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)!


Winter Escapes

The British have something of a reputation for being obsessed with the weather. I don’t see this as a bad thing. I might be more of a weather watcher than some (I have two weather apps on my phone) but I’m not too bad. I have been known to have a weather-related moan from time to time….

I’m not a summer gal at heart, you see? I don’t like to be hot, I like floppy jumpers, crisp autumn leaves, fresh spring breezes and a proper winter.

A proper winter seems to be escaping us up in North Yorkshire once more (although it might be too soon to tell for this year). Last year was ridiculously mild and I think we had no more than one decent frost all year. If we aren’t going to have a decent winter with frosts and snowmen and such-like I’m going to opt out next year!

Now, I might not be a hot weather gal but I’ve been told by them in the know that when you go abroad, and to the right places, that the heat is a different type of heat. If it means escaping drizzle and out of whack seasons I’m going to have to risk it!

Now I’m not your clubbing on holiday, Ibiza type gal either. I’d be looking for something warm, not blisteringly hot and something interesting. I want culture, art, architecture and decent authentic food. What’s more I want all of this as part of a family holiday full of winter sun and fun so that we can all enjoy these experiences together.


  • A beach
  • Nice accommodation
  • Nothing *too* touristy
  • History, culture, awesome buildings by the bucket-load
  • Food, wonderful tasting food.

Short of attempting to find my own personal Narnia, what can I do? Is there a family friendly location that will offer me all of this without having to sell one of Roy’s kidneys (I’m quite attached to my own)? I quite like the idea of Morocco – have any of my readers been? It’s too late to book for this year but I’m really coming around to the idea of a winter sun vacation next year, especially if we have another wet and miserable winter this year.

Where would your ideal spot be?


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