Image: unsplash.
Image: unsplash.

Mapping out the details of your holidays

It seems farcical, almost insensitive, to engage in discussions of holiday planning in these strangest and worrying times. Under lockdown, travelling has been yielded. The time over Easter students thought could be spent reading and travelling has been cancelled. Tours organised by societies have been abandoned for everyone’s safety. For now, most travel individuals will partake in is exercise around their local area.

I am feeling anxious, worried, and sad, just like everyone else. However, there is something to look forward to. The virus will eventually be contained and travel will be able to resume. Therefore, this article recognises the great suffering hundreds of thousands of people face right now but also looks to the future when people explore the world once again.

Before any place overseas can be enjoyed, there is a big question over planning.

While the internet can be helpful, little beats word of mouth

It sounds like a chore but constructing time to think about a holiday is the heart of what we believe travel to be. Is it something spontaneous, with something new enjoyed every hour? Are we meant to simply visit a place with little consideration? Or is there more depth to a holiday experience?

I would argue the optimum holiday lies somewhere in-between. One always goes away for a new experience and it can only truly be new if little is know about it. However, taking the time to consider where to visit and the other practical considerations are important. In the long term, it means that a holiday is looked back upon in a far more enjoyable manner.

I often enjoy looking at the Foreign Office Travel Advice page. While it currently advises against all overseas travel, it normally lists every single country and contains more information. This can be useful for deciding where to visit if one is going overseas. Not only will it advise whether one should travel but the pages often provide information on local customs and laws that tourists are expected to adhere to. This website can provide some clarity and guidance for an individual to narrow down their options.

While the internet can be helpful, little beats word of mouth. Whether it’s family members or friends, people will have had different experiences with travel websites and hotels. This can impact the holiday experience. It could be advising against flying with a certain company or visiting a tourist attraction. An online travel review can only be so reliable, whereas family and friends (generally) have our best interests at heart. Therefore, they’re far more likely to provide an accurate experience of where to visit.

While the accommodation has never been a defining part of my holiday experience, I do want to stay somewhere I am safe. This philosophy came in most useful when using the AirBnB website for the first time. Established in 2008, it allows individuals to advertise rooms, flats, and spaces for others to stay. I was initially wary about using the website. Despite all logic, one never knows who could be using the site for malicious purposes.

However, the website ensured this didn’t happen. By setting a price range, ensuring I only saw established hosts and had plenty of opportunities to read reviews, I had that security I wanted. The planning ensured I chose a suitable place to stay and had a wonderful breakaway.

Taking a few practical considerations before travelling ensures that the experience is generally enjoyable instead of stressful.

When visiting a new place, it can be reassuring to have a personal connection. If there is someone you know who lives there, that can make the journey far easier. There is someone there to provide advice, company and allow for some security. While I often enjoy visiting a location where I know nobody and have no connections at all, exploring a new place in the company of an old friend can be immensely pleasurable. Again, it depends on what someone wants out of a holiday experience.

Of course, location itself is the most important part of travelling. By visiting tourist attractions and areas unique to the specific area, it should allow for a memorable holiday experience. And, of course, the most popular tourist attractions contain plenty of people and opinions. For gathering the best prices, visit the Money Saving Expert website to ensure money on holiday is spent well. This allows for memories on holiday that are unique and financially affordable.

For planning, I still think a good old fashioned map is worth taking. One never knows when their phone might die, which could be the recipe for disaster for any experience. I’ve often found Lonely Planet books help provide more information and guidance about a specific area. Normally, they contain not only a map of the area but recommendations for where to visit which most mainstream websites might not feature. Already, this allows for a more rounded holiday experience with a busy itinerary and safety guaranteed.

Holidays should be about one’s pleasure. There is nothing wrong with parts of the holiday experience being spontaneous. There is little more enjoyable discovering a side street or unexpected area of natural beauty. But taking a few practical considerations before travelling ensures that the experience is generally enjoyable instead of stressful.

While there will always be situations one cannot anticipate – like the awful coronavirus – a proportionate amount of planning will allow for travel memories that last a lifetime.

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