Updated: Mar 17
Advice and suggestions for travelling abroad
When travelling, the first thing we think we have to do is save. While this is somewhat true, it is just as important to do your research on the country you plan on travelling to. Here are my top 5 tips for travelling.
1) Change a small amount prior to travelling, (and the rest upon arrival)
Normally, I would advise you to change your money prior to arriving at your destination. When I travelled to Dominican Republic, I was scammed even before I got out of the airport. I changed £250 and received $251! When I asked if I could have my money back, as I believed this was completely wrong, they told me no and that the transaction could not be reversed. This was less than 10 minutes of arriving in Dominican republic, and this had already started to taint my holiday. I would honestly suggest changing a small amount prior to travelling so that you have cash upon arriving. I would then suggest you to convert the remainder of your money once you have arrived in the country. This is because you will most likely receive a higher amount for your currency.
2) Break Up Your Visit
If your traveling to a country that's divided by quiet and peaceful areas, and then a lit nightlife elsewhere, I suggest you DON'T make a sacrifice and choose one place, but spend half your time enduring peace and the other half of your holiday having the time of your life! This way, you will have a great chance to explore the country as much as possible, and you'll have a great story to tell. You will have a greater chance of meeting more people. In Dominican Republic, I made a sacrifice to stay in Punta Cana over Santa Domingo, and even if It was the other way around, I still believe it would have been the wrong choice. It would have been best to experience both areas, as Punta Cana was absolutely stunning, but Santa Domingo has a lot to offer which I was unable to explore.
3) Forget the Loose Change
Don't bother with pound coins. No-one takes them, not even the bank! In Antigua, I had over £15 in coins, which was enough for me to get my taxi back to the airport. Unfortunately, I trailed around looking for Bureau de changes and banks but no one would take them, not even my hotel. This resulted in me traveling to the cash point and withdrawing money once again. I'm not sure if the same applies in worldwide, but it is a possibility. Save them for when you get back home!
4) Save your money for souvenirs
If your staying in an all inclusive hotel, make the most of your food and spend your cash on gifts and excursions. Don't get me wrong, go out and try the authentic dishes in the local towns and areas- but don't spend too much. It is best to buy something you could bring back home. If you are travelling to Dominican republic, remember that they have some of the best drinking chocolate - don't be a meanie, bring some back home, as it's absolutely divine. Cadbury has nothing on Caribbean cocoa!
5) Don't focus on your hotel's star rating
Don't take 5* so literal. When looking for a hotel abroad, please understand that the star rating system is completely different to the U.K / U.S star rating system. My cousin and I had paid for a 5* hotel in Dominican Republic and I would just about consider it a 3*. I was quite disappointed, but because it was clean- I couldn't complain anymore than I did. In Antigua I stayed in a 3* hotel and had the time of my life. Yes, it may have been a little bit outdated, but it was welcoming, and clean. Cleanliness is one of my NON- negotiables when choosing a hotel.
6) Try and Split up your vacation
If you've decided to spend a while ( 2 weeks or more) in your chosen destination, I would suggest breaking up the holiday into two parts. While you may have initially chosen a specific area to holiday in, you want to get a good idea of what the country is really like. You'll have to visit the remote areas, the villages as well as the tourist parts to get a better understanding of how the locals really live. Think about choosing two areas within the country you are travelling to and stay in both parts. If staying in multiple parts prove to be too expensive for you, make it a must to visit the areas during day trips there, on a few occasions.
When booking flights, hotels, and choosing where to travel to, READ REVIEWS! READ BLOGS! Having general knowledge about a service or company you have never used before will save time, cut doubt, and easily help you to execute all your plans. It's simple. Make your own choices, but do your research. Everyone's experiences are different, but just a tad bit of research will help you with your expectations, whether they will be met, or surpassed.
Pink Skies and Paradise