How to Optimize a Trip Before You Even Take It

If you learn how to optimize a trip before going to Seoul, navigating its maze-like subway system will be a breeze ... photo by CC user lwy on Flickr

Travel, like many aspects of life, has its ups and downs. However, the many unknowns of traveling to a place of which you have limited or zero forehand knowledge can introduce problems that can interfere with your overall enjoyment of your holiday. By learning how to optimize a trip, you can reduce or eliminate major problems, and enhance your ability to deal with smaller issues that do crop up.

1) Download metro/subway maps to your mobile

When arriving in a major city, getting around can be a bit intimidating to say the least. Fortunately, most of these urban areas have robust mass transit systems that make getting around a breeze. You can’t count on being able to get a SIM card easily on arrival though, and open public wi-fi isn’t as accessible as you think it is, so downloading metro maps to your mobile device prior to leaving for your destination is highly advisable preparation. This way, you can get to your hotel and attractions in the early going without getting hopelessly lost.

2) Write down attractions you want to see

One of the biggest pet peeves of many travelers upon arriving in their dream destinations is not knowing where the heck to begin when it comes time to go sightseeing. Research them before leaving, writing down the top 5 attractions that make the most sense vis a vis your interests. After all, why waste your time on exploring museums and temples if eating food or climbing mountains are far more interesting to you on your multi centre international holiday?

3) Find your destination’s best restaurants on sites like Tripadvisor

When one is in a popular city or resort area, it is easy to get roped into dining at restaurants where the prices of the food don’t match up well with its quality (in other words, most tourist trap establishments offer poor value per dollar spent).

Avoid this problem by going onto sites like Tripadvisor prior to departure and searching for the top rated restaurants there. Often, the best rated restaurants can be found a fair distance away from tourism areas, as it is in local neighborhoods where restaurateurs aim to deliver a superior eating experience aimed at attracting repeat customers, whereas touristy establishments often get away with supply overpriced mediocre cuisine to a never-ending flow of travelers, day in and day out.

4) Book your airline tickets well in advance

While you might describe yourself as a spur of the moment traveler, breaking this habit will do a world of good for your wallet, as the best airline ticket deals are offered well in advance of the planned day of travel. On average, those booking two to three months in advance of their departure date will get the best prices on a flight, making the switch to being a more boring and predictable person a profitable one (you can always be spontaneous when you get there, after all!).