There are few holidays you’ll ever take that come with the same kind of thrill and excitement as multi-centre trips with any number of stops. I was first bitten by the multi-centre bug about a decade ago and have since sacked-off the idea of the conventional holiday once and for all – the buzz is unreal.
That being said, there are some pretty big complications that come with taking multi-destination holidays and I for one have certainly not been excused from the occasional almighty catastrophe. The good news though is that my trials and errors have yielded some very important lessons to take heed of each subsequent time around, so if considering such a trip for yourself, keep the following in mind to avoid the mistakes I’ve made over the years:
If looking to book several flights crossing any number of countries, try your best to book as many as possible with the same provider. The reason for this is the way in which I’ve found that most global carriers – British Airways, KLM, Air France and so on – are much more inclined to help you following late, missed or cancelled connections if you have further bookings with them in the coming days or weeks. On the other hand, tell BA that you need to get to place X in order to make your flight with carrier X and chances are you’ll be on your own.
Single Tour Operator
And the same goes for the tour operator you choose as if you decide not to go fully independently, it is a very sensible idea to use a single tour operator for as much of the trip as possible, both for the sake of safety and convenience. Should something go wrong, the last thing you need is a dozen travel agents all playing the blame-game.
If you are 100% flexible in terms of where you go, when you go and how you get there, your trip will be 1,000% more enjoyable and liberating. If on the other hand you demand on being in any given place at an exact time and allocate yourself a precise number of hours while there, you’ll find that the slightest mistake or hiccups rips the whole thing apart at the seams.
International Standards Differ
Be aware that not all countries are the same in terms of standards across the board. This really does include everything, including reliability of public transport, fluidity of airport operations, quality of hotels, liability of transfers and so on and so forth. In other words, take nothing for granted!
Leave Room for Error/Manoeuvre
Never, under any circumstances time everything down to the second and only allows yourself a couple of hours or so to make any given transfer. Chances are that along the way something will go at least marginally wrong or not as you planned, so be sure to leave as big a margin for error as possible. If the connecting flight is of huge importance, consider leaving a day between services.
Last but not least, never forget to not only check that the insurance you take out covers multi-centre holidays, but also take careful note of the exemptions. Some refuse to cover certain countries, some won’t cover you while using certain carriers and others will expire if you even set foot in a place they deem unfit. Plus some will exclude cover from pretty much every possession of value you take along, so be sure to read up and ask questions.
Andrea Jacobs is a former independent travel specialist who currently makes her living contributing to dozens of global travel guides. Having recently spent time working with The Holiday Place in the UK, she is currently producing a comprehensive guide to multicentre holidays for first-time adventure travellers. When in the UK, she calls Sheffield her home.