I've always refrained from writing this post because I feel like most of what I do is common sense but after a few messages from friends and readers, I've realised that maybe just writing this up might be useful to some people. So I'll be sharing some things I do when finding flights, finding a place to stay, packing and changing my money to the needed currency.

Flight hunting

I think I'll keep this one short and sweet because you probably all know by now that my favourite hobby is trawling through the Ryanair website and looking at random flights to different destinations. Ryanair is incredibly good for finding reasonably priced plane tickets and even though I've seen some people approaching these low prices with skepticism, I can assure you that the flights are reliable and are 'normal' It's worth knowing that their new policy does mean that you'll need to spend an extra £12 to take a small suitcase with you, however if you're going for a short break then I'm sure your regular hand luggage will be enough. I only really go onto Skyscanner when I'm curious and want to see how much it'd cost for to go to somewhere a bit more far flung like Buenos Aires or Istanbul. Yossy has a post on finding cheap flights and accommodation so I'll leave the link here

Accommodation 

I used AirBnB for the first time for my trip to Sevilla and my friend and I paid £37 for 3 nights for a room in a lovely apartment with an amazing shower and beautiful views over the city. I wholeheartedly recommend using AirBnB, it's typically much cheaper than a traditional home and you get to access a much more local perspective of the city you're visiting. We used a a code for £25 off our stay (which helped make it as cheap as it was) I have the same link here so if you're looking to book a place through AirBnB, you'll be able to get some money off*. If you'd prefer to stay in a hotel, I would use either Expedia or booking.com, both of which are reliable and have a wide range of places on offer. I've found that Expedia does tend to be a bit cheaper despite listing the same places so that's something to keep in mind!

Currency 

I got my money exchanged to euros at the Post Office as it was the most reliable to me and exchange rates seemed to be the same in every other place I checked. However, I would actually advise you to get either the post office travel money card or a Monzo card instead. I ordered a Monzo card a few days before going abroad and it was so useful- I transferred around £50 onto it and that is what I mainly used for museum tickets and food. I barely used my euros in cash. But ultimately card > cash/card < cash is down to you as a person- I'm usually way more dependant on card. By using a Monzo card you get to avoid the international debit card transaction fees which I got stung with in Madrid and Venice. The 50p's and 75p's seem harmless but considering how frequently I used my card, they added up quickly and it's literally money going to waste! Even if you do prefer to solely use cash, it won't do any harm to get a Monzo card and transfer a decent amount of money onto it just in case something does happen and you find yourself without cash- better safe than sorry! I have a referral link to Monzo here** if you're not signed up. Also, don't all your money out with you on the streets. Just don't. Pls.

Exploring

WALK! Walk everywhere. I'm known for being an avid walker (lol) and I'd much rather that than taking a bus/metro/tram. It really does give you a better feel for the city you're in and so much more opportunities for discovery of new cafes, cathedrals, gardens and museums. Also, make conversation with random people in restaurants or cafes, it's so un-British but so worth it. I'd love to try out hostels in the near future as they seem like the perfect social spaces to meet other travellers- of course if that's not your things then AirBnB's and hotels are just as valid options. Uhhh, download tinder ahem and swipe the fuck out of it and meet up with your matches (within reason, make sure to be smart about it), even if it's platonically. It's a great way to meet new people, have a fling if you want and get a more local experience of the place you're visiting. They'll probably take you to authentic bars and give you the best aspect of nightlife in their city as well as show you the more understated 'local' spots. 

Packing 

I'm pretty good with packing and I'd like to attribute that to my mum who literally manages to pack successfully 4 hours before needing to leave to the airport. I feel like this is so self-explanatory and there's literally no need for me to tell you to 'only take clothes you know you'll wear' but I would deffo tell you to plan out your outfits before going to save meltdowns. I always take a bikini/swimsuit with me wherever I go, I love the sea/any body of water and there's nothing worse than missing out.

Documents 

Thankfully, I don't have to apply for visas to travel to most places (although who knows what this will be like after the 29th March!) but the majority of my family do so I'm very accustomed to the visa process. It does suck that spontaneous travel is more or less off the cards if you do have a passport that requires a visa, but I know of the Schengen visa which seems to be very flexible in terms of the country it grants you access to. Of course you should apply for your visa in advance (duh) Always bring a photocopy of your passport and ID card away with you, just in case. I also have them scanned onto a USB stick and emailed to myself and my mum. I don't know if it's the same situation for everyone but when I go to Morocco, border control always ask to see my Moroccan carte nacionale as well as my passport so it's always worth bringing that with you. It's also needed when you book hotels. Take your ID cards and uni card out with you as lots of museums offer free or reduced entrance if you're a student, EU citizen or under the age of 26. 

Documenting your trip

I take way too many pictures when I'm abroad. On the first day I don't take out my big camera because I like to get a feel for the place I'm in and sometimes it's a bit awkward/uncomfortable to take a DSLR out and about- so on this day I mostly just use my phone. I love taking photos on my DSLR, it gives so much more freedom and so much more opportunities to play around with light and composition. You'll probably see that I have a specific style of travel photography if you've read my travel diaries or scrolled through my travel instagram feed. Disposable/film cameras are also things I take with me, you've probably already heard me go on about how much I love the rawness of film photos and I like immortalising parts of my trips through a printed photo. I tend to use film for photos with myself and friends and family in them whereas my phone and DSLR are more for photos of my surroundings. I've also been doing 1 second every day and it's lovely to see snippets of trips slotted in there. 

I've read through this post repeatedly and I'm so tempted to leave it to collect dust in my drafts folder because everything I've written seems very self-explanatory...but if it helps one person then I guess it's worth it!

I hope you enjoyed and if you have any travel tips, comment them to help myself and others!
Dalal

and for the sake of transparency:
* I get £23 in AirBnB credit if you book a stay using my £25 off code
** You and I both get £5 if you sign up for Monzo using my link

10 comments

  1. I'd love to go travelling some day, there's so much more of the world that I'm dying to see! So these tips have certainly helped a lot, thank you!

    Shannon | https://shannonmichelle1.blogspot.com

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    1. You should definitely go for it! I have so many places on my list, it's almost ridiculous haha. I'm glad these were of use to you

      Dalal

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  2. Saving this post for my travels at the end of the year, it’s going to come in so handy!

    I also received my Monzo card in the post today. Thank you so much for the recommendation! I did it so quickly that I forgot to use your code but I’m going to get my friends and family to use your code for our upcoming trips. Every little helps!

    Fran | www.franciscarockey.co.uk

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    1. Ahh I'm glad it's useful and I can't wait to hear about whatever travels you have planned for the year. Monzo cards are a game changer- thanks for sharing around the link haha, every little helps indeed!

      Dalal

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  3. I'm currently looking to go on holiday with the boyfriend and we're having so much trouble trying to find cheap flights and accommodation. Last year we went to Berlin through British Airways in a package which was great/cheap but struggling to find something similar this year. I need to keep searching on Air BnB because I know how cheap it can be!

    Lucy | Forever September

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    1. Ahh that's so exciting- I hope you manage to find everything soon! Your trip to Berlin looks amazing. You should use expedia to find flight and hotel packages or ryanair and AirBnB. Good luck :)

      Dalal

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  4. This has honestly been so helpful and made me v excited for future travels... thank you dalal!! <3 <3 <3

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    1. Ah I'm so glad! I can't wait to see more of your future trips <3

      Dalal

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  5. Dalal this is the most helpful thing ever, especially with my trip coming up. Airbnb's are the best way to stay; I'll defo use your link to book (although I already have an account but I'm sure I can make a new one to get the money off lol.) Loving the travel direction your blog is going in too, hope youre well xox
    www.lexiealexandra.com

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    1. I'm so excited to see and hear about how your 'gap yah' Asia trip goes. Airbnb's are such amazing options if you want to go for the cheaper or non-traditional route. Hahaha yess, make the most out of the money off. Good luck with all your travels and be sure to update me on all of them <333

      Dalal

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Thank you for reading! I love reading comments and will always reply to them.

Lots of love, Dalal

© dalal tahira.