15 Best Holiday Tips Beyond The Packing List

We recently went on a holiday to New York. On the last day we stopped in at the Gasoline Alley coffee company and took 15 mins to write down some of the things that had helped it go smoothly. Here are our 15 best holiday tips (and here we’re talking about things you can do to help enjoy your holiday, not the best ways to buy a holiday or a packing list).

  1. Make sure there is a balance between organised tourism and doing things that you didn’t already see on a hundred blogs.
  2. Plan to be flexible, i.e. make sure that maybe 75% of your time has an itinerary; you’ll need to organise plenty of things in advance. However, it’s good to have some gaps because not everything goes to plan/sometimes you’ll find extra things you want to do.
  3. Get a small guide book complete with maps. Don’t rely on your phone or tablet. Not only will this distract you (and take you to places where there is signal), you will draw attention to yourself and this is not wise in all places.
  4. Limit your shopping time (unless you have already decided this is a shopping holiday).
  5. Any ‘chores’ (sending postcards, requests from friends for purchases) should be done early so you don’t spend your final days doing anything but what you want to do.
  6. Start saving up the minute you know you are definitely going on holiday.
  7. If appropriate, make sure there are romantic bits, not just tourist bits (sometimes these will overlap).
  8. Be aware of where your embassies/consulates are.
  9. Consider using TouchNote or similar to send personalised postcards with a minimum of hassle.
  10. Keep track of what you have done, eaten, enjoyed and seen as the holiday goes on. Not all feelings and thoughts can or should be photographed. Notes are also good for next time.
  11. Follow up to point 2, but consider having ‘spare’ days if you have enough time in a place.
  12. Make sure that packing is as organised as possible on the way out and you only have what is strictly necessary; this way bags will be lighter and you can bring more back!
  13. Think about any presents for people beforehand so you don’t waste holiday time browsing.
  14. Get up early and go to bed early (or late; but get up early!).
  15. Don’t feel like you have to be out exploring all the time. Part of experiencing another culture or place is having time to absorb and process it. It’s okay to stay in and watch local TV so you have more energy for the next day!

If you’ve got any of your own tips for getting the most of a holiday, why not let us know in the comments?

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