Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or you’re scheduling a month-long 10-city tour, there are some things that really are best done before you lock the apartment door behind you.
1. Go now, don’t wait
By the time you’ve got the budget the weather won’t be right, go now and if you love it, save up for the blockbuster version of the same adventure another time.
2. Stay in touch
Five minutes on your mobile phone provider’s website can save you a lot of money when you use your phone abroad. Some companies offer the same rates as when you’re at home but it’s worth double checking what your contract includes, especially as data roaming can leave an expensive trail behind it.
3. Pack without emotion
Find out what the cabin baggage limits are on the airline you’re using – unless you need a huge suitcase to accommodate your year’s trip around the world, packing light could mean you get to the front of the airport arrivals taxi queue ages before your fellow passengers.
4. Roll don’t fold
Linen? Are you kidding? Time spent waiting for a hotel iron to warm up is time you’re not sipping your first cocktail. Stick to reliable favourites – you know, the clothes that look great even after a night spent on your bedroom floor.
5. Take spare, clear sealable plastic bags
You might have remembered to look up the rules about airport hand baggage security checks but your mate probably won’t have.
6. Take headphones
As essential as your wallet. Holidays are always too short and you don’t want the conversation/argument of the couple opposite to spoil the first few hours of your trip.
7. Snap away
Be sure to document your trip by taking photos (not just selfies) of your adventures winging it and share them with your friends and family back at home who haven't yet tried spontaneous travel..
8. Trust Time Out
Honestly, we get everywhere. Get the inside track on where you’re going from our local bloggers and editorial teams in cities all over the world.
9. Go native
Don’t go to the poshest restaurant, go to the one next door where the diners all have local accents.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask
Only have an hour to spend in the most amazing museum? Ask one of the staff what’s the one thing you should see. Ask your cabbie what’s the most unexpected thing to discover in his (or her) city? Ask at the hotel reception for the friendliest bar nearby.
11. Be tech savvy
Make sure you have the Booking.com or Booking Now app on your phone. With the Booking.com app you have all your reservation details for your accommodation along with directions on your phone. No need to print booking confirmations or carry additional documents around.