No one is born an experienced traveller. The art of travel savviness is a process woven from the fabric of experience. Initially, you may stumble, make mistakes, miss trains or planes, be culturally offensive, and face unforeseen challenges—and that’s perfectly fine. Like your first driving lesson, it takes time to get used to it. But with each adventure, you’ll grow wiser, bolder, and more confident.
So, fellow explorers, we offer you a map to speed up this process, a grand compilation of travel tips that every wanderer must know to help you avoid the very mistakes that many have fallen into and elevate you to a travel ninja status.
So brace yourself for the long, bumpy journey, and let our 40 travel tips guide you.
Before Your Journey Travel Tips
Travelling requires planning, so here are our travel tips for what to do before setting off to your destination:
1. Do Your Research
Research is your trusty travel companion. Learn about the destination‘s culture, history, weather, and local customs before you go. Understanding social norms will help you navigate unfamiliar territories easily and respectfully.
2. Backup Your Documents
Before you leave, make digital copies of essential documents like your passport, travel insurance, and itinerary. Save them in cloud storage or email them to yourself. Having these copies will make your life much easier in case of loss or theft.
3. Learn a Few Local Phrases
Learning a few basic phrases can work wonders, even if you’re not a polyglot. The effort to speak in the local tongue shows respect and appreciation for the culture. Plus, it often results in smiles, laughter, and memorable encounters.
4. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary expense until you need it. It covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations or delays, and lost baggage, providing you with peace of mind throughout your journey.
5. Invest in Good Walking Shoes
A traveller’s best friend is a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Whether you’re wandering through ancient ruins or vibrant markets, your feet will thank you for choosing the right footwear.
Booking Travel Tips
Now let’s unravel the art of booking wisely without breaking the bank!
6. Travel Off-Season
What’s better than having a famous landmark all to yourself — no crowds, no long lines, just you and the marvel before you? Travelling off-season can make this dream come true. Not only will you enjoy a more intimate experience with the destination, but you’ll also save money on accommodations and activities.
7. Hunt Flight Deals
Since flight tickets are usually the bulk of travel expenses, sign up for flight deal websites and wait for the epic flight deals that will be delivered straight to your inbox, saving you money and precious time. Keep a keen eye on airline newsletters too!
8. The Early Birds Get the Cheapest Flights!
A golden rule of travel bookings! Set your sights on your dream destination and book your flights in advance. Skyscanner is your trusty compass, scouring the globe for the best fares, leaving no stone unturned.
9. Secure Your Hotel in Advance
Don’t leave your accommodations to chance, especially when heading to popular destinations! Book your hotel rooms at least six months ahead. This is especially crucial during the busy season. Booking.com is your reliable partner, offering the best rates and reviews for guesthouses and hotels.
Packing Travel Tips
Packing is the eternal struggle of every traveller. Let’s take you through some tips to help you pack like a pro and make this chore more enjoyable, shall we?
10. Always Write a Packing List
Writing down a packing list ensures you are more organised and reduces the chances of forgetting essential items. Whenever you remember something, jot it down. Otherwise, you WILL forget it. Prepare lists for short trips, long trips, beach trips, backpacking trips, etc.… Save them to your notes on your mobile; trust us, they will save you so much time. It works the other way around too! Going through the same list you used while packing ensures you don’t forget anything back in the hotel when leaving. Check out this article about packing travel essentials to start with.
11. Travel Light
The golden rule of packing: Travel light, travel right! You certainly don’t want to rush through crowded airports, lugging around a heavy suitcase and wishing you had packed less. Travelling light is a skill worth mastering! Your back will thank you, and you’ll have extra space for souvenirs! Check out this article on travel tips on how to travel light.
12. Pack Indispensable Items in Your Carry-On
Items such as electronics, medications, jewellery, etc., should be in your carry-on. At least you’ll have your essentials if your checked-in luggage gets lost in transit. You can easily buy anything else, from clothes to toiletries, wherever you are.
13. Bring a Small Backpack for Sightseeing
Little do people know that a small light backpack is a lifesaver during sightseeing. It takes in your passport, money, water bottle, camera, selfie stick, snacks, sanitary wipes, hotel/hostel room card, swimsuit, towel and maybe a book. A backpack is a must on your journeys.
14. Purchase Durable Luggage
Invest in durable luggage because you wouldn’t want to end up with broken luggage mid-trip. Moreover, it would be great to purchase luggage in bright pop colours instead of the dull black or navy colours that everyone possesses. These colours will make them easy to spot on the baggage reclaim carousel. If they get lost, your orange, electric blue, or hot pink coloured bag will be shouting, “Here I am” in the lost-and-found baggage area.
15. Write Your Contact Information in Your Checked-In Bag
Sometimes, your bag gets switched with someone else because they’re identical. It might help to write your contact information (name, email, phone number and address) and put it in your luggage. So, when the other person realises it is not his bag, he may reach you directly.
16. Separate Your Personal Items and Take Pictures of Them
If you are a couple or a family, mix your items into each checked bag if you have more than one. In that case, if a bag gets lost, each one of you will still have some of his belongings. You can also take pictures of your luggage and clothes to speed up the process of identifying your bags in case they get lost or to get reimbursement from travel insurance.
Financial Travel Tips
When it comes to travel, every penny counts. After all, that hard-earned treasure belongs to you and your epic journeys! So, let’s chart a course towards saving more and spending less on your globetrotting escapades. Note down these money-saving tips and watch your travel fund grow!
17. Take a Backup Credit Card
That is one GOLDEN tip! Emergencies happen; they’re inevitable. Cards can be stolen, hacked, or ironically get swallowed by the ATM on a weekend just before your flight to another city (It happened to a friend before!). You definitely don’t want to be stuck for the rest of your trip with no money or have to borrow from others while waiting for a new one to be issued and to arrive. So be prepared with backup cards!
And one thing we all learnt from our friend’s bad experience is that it is best to withdraw cash from ATMs inside banks on weekdays during working hours so that if the ATM swallows your card, you can get instant help!
18. Carry Cash in the Local Currency
While credit cards are widely accepted in many places, carrying some cash in the local currency is a good idea. Some smaller establishments and markets might not accept cards, and having cash on hand will save you from potential hassles. Keep some cash for emergencies as well. Make sure you always have change to avoid paying more than you have to, especially in public transportation.
19. Separate Your Money
As the Chinese proverb goes, “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket”. So don’t keep all your cash and cards in the same wallet or bag. Divide them between bags and amongst yourselves if you are a family.
20. Use No-fee Bank and Credit Cards
Choose credit and debit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees or ATM fees. The few dollars banks snatch with each use can pile up during your trip. Keep that treasure for yourself!
21. Ditch the Money Belt — Act Like a Local
It’s time to bury the idea of a money belt. Those sneaky thieves know about them, and it’s like raising a flag of “Hey, I’m a tourist with money! “Instead, blend in like a chameleon and act like a local. Watch over your belongings, and you’ll outwit any pickpockets.
22. Wander Light — Take Only What You Need
Don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary money. When you venture out, carry limited cash and cards to recover easily when things go fiasco. Let your rule be simple – one credit card, one ATM card, and keep it around a humble $50 to $100 for cash.
23. Alert Your Bank
Always inform your credit card company and bank of your travel plans. If they suspect unusual activity, they may freeze your card, and the last thing you want is to be stranded without access to your funds while you’re overseas.
24. Steer Towards Free Travel with Points and Miles
Use travel credit cards that grant you points for everyday spending that can be redeemed for flights and accommodations. Turn your regular expenses into points and miles to unlock the doors to free travel.
“On Your Journey” Travel Tips
Congrats, you did it! Let’s go through some travel tips while you are there:
25. Don’t Over Plan — Embrace Spontaneity
Sure, planning is essential, but don’t be afraid to veer off the beaten path. Let go of the reins, be flexible, and embrace unplanned adventures. Say yes to that spontaneous hiking trip with newfound friends or to exploring a quaint little town you stumbled upon. It’s these spontaneous detours that often lead to the most memorable moments.
26. Be Open — Make Friends Everywhere but Keep Your Guard Up
Travelling isn’t just about seeing new places; it’s also about meeting new people and turning them into friends. Don’t be shy— be open to people from different backgrounds and cultures, say hello, start a conversation, share stories, and learn from each other. You’ll be amazed at how these connections can enrich your journey. However, keep a healthy level of suspicion. You don’t want to fall bait for travel scams.
27. Remember, You are Just a Visitor
While you’re immersing yourself in new cultures, remember to respect local customs and traditions. Countries have varying dress codes, unique sets of social norms and etiquette, particularly in places of worship or conservative areas. What might be acceptable back home might not be so in another country.
Dress modestly and respectfully, even if the heat might tempt you to wear less. It might be customary to remove your shoes before entering homes or religious sites. Take a moment to learn about the do’s and don’ts of the places you visit and show appreciation for the local traditions. Your respect will be returned with warmth and kindness.
28. Learn How to Bargain Gracefully with a Smile
Bargaining is an art form practised in many countries. Learning to master this playful skill will not only get you a good deal; it’s a cultural experience! It’s a friendly negotiating game between you and the seller.
So, instead of haggling like a warrior, approach him with a smile and a friendly demeanour. Don’t haggle to the point of insulting the seller. It’s not about winning the battle but rather creating a pleasant exchange. A smile, a light-hearted approach, and knowing when to walk away are the secrets to successful bargaining. Plus, it’s an excellent way to learn about local customs and traditions.
29. Try the Local Street Food
Eating like a local is the perfect way to experience a country’s culinary culture. Embrace the bustling food stalls and savour the mouthwatering street food. From tacos and churros to kumpir and semit, you’ll discover a world of flavours and spices that will leave your palate dancing with joy. But remember to sample the local cuisine in moderation – you don’t want a case of food coma to hamper your explorations! Also, avoid restaurants in touristy areas; the closer you are to an attraction, the more expensive and worse the food is.
30. Avoid Taxis
Unless you must, avoid taxis at all expenses. They are too expensive, or many will exploit you when they know you are a tourist and double the fare. Try local public transportation instead, hop on a tuk-tuk, or rent a car or a bicycle. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also explore like a local.
31. Join Free Walking Tours
Not only do they cost nothing, but they also offer valuable insights into the cities you explore.
32. Get purposefully lost
Sometimes, the best course is to let curiosity be your guide. Wandering aimlessly through new cities leads to hidden gems and thrilling adventures. Ditch Google Maps and let serendipity steer the way.
33. Be an Early Bird
Wake up early to beat the crowds. Not to mention, sunrise photos are a true treasure!
34. Take Plenty of Photos
Snap away, shutterbug! Capture not only famous landmarks but also the tiny details, the breathtaking sunset, the laughter, and the spontaneous moments. You will re-live your journey every time you go through those valuable treasures.
35. Stay Healthy on the Road
Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Make sure you’re drinking enough water, eating healthy, taking your vitamins, getting enough sleep, and taking time to relax and recharge.
36. Don’t Overload Your Itinerary
While it’s tempting to see and do everything, an overloaded itinerary can exhaust you and burnout you out. Pace yourself, prioritise the must-see attractions, and leave room to relax and explore off-the-beaten paths.
37. Don’t Engage in Risky Behaviour
While travelling is all about seeking adventures, it’s essential to prioritise safety. Avoid risky activities, especially those not covered by travel insurance. Your well-being is paramount, so trust your instincts and assess potential dangers before diving in.
38. Don’t Hesitate to Seek Help
Travelling can be challenging, and that’s normal. If you encounter any difficulties, don’t hesitate to seek help from fellow travellers or locals. Asking for assistance often leads to unexpected acts of kindness. Ask the hotel staff for information because they’re locals; they know the city, the best restaurants, and the famous attractions and know exactly what can suit budget travellers.
39. Visit the Tourism Information Offices
The local tourism information offices are treasure troves of information, and surprisingly, they are unbelievably underused. These offices can point you to free activities and events and even provide you with city cards that offer discounts on attractions and transportation. Their job is to make tourists experience the destination in the best possible way, so make sure to pass by.
40. Make Use of Travel Apps and Technology
Download safety apps with 24/7 monitoring, location-based services, and emergency alerts and can deliver instant or delayed messages. Many of these apps can also work with a locked phone screen and without internet access. Additionally, with Google Translate by your side, language barriers crumble, enabling you to connect with locals and conquer foreign menus with ease.
Make use of the free Wi-Fi in airports and restaurants but beware; logging into sensitive accounts on free public Wi-Fi is risky. Save that for secure connections at your hotel. Moreover, when the waves of Wi-Fi disappear, keep yourself armed with offline maps for navigation.
With these travel tips, you’re well-equipped for your next expedition! Remember, life is too short to be confined to one place, so pack your bags, step out of your comfort zone, take a leap of faith, and embrace the magic of travel!
Remember, it is still okay for things to go wrong and to make mistakes. However, embrace the challenges, learn from them, and celebrate your mini triumphs and the person you become along the way. Bon voyage!
If you think you have more travel tips you can add to this guide, please write them down in the comments and let other people learn from your precious globetrotting experience.