I gained a lot of experiences during my 6 years of travelling the world. Positive experiences and negative ones. All of them taught me a lot and do not only help me while travelling but in all kind of situations. Travelling is the best school in my opinion. In this post I wanna share my best travel tips with you.
1. Get lost on purpose
The best way to explore a new place is by walking. Don’t plan too much but just decide spontaneously which direction or street you want to take. This way you will really get to know the place apart the typical tourists trails. Write down the name of your hotel and asks locals on your way back for the directions.
2. Don’t plan too much
Don’t plan too much in advance as you never know how you gonna like a place or who you gonna meet on the road. Imagine you worked out a whole itinerary and already pre-booked all accommodations. On your second day however you meet a group of people who are planning a cool trip to another place and you’d love to join them. I guess you know what I’m driving at.
3. Meet local people
Asking for directions is also an easy way to get in contact and start a conversation with locals. Most people have at least basic English skills and a conversation with hand gestures and body language can also be interesting and enriching.
4. Use incognito window for bookings
Whenever you book anything, flights or hotel rooms for example, use the incognito window of your browser. Most websites save cookies on your computer and increase prices gradually when you keep checking.
5. Treat your body well
Travelling can be quite tiring for your body and it is difficult to maintain a daily exercise routine. Remember to sleep and rest, drink enough and eat healthy. To stay fit on the road you could go swimming in the sea, jogging or explore a new place by bike. I just started carrying along a TRX Suspension Trainer* that you can use everywhere for a full body workout.
6. Get up early
Most sights, beaches or other interesting places are crowded. Be there a few minutes before they open and you can take amazing photos without hundreds of people on them.
7. Try local food
Ask locals what they normally eat or what their favourite food is and taste it. Eat street food and try the weirdest looking dishes on markets. Don’t be scared of getting sick of the food. That can also happen in the fancy looking and expensive restaurant next door.
8. Don’t be afraid
The world is actually a better place. Traditional media sometimes tell things that are not right. You should go out there and explore the things for yourself and do not only believe what others are telling you. Use common sense. You will soon experience that most people are friendly and helpful.
9. Carry around passport photos
You’ll wonder how often you need passport photos. Be it for a visa, a new passport or a diving license. Save time and hassle and cary around spare photos.
10. Break out of your comfort zone
Leave your comfort zone and overcome anxieties. You will experience new things and strengthen your confidence.
11. There is always a solution
If you are facing a problem on the road don’t give up or panic. There is always a solution. The best moments while travelling are always these where you are stuck. Do not be afraid to get into such a situation. You will wonder how many friendly and helpful people there are.
12. Back up everything and make copies
Backup your files and photos in your cloud and on an external hard drive. What is worse than loosing all of your favorite photos from your last trip. Additionally, make digital and physical copies of all important documents such as passport, driver license, ID card & visas and note down emergency numbers, serial numbers of your electronics and information about your health insurance.
Don’t judge the lifestyles of others. Listen to their opinion, ask questions and be open-minded to experience and learn something new. You don’t need to agree with everything but also don’t assume that only your views are correct.
14. Be patient
Don’t waste your energy being angry about situations that you cannot change anyway. Did you miss the only bus that is leaving today? Take the next one the next day! The visa renewal takes three days? Make a spontaneous trip to the nearby national park.
15. Slow down
Don’t try to see the whole world in one year. Take your time to explore fewer places more intensively.
16. Pack a sarong
Wherever I go I carry along a sarong. It is super light and small and can be used for many different purposes such as a towel, sun protection or as a beach towel.
17. Take out a travel insurance
Having a travel insurance is so important. You never know what happens. A motor bike accident in South East Asia, a broken leg when climbing a volcano or getting fiver in a remote place. Without an insurance you easily end up paying several thousands of euros for doctors and medicine.
18. Bring several credit cards
Some countries only accept Mastercard, others only Visa. Be on the safe side and take at least one Mastercard and one Visa card.
19. Don’t change money at the airport
You’ll get the worst exchange rate at the airport. I mostly withdraw money at an ATM.
20. Buy a good camera
Photos are the best memories of your travels so invest in a good camera.
21. Pack less
After a couple of weeks on the road you start feeling every gram in your backpack. Most of the gear you won’t need anyway and otherwise in other counties there are also shops where you can buy most items.
22. Have basic language skills of the countries you visit
Most people have at least basic english skills and you will get quite far with hand gesture and body language. Nevertheless learn basic words in the language of the countries you are visiting. People will highly appreciate if you can say at least “Hello” and “Goodbye” in their language.
23. Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights
Skyscanner searches a lot of different airlines and you can look for flights to a specific airport or any airport within a country or even continent. Moreover, you can choose an exact travelling date or search for the cheapest flight within a certain month or year. This is especially interesting when your travel destination and/ or date is flexible.
24. Be polite and smile
Be polite to other people and walk around with a smile on your face. It will make your life easier and you will soon make new travel friends. A smile breaks the ice when you meet someone for the first time and in difficult situations it breaks the tension.
25. Say Yes and accept random invitations
Say yes a lot when someone spontaneously invites you for dinner, to their home or a cool activity. Trust me you will build wonderful memories.
26. Carry along extra cash
Carry along some extra cash in different places for emergency situations. I recommend a couple of hundred Dollars as backup when you loose your wallet, can’t find a working ATM or your credit card gets stolen. You can stash it for example in your socks, cosmetic bag, day pack and some in your backpack or suitcase.
27. Use a Drybag to keep your valuables dry
A drybag* is one of the most useful travel items. It helps to keep your smartphone, camera, travel documents or any other valuables dry on a boat trip or during a rainstorm.
28. Visit local markets
By visiting a local market you get to know the real life. Observe locals and taste typical food. It is so declicious and fresh and you can even save a lot of money.
29. Bring portable chargers
It happened to me many times in the past that I have been at a great place or a long hike with lots of photo motifs and the camera or smartphone battery suddenly died. Annoying! Avoid that problem by bringing a portable charger.
30. Be flexible
Be flexible and open to change plans. When you meet nice people that are planning a cool trip just go with them. When you like a place a lot and would like to explore it more, extend your stay.
31. Buy a local simcard
Local simcards and internet plans are in most countries really cheap. Buy a local card and use your smartphones as navigation, to look up more travel tips and Must-See places, to stay in contact with your family and friends and of course for emergency situations.
My top choice is kayak.com*. You can easily search for the best fares over 30 days or see where you can go on your budget. My favorite airline is Qatar Airways*, I especially like the on-demand menu in Business Class.
I would recommend checking out Agoda.com*. It is one of the leading hotel sites with worldwide more than 500.000 hotels. Other sites I check are Booking.com* and Expedia*. Trusted Housesitters* connects you with home and pet owners who need a sitter when going away. Another great option is Airbnb* – Use this link* to get $40 off your first stay. Visit TripAdvisor* for hotel reviews.
Do you agree with all of my tips or do you have others to add? Let me know in the comments below :)
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This post is also available in: German