Monday 8 May 2017

Five Things To Book Before You Travel

Have you ever been abroad and found out the main attraction you wanted to visit was fully booked? Have you planned to visit a certain destination only to discover there is no way of getting there because the train or flights are full? I have experienced these things a few times and if I had been more organised I would not have missed out. I wrote about stress-free travel in a previous post and although I do love finding last-minute bargains, spontaneous travel and going with the flow, certain things need to be booked well in advance for a hassle-free trip.

Here are 5 things I always book before I travel:

In my backpacking days, I rarely booked hotels in advance and would just turn up and hope there were still available rooms. Now, those days are long gone and along with travelling with a little one in tow, my expectations have also increased so it’s important to plan ahead. Many good hotels have advance deals especially if you are staying for 3+ nights so it’s worth searching for the best deals and securing your hotel. You’ll also more likely to reserve one of the better rooms with, for example, a sea view, if booked ahead of time.

Popular Attractions
Famous galleries, museums, and exhibitions often sell out quickly and to avoid queuing I’d recommend buying tickets ahead of your visit. I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in queues or returning to the same attraction repeatedly because it was full on previous days. I would have saved a lot of time and money if I have planned ahead. There are also many combo tickets in cities these days which give admission to all of the main sites. We used the I Amsterdam City Card last year and it was great to have one card for so many attractions and saved all the hassle and time of queuing at each attraction. I’d recommend the combined city cards if you’re planning on staying in a city for more than a few days.

Child-Friendly Activities
In my experience, child-friendly activities tend to sell out quickly. There might be a special kid’s show at the attraction you were planning to visit only to find out it’s fully booked on the day. Or, you may want to hire a buggy from your hotel but they are already on loan to other customers. When we have travelled abroad I have always taken a buggy with me, but in hindsight, it probably would have been more convenient to hire one overseas.

Train Tickets
There are two reasons why you should plan train travel well in advance. In the UK, booking long distance tickets before travelling is much cheaper than buying them on the day. I have visited London-Cornwall for as little as £10 return because I purchased the super-advanced tickets months ahead saving me a lot of money. Tickets on the day would have cost over £100. It’s also worth reserving seats in advance so you know for sure you’ll have a seat. I didn’t do this in France one time and ended up standing for three hours! In countries such as India, overnight train tickets sell out quickly, especially in the first class/second class tiers. We didn’t buy them quickly enough one year and ended up in a three-tier open-carriage sleeping system without any privacy. It was ok but there was a chorus of snoring passengers all around and it was not the most relaxing or comfortable train ride. So, since then I always try to book train travel well in advance.

Car Hire
Car hire is another thing that should be booked in advanced. One of the main reasons I have found is because you can get some amazing deals on car rental and you have many car choices to pick from. There are so many car companies where you can book a cheap car rental so have a proper search and choose your best deal.

*This is a collaborative post. All words and opinions are my own.

What do you recommend booking in advance? I’d love to hear your stories! 


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  1. Ah great ideas here! Very useful tips. #fabfridaypost

  2. So many great tips here! I tend to forget that these things are better booked well in advance to save money and avoid disappointments! Especially when you have children you don't want to show up somewhere and they turn you down.. it happened to us before and my lovelies weren't thrilled :D

  3. All great ideas!!! Will use ! #FabFridayPost

  4. Great post!! It's smart to book the attractions ahead of time!!

  5. Great tips! I never used to book anything and just "go with the flow" but since kids I plan within an inch of my life! Now mine are teenagers I may go back to going with just a backpack...we shall see. #FabFridayPost

  6. I definitely tend to over- plan now that we travel as a family of 6 but have just recently started not booking anything when taking off for a weekend with just my husband and I. There is something freeing about not having set plans (at times).

  7. Ah that's so useful! I am bookmarking this page to come back to for when we decide to jet off on holiday #fabfridaypost

  8. Great ideas. We alway book the cat sitter way before we go. Don't want to discover a few days before the cat is home alone!

  9. Oh Wow! I had no idea that the train tickets to Cornwall could cost as little as £10! What a great saving! #FabFridayPost

  10. Great post for the holiday planning! Love it! #FabFridayPost


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