25 Travel Tips
Learn From Us
Most of us don’t all start as a savvy traveler from the beginning. This is something that takes time and experience from being on the road.
You are going to make mistakes at the beginning, its just part of life. But learn from each one!
You will miss flights, book the wrong dates of your accommodation, lose a credit/debit card, and countless mistakes. But one day things will start to click and you just move through the amazing travel life like a professional.
We want to give you our 25 Travel Tips to help you speed that process up and hopefully you wont make as many as we did.
These tips are going to help you make your trips smoother, less stressful, and just have more fun!
1. Pack Light
You will thank us later! Just remember you are traveling this is not a fashion show, you can wear the same clothes for a few days before washing (I prefer not in a row). If you make a list of clothes to bring cut it in half and then pack that. You can always buy clothes while traveling if needed.
2. Take An Extra Credit And Debit Card With You
Things happen! You don’t want to be stranded for hours because your debit card got fraud or lost, yes I was stranded for hours at Kenya airport from fraud on my only debit card and couldn’t pay the visa to get in (yes I got in hours later). So make sure to always bring 2 of each and try to find ones with no international fees and atm fees. Bonus tip: Stash an extra $100 somewhere safe just incase!
Apps will become your best friend. Try to find apps with offline capabilities incase you don’t have service. Google maps and Google translate are 2 great examples. Blog to come with best apps to use!
4. Extra Copies Of Documents
Passport, credit/debit cards, and other important documents you will want to make 2 extra copies of them along with emailing them to yourself. Don’t forget to give a copy to someone you trust at home (mom, dad, best-friend).
5. Don’t Over Plan Your Trip.
This is the hardest for me, I am a huge planner like to the hour but I have learned to plan while letting the universe take its course. Plan a couple things to see but leave plenty of time to see others and be flexible.
6. Learn Some Foreign Words
I always learn “Hello” and “Thank you” before entering a country. The border control will appreciate it when you enter. Others to learn are Please, Sorry, Beer, Bathroom, and more. But always remember sign language is universal
7. Avoid Scams
This might be tough as you learn more as you travel but keep your guard up. Always ask prices before doing anything. If it sounds too good to be true its probably a scam.
8. Take Free Walking Tours
These are the best, not only do you get a free tour of the city but it's a great way to meet people. They will give you a great background of the city while showing you the key highlights. They just ask for a tip at the end so bring some cash, usually they are local college students.
9. Learn To Haggle
Ask anyone who knows me and they will admit this is my favorite thing to do. I once haggled over what was about $0.20 in USD while in Thailand, and yes I walked away as he wouldn’t take my price. Yes, I got it for that price later with someone else. Just about anything is negotiable depending on where you are, but it never hurts to ask. Have fun with haggling, they usually double the price for foreigners right away.
10. Eat Local Food
One of the best parts of traveling is the food, taste a bit of everything. Ask local people for recommendations of places and types of food. Try out some street food, they are cheap and usually a great local cuisine. If you see a long line get in it, I bet it’ll be worth the wait in the end.
11. Patience Is Key
Don't sweat it if you make a mistake but most importantly don’t sweat the things you cant control. Life is too short to get angry and upset, in the end it’ll get figured out. I have missed flights, trains, buses but I always got to the next spot. Be patient and enjoy the experience!
12. Take Epic Photos And Lots Of Them
This is dear to my heart as a photographer but even for the phone photographer you need to take as many pictures as you can. You may never go back to this place or see these people again. The best souvenir you can get is photos, they are free and a great way to remember all the amazing times.
13. Say YES Often
If you get a random invite out to walk the city, or to a bar say YES. These unplanned experiences usually end up being some of the best ones. It also adds a nice change to your normal travels you're so use to doing.
14. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
This one can be one of the toughest parts about traveling when solo. Challenge yourself to do something that freaks you out. Hate museums, just walk in and see what happens; not a fan of hiking, try a small one with a nice view and see how it goes; does going out alone scare you, head to a good but not packed bar and grab a drink and talk to someone. Yes, all these examples are some things that freak me out but I have done them all and for the most part they don’t scare me anymore.
15. Laugh At Yourself Sometimes
This is going to happen a lot and it's going to help you so much with traveling. You are going to look like the typical tourist many times and make a fool of yourself. Don’t take life so seriously, just laugh it off and move on! Remember to learn from that mistake though.
16. Don’t Get Discouraged
If you want to do something know that you can make it happen, nothing is impossible in this life. The solution to your idea is out there and if you stick with it you will figure a way out. Is it getting to the top of a skyscraper for an epic picture of the city, well figure a way out to the top. I don’t condone anything illegal but go for it and apologize afterwards. I can’t count how many times I acted stupid that I didn’t know something or in reality I really just didn’t know something and in the end I get what I wanted and off to the next adventure.
17. People Watching At It’s Finest
Do you love people watching? Find a nice spot, relax and just take it all in. Pay attention to the small details around you, not just the big picture. Just enjoy it!
18. Meet The Locals
This is one of my favorite things about traveling, getting to meet locals. The best way to travel ones city and get to know the culture is through the locals. In most cases they are the nicest and most inviting people also. In my opinion the people are what make a trip not the sights. Just smile and say Hello (in local language) and see what happens.
19. Splurge Once In Awhile
Most of us are all on some type of budget and its great to budget your trip to extend it as long as you can. But once in a while you need to just splurge and do whatever you want no matter the cost. This could be anything from going to a nice restaurant, staying in a fancy hotel a couple nights or even booking a 10 day safari through Kenya and Tanzania like I did. I never want to look back on my trip and wish I would have done something. Be smart but do what makes you happy, if your trip is shorter than planned who cares at least you know you did everything you wanted to do.
20. How To Get Upgrades
When you check in for flights or a hotel most have some flexibility to work with. All you have to do is ask, they wont just give it to you because you checked in. Remember to be super nice, say some words in local language (because you learned these already) and in the end just ask.
21. Stay Fit And Healthy
Your health is always #1 in life and it's no different when traveling, if anything its even more important. Traveling throws your body off like crazy as you are constantly on the move, lots of bad sleep, different foods, and much more.
Be kind to your body and it’ll be kind back. Make sure to get enough sleep, stay hydrated, do some random workouts, eat healthy once in a while and don’t forget to brush those teeth.
22. Travel By Yourself At least Once
Shawn and I love traveling together as we help each other out with everything. Having 2 brains instead of 1 and half the planning, its great. But you need to go travel on your own at least once as this is when you will TRULY learn about yourself! You get to do whatever you want, its 100% your trip!
23. Don't Be Afraid Of Scary Countries
If you are smart and use common sense while traveling you will be fine. I have been to some iffy places in the world according to the news, etc and I felt completely safe. Most of the people in foreign countries are so nice, friendly, and willing to help. They are excited to meet a foreigner and get to know you as much as you want to get to know them.
24. Stay In Contact With Loved Ones
Don’t forget about everyone at home. I make sure to let my mom know when I'm leaving a country and once I arrived into the new country. A quick text can go a long way for those wondering about you at home. Randomly make it more than a quick text, send a postcard (so random), make a phone call or have a nice text conversation.
25. Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints
Make sure the people after you get the same experience you did at these special places. We all need to work together toward a clean environment and healthy planet. Plastic is killing our beautiful world, what will you do to make a change? Couple tips I do: Travel with a reusable water bottle, refuse single use items (straws, disposable cutlery, etc), unplug chargers when not in use, always take the stairs, and much more. WE can BE the CHANGE!
Bonus Tip: Travel More!
Written by Barry Drews