In both 2015, and 2016 so far, I’ve done my fair share of travelling.
Since my sister moved to Denmark in late 2014, and got married across the pond last summer, I’ve found myself on a few more planes than in previous years. Although when I visit her my accomodation costs are covered, I always find there’s a whole lot more to planning a trip than flights and where to sleep. Costing out a holiday upfront always leaves me feeling a little sorry for my bank account, and although is all definitely worth it, requires a bit of brain power to make sure it’s all covered, booked and confirmed before setting off. Today I thought I’d share my pre-travel checklist!
First up, getting there. Usually the first thing people look at when they start planning a trip is the cost of travel – flights, trains, ferries. For flights, we all know Skyscanner and I’ve got numerous price alerts set up for a few upcoming trips I’m planning. Keep an eye on the ups and downs of flights to get the best deal!
Sadly, nine times out of ten, when you touch down in another country, your travelling isn’t over. Getting from the airport or the ferry port usually involves a transfer of some sort – don’t forget to cost this in as it can often be a big hit! Train, bus, taxi or even hiring your own car are the usual methods and worth researching or even booking upfront.
I always wonder what to book first – flights or accomodation? Despite the chicken or the egg dilemma, I love tracking down somewhere cool to stay. You can catch my most recent find here, but as we all know, Air BnB is a firm favourite. You can get some really unique places for a really great price with a little digging.
It’s a constant debate in our house, whether it’s worth getting all your money changed upfront or if it’s worth withdrawing some there. Safety wise, I like to go with the latter (unless it’s a notoriously risky place to use ATMs) – but either way, getting some upfront is useful for when you reach your destination. If you’re going somewhere obscure, you might even need to pre-order it.
For some, getting to the airport this end is easy – Londoners can hop on the train, and others live nearby. For me, it’s always a debate and mostly, driving and parking wins. I’m always searching for the best car parking deals at the airport to save us a few pennies and although an added cost, there’s nothing better than getting into your own car after you’ve got off the plane.
Since getting Bee, we’ve ended up adding yet another cost onto our travel. If both of us are away for longer than three days, we sadly have to take her to the cattery. At around £8 a night, it’s not too pricey but it’s another cost and something else to plan!
Last summer, we spent three weeks in the USA. As it was August, we needed to keep the garden hydrated and the bins un-smelly. We enlisted the help of a nearby friend to water the plants and put the bins out. We thanked him with a homegrown marrow…and a gift from the US!
Travel insurance is something that, these days, I buy annually. As I travel so much more than my once yearly summer holiday, buying a bulk annual insurance works out best price-wise and saves me having to think about it! It’s also worth mentioning the EHIC card, or E111 as it used to be called. I’d never used it until last summer, when Sam took a fall in Portugal and we left the hospital with a ten euro bill, instead of a ninety euro one! Definitely worth taking.
We all know packing is hell, but if you’re hand luggage, it’s even worse! I’ve got better at packing light, but as a female, the liquid rule can be a nightmare. I tend to keep stocked up on minis for trips and try not to leave the bottles at my destination, so I can use them on my next trip.
Ah, the illusive adaptors. We’re forever hunting these down when a trip is looming (I think they go wherever all my hair clips go…) and you can never have too many! We’ve got a few European as well as universal options for when we travel further afield.
And finaly, booking tickets upfront. In 2014, we visited Rome. We’d booked all the big attractions upfront including the Vatican. And thank goodness we did! The queues were huge and we jumped straight to the front. Sometimes you even get a better price!
…and I’m sure even now I’ve forgotten something! Aside from packing suitable clothes for your climate, picking out what literature you want to take with you and getting all your camera gear ready, there’s always so much to do. I hope my checklist helps prompt some of you for your next trip!
If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.