TRAVELLING is all about fun and fresh experiences. What isn’t fun is getting lost on a trip without a clue of the local language or how to get yourself understood. Imagine being stranded at a train station in Japan with over a hundred persons walking past you, and you can’t even get a direction from one person of the lot on how to return to your hotel, and this is after you’ve probably walked in circles like seven times!
For most travellers, travelling out of one’s comfort zone means everything, even typical routines like: finding where to eat and drink, finding a place to sleep and places to visit could become rather awkward if you have travelled without a plan. In today’s world, there is no better way to explain why investing in a good travel guide and making sure your smart phone works, is a wise investment for any traveller—regular or first-timers.
Planning your trip: Tickets, Packing tips and all that prep stuff
Whether you’re travelling alone or going with family or friends, you will have to prepare. Travelling is like managing a project—actually, travelling is a project. So if you’re keen on a hassle-free, smooth trip, you will need to research your destination and even plan your finances by making careful choices. From dealing with airfares, hotels and rental cars to finding entertainment stops for you and your family.
While employing the services of top travel agencies is not a bad idea, you can also consider planning your trip on your own using the Internet. Using Google Search for example, you can research your options of flights, duration and the best ticket deals. For example, searching for “Lagos Amsterdam” on Google Search presents you with a complete list of airlines flying that route, how long they take and the number of stopovers per flight.
Once this is set, the next step will be to get a hotel that will suit mood and your pocket. Again, you can do this yourself without breaking a sweat. On Google you can find an exhaustive list of hotels close to your area of interest. For example, typing “hotels hotels in Amsterdam city centre” in Google presents you with a list of over 50 hotels, as well as their prices. And to help you decide on your ideal hotel, you can look through photos, and reviews from other travellers who have stayed at those hotels.
As for packing into that small suitcase—it’s all right, everyone gets flustered about packing their bags so that they can travel and feel comfortable. This however needs skill. Thanks to the internet, one can now go on YouTube for expert advice from butlers who have turned packing into an art form, teaching many how to roll and fold their clothes without wrinkles.
Now you’ve arrive at your destination… what next?
You probably are feeling jet lagged and peckish, so you need a nightcap? Exploring the places mentioned in your guide-book or simply clicking on the Google App on your smart phone, and you’ll get a larger display of nearby hostelries, complete with ratings and helpful reviews.
What this means is that being a wise traveller today means having a travel guide along with a smartphone—as even Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide in the world has a YouTube channel. So whether you’re logging around your tourist guide map or simply punching letters for a description on Google Maps, which you have the option of using offline or online, you can explore Street View imagery of where you want to visit, look at local transport connections to all major attractions/airports and Compass Mode will make it feel like you’re standing right in that location, get a glimpse of the cultural nuances and etiquette primer of the place.
So even when you’re squeezed on a bus in a bustling city, and your fingers can’t punch in the words correctly, using the Google Voice search for enquiries that range from where to hire a car, top up on petrol or even find out know where you are.
On the trip to your fun location, there could be instances of short boredom, and you can tap into the enormous content on Google Play, to watch movies, play games, read books and even listen to music.
A good travel plan is one that has a checklist of quick reference to things you may need in your travel location. From Medical to transportation, and a small index on smart phrases so you don’t go about in circles when lost or in need of something. There would however be instances where the needed phrase is not in your travel guide, all you need to do is open your smart phone and take advantage of Google translate, which has over 64 different languages to understand better.
Moments are Forever
Selfies, family poses and those special moments on the trip deserve a place, and this is one thing your travel guides can’t offer. If you’re taking a lot of photos you won’t want to lose them at all. Thankfully, apps like Google Photos brings all your videos and photos in one place, offering you an opportunity to repeatedly enjoy the great moments and those they’ve enjoyed them with. Backed up and safe.
In all, as you travel this holiday, remember if you plan your travel, you’ll most likely return home after exploring new destinations, feeling like a newly cased book with fresh ideas.