This one is a bit of a faux pas, not many people want to highlight the flaws in their planning or showcase their errors they’ve made. But let’s face it, we’ve all been there!
We’ve all made little boo boos when booking accommodation or flights, or even chose the wrong place to travel to!
This post is here to guide you, to tell you the mistakes that Ellis and I have both made and to help you avoid them!
Make sure you read the small print when booking accommodation
When we booked a hotel in New York City (which we’re travelling to in 6 days!) we may have been a bit hasty. As like many things in the USA, the price advertised didn’t include VAT and then city/resort tax was bumped on, so it actually cost us a little bit more than we would originally hoped! Oh well, we live and learn.
Check out what we’re planning on getting up to in NYC here
Make sure your carry on bag is suitable for the airline you’re travelling with!
99% of the time, it will be suitable (providing it’s in the guidelines). The majority of airlines will allow a cabin bag size of 55 x 45 x 25 cm (give or take a few cm) for free. We use ItLuggage carry on wheely bags and it was advertised as a “cabin carry on” when we purchased them. However, Wizz Air charged us a fee upon arrival for bringing a “large cabin bag” which we weren’t aware of. To be fair, it was advertised on their site that you’re allowed “one small piece” of cabin luggage which we’re guessing is a handbag or a rucksack and that they will charge you for a large cabin bag.
Goes to show to always double check with your airline and never presume!
Plan how you’re getting to your accommodation prior to landing
Even if you’ve read that it’s easiest to get a cab, research which taxi company is best, or if there’s a fixed price. Find out where outside the airport is best to find your cab. If you getting a train, find out which platform and the times. All of this little extra planning goes a long way in making your journey that bit smoother! We grabbed a coach to Florence from Pisa airport (read our blog on the must do’s in Florence here) and did our research on where to get the coach from, but obviously dropping us off at the main train station “Firenze Santa Maria Novella” we still had to find our way to our hotel!
We can vouch that there’s nothing worse than a rough journey from airport to hotel. It doesn’t set a good tone for the rest of the journey!
Plan your itinerary, even if it’s just a rough one
By rough, we mean at least make a note of things you want to do and where they are.
You don’t necessarily need to plan it hour by hour, as there’s always things that change last minute, you want to spend a bit longer here, or something was unexpectedly closed on a certain day.
But turning up to a city with not the faintest of clues of how you’re going to fill your time is like turning up to an airport without your passport. It’s a massive waste of time. You’ll end up spending the first half of the day planning what you’re going to do, or just wander aimlessly fretting and stressing that you’re not getting the best experience.
Buy Travel Insurance
We’re guilty of this one. Granted, it was only one occasion, but for the price of travel insurance these days, it’s well worth having. You’ll never know when you’re going to slip on ice or twist an ankle on some cobbles. Use a comparison website to compare prices. It usually works out under a tenner each for full, decent cover for a few days in Europe. Still, take your European health insurance card with you (UK readers, apply for one for free, here) to ensure you get the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST… If your cabin bag gets put into the hold of a plane, make sure your passport and boarding pass is on your person!
This may sound absolutely ridiculous and may think “I don’t believe that, there’s no way that this actually happened!” Yes, this actually did happened, and I’ve definitely learnt from this mistake! Most nerve racking experience we’ve had whilst travelling – fact.
Whilst queuing up to board a flight to Copenhagen, our passports and boarding passes were checked whilst still in the queue. 5 minutes later, a member of the airline staff came round and suggested that our bags go in the hold due to a large number going in the cabin, so we obliged. We then boarded the plane bagless. It was only until that we came in for landing in Denmark that I realised my passport was in the bag out of my reach!
To avoid embarrassment and an awkward chat with border control, please please please make sure it stays with you! I was an extremely lucky chap.
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