Tip 0040 Make the most of your travel
You may or may not travel a lot but either way you want to make the most of your travelling, after all you have spent many hours saving up for your travel and you don't want to waste any of it or time travelling.
The key to any successful travel is planning. No of course an impromptu trip can be a bit of a dash and go but you still need a certain amount of planning, be it just shove a passport on your pocket, a credit card and a camera or pack an overnighter and toothbrush.
Remember, planning is not just what you need to take with you but a whole array of other things to think about, like will type of travel, length of travel, time off work, what to take, having itineraries, what are you going to do whilst travelling and a whole load of other things to get the most out of your travel.
Planning in detail saves disappointment and unnecessary stress.
Tips 0021 Do a little work.
This is a time issue and all this work takes time. You really do have to weigh up how much time you spend on research against time at work earning the money.
If your already travelling then this may not be a concern but it certainly is a worthwhile exercise costing it all out.
You could be saving $500 on a two week trip and you could spend 20 hours on research and planning. If you're on $25 an hour they cancel each other out but as we've said before, all this research and planning is all part of travelling for us and we would gladly spend time getting what we really want than leaving it all up to someone else.
Having said all that, I have saved over $15,000 on 3 months travelling around South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana by booking it all myself. My math works that out to be a lot of hours working on the tools.
Tip 0025 Actually read reviews in detail.
So many people are happy to write a review on where they have been and what the places are like and this is a great way of making an informed decision BUT and this is a big but. For your own benefit we highly recommend that you "read these reviews in detail."
Researching, listening and reading up on what places are like is a great way to determine if this is what you're looking for.
We recommend using the usual mediums for this but this can also be all too confusing as you hear and read so many conflicting reviews.
As you read a review you will probably see the usual area of bad to fab sections. Just because someones reviews are bad, make sure you read these thoroughly. We've heard about many sudden changes of preference from not reading reviews carefully.
The main issue seems to be, if someone has a bad experience no matter how small, they tend to give a bad review. Even more so if the problem they had was unresolved. It's almost like getting their own back as a pay back.
The good thing nowadays is that more and more of you are reviewing and with volume comes truth.
If you really like a place to travel to, please read the majority of reviews to get a full overview of peoples experiences.
Quite frankly a lot of bad reviews we read are ridiculous and we often feel for the companies that rely on good reviews.
A lot of people feel that they should pay for a one star travel experience and get a five star experience.
You also get the jet set five star all frills no spills travellers. That decide they want to experience third world countries in all their glory and are not happy that the bathrooms have tree trunks as vanity work tops with plastic hoses, instead of marble and gold taps. worse still they complain about it.
Now you might think this ridiculous but we have read such reviews.
Try reading reviews of where you have already been that was lovely and then you will see what we mean.
Tip 0022 Appearances can be deceiving.
Things are not what they seem. Everything appears beautiful in the brochures and that's not to say they are photo shopped but obviously everyone wants their hotel, area, country to look appealing.
And sight is not the only sense that can be fooled by expectations. We take a brief look excuse the pun, at some of the things you might be let us say surprised whilst travelling the world.
Here's an easy one first. The beautiful clear skies on the ski slopes of Breckenridge, Denver Colorado. Absolutely beautiful but so cold in the winter, that you have to have no skin showing because you will get frostbite in the -45 degree temperatures.
The beautiful temples of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok and as you step off the train across the market road to enter the temples you get that unmistakable pungent odour.
A trip up Mount Etna from the beautiful village of Taormina East Sicily and your hit with that distinct sulpha smell.
Now don't get me wrong, these experiences are all that make travelling a memory not forgotten but when your researching and looking at the pictures, they don't quite tell the story.
Similarly that beautiful lagoon pool with swim up Balinese bar that looks so inviting with the deep blue skies above. That have been taken from just the best angle ever, on the best day ever and taken 4 years ago when the alang alang thatching on the bar was new.
These days with travel advisory and review services, it's hard to be fooled anymore but. please be careful, you can get caught out. Read and check everything twice.
Tip 0024 Photos can look better and worse than actual.
This is not to say that all photos are taken this way but be sure that all is not what it appears all of the time.
If you go out and take a picture of your street, you will find it looks a lot better and cleaner than it actually is.
Depth perception is difficult to achieve on film too and getting an idea of how vast an area like Arnhem Land is or the glassier down the Valley Blanche of Mont Blanc makes it difficult to show how amazing some places really are.
We mention this only as you may decide not to visit some places because they don't look that good or you go to some places because they look amazing. Either way you could be very disappointed.
Tip 0023 Sales tricks.
Well as already mentioned, things aren't all they seem and be mindful of the many sales tricks and tactics around the world.
You sometimes are fooled into thinking you're getting a great deal only to find your not.
Often a soft sale has more pressure than a hard sale. Rather than put the hard sell on something where you feel pressured into buying. You can be tricked into thinking you are getting the deal of a life time and just go for it without checking it out.
How many times have you been somewhere comparing your cost to that of other travellers to find you've not got the best deal.
Also you can get tricked into buying something you weren't even looking for in the first place. There are lots of advertisements offering cheap deals or wordings that appear cheap, only to get you looking on the hope you will purchase another deal thinking it's under the same bargain.
The key is any deal that seems too good to be true, often is too good to be true. That's not to say there aren't any deals out there but please just check it out yourself, rather than taking someone else's word for it. There usually is no rush for a deal, or at least you have time for a coffee to mull things over.
Tip 0026 Definitely review accurately.
It is so important to review accurately. Please be mindful of why you are reviewing in the first place.
Sometimes it's a hard one to review accurately, for example when the owners of a place you have stayed are wonderful but the staff and accommodation was inadequate for requirements. You may feel guilty about reviewing accurately.
Similarly you want to review positively but the management were poor.
There are actually two sides to a review, the actual area of travel, for example accommodation, services and transportation. Then the personal experience of it all.
Let's be honest here, many people review on the personal experience only.
We all could benefit in bearing in mind differing personalities and that sometimes we clash.
Try to remember, most people review on the personal experience but most people read a review for the actual area of travel.
Review as you go. A year later is not a fair review and please give a lot of thought to why your reviewing and circumstances of the review.
If clients could review on customers, you'd be surprised at what they would write.
Tip 0027 When is a deal not a deal?
Too many of us are getting ripped off on so called deals.
Again peeps, do your research. You have to start thinking why is this a deal?
If the price of gold goes down and there's a deal on a gold band, then you might buy. If the price of gold stays stable and there's a deal, then you have to ask yourself the question, was the gold band too expensive in the first place? There are of course many factors to this example, like demand and cost of production etc but generally a deal is a deal when you can't find it anywhere else.
We have yet to find a deal that we couldn't either beat or equal by researching for ourselves.
Obviously there will be deals out there and the more experienced you are in travel the more you will know when you are really getting a deal or just being conned into thinking it's a deal.
Tip 0028 Compete with quotes.
Let face it, using for example a "travel agent" is a good way of getting a travel experience off the peg, or tailored for the persons about to set off on a travel experience. They take away a lot of the stress and worry associated with travel and you have the comfort of their extensive experience, quality and guarantees that come with their organisation.
Remember also though, that they are a business and as so need to cover costs at the very least.
For those with a little more getougotravel experience, getting a quote is a great way to budget for your impending travel plans and is also a great way of sourcing comparable experienced information. Very few companies have exactly the same packages or tour/excursion packs in their portfolio and this is done on purpose. This makes it very difficult to compare prices and find the right deal for you.
They use a model of individuality as a tactic to assure you they are tailoring a personal travel experience for you. If you're not a confident traveller then this might be the way to go, at an additional cost.
If you are a more confident traveller with the time to research the rewards are there. Often it is more economical to book your own travel experience yourself, especially if you're doing multi location travel. Having said that there are lots of companies that provide great readymade Itineraries.
The more you travel the more you find doing it yourself is not hard to do and not only more rewarding but you will find you get to wonderful places you would never find without researching.
Tip 0033 Night travel
Well this is a great way to travel and if you can get used to travelling whilst sleeping then you're in for some saving and perks too.
We look at the benefits and they are numerous. You get from A to B whilst your sleeping, you don't need to pack up your kit, you save on accommodation, your travel time appears reduced, you get to meet fellow travellers, you can prepare for what the next day has in store for, you can relax and revive to name just a few.
There are many ways to night travel. Redeye plane, cruising, night trains, sleeper buses. even partner driving. With most night travelling, you can cross off at least one nights' accommodation off your expenses and some include your evening meal or breakfast.
Tip 0034 Travel slowly
This is so true, travelling slowly is the most affordable and enjoyable way to travel.
We must point out that it is a time rich luxury that most will find hard to achieve unless they have a gap period in their life or that have or are, already embarking on a life style change.
Firstly as said before it is cheaper to stay pro-rata a month than a day. The longer you stay at a location the better deal you get. more so when off season.
You will have more time to find alternative accommodation when you arrive. Often far better than you think. Many a time we've been chatting to an owner of some accommodation in a bar/restaurant and struck a deal.
Also staying longer you have time to find alternative ways of getting around a country and crossing borders, other than the usual means.
There is a wealth of knowledge to be found locally that is unavailable or little known outside each country or region.
Travel slowly and there are so many more options open to you. You have more time on your hands to do additional researching on the move for deals and bargains.
Tip 0029 Pick everyone's brains first then use your own.
Yes ask around. Now we are talking of friends and family that have recommended somewhere to go from personal experience only.
We don't want negativity here and many people recommend on other people's views and we get into the third person syndrome.
You can't beat first hand views of which you can probe and clarify personally.
Be mindful of who gives you their advice, as everyone is different.
Someone who let us say is either more adventurous, affluent, infirm or of a different generation than you, would have an altogether different take on a possible destination or experience..
Do however ask as many friends and family if anyone has been to this region or country. I know it sounds silly but you'd be surprised at the amount of times people come back from somewhere only to hear, "I've been there" from their friends, who then go on to say "did you go here did you go there, my Aunt and Uncle lives there you could have stayed with them"! You could have missed a whole lot more. Go figure.
Tip 0030 Too expensive can't go?
Try not to be put off when your dream or dreams of travel seem too impossible to do.
The chances are they can be achieved sometimes easier than you think.
Here we refer you to our "Reasons for Travel" section on this website.
So we take for example you want to achieve a one off travel experience and either you just think you can't afford it or you've popped into a travel agent, who have given you a price that's is off the wall.
If it sounds expensive there usually is another way to achieve the same result.
It's all about making your travel experience fit you own budget. There may be some sacrifices but you have to work out whether they are worth the sacrifice for the main goal. You may have to have a less indulgent travel experience.
Firstly your budget. You either have a set amount already put aside for your travel experience, or you can set a target amount that is achievable. So for example if you know you can save a set amount by say one year to reach this budget target.
The Internet is going to be your best friend.
To break it down you need to consider these main categories. Travelling, accommodation, insurance and time off work.
Research differing ways of getting to and from your destination. This may also include indirect flights or a combination of flight and craft to get you to your destination, time permitting.
Pick your travel destination and time away from home. This will be the destination and time you really feel your budget is allocated for. Think about low season also and can be half the cost of peak season. Think about low cost countries like parts of Asia for example. Look out for deals from airlines and companies selling great offers a year in advance, or even last minute deals.
Try maps on the internet to zoom into the area or areas you are looking at going to. Sometimes the accommodation there comes up and you can then look them up and email them direct for the best time to visit and if they have deals in low season.
If you plan on low season travel and are not afraid to wing it a little you can just turn up and get a good deal when your there. Trust us, low season you can always find somewhere.
There are also ways to stay places for free or very little. Airbnb, couch surfing, house swap or house sitting to name but a few.
We always advise travel insurance as a must, we go into this in the Insurance section on this website.
Time off work
Remember whilst travelling you're not earning money, unless you are planning a working travel experience.
Think also about budgeting whilst away and savings. Remember, you would still be eating at home and often whilst travelling you can eat for next to nothing if you eat with the locals and the food is not only authentic but better too
We hope this helps or inspires you to getoutgotravel.
Tip 0031 Never too cheap!
There's no such thing as too cheap. You can't beat free accommodation and we go into this later. Believe it or not there are some unbelievable deals out there. Some places, modes of travel and countries are doing major discounts to get bums on seats.
Travelling for longer periods makes costs diminish considerably and the longer you stay in one place the more affordable it becomes.
You can get great deals on the go if you negotiate. The cost of one week is always going to be more expensive pro-rata than staying for say a month or more.
Taking night sleepover travel also cuts cost severely. You not only get to another destination over night but you save on accommodation and sometimes the food and drink is free too.
Tip 0032 Seasons are not guaranteed
There are many factors regarding seasons. Climate, cultural, festive, events and many more
This is a tough one and we look at climate and cultural, as the others are researchable. Of course going out of season can be more affordable and you might miss some of the things that you might go there for but let's face it, lower costs might be the reason your going there.
There are some places in some countries the seasons are not too much of an issue where the climate is temperate all year round and you are say going there for the warmth, sun and top up that ever elusive tan. Do beware though, there are not many places that are constant and it has been known to rain in the dessert so to speak.
It might be attractive for you to go out of season other than financial, depending on what you want out of your travels.
Maybe you want to get away from the madding crowds or want to see the real culture of everyday life non tourist season. You might like to hike the mountains in Austria instead of skiing in the winter. Be the first to jump the Devils pool Victoria falls low flow or 4WD the Simpson Dessert central Australia out of the summer sun.
I have been in the west of Thailand on the Andoman Sea mid year and then headed over to the east of the southern gulf in September where it was meant to be the rainy season sweeping across. I completely got it wrong but happily it was a freak year and the rains done the opposite and I missed all the bad weather.
Again research is paramount to getting it as right as you can do but don't be disappointed if things change. You can't control the weather or seasons.
If your after less human traffic, pick out of low season months, go midweek, pick a non Olympic year, Anniversary months and if your after some sizeable savings, pick Red eye flights, night trains/buses and return cruising to name but a few.
The world is a fickle place, sods law no matter how much planning and research you put in, it will change!
Tip 0035 Stay for free
More and more people are using their own home as a way to either generate income for their travel or as a means to house swap, couch surf or even house sit. This is reciprocal and can do wonders for getting around the globe and also for useful local information.
You can have people either come and stay while you're at home or you can actually swap homes while your away.
This may be alien to some and not an option for others but think about the bigger picture. Not only do you get to stay at people actual homes when you're travelling but you get all their local knowledge and sometimes a car thrown in the deal.
It's certainly something to think about.
There is house sitting too, some people prefer to have their homes lived in whilst their away for various reasons. Someone to feed their dog once a day, to stop burglars getting in, watering the plants or just like you to swap homes and enjoy the life of a local.
You can couch surf and this basically can be as easy as stay overnight on the couch or more often than not most people have a spare bedroom or two.
The more you join in the more people you meet around the globe and the more fun it all becomes.
Tip 0038 Booked your flight
See what deals your airline has for your destination.
Many times the airline have specials for the area you are heading to. I have stayed in a 5 star hotel in Cape town with breakfast included for AUD$40 per night when it usually costs $325.
This is of course the same with car rental and a whole list of other partnerships.
Tip 0037 Try contacting direct to wherever you want to go.
With the internet it is so easy to find contact details online for practically anything.
You can also use a map application to zoom in on a particular area of interest and find accommodation, services and commercial areas, then look them up and get contact details.
It's surprising what a rapport with staff can get you, even by email which doesn't cost you a penny.
We find most businesses are pleased with contact which shows they're on the map so to speak and their advertising is working.
Tip 0036 Book online
It sounds ridiculous but it's actually true. It's often cheaper to book a hotel online than walking in off the street and in fact many a time we have got a price at reception and had to walk out in the street and book the same room online for a fraction of the cost.
Silly as it sounds, do your research before you walk into any establishment. One of the reasons is, these deals are worked out at high management level and the reception often have no knowledge of the deal and won't reduce at entry level. We wont mention the other reasons.
We've also rocked up at a near empty establishment around 11pm trying to find a room for just a few hours sleep and they wouldn't give a discount. Go figure.
Tip 0039 Were you born to pay bills and die?
We like to throw in a random tip every now and again. Here we just try to alert you to the fact that, we are most definitely not put on this earth to only work and pay bills then cease to exist! Once you can keep your eye on the pulse and try not to get caught up in present day society you start to enjoy life a little better.
We have all probably had a point in our life when for example, we move into a new home. It seems so big and we feel like we are little peas rattling around in a rather large pod, until we start to fill the home with more and more homely trappings. Then we think wow how ever did we manage before and then promptly start looking round for an even bigger home.
Basically the more we have, the more we want and the more it costs. There is never enough money and you will always want more. Even in travel. It is our inherent, inbuilt characteristic as human beings, stemming back to primeval instincts of survival.
We each need balance and allow ourselves to break this temptation of evolutionary survival. Seriously in this day and age, our survival needs a far less than ever before. We need good health, a decent roof over our heads, food and a modest income to support just that, the rest is cream. So think about what you really want to do with the cream whilst here on this amazing planet and "Getoutgotravel" just a little more.