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How to Not Be an Idiot Abroad

The end is nigh for those of you who are currently studying for your exams. After what feels like a very long, hard and sometimes exhausting slog to the finish line, your year at University, school or college is finally coming to an end. 'Hooray' we hear you cry as the last exam is attended and the last assignment is handed in, you're finally free to do enjoy the summer holidays, kick back and relax.

But with the whole summer ahead of you, have you made any plans on what to do? Travelling is a firm favourite among the younger generation and the summer months is the perfect opportunity to either take a snap year or jet off on a trip with your mates. Although, for those of you who have watched Karl Pilkington in 'An Idiot Abroad' or cringed at 'The Inbetweeners' loose in Malia, you'll probably be well aware of some of the challenges and pitfalls they all had to face along the way.

Travelling does take a little bit of planning and the key to being a savvy traveller is all in the preparation. So without further ado, here's the Alpha guide on how you can avoid being an idiot abroad...

Make a list

Probably the most obvious one, but often this is overlooked by many as not being of importance when it comes to preparing and planning the ultimate holiday. Lists are quite a useful tool as it allows you to lay out everything you need to do, such as getting vaccinations, books flights, research activities, and the date that they need to be completed. If you're feeling super organised, you could always download and print off our holiday checklist for some ideas to get you started.

Get your travel money before you travel

In order to be the savviest traveller around, you need to ensure you get the most for your money. Saving up for travelling is not an easy feat, therefore it's essential that you shop around and obtain the best exchange rate possible for your hard-earned cash. Travel agents offer great deals; however be aware that the prices on their websites are usually better than if you were to visit the store. You can purchase your travel money online at the better rate, then simply pop in store to collect it. Simple!

Pack like a pro

Packing well not only means that you don't arrive at your destination with a mountain of creased clothes and shampoo spillages, but also not being faced with hefty additional baggage charges should your luggage be 2kg over the limit - and believe us there's nothing worse than that!

Packing a small portable luggage weighing device is a great idea as it saves you from being caught out on the return trip home after you've purchased a gazillion souvenirs for everyone back home and your case now weighs more than it should.

Don't forget the essential items such as earplugs (a complete godsend on the flight in case of screaming babies or for when your ears pop during landing), a fold up backpack or daysack to use out and about, and adaptors for your electrical items.

Be an early bird

There's nothing more stressful than being rushed and the fear of being late. Leave plenty of time to get to the airport (a good tip is to think of how much time it should take and then triple it) as well as leaving enough time to get through check in and security. Long haul flights usually need another 2-3 hours to get through the airport, but if you end up getting through a bit quicker you can relax and have a bite to eat whilst you wait whilst basking in the glory of being on time. Ensure you also know where your gate is too!

Another point to note is that if you need to make a connecting flight, leave a TON of time between the two to get your luggage and complete the transfer, because if you don't, it's effectively the same as trying to run from London to Manchester at breakneck speed and chances are you won't make the flight in time.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

The air on a plane is very dry and it's therefore very easy to get dehydrated and often without realising it. Always keep some water with you on the flight and continue to drink before, during and after in order to maintain your hydration levels.

Although the temptation of an alcoholic beverage may be a good idea in your head (if you are legally allowed to drink one), in reality it will dehydrate you quicker and believe us when we say that's not a good move.

Jetlag, schmetlag

Ahh, jetlag - the unavoidable evil of travelling by air - there's no two ways about it, when the dreaded jet lag strikes it's awful. But, there is in fact some ways to help to ease the symptoms, check out the holy grail of our travel tips and advice sections in the form of our beating jet lag article.

Some takeaway tips from our jet lag article include trying to stick to your usual sleep routine, getting more sunlight and keeping hydrated.

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