(All answers are given from various travellers who had been travelling in the past)
When I am planning on my travels, why is it necessary to pre-book accommodation? Can’t I book it on the day at the latest?
Ok. So I would say when planning travels, arrange to have accommodation for when you first arrive. Usually you’ll need an address to get through customs (something we didn’t know). By only pre-booking your first place to stay, you open yourself up to new experiences with new people. It means you are free to go wherever, whenever you choose. If you would like to stay for longer (happens often) you don’t interrupt the rest of your plans.
I really want to do travelling, especially inter-railing. Friends of mine have done it and they stayed in hostels throughout the majority of their trip. What are the advantages and disadvantages of staying at a hostel?
Hostels are brilliant for meeting likeminded people but remember you never really know a person. Thefts still occur, look after your stuff.
I consider myself to be a shy person. I hear that travelling steps you out of your comfort zone? Is it really the case?
If you struggle with confidence, travelling is a great way to better yourself. You are forced to step outside of your comfort zones, make new friends and great memories.
Do I need to buy a cheap phone and new SIM cards when I visit another country? Don’t they have Wi-Fi?
No SIM card or signal, no problem. A lot of restaurants and hostels will have free Wi-Fi. I never had a SIM and made do. Download offline apps like offline maps (you can download whole city maps and some still can use your GPS to help navigate even offline.)
I had been advised to download hostel apps on my phone if I want to go travelling. Do they really help me find cheap accommodation if I am on a tight budget?
Apps like Hostelbookers and Hostelworld are brilliant. Do pay attention to reviews, you can find some amazingly cheap places that are fantastic. Without it, you run the risk of paying more, having no air con or hot water and maybe even the not-so-occasional cockroach.
In terms of transportation, what is the best way of travelling? Buses or trains? Are they usually expensive?
I used a lot of hop on, hop off buses especially in Vietnam. You pay for a few tickets from destination to destination and can use them any time within the pre agreed dates. From north to south the journey took me nearly a month (I took my time) and could choose how long to stay in each city!
I remember when I checked into my hostel in Berlin, I went out for the day to explore the city and realised later I couldn’t remember the address of the hostel and was completely lost for hours. I eventually found it in the end. How would you prevent other travellers making the same mistake?
The first thing I do when I arrive at a new hostel is pull up the exact location in Maps and screenshot it. I learnt my lesson after my 3rd ‘aimlessly wandering around for hours with no clue’ session.
I have a great fear of losing important stuff like my passport, tickets or money when travelling. What is the best solution to this problem?
Before you leave photocopy EVERYTHING! Passport, cards, insurance etc. Upload the copies to a safe place online (I use Dropbox) so if necessary you have access to them.
Do I need to take a lot of cash with me when I travel?
Never carry all of your cash/cards at the same time. My travel buddy learnt this the hard way and ended up having to transfer money into my account every time he had to withdraw anything. Really messed him up when we went our separate ways.
When I want visit a new city, I like to go on the tourist tours to discover more about the place and its history. How do I go about finding the best tours in the city without spending lots of money?
Don’t always take tours. Sometimes they are great and necessary, other times you just get ripped off and end up with a bad experience. Use TripAdvisor. It’s everywhere and works solely off of reviews. That’s not to say anything that’s not reviewed is not worth the try, use some common sense.
When packing, do I need to pack a lot or little? I hear backpacks are brilliant to get around easily from place to place?
Do not over pack! Seriously! You’ll find yourself binning stuff quite quickly. Another thing, backpacks aren’t always the best choice. Really wish I had taken a suitcase round Asia with me. Those boarder crossings can take the biscuit.
- 9 Mind-Blowingly Amazing Places To Travel In Europe
- European Countries & Their Currencies
- Travel Safely: Inter-Railing Around Europe
Want to get involved?
Click here for the next Sprout Editorial Group meeting:
It’s free and quick to comment below but we recommend signing up with your email or as a guest to keep usernames Sprouty and anonymous (and never post personal details!).
If you want more info on staying safe online, check out our online safety section.