Things To Do Before You Travel

Going on holiday is something that most of us look forward to all year round. But in looking towards our travels we sometimes forget to plan properly. Well we here have some things for you to think about before you set off on that awesome trip.

Check Your Passport

I cannot stress this one enough. Do not spend hours planning and booking a holiday without checking if your passport is in date. Getting a passport last minute can be a really stressful and expensive experience so make sure this is one of the first things you check.

Check Your Luggage

Check if you have all essential items in your luggage. Make sure you have a skin protection cream if you are going to a sunny spot. This is not only a case of checking that you have all the essential items packed, but you also need to make sure you know what the weight limit of your luggage is. There is no worse way to start you holiday than being stuck in the airport having to deal with an overweight suitcase.

Home Alone

We are not talking about leaving one of your kids at home here, but you certainly want to make sure that your home is properly locked up and secured. So many people leave to go on their holidays without properly securing their homes. Make sure that you let neighbours know that you will be away as well. Lock the doors, hide the valuables and do what you think is necessary to make sure your home and belongings are safe.

We Need To See Your Papers

Make sure that you have all the proper documentation is an easy to reach place (this includes passports) you do not want to be having to fumble through five bags to find a certain document. You need to have everything organised so that your travel experience is as painless as possible. Visas, drivers licenses and everything else you may need should be easily accessible for you.

Plan Ahead

Do not just think you can get up and head off to the airport or wherever whenever you feel like. Make sure that you have everything planed out to the smallest detail. Once you get to your holiday destination you can kick back and relax, but before then you need to make sure you are well organised.

The Hidden Cost of Spinner Suitcases

Spinner suitcases are very popular these days. Characterized typically by four 360 degree rotation wheels, this type of suitcase allows effortless movement along smooth surfaces with minimal strength and maximum maneuverability. The ability to take the weight off your arm to move the luggage is a big benefit for those looking to travel with ease. This article is to tell you that before you buy a spinner luggage, that there are some things you have not yet considered.

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Durability
Typically spinner suitcases come in polycarbonate hard cases, occasionally cloth exterior. The hardcases are always marked up due to the hardness of the exterior. They are also prone to cracking. where the cloth is prone to tearing. However, this affects all luggage. The big problem with spinner luggage in particular are the wheels. The 360 rotational wheels you love so much also protrude quite a bit, and are very prone to breaking during baggage handling. You only need one wheel to break or be faulty for the entire suitcase to be useless. Regular luggage of the two wheel plus stand variety has a recessed wheel and are far more durable. The first to break on these types of luggage is actually the handle.

Additionally, over longer walk, because the wheels are designed for 360 rotation flexibility, they do not stand up to the long walks over rough terrain. What ends up happening is that the wheels shear off and become rough. When you tilt the luggage over for two wheel diagonal use, the wear on the back wheels is much quicker than the front, causing imbalance and the usual “turning” of the suitcase when back on all fours.

Maneuverability
We noted previously that this was a strength. However, if you have every used a spinner luggage for longer periods of travel, you would also know that it is a weakness. A smooth surface is required for easy movement. If it is bumpy, rocks, gaps in the road, or if you need to walk a long distance, typically rolling it on all four wheels is not only difficult but dangerous. The alternative is rolling it on two wheels like a typical suitcase. However, the design of the wheel is optimized for upright movement, not diagonal movement, and the wheels are typically smaller and less durable than standard suitcases.

These are two of the main problems we have found with spinner suitcases. However, please don’t discount the value proposition of this type of suitcase, as there is still a big reason to get it. We recommend the LuggagePicks a resource to help you chose the luggage that is best suited for your travel needs.

Seat Selection in an Airplane

Not all economy airplane seats are identical and they are certainly not equal. Savvy travelers bag the best seats on the plane by following these air travel tips.

 Get a head start.

Early birds get the good worms so as soon as you are permitted to, choose your seat. Other travellers know the good seats, the bad and the truly awful so select a good seat as soon as you can. If you are booking on-line, many airlines allow you to choose your seat at the time of booking. If not, phone the airline immediately after booking and ask for a seat allocation. Some airlines hold bulk head and exit row seats til check-in so be sure to check-in on line as soon as that facility opens. Airlines have cottoned on to the advantages of some seats over others and are charging for the privilege. Consider paying on a long haul flight or if you have particular needs. But let’s not encourage them by shelling out for middling seats on short-hops. If you find yourself being allocated a seat in the airport 45 minutes before take-off you might really deserve all you get, however you can still enter into negotiations at the gate. Premium fliers sometimes get bumped to first class. A good travel tip is to ask if anyone has just vacated a really plum airline seat and could you have it.

 Know the good seats

Accepted wisdom states that exit seats are good and anything to the front of the plane is a gain. You can have a look on sites like seatguru.com and seatexpert.com for detailed maps of each plane on each airline. They give ratings to airlines according to comfort level, service and food which you may want to consider before booking. They also have compiled composite advice based on reviews of the best air plane seats. Ultimately it comes down to personal choice and needs. If you want to disembark promptly look for an aisle seat at the front or the back. If you suffer from motion sickness you are best in a wing seat at the window. The wing experiences less turbulence and looking out the window towards the horizon really helps with the conflicting brain messages which cause the nausea. If you have long legs look for a seat with extended leg room like bulk head seats or exit row seats.

Know the bad seats

On an overnight flight an aisle seat is to be avoided. Imagine hopping up and down every moment to allow inside passengers stretch their legs. Bulkhead seats are good for leg room but be warned passengers travelling with infants are often allocated these seats as there is room for a bassinet. Anything in the middle is generally pretty rotten and if there are 5 seats in a row the middle-middle is a real dud. Seats in the middle of the plane are also last to be served food as service usually starts from the front and the back. If seat width is an issue avoid seats which stow the table-top in the arm rest as this reduces the seat width slightly.

 Know the really awful seats

Any seat near the toilet, which has limited recline or does not recline, is squeezed into an after-thought space or has limited leg-room is a total washout. Sites like seat guru help to identify these and travellers should avoid at all costs. If you find yourself in one of these it is time for a charm offensive with the air steward to get reallocated to an empty seat.

By following these travel tips travellers in the know can grab the best airline seats and avoid the most unpleasant.

Top tips for a round the world trip

When my husband and I made the decision to take a sabbatical from our jobs and head off on a round-the-world trip last year, our first reaction when we booked our flights was one of anticipation and excitement. The second was a dawning sense of panic – how on earth were we going to manage a round-the-world trip with all the youngsters we’d meet on our travels? We spoke to lots of friends before we went (or indeed, the children of friends) and we picked up some invaluable tips which made our trip a breeze.

Planning
Shop around for the best flight prices. It’s a big expenditure so don’t feel pressured into taking the first price you’re offered. Be sure not to check out only the official tourist websites, but also travel blogs. These give you a real sense of the parts of the world you want to visit and won’t omit any bad points that might put you off. It’s better that you know now what it’s going to be like so that you don’t end up wasting time and money.

Packing
One of the essentials you’ll need is some form of sarong. This is extremely versatile, as you can use it as beachwear, as a shawl or shoulder covering if you enter any religious buildings, as an extra layer on beds or to sit on on beaches or grass. Another extremely useful option is an international SIM card. These mean you can call friends at home and stay in touch with people you’ve met on your travels without spending a fortune on the phone bill. An external hard drive can also be useful if you’re planning on taking lots of photos so you can clear pictures from your camera.

Transport
Take some earplugs if you’re a light sleeper. You’ll find yourself on lots of long flights, long train journeys and long bus rides. You won’t sleep a wink if you don’t have something to block out all the noise. Also think about taking a small puzzle book and a pen. You need to make sure there’s something to keep your mind occupied when there are hours of a journey left.

Once Traveling
The most important thing to remember is that you should be flexible. Traveling around the world shouldn’t mean having a strict schedule or rushing around to see everything. If you like a country, don’t feel bad about spending an extra week there before moving on to your next destination. The rest of the world isn’t going anywhere, so make the most of each place as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and shouldn’t be spent being stressed and anxious about time-keeping.

We learn that while some days are better than others when you go traveling for so long, it’s all made bearable if you check in with friends and family back home from time to time and throw yourself into the experience, even if things don’t go to plan. Bon voyage!