So I’ve been slaving away today, almost without rest, researching on things to do and where to go around Tokyo, where I’ll be going in June. It’s a pretty tiring process, but it does save on time and money, and prevent some unpleasant shocks that do so often creep up on you. When planning your own trip abroad, you get to go to only the places you want to go, which makes all the hard work worth it.
For those planning your trip abroad, aside from ensuring accommodation and flight, you may want to note the following other features to make your visit cosier.
The modern traveller cannot go without internet. Most hotels offer WiFi services, and so do many public places, assuming you’re visiting major cities like Tokyo. For internet on the go, it’s usually expensive to use roaming 3G. There’re prepaid SIM cards for your phones, and some costlier prepaid cards include some internet data too. Of course, most heavy-duty internet work should be done in WiFi spots.
Public transport in cities may be convenient, with virtually every corner of the city reachable by 1 or 2 train lines, but such convenience also comes at a cost — complexity, especially to tourists not used to the routes. Transport cards are usually bought at the stations, and you should be familiar with the train routes and major interchanges, to make the most efficient way to wherever you want to go.
Remember, when it comes to public transport, all roads lead to Rome, but some roads are longer than others.
I always find that food is the single most troublesome part of a person’s life. Regardless of the person’s wishes, they have to eat thrice a day, and a substantial portion at that. When travelling, food is sometimes hard to come by at the right time. I would suggest bringing snacks with you as you walk, in case you storm recklessly into the nearest restaurant when your tummy starts rumbling. Also, only eat when you’re really hungry. It prevents food wastage and lets you get the most out of each dish. After all, foreign cuisine is something to be savoured with gusto!
4. Tax refunds
The most important thing that most tourists miss out on. The airport offers income tax refunds to tourists, as long as you produce the receipt. In countries where taxes are high — which are pretty much everywhere nowadays — you shouldn’t lose your money unnecessarily. Find the tax refund counter and make sure you get back whatever you’re owed; you’ll be surprised at the amount.
5. Sleep well
Tourists sometimes forget they need sleep. They wake up early to see locals in the midst of action and stay up past midnight to bask in the atmosphere of the nightlife. All this excitement is likely to cause illness if one keeps it up for too long. The first night is always going to be harder to sleep, but subsequently you should get used to the new environment. Try to get at least 6 or 7 hours of sleep, if not 8. Being unwell while travelling is one of the worst things that can happen.
So these are some simple reminders on what to note when travelling alone. Always plan for them so you don’t forget (yes, especially Point 5). Bon voyage!