Happy Holidays?

Happy Holidays?
Madison Duddy gives travel tips and tricks to guarantee a stress-free summer getaway

With the summer months upon us, people begin to plan and prepare for their summer holidays. Whether it be a trip with family or friends, everyone is itching for a weekend on a beach or exploring a new city.

While being on vacation can provide one with some much-needed relaxation and ‘vitamin sea’, planning a holiday can be one of the most stressful, frustrating and exhausting tasks. Through the whole process, most people will think to themselves, ‘why didn’t I just hire a travel agent?’

So how can one make the trip planning as enjoyable as the vacation itself?

While spontaneous trips can be some of the most fun and memorable experiences, spontaneity just causes stressful planning. When booking a trip on short notice, prices will be inevitably higher for hotels and airfare. For hotels, most of the nice ones with desirable locations will be booked, so travellers could get stuck overpaying for the hotel away from their desired area.

If a spontaneous trip is a must, use websites like Hotels Tonight to book a room. Hotels Tonight is an online travel app that allows customers to book accommodation last minute at discounted prices.

When booking the hotel, always remember- location, location, location. Even if the hotels in a good area are more expensive, consider this: taxis are beyond expensive, so staying in an area that is far away from the city centre will cost a lot in taxi fares back and forth. At the end of the trip, the money spent on taxis might as well have paid for a hotel in a better area and saved the extra travel time.

For airfare, apply similar rules to that of hotel booking.”

Also, always get the travel insurance. Even though travellers may think there is nothing in this world, neither sickness nor act of God that could possibly keep them from their holiday, dilemas can always get in the way. People get violently ill the morning before their flight, obligatory funerals pop up, and family emergencies happen, so there needs to be an option to cancel and receive a refund. The unsympathetic customer service agent on the other end of the phone will not care about the traveller’s fever or sudden family death. There will only be a ‘Sorry, we do not offer refunds. Have a nice day’, before they hang up and ask for a rating of their dreadful service.

For airfare, apply similar rules to that of hotel booking. Buy the airfare ahead of time, make sure it is refundable, and don’t fly into the cheap airport that is an hour away from the final destination. After a whole day of travel, sitting next to a screaming child, someone with repugnant smelling food, or the passenger who claims their shedding cat is a “therapy animal”, no one wants to get on a bus, train or pay in the hundreds for a taxi to their hotel because that is the only transportation available at the hour they arrive. Proximity is worth every penny, and if the trip is booked early enough, the prices won’t be too unreasonable.

When travelling to a new destination, asking other people who have traveled there before or reading online reviews can be very helpful.”

Planning ahead also takes away from the stress of booking restaurant reservations and tours days before the departure. While there isn’t already enough to do before a holiday like packing, finishing up work, and finding a pet sitter or babysitter, trying to book reservations can be frustrating when there are no more available at the last minute. Getting blacked out of a restaurant one was eager to try or the tour they’ve heard is a must is disappointing and makes the traveller feel like they aren’t getting everything out of the trip that they wanted to.

When travelling to a new destination, asking other people who have travelled there before or reading online reviews can be very helpful. Before booking anything, talking to someone about where to stay, eat, shop and what tours to go on can be extremely helpful because then one can be sure the experiences are well worth it.

Check the travel dates are at the destination for citywide events.”

Online reviews for hotels, tours and restaurants can be useful, but some people that post online reviews are a tad dramatic. Often, they are just angry travellers that have way too much time on their hands to write an odyssey about how a server was slow or a hotel’s wifi was spotty. Speaking to a trusted family member, friend or coworker about what they suggest is often the best option because they cannot only provide honest opinions but also cater their recommendations accordingly to the person inquiring.

Check the travel dates are at the destination for citywide events.

A relaxing vacation can be rudely interrupted by crowded streets, bars and public transportation. It is crucial to ensure there are no huge parades, music festivals or protests at the destination the weekend of one’s visit.

These events can make the city absolute mayhem, public transportation feel like a cattle car and taxi prices surge exponentially. There are few things worse than trying to walk around on vacation and finding oneself in a crowd of angry protesters or intoxicated festival goers who are blocking a museum or restaurant they wanted to visit.

Lastly, remember that a vacation doesn’t mean shipping the whole family off to a foreign country.”

Lastly, remember that a vacation doesn’t mean shipping the whole family off to a foreign country. Many people live in their home country all their life and never see even half of it. Ireland has so many unique and beautiful places that are only a few hours away on a train or bus. From the turquoise water beaches of Wexford to the young atmosphere of Galway to the Mourne Mountains in the North, Ireland has so much to offer for all different types of vacations. Whether one fancies laying on a beach, going to summer festivals or horseraces, or hiking and camping with their family, a staycation in Ireland can be more affordable and just as memorable as a holiday abroad.