How to survive travel days

travel day things to know travel blog

Travelling involves lots of fun, excitement, new experiences, great food, stunning views, culture and… lots of travel days. Unfortunately, you can’t travel without the dreaded travel days, particularly if you are doing a longer trip like we did (e.g. 6 months). Initially, we found travel days particularly tiring, stressful and frustrating, however we picked up a few strategies to make the most of them. This blog is all about how to make your travel days better! Read on for some insight into the realism of travel days, along with some tips to help you make them a little more bearable.

travel day europe things to know

How to survive travel days on vacation?

Travel days will take longer than you think

A 4 hour bus to a new city? No worries. Think again. Not only does it involve a border crossing, it’s in a country where busses are notoriously slow. The 4 hour trip is suddenly 6 hours, and the bus stop is a 20 minute walk from your hotel.

Your 1.5 hour flight seems pretty quick, however dig a little deeper. It will likely take 30-60 minutes to get the the airport. If it is an international flight you will often need to be there 3 hours before. Then the journey from the destination airport to your accommodation may take another 30-60 minutes. If you add this up suddenly a 1.5 hour flight is actually a 5-6 hour journey.

The purpose of mentioning this is to make you aware that your “quick flight” to another country/city will take longer and be more exhausting than you thought. We typically would “write off” our travel days, not planning much either side of the transit in anticipation of it taking far longer than expected.

Travel days will Cost you more than you think

Not only will the flights, busses or train trips likely cost a little more than planned, there are a multitude of “hidden costs” that you might not have considered. Firstly, on a longer travel day, you will need food, and if purchasing it at airports, be prepared to shell out a pretty penny. Even things like a bottle of water, or a sandwich, will cost 3-4 times what you might pay outside of the airport.

Additionally, you need to factor in the cost of transfers, trains or taxis to/from the airport to your accommodation. In some countries this is inexpensive, however if the taxi journey is an hour, it may get costly. We had a few occasions where we had to pay a few hundred $$ for transfers to airports to make early budget flights. Be prepared for this.

Delays are common

This is particularly true during peak season, where the transport systems are under strain. In 2022 the airports were chaotic, and flights were regularly delayed and even cancelled. Thankfully we managed to miss most of this, but still encountered frequent shorter delays of 1-2 hours. As mentioned previously, by “writing off” the travel day, this factors in possible delays. If you are considering a really short layover between flights, keep in mind a small delay might be costly to your plans.

Trying to ‘self transfer’ is a recipe for disaster

When searching for flights on websites such as Skyscanner, you will often see a multitude of cheap options with airlines like EasyJet. However, when you look closer at the flight details, you may find that the transfer between flights is a “self transfer”. Depending on the time between flights, this should be a red flag for you. Why? A self transfer means you need to disembark the plane, collect your luggage at the carousal, check that luggage back into your next flight, then board your flight. This can take hours, especially if there are big cues in peak season. Add in a delay to your initial flight and you are in trouble. The “self transfer” doesn’t cover you if your initial flight is delayed, meaning you will be stranded at the airport and have to purchase new flights. We chose to avoid this chaos and suggest you do as well where possible.

Trains are the best

After sampling a multitude of different transport options, we decided that trains are the best where possible! They are much better for car sickness than cars, ferries or flights. We also found them a lot better to work on (e.g. travel planning, editing, blog posts etc). Trains would typically leave and drop you off in the heart of a city (much better than most airports which are 30-60 minutes away). Additionally, you can often see wonderful views of the countryside on your journey.

Use your travel days to be productive

Travel days are an inconvenience, taking up your precious time. However, we encourage you to use them productively. We found our travel days were a perfect time to complete some work or photo/video editing. Many of our 2 Cups of Travel blogs were completed on our travel days. Additionally, it was a great time to do admin or further travel planning. Not keen on working? We don’t blame you. Use this as an opportunity to call friends/family. We would regularly touch base with loved ones back home on our longer travel days. By using this time productively you don’t feel like you have “wasted” the trip. This is one of Ky’s top travel day tips!

Sundays are a good day to travel

Why? Sundays are “slow/quiet days” in Europe, with restaurants, bars and shops often closed, especially in smaller towns. This is often due to religious/cultural reasons. We found that scheduling our transit days on a Sunday meant we could use these days where everything was shut down to travel without missing much.

Travelling during hot summer days isn’t that fun

In summer it gets hot! You can try and get around this in a number of ways. If you want to escape the heat, consider travelling during the heat of the day if you have aircon during your transit (e.g. good trains or flights). However, if you are doing more budget transport options like busses, or have a long private transfer (like we did between Antalya and Kas), try and schedule your travel before/after the heat of day. There is nothing worse than a multi-hour journey that is extremely hot. Planning in advance can make a massive difference to your travel day experience!

Think about your luggage storage

When travelling, you often arrive at your destination prior to your check in time. We were initially caught out here, having to wait with our luggage for hours. We recommend checking if your hotel/AirBnb will let you store the luggage beforehand, or look into if you can get luggage storage in the city nearby. We had multiple occasions where we checked out of our accommodation (e.g. 10am) and stored our luggage in a city for the day before our evening transport. Additionally, we would recommend you try to get early/late check in to fit around your travel days, otherwise consider this when booking flight/train/bus times as you may end up with your bags for a few hours limiting what you can do.

Wear comfortable clothes

Travel isn’t fun, it takes many hours, and is often uncomfortable. We definitely both fans of looking good and dressing up, but your travel days aren’t the time for this. Wear comfortable clothes! Trust us, it will make your experience more enjoyable.

Busses won’t be on time

They just wont be.. they never are. Plan for your bus to be late. In some countries, these busses were hours late. We had a situation in Croatia where we were catching a bus from Omis to Makarska. Our bus took over 1.5 hours to rock up and was full when it arrived. Another example was our bus from London to Bath, which was delayed over 40minutes. Prepare for a little bit of chaos here.

Charge your devices beforehand!

This is your reminder to charge devices before your trip. We relied on our phones, headphones and laptops to get us through these travel days. Additionally, consider downloading music/podcasts/TV shows before you set off. This is especially relevant if you don’t have much data (or no data) on your phones. The WIFI on many busses/trains is often very poor, so don’t rely on this if you don’t have to.

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