A little over a year ago, at only 18 years old I had my first holiday abroad without Mum and Dad…
If you’re anything like me, doing something for the first time can be daunting. This was the case for my first holiday to Rome with my boyfriend.
I have always been one of those people that must plan everything out to the nearest millimetre to avoid things going wrong (although trust me, things still seem to go wrong). And so, I want to share with you all my tips for planning your first trip away (without organised Mum and Dad).
Let’s break it down into the 4 main considerations for your holiday:
TRAVEL- how are you going to get there? How are you going to get around once you’re there?
ACCOMODATION- Where do you want to stay? What do you want to be close to?
FOOD- What food is that destination famous for? How to know where to choose?
ACTIVITIES- Is it a historic sightseeing break? Or is it 2 mental weeks at the theme parks?
Now, let’s test this theory on my first holiday to Rome:
Depending on where it is that you live and where you want to go, this is going to vary a lot from person to person. In our case (whilst still living in Surrey) our best choice was to fly to Rome from Gatwick airport. I must be honest here and say that we opted for the cheapest flight possible with EasyJet (we later regretted that decision, but that going to have to be a story for another time).
In terms of travel once you arrive in your destination, I would really recommend researching what the public transport is like. The public transport tends to be much more affordable than taxis. It is often the best way to see a new place. In Rome, we used a train to get to and from the airport. Once in the city, we were quite happy seeing most things on foot. Although on our last day we used a hop on hop off sightseeing bus. This was actually a great way to see as much as possible in the small amount of time we had.
As soon as we decided on going to Rome, we knew we wanted to stay somewhere true to the culture. What I mean by this is that we didn’t want to stay in an ultra-modern chain hotel. We wanted an authentic Italian hotel with all its quirks and charm. We stayed at Hotel Champagne Palace and got a great deal HERE. A deciding factor in our choice of hotel was the location. We wanted to be close to the main termini so that we had easy access to the trains we needed at the start and end of our holiday to get us to the airport.
Food is massively important to me when I go away. In my eye’s, it is a crime to go to a new country without experiencing some local cuisine.
So, do your research! Rome is quite an obvious example here- I can safely say that Jeremy and I ate our own body weight in pasta, pizza and gelato. Although, no matter how exotic your destination may seem, there will still be plenty of recommendations for local cuisine just a quick Google search away!
Another great tip for finding the BEST food when your away is through talking to the locals. When we stayed in Fuerteventura we used Airbnb for a couple of nights. We stayed with a local man named Aurellio. He recommended trying the Tapas at El Capitan. Hands down it was the best tapas I have ever had! My point being, don’t be too shy to speak to the people around you, chances are they will have some great recommendations!
If that fails, my best friend on holiday is a little thing called TripAdvisor. Spontaneity is great! Although sometimes (when you only have a couple of days somewhere) it seems a shame to walk in a restaurant straight off the street because it’s got to dinner time. I have done this, chosen somewhere because the menu looks cheap or its just convenient as your passing by but trust me some places aren’t as good as they look on face value. You could be missing out on somewhere great just around the corner!
Like the travel, this will largely depend on where you want to go. Our activities on holiday have varied a lot but I would whole heartily suggest that before you go away, check out the fabulous deals online.
Prior to our first holiday to Rome, Jeremy and I sat down together and discussed all the sights we wanted to see in our limited 3-night break. This really helped us to map things out in our head’s and work out what things we could see for free like the Trevi Fountain, and what things we would need to pay for entry such as The Vatican City.
I am so happy we planned and booked our entry online. We booked a day tour of the Vatican City, booking online meant we had already paid for and printed our tickets and so there was no endless queueing or extortionate on the door prices for us!! This is a really great tip no matter where you are going. If you are on a budget, it is essential that you plan ahead so that you don’t either have to compromise on what you see or do, or end up paying much more then you were expecting on the day.
I hope that you have found these tips useful and can apply them when booking your trip away!
Abbie – Fitter4Travel
P.S. if you found this helpful, please share it with a friend or family member that you think could benefit from having a plan in mind for their trip away!