Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned traveler it can be a hassle preparing for your long-awaited trip. Since trekking the world and living in multiple countries, I’ve gathered the most essential travel tips to provide you a great experience. This way you won’t have to do the extra research.
1. Choose to Travel with Someone Compatible
This is the best lesson learned that I’m hoping you can avoid. If you’re traveling with a companion and the differences between you both are too many – this will make the adventure less enjoyable. If one person likes to get up at 5 AM every morning and the other doesn’t. Or one loves adrenaline-pumping activities like skydiving and the other prefers a serene trip – this will eventually put a strain on your relationship and ruin the mood.
2. Book Travel During off Season
Are you flexible about what time of year to travel and want a good deal? Book your holiday during the off-peak season when there are cheaper prices and fewer crowds. The Peak season (June – August) is when most people are on vacation and when hotels, flights, and transport rates are more expensive.
3. Reach out to Local Friends
Know anyone that lives in the place you’re visiting? Notify them that you’ll be in town and plan to meet up. They can show you around to all the places that locals frequent and give you a more authentic experience.
4. Rent out an Apartment
I love the luxuries that hotels offer but staying at an apartment can offer you more of an authentic and comforting experience. There is more space, a kitchen to cook your own food and you have all the comforts of home.
5. Traveling Solo? Consider Staying at a Hostel
Is it your first time traveling alone? I recommend booking a hostel since it’s a great way to meet others who are also traveling solo. You can make friends and find new people to explore with. Also, if you’re on a budget staying at a hostel is one of the good money-saving tips for traveling.
6. Opt for Slow Travel
I can’t recommend this enough to people. Slow travel is to authentically experience your destination. There is no rush to see everything at once, instead you take your time to relish the moment and connect with all. Stay for a longer period of time, live like a local and connect with the community.
7. Get a Padlock
I highly suggest getting a padlock to secure your belongings. Some hostels don’t have locks and this can minimize the chance of it going missing.
8. Bring a Carry On and Avoid Checked Luggage
Choose to bring a carry-on if possible. You avoid the risk of getting lost or delayed luggage and save time checking in. Have a short connection time? A carry-on allows you to head to your destination right after exiting off the plane without going to the baggage claim. It’s also where I stash valuable belongings like my camera and laptop. Using a cary-on is the only way I travel nowadays and the most efficient travel tip for travelers.
9. If You Do Bring Checked Luggage…
It’s much easier to get in and out of a place without having to lug around a bunch of luggage. Here are must-haves to ensure that your bags are light and easy to carry.
- Think about what you are packing and whether you can purchase it at your destination. You can purchase toiletries all over the world. Why bring two pounds of shampoo when you can take a mini one and purchase one when you run out?
- Pack one to two weeks worth of clothing or only what you need
- I wear my heaviest coat on the plane with me (of course if it’s summer then this is not ideal)
10. Notify the Bank Where You’re Traveling to
Let your bank know that you’ll be traveling out of the country. They’ll keep a tab of what countries you’re visiting and ensure not to place a hold and block any transactions for suspicious activity. I learned the hard way while being abroad although thankfully I had another card with me.
11. Have Multiple Financial Solutions on Hand
Although your bank knows you’re abroad, it’s best to have multiple financial solutions on hand. You never know when a credit card or debit may not work. For instance, in the Netherlands, foreign visas and credit cards outside the European Union are not widely used. I suggest bringing some of the local currency with you, at least enough for three to four days.
12. Easily Identify Your Luggage by Adding A Personalized Touch
Ever end up at baggage claim and see 50 of the same luggage that looks like yours on the conveyor belt? An easy way to spot your bag is by adding a unique touch or something easily noticeable. Bright colored ribbons, a personalized tag, I’ve even attached a small sign so I could recognize it.
13. Prepare for a Comfortable Flight
Make your flight journey more comfortable by preparing the following. Plan to wear comfortable clothing, preferably something loose that you can stretch and move around in. Bring a comfy pillow, sleeping mask, and noise-canceling headphones to get some good sleep. Lastly, download all your media like podcasts, tv shows, music, and ebooks beforehand to avoid boredom. You may not have access to the airline’s internet and their in-flight entertainment might be limited.
14. Learn Some Basic Phrases
A helpful tip for travelers is to learn a bit of the local language. It’s not necessary to gain fluency but knowing a few phrases can help you navigate your travels and shows that you respect the culture. Learn the basics like directions, polite expressions, and even bartering words. For instance, before visiting the Netherlands learning these basic phrases helped me interact with the locals.
15. Overcome Jet Lag
Set your clocks to the destination you’re traveling to. If your arrival is during the day, wait until the sun sets to get some rest. This way your body’s natural rhythm will get adjusted to the local time zone.
16. Don’t Keep all Your Cash on Hand
One of the most important safety tips for travelers is to never carry all your cash on hand. I like to split it up and place it in different objects. For instance my handbag, luggage, shoes, etc.
17. Bring Copies of Important Documents
This includes digital and hard copies of your passport, identification card, and credit card. In case of an emergency or if you lose any of these items, it’s good to have the copies on hand. Send them to your email or someone you trust like your parents as an extra backup. I also like to print out a few reservations like tours because your phone may run out of battery.
18. Carry Snacks and Water with You
One of the most essential tips for travelers is to carry snacks at all times. You may be on a long journey or have to wait longer than expected so this will keep you from getting famished. I like to bring nutrition or protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, and fresh fruit if it’s available.
19. Beat the Crowds and Wake up Early
Take advantage of your day by waking up early. This way you can get to the attractions before the hoards of tourists arrive. During winter these are essential tips for travelers so you can maximize daylight and spend more time outside.
20. Avoid Looking like a Tourist
There’s no problem with being a tourist but in some destinations, it’s best to blend in with the crowd and avoid putting too much attention on yourself. Stay away from wearing flashy clothing, something modest will do. Avoid taking out maps in crowded places because this is a dead giveaway. This way you can deter pickpockets, thieves, and scammers who are looking for easy targets.
21. Find the Local Embassy or Consulate
An important tip that you shouldn’t overlook on your travels is to know the location of your country’s embassy. Should an emergency or international conflict occur you will want to get in contact with them. Check out the US Embassy’s list of consulates and embassies by country.
22. Go on a Walking Tour
I’m a huge advocate of walking tours because they are an interactive and efficient way to learn about your destination. A guide accompanies you and shows you history and context on all the cool spots. They work based on tips so you can contribute a donation at the end of the tour.
Without a doubt, it’s one of my favorite tips for travelers.
Any other Reccommed Tips for Travelers?
I hope this list guides you along the way as you plan and go about your travels. Over the years I’ve found these to better optimize my trip, save money and have a great time. If you have additional tips for travelers, please feel free to add them in the comments below.