Top Travel Tips
Heading off on holiday? You lucky thing! Let Holiday Extras help you out with some top travel tips and travel advice from our experts, as well as a whole host of useful holiday info. Whether you're off to tan yourself on the beaches, hurtle down a snowy mountain on a thrill-packed ski holiday or explore the history and culture of another country, we've got travel tips to help.
Top Travel Tips Guide
Travel tips, tricks and hacks
Have a read through our handy travel tips and hacks to get the ball rolling on your best holiday yet!
1. Start with a map...
... A Google Map! Use a 'saved list' to create a personalised route map by dropping pins on the sights you want to see - and then you can share it with everyone travelling with you.
2. Save the weight...
... by wearing your heaviest clothes on the plane! If you must bring that stylish chainmail shirt, don't pack it in your luggage, wear it onto the plane - good luck at security though.
3. Pick a number between 1 and 10...
... Was it 7? No? Oh well. Speaking of numbers though, it's a good idea to keep all of your important holiday numbers together. Save them into your phone with each contact name starting 'Holiday' followed by who it is, e.g "Holiday Airline". This will make it easier to find the number for your airline, hotel, insurance provider, transfer company etc.
4. A spoonful of sugar...
... Helps the medicine get packed. Ok, that's a stretch, we don't advise you bury medication in sugar to pack it. There are some things to consider when it comes to taking your medication abroad though.
Can you take your medication out of the UK?
Talk to your GP or medical practitioner at least 2 months before your departure date for advice on any special arrangements
Can you take your medication into your destination country?
This will vary from country to country, the best thing to do is contact the embassy for your holiday destination and ask them for advice, they'll explain any rules or regulations around bringing your medication into the country. You can find a full list of these on the GOV.UK Website.
Can you take your medication in your hand luggage?
It is advised that you carry your medicine in your hand luggage but we do suggest you check directly with your airline that this is ok.
Talk to your GP well in advance of your holiday to make sure you have enough of your medication. For some other helpful advice about travelling abroad with medication, check out the NHS website.
5. Back to basics...
... And basics on your back. Keep an extra pair of underoos, some socks and a spare top in your carry-on bag so that if your luggage goes walkabout you've at least got another day of clothes handy.
6. Use the shoes...
... To store small essentials. A stick of roll-on deodorant, some rolled up socks, your spare, flashy, going out-out watch.
7. Let's keep things fresh...
... With a reusable ziploc bag. Plane snacks, train snacks and automobile snacks - keep them all fresh for the duration with these handy little bags.
8. Let's get digital, digital...
... Top travel apps. There are loads of handy apps to help you on your travels and you can find our favourites on our Best Travel Apps page.
Psssst! Hey, you, the holiday planner...
If you're planning you trip and looking for an easy way to compare our best deals, then our app featuring HEHA! is perfect for you. Let HEHA! do the legwork by sorting all our deals and tailoring them specifically for you, it'll even notify you if a deal drops in price so you can grab a bargain. Download our app now and start making your holiday easier.
... The business team. Spot some business people? Try to slip into the queues they're in, these folks often pack light and move quick so their lanes can be a bit speedier.
10. Don't break the bank...
... And don't let them break you. Double check if your bank charges for using your credit or debit card whilst abroad. If it does then you could consider grabbing a pre-filled money card such as this one from our partners at Caxton FX.
11. Travel like a tourist...
... Eat like a local. Try to avoid restaurants right next to tourist spots (unless that's exactly what you're looking for). Head a few streets away and you're likely to find quieter, cheaper and often more authentic places to eat.
12. Video killed the boredom...
... It's on your phone and in the car. We know, that one was hard work. If you're taking a long trip, remember to arrange some form of entertainment for yourself, a book, your favourite show on youjr favourite streaming site, that sort of thing. With services like the Kindle app and Netflix you can now carry volumes of time-killing fun in your pocket.
13. Dr, Dr, it hurts when I do this...
... Don't do that then! Also, don't forget to pack a small first aid kit, it can be easy to pick up a few scrapes and bumps while you're busy exploring and adventuring so having something to hand to help patch up the wounded.
14. These boots were made for walking...
... So it's lucky you packed them. Depending on the type of holiday you've got planned you'll need different shoes. Plan to be poolside 98% of the time? A pair of flip-flops should do the trick. Hiking through the foothills? Flip-flops are probably not the one. Remember, if you buy a new pair of walking shoes or hiking boots, it'd be worth getting them in advance so you can break them in before your holiday starts.
15. Adapt to survive...
... With minimal travel adapters. Don't go and buy a travel adapter for every piece of tech you want to plug in (phone, tablet, laptop, mini-speaker, hairdryer, straighteners...), just grab one and a 4-way (or more-way) extension cable. Unlimited power!
16. Book ahead...
... To get ahead. If you're planning on visiting a popular tourist attraction it's worth looking to see if you can book your tickets in advance. Grab your tickets the day before your visit and you could skip past a big queue and get on with enjoying the sights.
17. Let's do lunch...
... At the Museum. It turns out that one of the best times to visit tourist attractions such as museums, galleries and historic sites is around lunchtime, while everyone is enjoying the local cuisine you can enjoy shorter queues. Just remember to plan ahead so you don't get too hungry!
18. Welcome to the Hostel California...
... Such a lovely place. If you're travelling alone or as a couple then a hostel could be the answer to your accommodation needs. Hostels are a great way to meet fellow travellers, they often put on events and activities and they're cheaper than a full hotel room.
19. I would walk 500 miles...
... And I would do a free walking tour. Maybe not a 500 mile one, but free walking tours are a great way to see the city you're visiting while asking your guide all the questions that pop up. Maybe you can even have a little sing-along.
20. Ask your suitcase to strike a pose...
... And get a few quick snaps. If you take some pictures of your suitcase and clothes it can be helpful if they go missing and you need to make an insurance claim.
21. Don't randomly snap...
... Pictures of people on the streets. If you see a street performer or similar doing something you want to remember forever, be polite and ask for permission before you grab a selfie with them.
22. Money makes the world go round...
... So make sure you have a few emergency £s. There may be times when your debit or prepaid card isn't accepted so it's always useful to have some emergency cash on you.
23. Get a real taste of the culture...
... By eating locally. Don't be afraid to try local cuisines and specialties, these can be some of the best ways of learning about the place you're visiting. And who knows, you might be just about to discover your new favourite dish.
24. ...Look at this photograph
... This spare passport photograph. You'd be surprised how handy a few spare passport photos in your bag can be. Whether you're travelling through multiple countries and need to apply for visas or in some cases just want a sim card, carrying a few can be easier than trying to find someone to take new ones.
25. You've gotta walk the walk...
... And talk the talk. Learning a few phrases in the local language can be extremely helpful on your trip, even just 'hello', 'thank you' and 'goodbye' can help things go smoothly.
26. Keep the noise down...
... With some earplugs (and an eye mask). Sleeping in a new place can be tricky and you might find that your room is near a busy road. A simple set of earplugs and an eye mask could make the difference between a good night's sleep and a bleary-eyed morning.
27. Get yourself covered...
... Unless you're working on your tan. In all seriousness, getting yourself travel insurance is an excellent idea. It's best to be covered for medical bills when you travel abroad and if you are doing an activity like skiing or snowboarding you definitely want to be covered. Check out our page all about Travel Insurance.
28. Look after the pennies...
... And also the pounds. Make sure you keep your money safe but please don't use a money belt. Not only do they make getting your cash out to pay for something very awkward, but thieves know all about them, so they don't actually work. Keep your money in your purse or wallet as you usually would and just stay aware.
29. Enjoy your getaway...
... But don't go fully off the grid. We know your holiday is about getting away from it all, but it's handy to let a few people at home know where you're going to be and give them contact details for where you're staying, just in case anyone needs to contact you.
30. Check yo'self...
... Before you pack yo'self. Getting ready for your holiday can involve an awful lot of things to think about! What you need to pack, where your passport is right now (in the draw upstairs? Maybe...), have you had any jabs you might need? With our handy Holiday Checklist you can keep track of all your important holiday preparation and be ready as ready can be.
31. Don't get caught short...
... Pack some toilet paper. Carrying a roll of toilet paper in your bag can be a life-saver if you need to duck into a public toilet and they haven't been serviced recently. To save space you can squish them down flat too!
32. Sand, Sand, Baby...
... Baby powder that is. We're pretty sure Vanilla Ice would be fed up walking half the beach home on his toes. Apply a bit of baby powder and it'll dry that sand right out, letting it flake off easily.
33. Don't be a copycat...
... Or, DO be a copycat. Make copies or take photos of (or both) all your important documents so if any of them go missing at least you have all the details available.
34. A picture paints 1000 words...
... So read up on improving your photography skills. Just getting a few hints and tips about improving the composition of your shots can make for some truly outstanding pictures to remember your holiday with.
... And rehydrate as you go. Bringing a refillable water bottle can save you plenty of money vs buying bottled water whenever you get thirsty. Plus they can look pretty stylish.
36. Live that student life...
... But hopefully without all the debt. If your destination is a university city it can be a great idea to look for a hotel near the university grounds. These areas are often slightly safer and the perfect place to find cheap but tasty food.
37. Here's my card...
... My city card. These cards can be the best way to see everything a city has to offer without costing you an arm and a leg. With your city card you can get free or cheap entry to top attractions as well as priority in queues.
38. Planes, trains and automobiles...
... Are easy if you know what you're doing. Research any travelling you'll need to do before you, well, travel. If you're going to need a transfer make sure you know where you're meeting it and where you need dropping off. Similarly, if you have multiple destinations on your trip make sure you research each leg of the journey in advance.
39. Catch the red-eye...
... And avoid red eyes. If you have several destinations to travel between then it's a good idea to use overnight trains where possible. You'll save some money and you won't eat into your touristing (we're sure that's a word) time too much.
40. Don't lose your memories...
... By forgetting to back them up. Taking lots of amazing shots of beautiful sunsets and delicious meals with your phone? Back them up to make sure you still have them in case the unthinkable happens and you lose your phone.
41. Don't let 'battery low'...
... Ruin your flow. Bring along a portable battery charger to make sure that your electronic devices don't let you down.
42. Don't throw in the towel...
... No, wait, do throw it in. While most places you stay will provide a towel you can't guarantee it, and its very important to know where your towel is
Covid Travel Advice
Some top tips about tips.
We've all been there, that awkward social interaction where you're not sure what to do. Do I tip? How much is the right amount to tip? Do I have to clumsily palm the money to this person? Well, that last one is easy - no, don't do that. For those other questions, here's a handy little table to help out.
|You don't need to tip staff in your hotel
|A tip of 10% has recently become customary in restaurants. In bars it's discretionary but if someone has mixed you a cocktail a few dollars is normal
|Taxi drivers don't require tips but they'll appreciate it if you tell them to keep the change
|No need for a tip
|A €1-€2 tip is customary if a porter carries your bags
|Hotels and cafes will usually include service charges of around 15% ('service compris') so you only need to tip if you want to reward excellent service, 10-12.5% is customary in this situation. It's not necessary to tip in bars
|No need to tip taxi drivers but it's normal to round up to the nearest euro
|It's discretionary but usually €2-€5 per person, per day and a further €1-€2 for the bus driver
|A customary tip is €1 per bag for porters and €1 a day for cleaning staff
|Service charges are added to the bill in restaurants but an additional tip of 5-10% is common with tourists. Tips aren't expected in bars
|No need for a tip but you can round up the fare if you want to
|Group tours typically tip €2-€5 and private tours anywhere up to €20 per person, per day
|A service fee is normally added to your bill. It's normal to give 100-200 Rupees a day to porters and the same for cleaners
|5-10% tip on top of the service charge at top end restaurants is customary. In more casual eateries there probably won't be a service charge, so just add 5-10% to the bill. You don't need to tip in bars.
|You can simply round up the fare
|A tip of between 100 and 300 Rupees for a day is normal. For group tours 30-50 Rupees a day is fine
|This is discretionary but you can add €1-€2 a day for porters and cleaning staff
|Service and cover charges (servizio/coperto) are often included on bills in Italy and there is no need to tip on top of this. If these charges haven't been added then you can round up to the nearest €5-€10. Tipping is discretionary in bars, in tourist cities a small tip of €1-€2 is customary
|While not expected, it is considered polite to round your taxi fare up to the nearest euro
|A tip of €5-€10 is appreciated, but not required
|No tip needed
|No tip needed
|No tip needed
|Depending how much experience your guide has with international tourists they may accept a tip, if you are planning on giving them one make sure it's in an envelope when you hand it across
|Tips are only expected in 5-star hotels
|In popular tourist destinations like Krakow and Gdansk a tip of 10% is expected. There's no need to tip in bars
|Taxi drivers will expect you to round the fare up to the nearest 5zl or 10zl
|Government guides working at historical sites will not expect a tip; for a private guide a 10% tip is expected
|R20 per bag for the porter and R20 per night for the housekeeping is customary
|If there is no service charge added to your bill leave a tip of 10-15%. In bars add 10% to the total bill
|Simply round your fare up to the nearest R20
|A tip of at least 10% is expected if you're staying at a safari lodge. mLeave it at the end of your stay and it will be divided amongst the staff
|No need for a tip here
|Tipping in Spain is discretionary; in tapas restaurants and bars, simply round up to the nearest euro or leave your change. In more upmarket eateries, leave a tip of 5-10% of the bill
|No tips are expected, but it is considered polite to round up to the nearest euro
|You can reward good service with a €5-€10 tip
|Bellhops will expect a tip of $1 per bag ($5 per bag in 5-star hotels). Don't forget you'll also need to tip valets, doorpeople, casino staff (5%), housekeeping and room service (15-20%). If you treat yourself to a spa day then 15% of the bill is considered a reasonable amount to tip
|Popular tourist eateries will expect 20% of your bill as standard and then an additional tip on top if you are impressed with the service. Less touristy areas will expect 15-20% of the bill. In buffet restaurants tip each person that collects your plate $1 and in bars leave $1-$2 dollars per drink on the bar after you leave
|10-15% of the fare plus $1-$2 per bag if the driver helps you with them
|Dependant on the type of tour. For a free tour a tip of $5 per person, for a tour you've paid for it can range from $3-$10 dollars a day for the cheaper tours up to 10-20% of the total cost of the tour for more expensive bus tours etc
If you don't want to worry about working out tips, book an all-inclusive holiday where tips aren't expected.
Tips for driving in snow in Europe
Is it time for a skiing holiday? Or a winter road trip around the beautiful sites of Europe? We wouldn't blame you, but there are some things you need to know about driving in Europe during the winter months.
Winter tyres, or indeed studded tyres, may not be mandatory but they are heavily recommended in some countries and even more specifically in some areas of those countries. You may even find that should you have an accident your insurer will not process your claim if you weren't using snow tyres in an area that recommended you do so. Below you can see information about certain countries and their policy for snow tyres:
Between the 1st of November and the 31st of March you are allowed to use studded tyres if the road conditions permit.
Snow tyres are not required generally by law in France, but between November 1st and March 31st a decree can be issued requiring them. Always check for this before you travel.
If you are driving on snowy or icy roads in Germany then you are required to use snow tyres. This legislation is normally in effect from October to April but to be safe we suggest checking before you travel. If you see a sign for snow chains then these are a requirement in these areas and there may be a fine if you are not using them.
Studded tyres are not permitted in Germany.
The use of snow tyres and snow chains in Italy is controlled by the motorway agencies and individual regions so it's best to check for each area you will be driving through in advance. Snow equipment will be used between 15th of November and the 15th of April.
Switzerland doesn't require you to use snow tyres, however it is highly recommended between October and April. If you see a sign depicting snow chains then you must have them equipped on your car to drive on that road during winter. Studded tyres are permitted between 1st October and 31st May depending on the road conditions.
It's important to note that winter tyres must be fit in sets of 4, fitting just a front or back set will affect the stability and control of your car.
The use of snow chains is taken very seriously and there can be hefty fines if they are not used when indicated. We suggest you always have snow chains with you when driving abroad and as they can be a bit difficult to apply and remove, we recommend practicing at home before you travel. The following countries have policies requiring the use of snow chains when signage requires:
Snow chains can cause damage to the road and your car if they are used on roads that are not snowy or icy, this includes if the road has been cleared or gritted.
Don't forget to check your car!
- ✓ Oil level
- ✓ Tyre pressure
- ✓ Engine coolant
- ✓ Emergency roadside kit
- ✓ Spare Tyre
- ✓ Windscreen wiper fluid
- ✓ Tyre tread depth
- ✓ Lights
- ✓ Windows and mirrors
- ✓ Fuel
We've put together a collection of our helpful traveller resources below, have a look through so we can help you have a hassle-free holiday.
Best Travel Apps
If you're looking for ways to make your holiday even easier, then check out our list of the Best Travel Apps to download for easy ways to improve your holiday.
Don't run the risk of turning up at the airport without a passport, or forgetting to pack your trunks for the pool! Use our Holiday Checklist to make sure you're completely prepared for your time away.