If you are a natural born explorer who consistently has that travel bug – look no further! Check out the 5 Top Secret Travel Tips that allow you to get you your monthly travel fix, or that quarterly expedition / adventure / long haul trip to the other side of the world.

1. Use London as your World Gateway!

Decide where in this world you want to travel, explore and be inspired by what you experience, whether it is Barcelona in Spain, Bali in Indonesia or the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Get your own return flight to London, England and take your connecting flight to Barcelona, Indonesia or the Maldives from there!

Why you ask? Rather than buying an air and hotel package to your desired destination from Canada tour operators or travel agents, you will actually save a few hundred even a thousand dollars by going the first leg of the trip on your own! There is such a high demand for flights from Toronto to London, that they are so affordable! Use Canadian Affair as they offer reasonable flights using Thomas Cook, Westjet and Air Transat.

Since there is such a high demand for flights to Barcelona, Bali or Maldives from one of the 5 major airports in London – this makes the flight prices so cheap even in British pounds! Barcelona flight from London will set you only back $70 after the conversion from British pound rather than a direct flight from Toronto to Barcelona for over $900. Since it is cheaper to fly return, you may be forced to limit yourself to visiting just one destination when booked through Canadian operator, where as if you use London as your gateway, you can decide to get a flight from Barcelona to Rome and then on to Croatia before returning back to London for your return flight back to Toronto.

For such long haul flights to Indonesia or Australia, why not stop off in the UK since it is technically in the “middle” of the Earth to break up the long distance flight and manage the jet lag after a 24 hour leg of traveling. GMT is set right in Greenwich, London – so when it comes to time zones and jet lag, it is the median line of time.

2. Book the Time Off with your Boss.

Stop making excuses that you will travel when it is less busy at work, or that you always plan to travel – go do it while you can! The world awaits you. When it comes to requesting that vacation time with your boss – just kindly ask that you need time off for a certain period in the upcoming month or quarter – give him/her the hard dates once you confirm your travel plans – and then you are good to go. Don’t forget you are not actually asking for their permission to take vacation – it’s your legal right for the time off and your human right to want to travel. If you are brave enough, you can book your travels and tell your boss that vacation time is compulsory! Whether it’s to attend your best friend’s wedding, uncle’s birthday or that you want to spend some travel time with your loved ones or simply explore another country!

You can manage your time smartly and travel in between jobs or projects, or in some cases take a leave of absence since the city or island you want to visit might have an optimal season you would prefer to go during to ensure you see the best of the sights and sounds it has to offer e.g. not in hurricane season or when it is blistering hot!

3. Catch up with a long lost friend overseas while you travel.

There are several benefits to contacting a long lost friend or family member that is overseas in your desired destination place – not only can you reduce accommodation costs, but you also get yourself a local tour guide and of course you can have time to catch up on life, love and more with that person! The option is there since humans are naturally mobile creatures – the world is much smaller these days, the global boundaries no longer exist with the Internet, communication and infrastructure and the fact that one could technically work in China and live in the US or live in France and work in Switzerland since commuting travel is so much easier. Another option could be to contact a friend overseas who might want to meet you at the destination place so that you can explore and catch up together!

4. Maximize your time abroad through smart pre-orientation and transportation planning.

Since Google Earth allows one to virtually travel already, use this as a tool to plan your trip and the duration of your stay abroad. Check out the map and get your bearings, get familiar with your surroundings and decide whether you will be getting around on foot, bike, bus, car, train or flying.

5. Do not cram too much into your trip but plan a logical itinerary if possible.

Allow yourself time to really appreciate and absorb your surroundings, the culture, the life, the sights. Don’t expect to do 10 countries in 7 days despite Europe being, well, technically connected – even if you plan that driving road trip between Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and more! Or choose to fly inter-Europe flights, as much as you enjoy the actual traveling and journey, you still need the time in destination – same for when cruising – you would need more than just 7 hrs to really appreciate a place like Santorini – since you must witness and experience the sunset that is described as “Heaven on Earth”.