Lifestyle

Published on August 7th, 2014 | by Kevin Lawson

Mike Sowden’s Five Top Travel Tips

Travel-blogger Mike Sowden divulges the secrets that travel companies don’t want you to know.  Mike

Get lost and disconnect – Whenever I go away I always try to get lost; I put away my map, I turn off my GPS and just go exploring and deliberately get to a point where I don’t know where I am. It’s a luxury to be able to do that but that process awakens my senses. I become much more aware of my surroundings, I ask people for directions, I’m reaching out and making a real world connection, because the device that was giving me all the answers is silent, travellers who never turn off their devices will never give themselves the opportunity to experience that. It’s a really important thing to do.

Cheap train travel: Fare-splitting – If you have a journey from London to Aberdeen a single ticket will cost you around £150, but if when you buy your tickets you ask the ticket seller to ‘split the fares,’ then you can take advantage of cheap local train routes designed for commuters. You might end up with a load of short hop tickets, but you’ll be left with more cash in your bank. There aren’t really any websites that do this well just yet, my best advice is that before any long haul train journey check the prices between each stop to find the best deals.

Cheap Rooms: Airbnb.com – I recently discovered their service and I now use them everywhere I go because they offer crazy prices. For example, If you want to stay in London and you’re getting a hotel you’ll be paying anywhere between £50 and £150 a night. At Airbnb I’ve been getting a room for less than £30 and in every case the room has been great. It’s just a fabulous service and I’d recommend to anyone doing long-term travelling.

Hate flying: Hipmunk.com – I’ve started using a site called Hipmunk.com, they rank their flights in terms of agony, which is a really fun thing. If you have a bit of a budget and say you’re going somewhere really long-distance, then you’ll want to do so in the most comfortable way possible you can choose a low agony level. If you’re not bothered about that then you can choose the cheapest flight and it’ll give you something with eight billion connections.

Free holidays: Travelhacking.org – These days if you want to sound cool you just add the word hack to something, but travel hacking is finding ways to travel using modern technology like credit card air miles and reward schemes involving tickets. Using alternative methods or promotions to book tickets, finding background shortcuts and little tricks or things that companies are giving away as freebies to build up a bank of free travel. This site charges to review its content, but the rewards are worth it.

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