The frugalfirstclasstravel 2012 year in review – what I learned traveling this year

Hi Frugalistas!

As the end of the year approaches, our thoughts often turn to lessons we learned during the year.  Traveling is no exception, so here is what I learned traveling in 2012:

1.  Places can change

I had last visited London in 2000.  It was dirty, expensive and crowded.  Fast forward 12 years, and boy, what a change!  Fun and funky, user friendly (I love the Oystercard for getting round on public transport), friendly people everywhere we went, and thanks to the strength of the Aussie dollar, almost cheap by European standards.  I loved London this time round and can’t wait to get there again (hopefully in April 2013).

I felt as though London welcomed me back

I felt as though London welcomed me back

2.  The need to suspend your preconceptions sometimes

I booked Garuda to Bali this year.  I wasn’t expecting anything due to its long term reputation.  It was fantastic, and at half the price of the competition a complete bargain.  Lie flat seats in Business Class, good quality food and pleasant attentive service.  For short haul Business Class to Bali, I’m hooked!

3.  The importance of trying something different

Even if you don’t like it, it is important to try something different.  I’d never booked Premium Economy before, so was genuinely interested in trying it when my employer sent me to London.  Don’t know if it was just Cathay Pacific, but I really didn’t like it at all.  At twice the price of an Economy ticket, I really didn’t see the advantage over a standard Economy flight – and more importantly, it didn’t deliver what it promised – a fatal flaw as far as I am concerned.  I’ll stick to Business Class or plain, old-fashioned Economy from now on…….

Premium Economy - for me the only Premium part was the price

Premium Economy – for me the only Premium part was the price

4.  Keep trying new ways to travel better, even if it doesn’t work

I tried a number of new things during the year.  Sometimes they worked – such as my overseas SIM card that is cheap and works well no matter where in the world I am, and my go-tubes that keep all my lotions under control, and sometimes they didn’t.  My dual SIM card phone was awful – because even though the two SIM cards worked fine, the phone function was lousy.  Despite this, I will still keep finding ways to travel better, safer and more efficiently.  If it means I have less stuff and my bag is lighter, even better!

5.  Think outside the box for fantastic food

I went off to the Institut Vatel, a hospitality school in Paris and had the best meal I’ve ever eaten there in many visits over many years.  I’ll be going again next time I’m in Paris, and also looking up other hospitality school restaurants in other major cities I visit.  Great food, great service and at a reasonable price – I’m hooked!

The dessert trolley to die for - Institut Vatel in Paris

The dessert trolley to die for – Institut Vatel in Paris

6.  If you wander off the main tourist street, you don’t know what you’ll find

In Barcelona I wandered a couple of blocks off the Ramblas on a Sunday afternoon and found myself in the middle of a great local food and wine festival.  I had a fantastic time savoring the local delights and chatting to the locals.

7.  Indulge your passions and you will have a great time, no matter where you are

I love textiles and handcrafts, so imagine how much I enjoyed a morning at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  One morning, and I didn’t even finish the ground floor……one morning, very well spent.  Seek out your passions, indulge them and you will always have a fantastic time, regardless of where you are.

Not everyone's cup of tea, but for me the textiles at the V&A Museum were heaven....

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me the textiles at the V&A Museum were heaven….

8.  Work out what type of environment you love and seek it out

I’ve realised I love to be around the water.  Whether it’s a river, a lake or the sea, it’s what I love.  It brings me a real sense of peace and calm.  When I book a trip next, it’ll include water no matter where I’m going!

Water, water everywhere - here in Annecy, France

Water, water everywhere – here in Annecy, France

9.  You can ALWAYS travel light, no matter where you are going

I took MissG to a 5 star resort in Bali, and we each took just one carry on bag.  We both had plenty of clothes, we were both comfortable and neither of us felt as though we were missing anything.  A big case, loaded with stuff is unnecessary, regardless of your itinerary……..

10  You don’t need to spend money to have a brilliant time

A wander round a market, chatting to the store holders and tasting the local delicacies is free and a great way to spend a morning.  Seek out free museums (most of them in London are free), squares filled with people, parks and gardens, markets.

IMG_0279

I’ve loved learning during and from my travels this year.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 teaches me!

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2 Comments on “The frugalfirstclasstravel 2012 year in review – what I learned traveling this year”

  1. Emme Rogers @ Roamancing 27/12/2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Great lessons to have learned. I’m still failing miserably at the light packing one.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 28/12/2012 at 8:51 am #

      Oh Emme……practice, self discipline and my ebook download!
      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

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