It seems like a lifetime since I bought that one-way ticket to Australia, and if I had to do it over again, I’d do it exactly the same.
Of course, I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve made some big ones. But that’s how we learn. And that’s how I came up with this list of travel tips.
- I wish I could say I’ve learned one thing every month, but let’s face it: I’m too stubborn for that. So I’m going to give myself a little leeway.
- After ten years of traveling, here are 65 of the best travel tips I’ve learned.
- Count Your Euros, But Don’t Pinch Your Cents
- Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to watch your spending, especially when you travel.
But at what price?
Don’t get caught up in the pennies. Your travel time is the most valuable asset you have, and you want to enjoy it, not spend it all working on a budget.
Look, I get it, and I’ve been through it. When you travel, money is a limited resource (unless you work while traveling). You have to be careful what you spend.
But instead of focusing on saving small amounts here and there, focus on the larger amounts.
Instead of spending an hour browsing stores looking for a deal that will save you $5 (I’ve done it!), decide if an hour of your time is really worth $5. Or do you prefer to spend them and continue with the rest of your trips?
At the end of the day, you will remember the fantastic moments you have spent, not the euros you have saved. So try not to spend too much time thinking about how to pinch every penny, and instead try to cut back on larger expenses whenever possible.
Throw Away What You Don’t Need
Every item in your travel bag should be something you use on a daily or weekly basis. Simplicity in luggage has its reason for being. Also, you have to carry everything you bring.
So make things easy for yourself.
Packing items “just in case” means there are extra things in your luggage that you simply won’t need and probably never will touch. You can always buy things on the go and leave what you don’t need.
Take note of the items you rarely use and get rid of them. Clothing is a great starting point.
For example, when I flew from a frigid country to a hot and humid Colombia, I threw away my expensive North Face jacket on the first day. I knew I wouldn’t need it for the next six months, so there would have been no point in taking it with me.
Also, keep in mind that if you book cheap flights and travel with hand luggage only, you will find yourself with very low weight limits for your luggage. So think about the importance of each item in terms of weight.
Learn The Local Language
The most rewarding welcome you will receive from the locals will be when you can greet them in their own language.
Learning a few key phrases, like “hello” and “thank you,” can go a long way. It seems simple, but it is effective. People will always welcome you more warmly if they see that you really make an effort when you go to their country. So give it a try!
Learn to count to 10. Learn “left” and “right.” Try to learn some local foods and indigenous dishes: you will use them at least three times a day.
Spend some time before your trip to learn some of the language. Carry a small book of common phrases so you can at least read the items on a menu when you’re in a restaurant.
Spend More Time In Fewer Places
I decided long ago that I want my travel experience to be one of immersion, not stamps in my passport.
I see too many travelers who cover entire countries in less than a week. I have done it myself. I have been carried away by the game of trying to see as much as possible in the shortest possible time.
But I have learned that it is not a way to know a place.
At that speed, you’ll only get a cursory view. So when you arrive in a new country, take your time. Immerse yourself in the language, the food, the nature, the culture, the art, the history, the people, and their life. Cultivate an amazing experience for yourself, so that you can leave a place feeling confident that you have truly lived the experience, not just seen it .
After ten years of travel, the number of places I have visited may not be as high, but I know without a doubt that my experiences are richer.
Trust Your Gut
You know that feeling: something in your belly tells you that something is not right. If you have a bad feeling about something, trust him.
Of course, the opposite is also true. If you’re feeling really brave, go for it! Take a risk on something that can be incredible. Travel without fear, but with intelligence. Take a risk, but only if your gut tells you to.
After all this time, my gut is probably the only reason I’m still alive.
Do Everything That Scares You
You don’t travel to stay in your comfort zone. You travel to see and feel new and wonderful things, unlike any experience you’ve had back home. You travel to experience the full range of human experiences.
So if something scares you, make a resolution to do it. Whether it’s bungee jumping off a bridge in the nude or just trying a new dish, you’ll later regret not doing that amazing thing.
After all, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
Carrying A Fake Wallet
Thefts happen. But it doesn’t have to happen to you.
This is one of my best travel tips of all time. Carry an old wallet in your back pocket with an expired license, one or two old credit cards, and 20 euros or less in local currency.
If you become the target of a travel scam or robbery, all they’ll get from you is a bunch of stuff you don’t care about and has no real-world value. Meanwhile, your real license, activated credit cards and your most important cash will remain safe in the sole of your shoe.
Keep Your Money In Several Places
This is one of my best tips: always have a couple of cash reserves spread between you and your belongings. I like to have some money in my shoe, in my pocket and something hidden in each of my bags.
Also, I carry my decoy wallet (see above) if I’m going to be in a busy or crowded place, or if I’m going to a destination where I might be at risk of being robbed.
If there is any kind of festival or gathering during your stay in the city, make sure you go. You will get to know the people and the culture much better than if you just visit the popular attractions.
If there is something really big, it may be worth adjusting the trip, like the time I stayed in Colombia for the Barranquilla Carnival.