Does travelling fill you up with excitement and a bundle of nerves? Stay cool and collected with these essential Travel tips:
Planning your dream trip
1. Decide on your destination.
This tip is easier said than done. Do you want to stay close to home? Experience an alien culture? Sample local food and artisanal wines? Do a lot of walking and sightseeing?
2. Search for flight deals.
There’s a lot of competing information about the best time to book your flights. Use websites like Google Flights and Skyscanner to send you email alerts about daily and weekly price changes, compare travel dates, and see prices for different cities so you can make the best decision for you.
3. Check your passport and visa requirements.
Make sure you have plenty of time to get the proper travel documentation (visas, vaccinations, etc.) before your travel.
4. Know yourself.
Travel is about opening yourself up to new opportunities, adventures, and cultures. It’s okay to step outside your comfort zone, but you must also think about what type of vacation you’d really enjoy, whether it be a relaxing seaside trip or an adventure-seeking weeklong hike.
5. Go off the beaten path.
Consider staying in a neighboring city to minimize tourist crowds and maximize your experience of the local culture.
6. Limit city-hopping.
The more cities you visit in a short amount of time, the less you’ll really enjoy each one and the more they’ll blur together and seem less unique. Try to plan for at least three days in each city.
7. Read blogs written by locals.
Blogs written by people who have moved to your city contain a great deal of information about things to see, culture and language, and potential problems. You’ll be getting more insider information than even TripAdvisor can offer.
8. Study up.
It’s important to be aware of local customs, traditions, and languages. Practice saying “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” and asking for the bathroom. Don’t expect everyone to be fluent in English.
9. Organize your trip information.
Put all your flight, hotel, rental, and entertainment reservations in one place, and have backup copies, just in case.
10. Check in online before you head to the airport.
This speeds up the process and can save you money with some airlines.
11. Check the weather often before your trip. This gives you a better idea of the weather patterns and can help you plan your itinerary, too.
12. Always pack a swimsuit. You never know where there’ll be spa, public pool, or gorgeous beach to visit.
13. There will be rain. Invest in a small travel umbrella and a poncho.
14. It’s never too hot for long pants. Bring a pair of jeans or pants in case the evenings are chilly.
15. Don’t buy travel-size toiletries. Take only essentials, like deodorant, a small bar of soap, and face wash. You can buy shampoo and body wash at your destination to save on luggage weight and hassle.
16. Lock your suitcase. A small, TSA-approved lock will keep your belongings safe, even in the hotel.
17. Bring a universal travel adaptor that can charge multiple devices.
18. Carry a portable battery charger for your cellphone.
19. Limit the size of your suitcase. It’s not fun running with a fifty-pound beast through airports, train stations, and city centers.
20. Leave your valuables at home. Be prepared to lose anything you take with you, and plan accordingly.
21. Travel in the off-season. If you have a flexible travel schedule, you’ll save a lot of money travelling before or after big holidays.
22. Download a budgeting app. Log each transaction immediately and keep an eye on your running total.
23. Don’t exchange currency beforehand. Withdraw in the local currency from an ATM to minimize exchange fees (just double-check your bank’s ATM fees beforehand).
24. Use a currency calculator. Convert the local currency to your own currency before each transaction so you don’t accidentally overspend.
25. Stick to your budget. Set a realistic limit per day and splurge wisely.
26. Avoid the tourist traps. These are usually crowded streets in the city center and around popular tourist attractions. Walk a bit further to find a cheaper (and tastier) restaurant.
27. Buy practical souvenirs. If it’s not a useful item, it’ll probably take up luggage space for no reason and your friends and family will feel guilty for not liking it.
28. Use a travel rewards credit card. You can earn points toward your next travel, and most cards offer no foreign transaction fees.
29. Check Groupon. You can find good deals for restaurants and lesser-known museums and shows at your destination.
30. Know the tipping culture. In some countries, you don’t have to tip at all, while in others the tip may only be 5%.
31. Pickpocketing and street scams. Research common scams in your destination so you can avoid them. Keep your bag visible and close to you at all times.
32. Don’t count on free Wi-Fi. Consider getting a travel SIM card to use in emergencies.
33. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk down empty streets at night and try to stay near main roads.
34. Know the local emergency numbers.
35. Download an offline map of your destination. If and when you get lost, this can come in handy.
36. Consider the destination’s holiday dates. If you’re trying to use the public transportation during a bank holiday, you’re going to have a bad time.
37. Leave your passport locked up in your hotel room. Opt for carrying a driver’s license or other form of ID, but keep your primary one in your hotel room for safety.
38. Carry your daily budget in cash plus a little extra. Leave your big wads of cash back at your hotel – if your wallet gets lost or stolen, you’ll have back-up money to tide you over.
39. Be careful when taking a taxi. Make sure it’s a registered car and that the driver has a permit displayed on the windshield. Ask for a price estimate before you agree to take a ride.
40. Know and respect the local laws. This can range from driving and parking to walking around with an open alcoholic drink.
41. Make a loose plan for each day. Decide on the two or three main attractions for the day and leave yourself time to explore, relax, and find spots not listed in your guidebook.
42. It’s okay to get lost sometimes. Make safety your number one priority, but don’t be afraid to stray a little off the main path.
43. Ask locals for their recommendations.
44. Send your friends and family postcards. They’re thoughtful and inexpensive souvenirs, and finding and using the post office can be an adventure in and of itself.
45. Rent a bike. This is often a fun and inexpensive way to see the city.
46. Read billboards and fliers around town. This is a great way to learn about local events.
47. Accept that not everything will be perfect or go 100% smoothly.
48. Be patient. Not every city will be as efficient, open-minded, or as welcoming as your hometown.
49. Stay calm and make memories from the misadventures.
50. It’s okay if you go crazy with photos and buy a selfie stick.
Above all, remember your personal reasons for travelling: have fun, try something different, immerse yourself in a strange new place. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone else, whether that’s spending a lot of money on dinners, eating a live octopus, or going paragliding (But if you want to do these things, no one’s stopping you, either). Your dream vacation is in your hands!
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