50 tips to make it the best vacation ever and avoid travel chaos

38. Rent a bike

First of all, don’t shy away from electric bikes: they are very popular in China, Germany, Spain and Denmark, and for a very good reason: you can always train with an electric bike, but if you are in hilly terrain or traveling long distances, or if you have knee problems, this may be the help you need to get back on the road. To rent electric bikes or classic bikes, you will have to look locally. For navigating Britain, charity Cycling UK’s trip planner (cyclinguk.org) and Euro Bike (eurobike.at/is) are my favorite apps. And if you run into trouble on the road, check out the repair tutorials at Bike Repair (bikerepairapp.com) which also share riding tips.

39. Decode exotic nature

Want to impress your fellow travelers with your encyclopedic knowledge of flora, fauna, and everything in between? You can decode mysterious shapes in the sky with CloudSpotter (cloudspotterapp.com), identify the beast that’s bothering you with Picture Insect (pictureinsect.com), name a flower’s face on Seek (inaturalist.org), and use leaves, bark and flowers to determine tree species with the ID app (woodlandtrust.org.uk). It’s the visual crowd – perhaps even more exciting, you can identify bird species through their song, via ChirpOMatic (chirpomatic.com).

40. Have a rainy backup plan

The summer of 2022 so far brings heat waves across Europe; North America, too, is suffocating. While you don’t need a plan for rainy days, you might want a cool down if all that fun in the sun gets too much. My family’s AC alternate plans include bowling, museums, and shopping. Netflix travels better than many streaming rivals, with a varied and interesting amount of local programming by country – don’t call it “binge-watching”, call it “cultural appreciation”.

By Sally Peck

Eat and drink

For most people, good food and drink is an integral part of a vacation – here are some ways to get better value and enjoy it even more.

41. Enter the alleys

Restaurants and cafes away from major tourist sites or the waterfront are not only invariably cheaper, but likely better than those whose main business comes from passing tourists. Good signs include lots of locals, menus with no English version, and blackboards, which are rewritten every day. In short, a 10 minute walk can cut your bill and get you a much better meal.

42. Linger Over Lunch

You are on vacation. You have time to linger, and you could even indulge in a nap if you feel like it. So if you’re keen to try some special restaurants – maybe a Michelin star or two – but are worried about the cost, book a table for lunch. The menus are always much cheaper than in the evening and you will probably drink a little less too, which will reduce the wine bill. Be sure to book in advance, even for lunch.

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