to be fluent but learning a few key phrases in the local language will go a long way. The locals will love you for it.
- Use local transit. In many countries, developing ones too, the local transport system is efficient and goes just about everywhere. You’ll save on taxi fare, see the city the way the locals do, and it’s a great place to put those phrases you learned into practice.
- Go local. ‘When in Rome, do like the Romans do.’ You didn’t travel all the way to another country to eat at the fast-food joint you left at home, right? Go to the local markets, try their street foods, and dig into their authentic cuisine. These dishes are rich, flavourful and are a great way to get the actual taste of the city.
- Learn the customs. Some countries are more conservative than others. Many countries frown upon certain practices, innocent as they may be. The last thing you want to do is offend people and be caught in awkward situations. Read a bit about the country’s customs before you land so that you don’t step on anyone’s toes and leave a bad impression.
- Carry local currency. Calculating conversion rates. Counting notes. How much to tip. Being taken for a ride while bartering with the locals. This can cause a bit of a headache. Always carry local currency. It just makes things easier when you need to pay wherever you are.
Now of course, no article can teach you absolutely everything. Some mishaps, mistakes and stumbles are part of the touring experiences, and you’ll need to play it by the ear. Every city has its own language, ways, and an atmosphere that draws people to it. There’s beauty to be discovered and memories to be made. Touring any country is an experience to be enjoyed.
If you need help or someone to handle all the logistics on your behalf, get in touch with a travel agent and they’ll sort everything out for you. Remember to be patient. Slow down and take it all in. But, with these in mind, you’re well on your way to be dropped in any city and tour like a pro.