Hotel Hippo’s Top Ten Travel Tips

We all know how stressful planning and travelling for a trip abroad can be. To help relieve those holiday worries we’ve put together our top 10 travel tips, so you can make the most of your time away.1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required.Imagine, you’re at the airport, you’re about to check in, and you notice your passport has expired! Your holiday is over before it’s even begun. Avoid this disappointment by ensuring your passport is up to date. In most cases you’ll find that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay. If you don’t have a passport, your current passport has expired or is close to expiration, we recommend applying for one now. In the UK it is recommended that you leave at least a month between applying for your passport and arranging travel – this time period may be longer in other countries. Also bear in mind that during summer months your passport office will be inundated with applications, and this may cause a backlog. Be sure to apply for your new passport in plenty of time if you wish to travel during this period.Also consider the length and type of your trip. Many countries require that you hold a valid visa to work or take an extended stay, and you may find that you are breaking your host county’s laws without one.2. Read the Consular Information Sheets, public announcements or travel warnings for the areas you plan to visit.Be sure to read up on the areas you plan to visit with these resources to help ensure your personal safety and make the most of your trip.3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are travelling.The last thing any of us want while enjoying our travels is to be seen as an obnoxious tourist. We all know the type, and it’s not a good look. This can be easily avoided by finding out about the customs of the country you intend to visit – perhaps even learn a bit of the lingo. Some knowledge along these lines will surely be welcomed by the locals and will help you to enjoy your surroundings that little bit more. Also ensure you’re aware of any differences in local law to your home country, as when you are abroad you are subject to the rules of your host country, and ignorance is rarely accepted as an excuse.4. Make 2 copies of your passport identification page.This will help if your passport is lost or stolen while you are away – usually a complete nightmare, but made so much easier just by following this little tip. Leave one copy at home with friends or family, and carry the other with you in a separate place to your passport. Do NOT carry it with your passport.5. Leave contact details with friends and family so that you can be contacted in case of emergency.Life at home doesn’t stop while you’re away, and you may need to be quickly contacted by friends or family should there be an emergency. Make sure they can do this by leaving your travel details (address & telephone number of your accommodation, email address & travel itinerary) with selected friends and family.6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas. Do not accept packages from strangers.With all the security measures currently in place in public areas such as airports and train stations it is essential to ensure that you keep hold of your luggage at all times. If you’re asked to hold an item for a stranger, politely decline.7. Avoid being a target of crime. Avoid wearing conspicuous clothing and expensive jewellery, and carrying excessive amounts of money, credit cards or gadgets.Travellers and tourists are obvious targets for foreign criminals – they usually stick out like a sore thumb and carry plenty of cash and gadgets such as digital cameras, camcorders & iPods. Reduce your chances of being a victim by dressing appropriately and only taking what you need – travellers cheques are much safer than cash, and if you wish to take any pictures or listen to music while you’re out, keep your devices out of reach and out of site!8. To avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when exchanging money or making sizable purchases.The old adage is right – it something’s too good to be true, it usually is. If you’re offered an amazing exchange rate or investment opportunity from a stranger with no credentials, walk away. Even if they seem able to prove their identity or position, remain cautious, and trust your instincts – get out if you feel at all uneasy.9. If you get into trouble, contact the nearest embassy for your country.Your county’s embassy is the place to turn if you find yourself a victim of crime or in trouble with the law. If you are a citizen of the EU and your country does not have an embassy, contact the nearest EU member embassy and request guidance from them. Many of them will provide some level of assistance in an emergency.10. Above all, have fun!With all the planning that is required for a successful holiday, it can be easy to get bogged down and forget to have fun and relax! With some simple preparation before you go, you can enjoy your holiday with minimum fuss while there. You deserve a break – make sure you get it!

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