Nathan Howard. I'm a second year student living in London. I like to share my experiences with other's to inform them on London and what it has to offer!
Published July 8th 2017
Whether a city break or going long haul, we all value holidays. It's a time to relax, reflect, let loose and be ourselves. Nowadays, there's a lot of pressure on us to get the most from our holidays, especially when the average cost of a holiday abroad is £4,792 for a family of 4 in the UK. Here I give tips and advice to help you get the most from your travels.
Eiffel Tower, Paris... One of Europe's top city break destinations
Do your research Do you need a visa for the country you're travelling to? Are there any form of restrictions in the country you're travelling to? These may sound simple but 1000's of people don't read into it before hand, causing huge delays, or even being sent back home. Not what you want when you've saved for your dream vacation. Most Asian countries, as-well as the US and many other popular holiday destinations, so please check these prior to travelling. As for other restrictions, countries which hold values highly in areas such as religion may require you to dress appropriately, even when travelling, to respect their culture and beliefs. In Dubai, for example, appropriate coverage of the body is necessary, and no provocative wear is deemed executable in public.
This applies to those going on short city breaks more than longer stays, but some form of planning in a great way to make the most of your holiday. Plan which days you may want to sight see, what days are best to see what? It may be that you're staying close to an attraction and so want to visit that first. Either way, some consideration to what you want to see and when is always helpful to be sure to make the most of your stay, even for those who are most spontaneous!
Don't just visit the 'touristy' stuff If you're going Paris, of course, you'll want to visit the Eiffel Tower, but make sure you visit the smaller more intimate places too. Why not visit some quite coffee shops, try some of your country's delicacies? To really understand what It's like to live or be in your chosen holiday destination, you need to go off the beaten track and not follow the crowd. Hiring a car is always a god idea, and is a great way to visit hidden places .. just make sure they're safe places, and of course, don't get too lost!
Speak the language, or at least learn a little (or try!) People appreciate it when you make an effort to learn the basics of their language. Maybe try to learn how to order your favourite food in a restaurant? Whatever it may be, people notice the effort and a slightly less language barrier can never be a bad thing! For those who may be capable of speaking conversational or fluent of their holiday destination, then fantastic! You can talk to locals, discuss the best places to visit and can ask for help if needed.
Lastly, relax and enjoy it! Don't forget, you are on holiday after all, and too much planning and holiday structure can actually be tiring and affect your enjoyment of a holiday. My advice would be not to plan too much, and dedicate at least one or two days to where you plan nothing, whether that be a day sunbathing or a spontaneous day out… It's good to take your holiday not too seriously!