Some people are born savvy travellers. They are street-smart and know how to be prepared in every situation. However, others learn from their experiences.
I remember when I left home — after quitting my corporate career out of frustration — with a one-way ticket to Bhutan, I had no idea what to expect. My face clearly spoke of an inexperienced traveller self. But after a few years of nomadism, I have learned a lot about travelling, particularly solo travelling.
So the basis of my experiences, if I were to counsel others in reaching them their travel ninja potential, these are the 40 travel tips to becoming a savvy traveller.
My Top 40 Travel Tips
- Book a flight only 2 to 4 months in advance. Because that’s when flight carriers start fluctuating the prices. Take advantage!
- Search for flights in incognito mode. This allows you to hide your browsing history and disable flight booking websites from tracking your cookies, thus saving you from a temporary price hike.
- Travel overnight whenever you can. Book overnight buses/trains and save yourself the hotel money for that night.
- Carry earplugs. Because snorers are everywhere and you need to sleep.
- Skip the towel. And rather take a long sardine cloth. It takes up less space in your bag and is multi-functional.
- Always have an extra USB charger. To make sure you don’t run out of batteries.
- Avoid the money belt. Unless you want to tell everyone you’re a tourist and invite them to try touts and rip you off.
- Pack a flashlight. Other than the flashlight on your phone.
- Carry a book. Because reading while travelling is a mind-invigorating experience.
- Carry a light rain jacket. To save yourself from light showers and breeze.
- Eat a vitamin C tablet every day. Or rely on another source of vitamin C to keep your immune system strong.
- Eat street food. To save some money, and learn about local food. You’re anyway taking your daily dose of Vitamin C tabs, aren’t you?
- Wear sunscreen if it’s too hot. Too much exposure to the sun isn’t good for the skin.
- Travel solo at least once. You will learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent.
- Take photos. And build memories.
- Befriend locals. Local people are the living encyclopedia of their town/city, and use their knowledge to travel more efficiently.
- Be respectful of local cultures. Keep your cool when someone doesn’t get your way.
- Use a navigation map. I use Google Apps to make sure I don’t get lost in a new city.
- But don’t be afraid to get purposefully lost. It always helps to know a city and its culture better.
- Carry emergency cash. Because emergencies happen, you need to secure your ass in every situation.
- Learn a few phrases in the native language of your destination. It’s a great way to make locals feel comfortable and start a conversation.
- Be open to strangers. If you won’t try to speak to others, you’re going to be a sad, grumpy traveller. Make friends, and learn and enjoy more!
- Avoid taxis. They consume most of your travel budget.
- Try hitchhiking. If you do not find any public transport, give hitchhiking a try. It’s not as risky as you may think. And you never know, you might just find yourself a good friend in a new country.
- Get city attraction cards. If you’re travelling in Europe or any other country where tourism is highly regulated, buy their city card. They’re always a good bargain, especially if you’re going to use a lot of public transport and visit many museums and other attractions.
- Take free walking tours. Many cities (again, in countries where tourism is highly regulated) offer free city tours. Use them to know more about the places.
- Use booking.com for hotel reservations if you’re not sure about your trip. They offer zero advance payment bookings, and a free cancellation before a few days of your arrival – meaning you don’t lose a penny if your plan changes.
- Never buy a paid itinerary. They are stupid, expensive, and often take you to the beaten path. Avoid them!
- Never change your currency at the airport. Because that’s where you’ll get the worse exchange rates.
- Use free internet at airports/train stations/restaurants/hostels. And save yourself some data.
- Carry a pair of slippers. Because you never know when you may need them. Unexpected dirty toilets are everywhere.
- Always carry a basic first-aid kit. Especially a lot of band-aids. Because accidents can happen anytime, and you must be prepared.
- Do not let travelling spoil your daily schedule. If you’re into yoga or training, do not let travelling stop you from doing it. Find a way to keep a balance between travelling and living.
- Don’t over-plan. Travelling is not about seeing places and ticking them off a list. It’s about learning new things and understanding new cultures. Let your days unfold naturally. Don’t over-plan.
- Travel slow. Because travelling is a soul-searching experience, don’t rush too much. Slow travelling moreover saves you money.
- Carry an extra copy of your passport and essential documents. Also, don’t forget to e-mail a copy to yourself.
- Always carry a padlock. And while travelling in Asia, use your own lock rather than the one given by your guest house.
- Mark your luggage so it stands out. Unless you want to accidentally take someone else’s luggage or have someone run off with yours.
- Pack Light. Carrying too much makes travelling hard. And you can always shop if you really need something.
- And last but not least… Don’t Panic. Be patient. Things will work out in the end.
Useful Read: How To Make The World Your Home