Top 10 Travel Tips
My top ten travel tips to help you get the most out of your trips! Read the best advice on accommodation, packing, and seeing the sights!
1. Choose Airbnb Over Hotels
Not only does it usually work out cheaper, but you get the advantage of having your own space. Staying in a one-bed apartment with a kitchen, living room, and laundry facilities beat staying in a one-bed hotel room with a TV and tiny kettle any day. Airbnb lets you set your own time, and nobody cares if you leave at six in the morning and return after midnight. You don’t have to worry about breakfast times or “do not disturb” signs either, and you get to live in an authentic apartment rather than a generic hotel.
2. Buy A City Pass
This will save you money in the long run and makes travelling and seeing the sights so much easier. Many cities offer them, and a lot include extra benefits. You can get free/discounted entry into tourist attractions, maps and guides, and access to public transport. Be sure to check prices before you go, however, because in some places it’s actually cheaper to pay as you go.
3. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
You’re only going to be there once; don’t leave with any regrets. You want to go sky diving? Do it! Ride an elephant? Let’s go! Try that weird local dish that looks vaguely mushy? Why not? Smile and talk to everyone you meet, embrace new cultures and ideas, and be adventurous. You’re in a strange new world where nobody knows you. Why not be someone else for a change?
4. Get Up Early
Morning is the best part of the day, and this is twice as true when travelling! Not only will you avoid the tourist rush hour, but you’ll get to see the city in a whole new light. Literally. So wake up before the rest of the world, watch the foreign sun rise, and explore deserted ruins in blessed peace and quiet. Also, your pictures will be Instagram worthy thanks to the soft morning light.
5. Have A Vague Plan
If you arrive with no idea what you want to do, then you’re going to waste valuable time. Likewise, don’t over plan everything to the last minute because if anything goes wrong then you’re going to get stressed. Learn as much as you can about your destination before you leave and jot down a list of places you want to see. Use Google Maps to calculate distances and travel times, and always give yourself an empty day or two at the end. If you’ve managed to stick to the plan, then you can spend this time packing or relaxing. If your plan has been disrupted, however, which is far more likely thanks to the weather, illness, closures, etc., then don’t fret; you still have time.
6. Pack Light
If you usually only wear four shirts a week, then don’t pack ten “just in case”. When have you ever actually needed a “just in case” extra t-shirt? As well as that, you’ll likely buy new clothes abroad anyway, depending on where you’re going. The only exception to this rule is socks. Always bring extra socks. Things like shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, etc. can easily be bought when you arrive. This avoids the awkward ‘how much liquid can you bring on board’ check too. And if you’re not sure if you should bring it? Then don’t.
7. Don’t Forget A Portable Charger
There’s nothing worse than bringing your phone, tablet, and laptop abroad and then realizing you have nothing to charge it with. Get a portable charger, preferably one with an adapter, and then you won’t have to worry about different socket types either. Carry a separate power bank for your phone and keep it in your bag every day. You’ll be surprised how often you end up needing it.
8. Back-Up Your Photos Every Night
If you don’t have cloud storage, then a quick and easy solution is to email images to yourself. This way, if you lose or damage your phone, you haven’t lost all those precious memories. Also, keep a travel journal. It may sound difficult or weird or kind of cheesy now, but in thirty years’ time when you’re looking back on your travels, it’ll be priceless. You won’t remember that funny tour guide from that Saturday afternoon or the friendly woman who helped you out or even that one plaza café you always ate at. So write it all down, because eventually, you’ll treasure it.
9. Get Lost
No, seriously, actually go outside and get lost. Put away your phone and maps and just drift about for a while. Tourist attractions are always a must-visit, but you’ll never see the heart of the city by sticking to them. The real charm of a foreign land is off the beaten path. So pick a day to go out, wander aimlessly, and find something incredible.
10. Learn Basic Phrases
You don’t have to master German to visit Germany, but likewise, knowing a few simple but crucial words will help. Things like ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘thank you’, ‘where’s the bathroom?’, and ‘excuse me, can you help me…?’ are essential. It’ll also go a long way when chatting with the locals. Everyone likes to feel respected and showing that you at least tried will make them more friendly and willing to talk. Remember: You’re a visitor in their country; they don’t owe you anything.