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Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts …

Top 5 Travel Tips

As with anything in life, looking back over my last trip there are things I would change, and things I would do exactly the same.  For the sake of saving you some of my mistakes, or helping you succeed in some of the areas that we did, my Top 5 this week will be both, so here are my Top 5 travel tips.

Top 5 Things I would do differently…

  1. I would have taken Extra Passport Photos.  This was my Did you Know this week.  Some countries require a passport photo to obtain a Visa on demand.  Make sure to take some extras with you so you don’t end up delayed like we were.  In Vietnam and Cambodia, we had to wait in lines to get  photos taken.
  2. See One Less Country.  I always get over ambitious on our trips.  I feel like if we are going to fly 28 hours we better see as much as we can while we are there.  The problem is, it can create a lot of travel days during your vacation and leave you feeling a little burnt out.  If I was to do it over, I would have cut out Vietnam or Thailand and focused on one or the other.  I did not leave Vietnam with the feeling of love like I have for Thailand.  I don’t think this has anything to do with Vietnam, but more because we left so much unseen.  I know that if we had focused more on one location we would have been able to really experience the Country and not just get a brief overview.
  3. Exchanged a little bit of money at the airport.  We are always in such a hurry to get off of our plane, through customs, and to our driver that we never take the time to exchange money at the airport.  This always leaves us struggling to tip drivers, pay fees, or get food on the way to our hotel/villa.   A little bit of effort would definitely make life so much easier.
  4. Download all languages where we are traveling into Google Translate ahead of time.  I often find myself offline and struggling to communicate with our transportation upon arrival because I cannot get wifi to my phone.  Google offers the ability to download languages so you can operate offline.   Definitely a smart preparation to take the time to do.
  5. Pre- Order Groceries.  In Thailand the Management Company that serviced our Villa offered groceries upon arrival.  It was such a minimal fee, so I ordered groceries a few weeks before we left,  and they were waiting in our Villa for us upon arrival.  This was so nice!!  Having  snacks and breakfast foods on hand each day made for lazy mornings, and late night treats!  What I would do differently is contact each place we were staying,  inquire about this service, and make it happen.  For the fee, we saved a lot of kids complaining of starvation, and meals out.  It was so nice to have food, and not so nice the places we didn’t.

Top 5 Things I would do exactly the Same…

  1. VRBO, and Airbnb. We stayed at Villas in Thailand and Vietnam.  I researched the areas they were in, knew the locations were safe, and the Villas were amazing!  We were able to immerse ourselves in our family vacation, and really enjoy the feeling of being “home”.  I loved it so much!!  Don’t get me wrong, resorts are so beautiful and full of amenities,  but with kids you cannot beat the convenience of an Airbnb or VRBO.
  2. PreArranged Transportation.  I arranged all transportation in each destination prior to arrival.  I confirmed it 24 hours prior, and enjoyed the feeling of knowing who was picking me up.  Getting a party of 6 with 8 bags around can be a little tricky, and paying for a Van to be waiting was well worth it.  I cannot say it went completely flawless, because it didn’t, but having a phone number to call to find the driver was much better than standing in a taxi line knowing we would have to split up our family.  This detail was crucial and worth the effort!  Try to arrange transportation through your hotel, villa, or Klook.  (Hotel Transportation in Cambodia 😂)
  3. Order Visas Ahead of Time. Many countries offer Visa service over the internet.  I highly recommend applying for Visas as soon as you book airfare.  It will save you lines, and in some cases help you get on a plane.  In Cambodia the airlines had us show our Visas for Vietnam prior to boarding the plane.  I am not sure what the consequence would have been if we had not gotten them prior to arrival, but I am glad I did not have to find out.  Side note- In Cambodia we stood in the Visa on Demand lines.  It took about 30 extra minutes.  In Vietnam we had preregistered, and hired a service to process them.  This came with a fee of $50 USD, but prevented us from standing in more lines.  
  4. Book The Most Important Tours Ahead of Time.  Over the years this is one planning tool,  I do not stray from.  Wherever we go there are always a few things I must do while there.  These non negotiable activities or tours, I always book ahead of time.  I like to research the guides,  look for my best options, and secure the excursion.  There have been trips I leave saying ” I wish I would have”, but not anymore.  We can be spontaneous with things that come up each day, but not the “must do’s”.  ( The Picture above is our Angkor Wat Sunrise Tour.  A Must DO!)
  5. If in a Villa, have a Private Pool–  This will make or break a sun filled vacation.  Hot days are best when you can swim in the ocean and swim in a pool.  Finding a Home with a pool is worth the effort, I have loved it every time!!

Happy Travels friends, let my mistakes become your successes, and my wins become your wins.

Loves,

Jen.

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