Hi! Welcome back to TopNotch! This week we are going to have a long weekend since 24th April was announced as a public holiday. Nevertheless, Midyear School Holiday is around the corner too! If you want to take a break and go for a vacation, don’t put it in mind only, let’s do it!
Do you think planning a trip on your own is a difficult task? Here are ways and tools that make things easier!

Plan Your Trip Ahead – Google Docs

When should you start planning a trip? Do it as soon as the idea crossed your mind!
The best tool for planning a trip is Google Docs. You can open an online Word Document and keep all the helpful information you have read into the document.

The best thing is you can share the document with your travel partners so that everyone can plan the trip together.
We couldn’t guarantee there will be internet coverage during traveling. Therefore, I always screenshot bus routes maps, each sight-seeing point’s map, and ticket’s confirmation email and keep it in the document, so that I wouldn’t have to be panic when there’s no internet connection.

Book Your Flight & Hotel with Trusted Sites

Nowadays we don’t need to consult a travel agent to get our tickets because there are a lot of ticketing apps on the internet. These three apps are my favorite!

Traveloka

I like to use Traveloka because I can book my flight and hotel altogether at once. They have promotions for members frequently, especially when you book flights and hotels together.
I also like it because the prices shown are net prices. You don’t have to calculate the additional charges or taxes anymore.
The ‘Price Alert’ feature is very helpful because it can remind me daily about the latest prices of the flights to the destination I have chosen and I can book the ticket when it’s within my budget!


Booking.com

Booking.com is a good app to book hotel rooms because it has very detailed information and photos for each property. Only customers who stayed in the property can write reviews, hence the reviews are trustable. The in-app messenger allows you to communicate with the property’s owner directly after you confirmed the booking. The reward program, ‘Genius’ gives loyal customers extra 10% discounts and other free perks after they booked 5 stays.
What I love about Booking.com is the ‘FREE Cancellation’ feature. Most of the properties on Booking.com provide ‘Free Cancellation’ and never charge you ahead, therefore you can book hotel rooms without paying any money before your check-in and you can cancel your reservation for free within the ‘Free Cancellation’ period. Many other sites that promise ‘Free Cancellation’ will charge you once you book the hotel, you may need to wait for weeks for your refund if you cancel the reservation.

Airbnb

Staying in hotels can somehow be boring. Airbnb let adventurous travelers stay in locals’ homes instead of hotels. You can chitchat with the house owner, buy groceries from local stores and cook in the home kitchen (most of the house owners welcome you to do this). It feels like home.
In case you worry about the safety, follow these 7 tips to keep you safe.

Figure Out Transportation Methods

Transportation from point to point is a big deal. If you never plan your logistic beforehand, you may waste time at waiting.

Public Transport

Some countries or cities have good-quality public transport system. Taking trains and buses not only save your pocket, but also giving you the chance to experience the locals’ lifestyle. Nevertheless, some train stations are historical, you would want to visit them.
So, if you are going to use public transport system, check on how they sell tickets. Some train tickets are highly demanding, you might need to reserve it ahead. Some cities only use EPS for the buses and trains, you will need to check out how to get the card and where to reload it.
You are recommended to download a train or bus real-time tracking app if they have one.

Hire Personal Driver-Guide – DingTaxi

If you are traveling with a group of friends, you should consider getting an MPV or even a minivan that is spacious enough for your group and baggage, and the local driver can be a good tour guide too. You can use DingTaxi to find a suitable driver, this app has a built-in chat feature, so you don’t need to reveal your personal phone number to the driver.

Grab, Uber, BlaBlaCar

These ride-hailing and carpooling apps are very useful. In many places, taxi scams are common. These apps monitor the drivers, they can’t charge extra by not following the meter or choosing a longer route on purpose.

Your Budgets – TrabeePocket


I like to use TrabeePocket to track my traveling expenses because it is user-friendly. You can set your budget and the app will calculate how much balance left every time you spend. It supports all the currencies and it helps you to convert foreign currencies to your base currency.

Learn the Language

If you’re traveling to a country that doesn’t speak the languages you speak, here are some words and sentences that you should learn before your travel:

  • “Hello!”

  • “Thank You!”

  • “I am a foreign traveler.”

  • “Can you speak English?”

  • “How much is this?”

  • All the numbers, from one to thousands.

  • “Any discounts?”

That’s all for today! Hope you’ll enjoy your trip!

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