The Virgin Traveller’s Top Travel Tips

The idea behind this post is to share some helpful tips for making travelling abroad easier, things such as being able to make yourself understood when overseas. First, however, I have a confession to make. I don’t have a passport. Indeed, I have never had a passport. Yes, folks, I’ve never left the UK. Not once.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t something that keeps me awake at night. I’m not dreaming of a Shirley Valentine getaway anytime soon and to be honest I can say hand on heart that I don’t feel I’ve missed out. That said, I don’t want to never go abroad. I’m not anti-abroad, far from it. Overseas travel is very much on the cards. We just haven’t done it yet.

These tips are from the viewpoint of a virgin traveller (me) and what she (also me) believes would make life easier in terms of travelling abroad.

  1. Make Sure You Understand The Process

    Oh my, have you ever watched Border Control and airport shows? They don’t do a cracking job of putting potential travellers at ease, do they? The producers pick the very worst scenarios because let’s face it, no-one wants to watch 45 minutes of happy reunions when drunk women throwing luggage about is on offer. I get it, I really do. With everything being so very dramatic though, it’s not easy to visualise the actual airport and travel processes.
    What I’d love to have is a Dummies Guide to Travelling Abroad. A proper newbie guide. 

    Step 1: Take your boarding pass out of your bag.
    Step 2: ……..

Having a better understanding of the security requirements and the actual process of getting from A to B would really help.

  1. Learn the Lingo, or Cheat

    I was one of those girls at school who learned both French and German. I can tell you how many brothers and sisters I have in both languages, a few animal names, all the swear words and I know all about the swimming pool in French (a la piscine) purely because it sounded like a swear word. Needless to say, I’m fluent only in Yorkshire-speak so if I were to travel abroad (this is on the cards at some point!) I would like to have a few decent phrases or at least a full-proof phrase book or app to help me, especially when outside of touristy places.

    According to research from those lovelies at Holiday Autos I’m not the only one lacking in language skills. The “average” number of French words an adult Brit knows total 15. I’m pretty sure that four or five of those could be profanities.

    It gets better, (no really). Of those 15 words, it seems that “Hi” and “bye” alongside “yes”, “no” and “thanks” are most commonly known. Shocking stuff! Top tip number two, be prepared lingo-wise.

  2. Sort Your Local Travel

    I don’t drive and so am something of a queen when it comes to public transport. That’s all well and good here however in some gorgeous little rustic overseas village, where incidentally you can only say “hi, bye, no, yes” and count to ten, you’re going to struggle.
    From my point of view having a solid transport plan in place, ideally with a reputable holiday hire car (Roy drives), is just as important as knowing where the local Lidl is.
    * A nod to Holiday Autos here as they are the only “brand” I know, and having had a nosy, is the company that looks most likely to be full-proof for novice travellers such as us.

  3. Know What You’re Paying

    Currency is a bit of a worry, isn’t it? I’ve clocked the whole shopping around for holiday cash thing but I always wonder if I’ll end up paying way over the odds for something when on holiday because I’ve not worked out the difference in currency rates. Pound to Dollar or to Euro is fairly standard however for anything else I’m going to bet that doing a little homework in advance could be advantageous.

  4. Understand What You are Eating and Drinking

    If I could give myself, the virgin traveller one top tip it would be to understand the food! When we go abroad the chances are we’ll stay in some sort of resort or “mainstream” hotel but spend a lot of time in the less touristy places. Part of that experience is to sample authentic local cuisine. Holiday Autos’ research also found that around 27% of British travellers don’t bother to learn any of the native languages before setting off. I most certainly would not be in that bracket because I like (need) to know what I’m eating and drinking! Some advance research on local delicacies would be a good idea too.

For me, everything about travelling abroad is going to be new, shiny, scary and amazing. You can bet your bottom Dollar/Euro/Pound that these top five tips for making travelling abroad easier will all be on my to-do list before booking anything. I’ll have a better grasp of security, know what I can pack, where I go at the airport, and so on. I’ll brush up on my non-lewd foreign languages, sort reputable transport, make sure I know my tagliatelle from my local sandworm cuisine (do people actually eat sandworms?) and will certainly make sure I have a handle on how the currency works and the value as compared to the good old Pound.

What about you? What are your top tips for travelling?
Also, are you in the 27% and never learn any language before going abroad as “everyone speaks English” or do you know the basic 15 words including curses, like I do? I’m curious (nosy)!


Eco-Friendly Ways to Save Money


I’m a huge fan of saving money and if I can do so in a “green” way then all the best. This contribution from Autotrader has some great tips for doing just that.

Any way that you reduce your energy consumption saves you money. However, many people still view going green as a luxury rather than something that can be achieved within the confines of normal budget; it is inextricably tied to trendy hipsters who enjoy composting and kale salads. This is just not the case! Being friendlier to the environment isn’t just good news for the planet, it’s also great news for your wallet. Below are a series of tips on saving money by saving the world.

One Man’s Treasure is Another Man’s Trash

Instead of throwing everything away, why not take a long hard look at what you’re getting rid of? If you are getting rid of clothes, you could take them to a recycling centre that offers money for fabric. If you are throwing out furniture, you could put it on websites such as Gumtree or eBay. There are even places that offer money for old glass and tin cans. Not only this but passing your possessions on isn’t the only solution. You could always embrace arts and crafts by upcycling even the most ordinary of household objects, and you could sell them to make money or find a special place for them in your home.

Lower Your Energy Bills

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to switch off the lights when they leave a room. You can take this a step further by switching off appliances at the socket. It can also help to put draft excluders in your house and to take your heating system off automatic so that you only use it when absolutely necessary. Replacing your light bulbs with LED lights is another easy solution. These bulbs are certainly a wise investment, as they can last up to ten years!

Cars Can Be Recycled Too

The notion that new environmentally-friendly cars are always the best option for the environment is open for debate; instead, older used cars can often be the more ecologically sound option. This is due to the fact that buying a used car avoids the problem of carbon dioxide produced at each stage of the production of a new car. It is also an excellent way to get the best value for money. Furthermore, buying a used car doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality, for instance, the Hyundai i20 strikes the perfect balance between handling and comfort, boasts generous standard specification levels and a generous amount of space on the rear bench.

Save on the Laundry

The laundry is a great place to start saving both money and the environment. Make sure that you always wait to wash a full load rather than wasting water and money on washing powder and energy. You can clean your clothes in cold water without this affecting the quality of the wash, just use a quality washing powder or liquid. Finally, make sure to line dry your clothes rather than shelling out for a dryer and the cost of running one.

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