It’s a safe bet that you never consider all the things that can go wrong while traveling when you are planning your trip. We are not speaking of injuries or accidents because this article isn’t about travel insurance (although we do believe you should purchase some). When you are planning your trip you focus on setting a budget, determining where you want to go, how long to stay, which accommodations to book, what things to see, what tours to take and attractions to see, and where to eat. These things are important because they help you become excited and dream about your time away.
What you may not account for is all the hiccups of traveling in a new city or country. These are things that no one tells you about and few people write about. These are things seasoned travelers and travel advisors have experienced first hand, know about, understand, and incorporate into their travel plans.
Imagine after spending 30+ hours planning your trip and dreaming about the time away, these little hiccups ruin part or all of your trip. These little hiccups require you to spend time you didn’t anticipate, miss out on an activity, re-plan your day or rest of your trip, and more.
Wondering what some of these hiccups may be? Here are a few examples:
Ferry Schedules, Booking and Selling Out: If you are traveling during high season and will need to take ferries it is important to understand how the ferry system works. We recently experienced this in Lake Como. There was very little information available online. This meant we had to experience it firsthand so we could help our clients. Before taking a ferry in Lake Como, it is important to understand that Lake Como is 56 square miles. It is not a tiny lake. There are two types of ferries in Lake Como. The slow ferry and the fast ferry.
- Slow ferries can be booked online, bought at the ticket kiosks or in person. However, they can take a lot of time. Reaching Bellagio from Como can take up to 2.5 hours on the slow ferry. And in high season they can book up very fast.
- Fast ferries can ONLY be booked in person. In low season these tend to book up early in the morning for the whole day. In high season it is best to buy them the day before. That same trip to Bellagio takes 45 minutes.
On a recent trip we were in line to catch the slow ferry to Bellagio and a man in front of us needed to buy tickets for the fast ferry to Bellagio. They were sold out which meant he had to either spend a lot more money to take a taxi or change his plans and cancel his dinner reservation. He was not happy when he left the ticket counter.
Not having a strategic approach to your day: Some have FOMO when it comes to visiting a new place. Which isn’t a bad thing. But it can become a bad thing when you don’t know the lay of the city and book activities that are spread far apart, and transportation time is not properly accounted for. For example, Paris can take some time to get around because it is large and spread out. Trying to go to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe in one day will eat up a lot of your time and be exhausting. Your travels become more enjoyable if you know what to bundle together and how much time is needed at each location and the time needed to get to the next.
Not accounting for entrance lines and when people start to get in line: Planning to arrive right on time or a few minutes before your entrance time. You may find yourself in a long line. We experienced this twice in Paris. Once at the Louvre and the second at Moulin Rouge. Locals and tourists were getting in the queue 30-60 minutes ahead of entrance times. Luckily we had also arrived early so our wait was not very long at the Louvre. However, the wait for Moulin Rouge was long and hot.
Trains not being on schedule: Trains can often be delayed due to disruptions or strikes on the line especially in Europe. This means you get into a place later than anticipated. This could cause you to miss a timed ticket entrance, get to your accommodation late or skip a place altogether. It’s helpful to understand how reliable the trains are where you are traveling to and what alternative modes of transportation exist. Trainline (Europe), National Rail (UK), ViRail (USA) are great resources for checking train times and disruptions.
Parking: If you plan to rent a car it is really important to understand parking options. Some places have garages, some have lots, and some have side of the road parking. Not fully understanding how parking works in the city you are visiting can eat up a lot of time on your trip and lead to frustration. Trying to find parking in beach or lake towns can be difficult. Planning ahead with a few parking options can be helpful and cut down on driving around in search of a spot. We recently experienced this when visiting Lake Maggiore. Even though we had planned ahead, that particular day many others also planned to visit the lake due to the holiday, and finding parking was impossible. We decided to change our plans and come back another day.
How to Minimize or Avoid Hiccups: Working with a seasoned travel advisor can help you either avoid these hiccups or have an alternative plan if these hiccups arise. As travel advisors we can help you plan all the intricacies of your trip.
Our mission at Traplanz is to partner with YOU and help you globetrot for life. We believe travel is personal and your travel plans should match your travel style and personality. So for us the most important part is getting to know YOU. We want to provide you with itineraries fit to your travel style, personality and goals. Not a copy and paste from the travels of others or the top ten sites/restaurants/activities listed on the internet.
As travel advisors we can help you with booking the basics but can add-on a customized detailed itinerary. We start by getting to know you. Then what kind of trip you are looking to have, what is important to you, budget, and more. You then decide if assistance with bookings is enough or if you would prefer additional recommendations or a customized detailed itinerary.
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