This article was published on August 17th, 2014
People who travel frequently often have the best travel tips. It’s no secret that most people over-pack. But here are 10 simple travel tips for amateur travellers, that can take your next trip from bad to great.
- Pack your patience. Whether you’re waiting in line to get on the plane, check into the hotel, or see an attraction, line-ups are almost always inevitable when traveling. If you miss your connection, don’t panic, there will always be another plane. If the ATM is out of money, you can always find another nearby. No matter the situation, just take a deep breath and take control of the situation instead of letting it become an ordeal.
- Early bird gets the worm. Wake up early so you can get the free continental breakfast at the hotel and then head off to see the local attractions before the line-ups start. This is a great tip, because families with kids tend to take a bit longer in the morning and can really slow down your sightseeing once their out in public. Morning is also a safer time of day to explore because most criminals like pickpockets and other scammers, usually aren’t morning folk.
- Stash some cash. You never know where you’ll be when you’ll have run out of cash, or the ATM machine doesn’t work, or they don’t take credit card, and all the sudden you’re desperate for cash. Keep some cash cleverly hidden. Some great spots include under shoe inserts, inside your suitcase lining, in the pocket of a toiletry bag, or sewn behind a patch on your backpack.
- Count on the cloud. If you’re traveling with a laptop, have it sync daily with a cloud-data service or to an external hard drive. If you’re laptop gets lost, broken or stolen, at least your data and vacation photos will be saved.
- Digitize travel documents. If your travel documents are lost or stolen, it can be extremely difficult and a lengthy process to replace them. Before you leave on your trip, photograph or scan all your travel documents including your drivers license, passport, visa, birth certificate, health insurance, serial numbers, emergency contact information, along with hotel and flight confirmations. All of these should be saved in the cloud and / or to an online email address that you can access anywhere in the world.
- Photos are forever. Take lots and lots of photos. Photos will become your memories of the trips you’ve been on, the places you’ve been, the friends you’ve made and the things you’ve done. Photos are free and are way more important than any tchotchke you’ll find in a gift store.
- Blow the budget. It’s important to stick to your budget for the majority of you’re trip. Halfway through you don’t want to find out that you won’t have enough money. However, you need to splurge from time to time on your adventures. Take yourself out for a nice dinner, enjoy a day at the natural outdoor hot springs, or spend a few nights in premium accommodation. You don’t have to do it every day, but you can’t spend each day living off a $50 budget.
- Learn from the locals. Whenever you get the opportunity to talk to the locals, find out where the best place is to eat, what they recommend for nightlife, or what off-the-beaten track activity is a must-do for a visitor to their area. Locals love to help and show off their area, so take advantage of their wealth of knowledge.
- Pack earplugs. Sleep is incredibly important for travelers. Being awake and alert, able to think clearly and being well rested will improve any travel adventure. But sometimes you can’t avoid noise, especially when it’s noise you’re not used to like city sirens, honking horns, crying babies on airplanes, or a loud couple in the room next to yours. Earplugs can easily be tossed in a toiletry bag or a small pocket in your backpack and can really save the day (or night).
- Slooooow down. Don’t pack six activities into one day. It just won’t happen. Pick two or three activities so you can enjoy each one. It also allows you to make changes to your plans if you find something more exciting to do, or if someone invites you to participate in an unplanned activity.