If I had to estimate how many questions I regularly get based on my writing, I would average it out somewhere between more than I get letters through the post for any topic, but less than I get texts from my budget app telling me I have spent too much on eating out that month again.
But in all seriousness, I do get some really great regular questions around travelling from all you wanderlust lovers out there. To make things a little simpler, I thought I would collate a small sample of the most frequently asked travel queries and my answers here.
What are your three favourite countries?
Without a doubt Italy, Iceland and Switzerland. Italy for the food, the architecture and history. Iceland for nature, dramatic landscapes and people. Switzerland for the mountains, the lakes and the outdoor activities on offer, as well as really good food.
We did our first holiday, technically our honeymoon from the UK together to Rome, and every year since we’ve visited Italy at least once. So far we’ve seen Amalfi, Capri, Naples, Sardinia, Venice, Milan, Lake Como, Bergamo, Aosta and Rome. This year we are going to explore Tuscany.
What’s your favourite weekend getaway?
When I lived in the UK, I actually loved to explore local as I think often when we think of travel, we think it has to involve crossing borders. For me, a perfect weekend included an old castle, stately home, rustic B&B or even a tent somewhere in the UK’s dales, moors or lakes.
Scottish highlands is my favourite, but wasn’t the easiest to get to.
Who do you travel with?
90% of the time, I travel with my wonderful husband. However we love a group adventure and so we regularly do trips with our siblings, parents or friends.
Around once / twice a month I will travel alone for work.
How do you afford to travel so often?
Live minimally, buy little, and only what you really need. Often a return flight can cost the same as a new pair of shoes you really don’t need. If travel is your end-game, you need to prioritize this over a new Xbox game or upgrading a car when yours works perfectly.
It’s not for everyone, but it’s important to us, so we make these choices.
Our home, transport and clothes are not the best, but they do the job, which leaves more money to see the world.
Oh, and I work hard to make it a reality too.
How do you travel and work? What is your job?
Prioritization, it’s the most important factor. A recent study by CIO showed that if you take all your allocated leave in a year you’re up to 26% more productive than people who don’t.
Time off is important, and it’s important to spend that time off valuably. We organize leave so it works best for us, for travelling and adventuring. One day off makes a long weekend, which equals a three day break.
Don’t look back and regret it, plan your time wisely, and put those plans into action.
Long haul flying advice?
Go with a good airline, keep hydrated, book your seats in advance to get the best options and know you’ll be comfortable (rows of just two seats for a couple are worth the extra money).
Take entertainment, a good sleep-aid is never a bad idea, and invest in a travel cushion, comfy layered clothes and a foot rest or inflatable pillow.
Oh, and antiseptic wipes, planes are FULL of germs and a good seat and tray wipe-down is never a bad idea.
Lastly, match your in-flight sleep to your new destination timezone, helps with the jet lag.
How far in advance do you book a trip?
If it’s somewhere I want to go that year, I use flight alerts and book it when the cost is lowest. Many travel apps can also help you with previous years’ data to predict when flights will be at their lowest cost. Hopper is a really good app for this.
For weekend breaks, often I book around three months in advance. I always book a hotel as soon as I book a flight, and then cancel it closer to the time if I see a better deal.
Where should I go next?
Wherever makes you happy. Look for a place that meets your travel needs and wish-lists, don’t try and seek out the hit new destination or follow the crowds, chances are it may not suit you personally and you may be disappointed. Find something you love to do, and find the best place to do it!
Any downsides to travelling?
I get pretty bad anxiety so before any trip I usually find myself nervous and wanting to cancel, rather than the excitement you should get. For this, my husband is a trooper who makes sure we get on the plane.
Language can be a barrier in tricky situations, so downloading the Google Translate app is a real must.
If you do it too much, you can find yourself weary, so make sure you have a good balance between coming and going.
If it goes wrong, it goes wrong. Cancelled flights, bad weather or lost luggage can ruin a trip. Which is why it’s always good to be prepared, have a plan B, and get good insurance!
The environmental cost is not great at all, which is why we always try and pay the optional offset contributions that airlines now offer, and reduce our impact in other ways day to day, such as not eating meat at home or recently deciding to no longer own a car.
Any other questions? I’d love to hear and answer them so pop them in the comments below!