I have been traveling with my family for over 11 years now and wish someone had given me a list of travel tips like these when I first ventured onto the road!
Traveling is an amazing adventure and offers many once in a lifetime experiences. Whether you’re traveling to a foreign country or are looking for a destination just a few hours away, you can never have enough travel planning tips.
In this post, I have collated some of my best travel tips I’ve discovered over the last 11 years to alleviate stress, save time and money, and of course, nowadays, help ease travel burdens post pandemic.
Whether you want to eat street food in Asia, journey off the beaten track in Central America, or simply want to check out the tourist attractions in Europe, this is the ultimate travel tips guide for you!
Table of Contents
Obvious I know, but many countries won’t let you in if there’s less than 6 months on your passport. So double check your dates and make sure you’re good to go!
Unfortunately since the pandemic, it’s harder than ever to hop from one country to another. Some up front planning will be required and you’ll need to check both the entry and visa requirements for the countries you plan to visit.
A great resource is Sherpa. Simply add your from and to destination and rough travel dates and it’ll pull up all the information you need to know.
These days whenever we talk about vaccinations the first thing that springs to mind is the dreaded C word. However if you are traveling a fair distance, you should really think about what other shots you may need.
Your local healthcare provider will be able to advise you on what vaccinations you need for what countries. Also google is your friend!
Don’t risk Malaria or Yellow Fever. Get vaccinated!
It won’t be long before we live in a cashless society, but for now, even if you have payment systems all setup on your phone, it’s a good idea to get a small amount of local currency.
Particularly if you’re traveling to a developing nation.
Many local taxi’s, tuk-tuks, or cheap sim card providers will want cash, so don’t get caught out trying to find an ATM on arrival. Plan ahead and stash a little local cash in your purse or wallet.
Essential travel tip: Get insured!
No one ever expects the unexpected but it’s always great to have a safeguard just in case. Whether it’s to protect you should any of your belongings get stolen or if you have any medical emergencies abroad, the peace of mind having travel insurance is really priceless.
Getting insured won’t break the bank.
Recommended travel insurance companies include;
Hot travel tip! If you think you might be doing a lot of car hire, take out car excess insurance.
Car hire firms notoriously charge astronomical damage excess fees. But with car excess insurance you’ll only ever pay up to the amount of excess you’ve stipulated and the car hire insurance company will pay the rest. We use reducemyexcess.co.uk.
These days, your friendly high street travel agencies are getting fewer and fewer but fear not! One of my top travel tips is to use your social network online for first-hand experiences and advice.
Try places like Facebook and Reddit to ask questions, get opinions and check out other travelers’ experiences for the ultimate travel experience! Also Pinterest & Instagram are Your Travel Planning Friends. I have an entire folder of ‘saved’ images from destinations I’ve seen on Instagram.
When thinking about and planning future trips, creating Pinterest boards and saved IG folders will be your inspiration for places to go and sights to see!
It’s always the question we ask ourselves as we are leaving for a trip “have I got my passport?”. For me, I ask myself at least 20 times before setting off, twice en-route and another five or six times at the airport!
Great stuff, but in terms of top travel tips, don’t forget the other important stuff! In addition to your actual passport, take; copies of your passport, passport size photos, travel insurance documents, and copies of any and all important documents!
How you book your travels, very much depends on your personality.
You might be a forward planner, wanting to plan out in detail your entire trip day by day, ( like my husband). Or you might be more of a fly by the seat of your pants person, preferring to just ‘head out’ and see where the wind takes you (like me!)
Either way, here are some top travel tips for booking your adventures.
While it’s great to have a semblance of a travel plan, in my experience more often than not, things easily get off track.
Don’t let it stress you out, take it as it comes and enjoy. Some of the most interesting adventures I have had are unexpected and “off-plan”
Whether you are or aren’t a planner, a helpful tip if you are looking for cheap flights is to check out deals around two to three months before you travel.
The chances are by booking early you’ll find the best prices on both short and long-haul flights. I usually check out these sites as a starting point:
By the same token, you can also get some crazy deals by booking at the absolute last minute!
One of my top travel tips (even when you aren’t actively out on the road) is to register with travel sites for upcoming deals (you can tailor these to specific locations too!).
You will receive a ton of information about offers on flights, hotels, destinations, and events right to your personal inbox and may even find some inspiring destinations that were not previously on your radar.
Check out sites like;
If you’re looking for cheap flights and are trying to save money make sure you shop around.
Sometimes a schedule with a connecting flight can be much cheaper than direct (assuming you have a little extra time for the layover).
Personally I like to book just 1 or 2 nights initially. There have been too many times I’ve disliked the accommodation I’ve booked or the area, but by the time we’ve booked, paid and arrived, it’s too late.
My recommendation is to use an app like booking.com (my personal favorite) and pick only refundable rooms. Then check out the room and the area to see if you want to stay longer or move on. It’s the ultimate in flexible travel!
If you are looking for a more intimate and boots-on-the-ground travel experience, these sites provide home-sharing and free hosts who can help you find everything you need with their local knowledge!
There are so many travel apps right now that can make your next trip awesome! Whether you want to book cheap flights, a place to stay or local trips and experiences, there is most certainly an app!
Here are some of my favorite booking apps;
Before you set off on your next trip, make sure you have plenty of space in your cloud storage!
There’s nothing worse than taking awesome vacation shots and having to start deleting pics or buying storage!
If you are just starting your wanderlust adventure and haven’t had much travel experience you might want to consider somewhere that’s newbie-friendly.
For example, try to find somewhere where there is a common language, that caters to foreign visitors and has a fairly easy route to your final destination. Once you have mastered this bit, you’ll have the confidence to be a bit more adventurous.
It’s super important to pick the most suitable luggage for your trip. A 2 week family vacation is very different from a 12 month backpacking trip which is also different from a 3 month staycation! Whatever you buy, you’ll want decent quality so it doesn’t fall apart when being thrown into the baggage hold!
For longer or multi-destination trips, if you can, only take a carry on bag as it will save you time in airports and make it easier to move around your destination.
If you do have to check-in luggage, pick something lightweight, ideally with an inbuilt combination lock and of course something that stands out for easy ID at the luggage belt!
A travel tips blog post would not be complete without this gem!
Make sure you pack only what you need (with maybe a few extra pairs of undies and don’t forget a first aid kit!). Most travelers use packing cubes to organize their clothes which is a godsend if you are moving around frequently.
Bottom line, whether you are on a solo travel holiday or as a group, if you pack light and use my packing tips, I guarantee you will have a great trip!
If you can master the art of traveling with a carry on, your travel life will be so much easier.
Remember these rules:
1) Roll up your clothes (save space and clearly see everything in your luggage)
2) Put your passport, copy of your passport, and important documents in a separate zip pocket.
3) Pick comfort over style (remember you will be carrying the same bag all trip!)
The most challenging part of traveling is packing for a multitude of seasons.
If you’re heading off on a long trip, it might be that you’re starting in Asia and ending up in Iceland, who knows!
Packing for the sun is easy, a couple of pairs of shorts, a t-shirt, swimmers and a summer dress and bob’s your uncle. But cold weather means weight! Bulky jumpers, long trousers, socks, scarves, etc.
My best advice is to shop on route. Take maybe a cardigan or light jacket for when you first arrive in a colder climate, but most countries will have a bargain shopping store for you to pick up a pair of sweatpants, socks and gloves.
And if you’re going the other way, give back to the world and donate your cold weather gear to someone in need as you swap them for shorts and tees!
Always take a spare bag to keep shoes & dirty clothes separate from the rest of your luggage. You won’t want smelly clothes or sweaty shoes impacting your clean clothes.
Try to compartmentalize all of your belongings.
This will make life so much easier especially if you are visiting multiple locations and won’t have time to properly unpack.
You can get cheap suitcase dividers or packing cubes to help keep everything in place whilst on your travel adventure!
Minimize Toiletries But Take Conditioner – Hotels always have shampoo or some form of 2-in-1. But rarely have a decent conditioner. Always take your own for soft silky hair! Hot Tip! I always take spray in conditioner also, if I know I’m going to be swimming a lot!
Ultralight Microfibre Towel – Even if you plan to stay somewhere that has towels available for guests, it’s always handy to have a lightweight towel with you for day trips.
50+ Chapstick & Sunscreen – This is a biggie on any top travel tips list! For health, comfort and to avoid the lobster effect, wear sunscreen (even if it’s not scorching hot… the rays will get you!) Also my lips are always getting sunburnt! It’s such a sensitive area and incredibly painful. After a long search here’s the chapstick I buy, which keeps my lips from getting burned even in the hottest of climates.
Face Mask & Sleeping Masks – Whether you’re for or against the face mask, Asians have been wearing them for years to protect against low air quality. Since wearing a mask on trains and planes I haven’t picked up so much as a cold. Do yourself a favor, wear a mask when traveling. A sleeping mask for planes, goes without saying!
A Light Jacket/Cardigan & Sarong/Shawl – Whether you are going somewhere temperate or a more tropical climate… take a jacket. There is always air-con running in public places such as airports, hotel lobbies, and cars so better to be safe (and toasty!) Plus a sarong or shawl will come in handy when visiting culturally sensitive areas like temples etc and you need to cover those shoulders or knees!
Wear Trainers (Sneakers), Pack Flip Flops (Thongs) – It doesn’t matter if your activities include anything from mountaineering to chilling on the beach. To make it anywhere you will need to get in some steps! But trainers means extra weight, so wear those and pack your light beach shoes. Hot Tip! Remember to find a pair that are easy to get on and off for the pesky security controls when traveling through airports!
Tissues, Wipes & Hand Sanitizer – Never underestimate the power of wet wipes! Especially awesome if your final destination is somewhere a little more remote and has limited sanitary facilities.
Teabags & Travel Mug – I’m a typical Brit and love my English Breakfast Tea. Most places supply it now, but I like to take my own supply anyway, plus my good old reliable travel mug. So many hotels still provide silly little tea cups for tea or coffee, but I like a good sturdy mug of hotness! If you’re anything like me, take your own mug. You’ll thank me later!
Ear plugs – An awesome travel tip for (of course) helping you sleep during your flight but these handy little gems are also great for any traveler even those of you not taking to the skies. Being in a new place throws up new sights, smells, and importantly, sounds. Having a set of earplugs will help you get a great night’s sleep in an unfamiliar place so you are rested and ready to tackle the day of adventuring ahead!
Take Your Own Water Bottle – Wherever you are traveling you will need to stay hydrated but buying bottled water can be both costly and bad for the environment. So, one of my top travel tips is to go green and save money by bringing along your own water bottle. In a foreign city or the airport, most places have drinking water fountains for you to fill up your own container.
A Flashlight Can Come on Handy – Most of us have a light on our phones these days, but a mini flashlight (ideally that can fit on your keyring), is super handy especially if you are traveling off the beaten path.
First aid kit – I couldn’t write a travel tips blog without this key item! I’m not saying bring a whole operating theater with you but a few simple items in a first aid kit could make your whole journey easier. Band-aids, painkillers, indigestion tablets, antihistamines and the all-important Imodium are essentials.
Jewelry bag for long necklaces – If you’re fed up trying to untangle long necklaces after fishing them out from the bottom of your jewelry bag, I found a fantastic solution just last year! A jewelry bag specifically for long necklaces. It’s awesome! Here’s the one I bought and highly recommend.
Laundry Detergent Packets – If you are taking a long trip but taking my “travel light” travel tips on board then your best friends are detergent packets! Small, lightweight and will have you feeling as fresh as a daisy throughout your trip. Not to mention, hotel laundry services can be super expensive and can take 48 hours if you hand them in at the end of the day. Hot Tip! Laundry services in Asia are super cheap, so this is less of an issue if you’re planning a trip around the Asian tropics.
Purse/wallet – of course, although don’t use a money belt. Once upon a time having a money belt was a great idea, but more recently they have proven to be a target on travelers’ backs. Thieves are great at spotting money belts on tourists (even if you feel like it’s hidden well) and will potentially be more unsafe than walking around with a shoulder bag or secure backpack that looks a little less conspicuous.
Passport/document holders – We’ve carried around the same passport and document holder for almost ten years! Don’t just fling your passports in your bag and start fishing around for visa docs etc at the airport. Get organized. Have all your passports, docs, extra passport photos for visas on arrival, vaccination certs, etc all in a document holder for easy reach at the airport check in/document check areas.
Padlocks – Even if your luggage has a built-in lock, you never know when you might need to secure personal items. Pick a padlock with a combination because keys tend to get lost easily!
Universal adapter – Unless you’re going only to one country and you know exactly the adapter you need, universal adapters are handy little items to throw in your bag.
Laptop – If you’re simply traveling for pleasure you may not need your laptop, however if you’re reading this as a digital nomad or long term traveler, my 12 inch macbook pro has been the best travel computer I’ve ever owned. Sure ipads are great, but if you’re working online and need a computer, as opposed to an oversized phone, at only 2lbs (less than a kilo) the little 12 inch is an ideal traveling companion!
AirPods – You gotta love Apple for creating noise canceling teeny weeny wireless headphones. Gone are the days of wires (which by the way can be spotted by flight attendants when you’re trying sneakily to continue watching your movie). Gone are the days of bulky over your head noise canceling headphones. Do yourself a favor and invest in the latest version of airpods. They’re worth their weight in gold on a long trip!
Phone – Had to include it, but goes without saying
Portable charger – Tablets, phones, and kindles can be fabulous while you are on your travels. But they are dead weight if you don’t have a power supply handy. Take a power bank with you. They are not so expensive these days and can be a lifesaver if you find your batteries in the red zone.
Headphone splitter – If you have airpods, a headphone splitter isn’t needed anymore as you can connect two pairs of airpods to one device so you and your spouse, child, friend etc, can watch the same thing. However, if not a headphone splitter is a great way to share a movie!
Charging cables – Don’t forget your charging cables. Phone, computer, portable charger, headphones etc. Hot Tip! Always check the plugs when you leave a hotel! Many a charging cable has been left behind.
USB Wall Charger – Your electronics aren’t much good if you can’t charge them! I use this 4 port USB wall charger. Cheap, reliable and with plugs that fit any country, it goes with me everywhere!
HDMI cable for TV’s – Many hotel TV’s these days have an HDMI port, meaning you can connect your computer to the main screen. Most TV abroad is horrible, so this is a great way to stream Netflix directly on the main TV!
Phone holder – Don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to watch a movie on a plane but you can’t stand your phone up! This little gadget is a crazy handy little tool. Watch movies, chat with friends, all hands free (I even use it when I’m cooking!).
Electronics holder for wires – This little bespoke bag is ideal for housing all your cables, chargers, headphone splitters, etc. Here’s the one I bought and recommend.
My sister & I trekked through Nepal, India & the Maldives for 3 weeks with just one 7kg bag, and that included clothes, toiletries and electronics, and I still came home with a t-shirt I didn’t wear.
I guarantee you pack too much. We all do! How many times have you come home from a trip with unworn clothes. If you’ve got 4 pairs of shorts take 2, 2 dresses, take 1, 4 t-shirts, take 2. Test yourself to see just how light you can pack.
Another one of the best travel tips that I use wherever I go is to roll up your clothes for optimum space-saving.
You also have the benefit of seeing all your stuff side by side instead of in a big pile which makes picking things out much easier.
Avoid that dreaded, ‘wear did I put my keys’ moment when you get back from a trip. Pick a spot within your luggage that makes the perfect storage spot for your house and car keys. Just don’t forget where that is!
Although this is a bit tedious, it’s a great measure to take as a just in case precaution. Take a sec to photograph all the belongings you are packing including gadgets, clothes, bank cards and clothes. It will help in the unlikely event you need to make a claim for something stolen or lost via your travel insurance.
However you have prepared your budget for your next adventure, it’s common sense to bring along a backup of funds! In my experience, an extra credit card can always give you a little security, and don’t forget to let your bank know if you are traveling abroad to avoid security blocks.
There is nothing worse than an unexpected bill when you are on a trip. Even if you have great travel insurance sometimes it takes a while to process claims and you have to front some cash for any medical bills or lost/stolen items.
Be prepared and make sure you have a backup. Most banks will allow you to withdraw cash abroad even if you have lost your card using a pin number. Do some planning and make sure you don’t find yourself short!
When I rocked up to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport in China, I was caught completely off guard by not being able to access google. I had relied my entire trip on google and google maps and hadn’t planned my route to the hotel. Thank goodness for my VPN!
Depending where you travel, access to certain sites may be restricted or unavailable depending on local policies. In addition, there are a ton of open networks you could be using when on public wifi which can open up a can of worms in terms of risk to your personal information and data.
So it’s a great plan to install a VPN on your devices giving you privacy and the ability to remain anonymous. There are literally hundreds of services that can provide a VPN but the one I recommend and that got me out of my jam in China is ExpressVpn.
I must admit, I’m a bit of an airport junkie! There’s something about the sounds, the energy, the atmosphere that gets me super excited.
However, they can also be a huge source of frustration, as can flying.
Here are my top airport and flying travel tips for a smoother journey.
Where possible, check in online, particularly if you only have hand luggage. In many cases you can print your docs off and go straight to the departure gate!
Business Travelers are awesome! Slick, prepared and most of the time know exactly where they are going. If you spot one of these wonderful creatures in an airport: get in behind them. Checking in, going through security and passport control is much quicker behind a business traveler versus a family or tourists.
So many airports now are like mini theme parks! Singapore, Doha, Tokyo, Dubai, are all amazing sights to behold. Get there early and walk around the entire airport exploring everything on offer. It’s a huge part of your travel experience!
Most food on airplanes is terrible! Be sure to pack some healthy snacks for your trip so you don’t feel heavy, tired and full of rubbish on your arrival.
Particularly if you’re on a budget airline, it’s a great idea to board as early as possible so you can stow your bag exactly where you want to. There’s nothing worse than having to put your bags behind you, due to the bag holders being full and then having to wait for everyone to leave the plane to get your bags!
Travel pillows are the bane of my life. I am yet to find a truly comfy pillow that’s small enough to pack, but big enough to make a difference. Let me know if you have any recommendations. In the meantime, keep searching, a comfy pillow on a long trip in coach, can make all the difference. Here’s one I’m going to be trying next!
Traveling dehydrates you. I don’t know why. Something to do with the pressure. But feeling dehydrated can leave you feeling lethargic and sleepy and can also give you a huge headache. Drink lots of water and get an aisle seat!
Although it’s tempting to order a holiday glass of wine or beer, alcohol will only dehydrate you further. Best bet is to avoid it until you have your toes in the sand!
It can never hurt to ask for more leg room, a front row seat, an emergency seat or even a bump up to business or first if they’re not busy. On many occasions I’ve been given extra leg room at no further charge. And once, my daughter and I got bumped up to first! (I can’t remember why).
The simplest way to avoid jet lag is to sleep in the time zone of the place you’re visiting. This can be tough, especially if you’re on a night flight and you’re desperate to sleep. But download a couple of movies before you leave or take a good book and force yourself to stay awake until it’s the appropriate shut eye time. Then utilize that sleeping mask!
My husband and I are entirely different travelers. I meander through the airport taking in all the sights and sounds while he strides ahead, always in a rush. As you can imagine this makes for interesting discussions! My advice…take a chill pill. The plane won’t leave without you (that’s not strictly true), but you get my meaning. Enjoy the experience, have fun and don’t panic! It’ll all work out ok.
Most travel bags have an inbuilt combination lock, but if not make sure to lock your bag with a separate combination padlock. It’s highly unlikely anything will happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Unfortunately this is a necessary evil. If you know your dream destination has areas of high crime it’s always best to check out where to avoid! You don’t really want to find yourself driving or walking into an area you shouldn’t be in. For this google is your friend as are the local hotel staff.
A good friend of mine had her diamond necklace ripped off her neck while walking down a street in Johannesburg. It goes without saying, she shouldn’t have been wearing a diamond necklace in a place with such high crime rates. Be sensible! Research where you’re going and put your valuables away.
It’s often tempting to take your most valuable items on your person when you leave for a day trip but it’s where most travelers lose their most important items. Figure out roughly how much cash you need, take a backup card just in case and only take electronic devices you really need. For everything else either leave it in your room safe or, if that’s not available, most hostels and hotels will accept valuables to keep in their back-office safe for guests.
Whether you are traveling alone or with a partner(s) it’s really important to let friends and family know your plans. If you are super organized, send a couple of people your rough itinerary, so they know when you should be contactable or when you may be unable to reach them. You should also check in on facetime or a call when it’s convenient, just to let people know of any changes to your schedule and also what an amazing time you are having!
I’m as self righteous as the next person about being able to wear what we want, where we want, but different cultures have different written and unwritten rules and attitudes. It’s simply common sense not to walk around a primarily strict muslim culture with a tiny tee and up your bum shorts! Just like it’s forbidden to go topless here in Thailand. Just be respectful and culturally aware and you won’t go far wrong.
No matter where you go, as a traveler you will get approached by locals. Some will simply want a photo with you or to have a chat, most will want to sell you something. Always be friendly, but also be on your guard. You don’t want to suddenly realize you signed up to a timeshare or bought a silk scarf for money you can’t afford!
When you arrive at your hotel, get the concierge to write the address on the back in local language. Super helpful when grabbing a cab or bus back to the hotel.
There are a couple of issues to consider when choosing an ATM machine abroad. Firstly Security: Make sure you find an ATM in a well-lit place with no cameras or loose frontage. If anything about the setup looks off to you, trust your gut and find somewhere else. Usually, ATMs located in or outside of a bank are safest.
Secondly: Charges! Here in Asia, I have come across anything from no charges up to $30 per transaction. It’s often similar all over the world with private ATM machines that are 100% focused on the tourist trade. Make sure you double-check what the charges are before you hit the green button!
None of us really like to think about getting sick or injured when on our dream trip, but as a precaution, you should try to get an understanding of available healthcare facilities and the best spots for travelers. Medical care varies from country to country so do a little research beforehand just in case you need it. Although hopefully, you won’t!
It goes without saying that safety is a number one priority when traveling and the easiest way to stay out of danger is simple, just be vigilant. I am not talking about a James Bond-level of reconnaissance, just be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
Chances are, if you feel like something isn’t quite right, you are probably right. In this situation, head to a well-populated, well-lit area until you feel safe to continue.
A couple of other things to consider when thinking about safe travel are: Avoid wearing any super expensive jewelry, drink responsibly (& and stay in control) and always know the local numbers for emergency services.
Learning a local language is a little daunting and of course, no one expects perfection! However, if you get a chance, learn basic phrases in the local language and you will be amazed at just how far it can take you. Not only will you make everyday interactions more fun, but most locals will really appreciate your effort and be willing to offer advice and help if needed.
If you are planning to wander off the beaten path, this is even more essential as in some more remote areas, there could be limited spoken English ( this is where google translate can come in very handy!) Trust me, if you know how to ask where the bathroom is, you will not regret making the effort to pick up some of the local lingo!
This is especially true if you are going on a cultural quest! It’s such a shame to visit historic landmarks and not have a bit of background on the attraction.
On all my trips I like to learn about their history and culture. Not only does it lead to a much richer experience, it broadens your mind and gives you an understanding of different histories, struggles, values and beliefs.
For example, visiting Cambodia and learning all about their recent tragedy (only a generation ago), Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge has had such a deeply lasting effect on me and has shaped the way I view the world.
Foreign countries often have some amazing cultural history so doing a bit of research is definitely one of my top travel tips!
Of all my essential travel tips, this is definitely up there!
You will make some wonderful memories on your travels so it’s a great idea to make sure you have incredible photos to relive your adventures. You could even take up a “travel hobby” and learn a little about photography before your trip.
Invest in a decent camera (with an extra camera battery!) or learn how to use your phone camera properly and have some fun taking epic shots of your travels!
It’s what they are there for!
Most hotels have local if not seasonal staff who have great knowledge about tourist attractions, free walking tours, and the local tourism office. When you are in a foreign country, it’s always a good idea to check in with the staff to make sure you have a great trip with no hiccups along the way.
Solo travel can be a bit daunting, but if you get the chance, go for it! Sometimes the thrill of going on an adventure without travel partners is a real eye-opening experience (plus you can eat, sleep and explore on your own schedule).
Safety travel tip: if you do take the leap and travel solo, ALWAYS let your family or friends know your schedule and try to touch base as often as convenient.
In these wonderful days of Airbnb, which offers you a real apartment with kitchen facilities, your vacation just got way more inclusive.
Wherever you are in the world, if you get the chance, taste the local cuisine when eating out but another one of my favorite travel tips is to get your chef hat on! It’s not just about the cooking… Explore local food markets, shop in local grocery stores and get a real feel for the culture and the wonderful cuisine that goes with it!
It’s also a great chance if you bump into any other travelers or even friendly locals to get together and really get the full experience of traveling.
This is one of the most important travel tips for those planning international travel.
The diversity of cultures in this big wide world of ours is amazing so make sure wherever you are going, you check out any local customs that are important. For example here in Thailand, we greet each other using a Wai and must cover our shoulders in places of worship and government offices. Take a minute to understand the culture you are visiting and show respect for the local customs.
Street food doesn’t always mean eating insects and avoiding stomach problems!
In most foreign countries, local street food is amazing and will definitely save money! The key is to look for the places where locals are dining. If it’s good enough for the residents it will be a great new experience for you to try on your travels.
If you are looking forward to shopping in local markets and searching for the best souvenirs you really need to get your bartering skills sorted! In most destinations, especially those off the beaten track, there is an expectation that you will haggle for the best price (which means things are usually marked up).
Try to find a good balance between negotiating the best price and causing any offense. Everyone has their limit so learn to recognize when someone really is offering the cheapest they can. You can even go online before your trip and shout out to your social network for advice on pricing if they have visited the same place!
Although we should all be observant when visiting new places, try not to be fearful of meeting new people. When you are in a public place, especially during the day, have a chat with some of the locals who will likely be interested in you too!
This will give you a much more rounded cultural experience and is a great way to meet new buddies.
Wherever you find yourself in the world, always try to drop into the local tourism office. The staff are there to help you find the right activity and give advice based on your interests, abilities, and general requirements.
In addition, you will probably find they have access to some great deals and price reductions for famous attractions.
Even for the most seasoned traveler, being away from home can sometimes feel a little lonely.
Don’t worry about looking for a brand that you know and like that has international locations. For example, Starbucks has a really consistent product and usually English-speaking staff. It’s just a coffee and a chance to take a breath from all the exploring! (Bonus: They usually have free Wifi too!)
Whether you are wandering the streets of a European City, trekking in the jungle or even enjoying a lazy beach holiday, there will always be something new to try.
If you get a chance to eat with locals, dance with a street parade or join a group of beach volleyballers the chances are most people will be just as open-minded and keen to see you have a blast.
Go wild and have some fun!
One of the joys of travel is meeting a bunch of amazing people with whom you wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to speak. Whether it is other travelers or local friends, connect on social media, exchange email info and boost your network.
You never know when you may cross paths again. I personally have made some great friends on my many years of travel and those lasting relationships are still going strong to this day!
On any trip, always expect some kind of delay. Whether at the airport, in a busy restaurant or waiting for transport at your destination. Traveling takes time! With that in mind, take a breath and try to be patient. Different cultures move at different paces.
For example, if you are visiting a vibrant city like New York, you will find a much livelier and rushed vibe than if you are visiting a village in Cambodia! So be patient!
Lots of places offer fantastic volunteering options with local animal shelters, orphanages or even beach clean ups. These are an awesome way to get to know other people and also feel great about yourself.
You can find some cool volunteering opportunities with VolunteerWorld who have a massive network of programs internationally!
One of the best things about travel is all the opportunities to be active (and it not be a chore!)
If you are going to a big city, walking is an awesome way to see the sights as well as burning calories. If you are heading to a tropical paradise there is nothing better than a swim in the ocean.
Even small decisions like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing an hour of yoga whilst relaxing on the beach, staying active will keep you energized and healthy for your entire trip!
These days we are all a little more environmentally conscious and can definitely contribute even whilst traveling. This could mean anything from finding more local experiences to reduce your carbon footprint, or choosing to book your hotel on an eco friendly booking site like bookdifferent.com
Wherever you can, take a walking tour! Many of them are free and it’s a fantastic way to explore a new city.
When heading out for the day on tours or sight seeing, wake up early to avoid the crowds and sometimes get the most amazing lighting for your burgeoning photographic career!
There are some places only a tour guide will do. You’re not only supporting the local economy, but also learning a lot more about the country and area you are in that you might find out on your own.
They’ll also know where the best places to eat are, the best views, the best sights, etc.
A car or moped is an easy way to explore your surrounding areas and finds places a bit further afield.
The Atlas Obscura website is an amazing resource to find the weird and wonderful wherever you are in the world.
Remember to enjoy your travel by taking a minute to be in the moment!
It’s great that we can capture so many memories on our devices now, but every so often take a minute to watch a sunset, or see a cityscape without looking through a screen!
If you want to save money, local food is the way to go! It’s so much cheaper than touristy restaurants and cafes.
I’m not saying you will like everything but it will definitely give you some insight into the local culture as well as some great stories to tell upon your return. During my many trips around the world, eating local food has not only helped me to save money but has given me some favorite dishes I just couldn’t live without now!
Local markets are so much fun. You can pick up some amazing bargains to take home as presents for your friends and family and even the latest designer bag for next to nothing for you! (wink)
Where possible book a room inclusive of breakfast. The chances are fruit will be on offer, so you can have tea, toast and eggs for breakfast and slip a banana or two in your bag for later!
It’s really tempting when you arrive somewhere after a long flight to just stop to change currency at the airport when you land. Dont!
These exchanges are notoriously bad for their rate and are located conveniently to catch you when you are tired and maybe feeling a little lazy. Try to buy currency beforehand or alternatively find a local exchange where the rate will be fair.
As the world gets back into a more travel normal climate, you really don’t need to be spending a fortune on fancy brand hotels to make your trip memorable. Hostels are no longer the bunk bed, dirty shared bathroom and sometimes dangerous nightmare they once were!
Nowadays there are tons of amazing boutique hostels that will help save money whilst giving you a cool place to lay your head! Although now mainstream platforms are hot hostel destinations, you can also find some great information at HostelWorld which is the oracle of all things hostel!
If you come across a high end restaurant that is maybe a little over your budget but you are dying to try, go at lunchtime. More often than not they have a “lunchtime special” menu that is slightly cheaper but contains much of the a la carte options.
Ahh, the beauty of points! I have used points on so many of my adventures I am sure there is no better way to save money as a wanderlust queen!
Whether it’s Airmiles or even points from using your credit cards, make sure you know what you have and check out deals regularly. You may even get a few free flights if you stay on top of the status of your points! Most awards programs have an email sign up option so you will get information about deals on where you can use points straight to your inbox.
It’s always good to be thrifty, but make sure you don’t get too obsessed and ensure you have made the right budget for your own style of travel. When exploring all around the world you will find if you are constantly penny-pinching and worrying about money, you may miss a lot of the awesome experiences available out there.
When it comes to flights, hotel bookings, walking tours, tourist attractions, and events, pre-booking is the smart way to plan. More often than not, you will find it more convenient and better value for money than paying on the spot once you arrive. These days there are literally hundreds of online sources for pre-booking. So get googling and enjoy!
Download the XE exchange rate app to see instantly how much things cost on your home currency.
Overseas banking/withdrawal fees and exchange rate differences can stack up pretty quickly if you’re not careful. Thankfully these days there are lots of cards and online bank accounts that offer overseas cash and credit fee free and exchange at an extremely fair rate.
Here’s some of the best;
Revolut – Offers all sorts of extra travel perks, including lounge access on certain packages
Monzo – Fee free overseas banking & money transfers
Barclaycard Rewards – No fees for purchases or cash withdrawals
Halifax Clarity – (what I use) no fees for purchases or cash withdrawals, but they do get a bit antsy when you use your card abroad. We have had many rejected transactions followed up by a phone call from the fraud department. It’s a pain, but on the other hand their security is rock solid!
Schwab Bank Debit Card – automatically reimburses you for all ATM fees worldwide
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card – no transaction fees, redeemable points on travel and dining, access to airport lounges. The card costs $550, but you get $300 in travel credits. Happy days!
In most foreign cities the most expensive way to get around is by taxi. Nowadays with apps like Uber, you can get around with ease and usually save some cash. Alternatively, you can really get exploring using local metro and train services as well as more unconventional bicycle and moped taxis.
You will always find a friendly taxi driver in a tuk-tuk! This always makes me feel more immersed in the local culture and is a great way to chat to local people.
Most countries around the world that have any kind of tourist attraction offer some sort of free tours and entry passes. All you need is to get on google before you travel and check out some of the local attractions, most tourism offices have a “free section”.
Alternatively, another great resource is GuruWalk where you can pre-book free tours (if you really like the tour you can donate money to your guide at the end!)
If your destination country has unreliable cell phone service or you simply don’t want to drain your data, this is a brilliant function for traveling around the world seamlessly.
So you may have a great internet data plan or even a local sim card on your journey, but you can’t beat free! There are always tons of great places to find free wifi including Airports, Local Businesses, Hotels, and Free Hotspots.
Alternatively, you can download an app such as WeFi which shows you all of the free wifi locations in your area.
A lifestyle business is simply an online location independent business you can run from anywhere in the world.
Examples include, blogging, freelancing, becoming an influencer, e-commerce, selling on Amazon, affiliate marketing & loads more.
You can read my post on How to Start a Lifestyle Business here.
A digital nomad is what it says in the tin. Someone who travels the world generating an income digitally as they do so!
Here’s my top tips for becoming a digital nomad.
Without doubt the fastest route to working your own hours and generating an income online is freelancing.
Freelancing is basically using your skill sets to work for other people, but completely remotely. You also get to pick and choose the jobs you bid for, meaning you only do the jobs you want to do and are suited for.
Read my step by step guide to freelancing here.
If you’re going to be traveling extensively, it makes sense to start a travel blog! Especially if you love to share your experiences, document everything with photos or videos & help out other travelers looking for inspiration.
Here’s my step by step guide for starting your own travel blog today!
An image says 1000 words! An amazing photograph can capture a mood or experience perfectly, plus it’s fun! If you enjoy snapping away on your phone, enhance your skills & get some photography training.
I recommend Emil Parkarklis iPhone photography school.
It goes without saying that video is huge now. And with all the fab video apps on offer, it’s easier than ever to make stunning travel videos of your trips.
Follow me on TikTok for some inspiration!
Whether you write, snap or video your experiences, travel is a huge niche. Even post pandemic (kind of), there are no signs that travel will significantly slow down.
Every experience you have is unique to you and can inspire or inform fellow travelers.
Becoming a travel influencer is both a fun & rewarding career move. Simply pick your favourite social platform & start posting!
There is so much to see all over this wonderful planet of ours so whenever you can, go and explore!
Whether it’s a beach, a city, mountains, or ancient ruins, go see the world and enjoy as often as you possibly can!
So there you have it! 101 Top Travel Tips which I hope have inspired your wanderlust!
Traveling is one of my absolute passions and I have learned a lot of do’s and don’ts while on my travels… But my biggest takeaway has to be to relax, enjoy the moment and see as much of each new country as you possibly can!
There are a lot of things to remember when traveling and your own list of “to do’s” will depend entirely on your choice of destination.
Hopefully these helpful tips will get you started on your next adventure!
Good luck & Bon Voyage!