These tips are geared towards travel in Europe however are relevant to independent travel in general!
Not everyone wants to go on an escorted tour when they think about planning their honeymoon or vacation. I completely understand. Perhaps you have different interests than your tour itinerary or maybe, you would much rather sit in a cafe people watching one day instead of visiting a museum. Or you don’t like to have every day planned out and prefer to be spontaneous..
Before you purchase airfare only from your Travel Advisor and go, here are some tips that will help keep your vacation as independent as you like without the added stress of what to see and how to see it.
Tip 2: Pre-book your accommodation as much as you can. In peak seasons, pre- booking your hotel is the only way to ensure availability. And who wants to waste time searching for a hotel while you are suppose to enjoying your vacation?
Tip 3: Location is key and having a nice hotel (4 star or better) to rest at night can really make the trip. Spend more to have a good, centrally located hotel and wine and dine less. Perhaps pick up a baguette, cheese and wine from the market instead of a fine dining experience.
Tip 4: Book arrival transfers. I love adding this service in for clients. You arrive off a long flight, you are in a new country and your are tired. Who wants to mess around with finding a taxi, negotiate price, or take the train into the city while struggling with your entire luggage? Why not have a driver and car waiting for you, when you arrive?
Tip 5: Pre-book a tour for your first day in each new area or city that you are exploring. The best tours to help get oriented in a new area are walking tours and hop-on-hop-off bus tickets that go to all the attractions. Expert tip– ride the hop-on-hop-off bus the route first without getting off and then decide what you want to see. You will be more oriented and can allocate enough time for your favourite stops.
Tip 6: Leave some items intentionally unorganized. Now I’m talking, right!? Have your one day of tours per city booked. Pre-book any must have tours, museum tickets, skip-the-line passes, rail passes, concerts but everything else leave up in the air! Don’t pre-book those short trains trips that leave every hour to your next destination. You can catch that anytime.
Tip 7: Get a good pair of walking shoes. Cities such as Paris, Barcelona, and Rome are best explored on foot. Have a good map and start walking the city. Purchase a day bus or transit pass to save money and get around with ease. I remember when I got lost 4 times while walking in Athens. I met so many interesting people and have very fond memories of that day!
Tip 8:Work from a base. Having one place that you will always come back to after a dayof adventure will allow for a flexible schedule. For example, book a week in Tuscany with a car rental. Now you can explore many small and interesting towns in this area, visit Florence, visit Pisa but always come back to your familiar accommodation. You can decide what you would like to do each day once you are there.