20 ultimate travel tips to make your trip easier
We know there are no ‘ultimate travel tips’, as list of travel tips goes on and on, but it’s a catchy title, don’t you think? On a serious note, here are some tips we can give you from out own experience, so you don’t have to do the guesswork.
1. Pack light (even when you think you can’t)
This one goes without saying - you should pack light. It's easier to travel, easier to move and easier to unpack and pack once you reach your destination. Whenever possible bring only small carry-on or a backpack (or both), but don't bring large suitcases unless you're moving. Parents with small kids are now reading this and laughing sarcastically, but you can travel light even with toddlers and we will write about it one of these days.
2. Book flights well in advance to get the best price or best connection
We had a separate post about this on our parent website; it is very important to book your tickets in advance so you can get good deals. Unfortunately, with the situation today with coronavirus any long-term planning is out of window for now, so keep this advice for later. Once COVID-19 situation gets under control we could all start planning out trips few months in advance and get a good tickets price.
3. Avoid classic taxis
Wherever possible avoid taking classic taxi (the one you pickup from the taxi stand) and always try to book Uber, Lyft or any online taxi service that is usually cheaper, more reliable and most of the time faster and safer. The only exception should be travelling from the airport to downtown when there's established fare end other services are not available, i. e. Uber cannot come and collect you from the airport (usually because authorities allow only classic taxi service).
4. Take free walking tours
Most of the large cities have free walking tours offered to tourists which you can use to get acquainted with the city free of charge. Tour guides usually don't ask you to pay anything but they're expected to leave a tip to guide if you're happy with a tour, of course (you are giving tip to paying guides, anyway).
5. Take pictures of your luggage and your belongings
Taking a picture of your luggage is a simple trick but it will help you immensely in case airline lose it or your luggage gets damaged, destroyed, etc. In order to prove that your luggage was in a good condition before the trip just take a quick photo with your camera phone and keep it as a record for duration of the trip. The same goes to belongings, in case they get lost or stolen, the best way to show what is missing is a good quality photo.
6. Carry emergency cash on you and take an extra credit card
Depending on your destination, you will probably need to have some emergency cash just to have it around if you need to get a quick transport or buy something urgently in places where credit cards are not acceptable. This can be also useful when you go to the restaurant and you want to leave a tip in the places where tipping is customary. Additional credit card is very useful for emergency purposes in case you get robbed, you displace or damage your credit card. This doesn't mean that you'll spend more money - just to have a backup plastic with you in case of emergency.
7. Get good, comfortable shoes
Since you will be travelling and moving, good and comfortable shoes is a must. We assume that you will be walking a lot during the vacation (or during your business trip) and you need to have comfortable shoes. Your shoes need to stay comfortable for the duration of the trip. Having good and comfortable shoes is also important if you're travelling on a long-haul flight (please don’t take your shoes off while flying, don’t be THAT guy).
8. Get good travel insurance
This should be a no brainer but it's good to reaffirm this. Having travel insurance is extra expense during your travels but it's a something that you will need once in a blue moon and then it pays off greatly. Some credit card companies have travel insurance included when you purchase tickets or holiday packages with their cards so please check with your bank if those benefits are included on your card, so you don't have to buy double insurance.
9. Don’t overplan your holidays
We know it is very important to plan your trip. Buying plane tickets, booking accommodation, booking attractions tickets, renting a car, etc, are essential tasks which you need to fulfil for your next trip. However, if you plan every single minute of your holiday your vacation will turn into the programmed activity and you will not be able to relax at all. Leave some things unplanned and uncharted so you can enjoy some relaxing time in your new location and simply explore it without tight schedule and tasks in bullet points.
10. Take photos everywhere and of everything.
Take photos everywhere. With current technology, all mobile phones have high definition cameras and almost unlimited number of photos available, so don’t waste opportunity. Immortalize your vacations and take photos of destinations you explore. Take photos of yourself and people you are travelling with. Because travelling is not just an experience, it is an activity that generates memories.
11. Always have an extra USB charger and/or battery pack
Speaking of technology, one thing which is still not sorted out by all the technological giants is battery life. Even the most advanced and most expensive phones have batteries that usually last for one day or so at most. And if you are using your phone to check your social media, take photos and check your emails, batteries last even less. That's why it is important to have a USB charger, USB cable or battery pack (power bank) always with you, especially when you go to explore cities or even more importantly – for remote locations. Having backup power will make sure you are up and running and it will be very useful during any emergencies.
12. Travel by yourself at least once
Our parent website is actually called go travel yourself and we didn't promote enough travelling solo. Here's a post listing reasons why you should go travel yourself. Go read it and you'll know why.
13. Always visit local tourism office
No matter how developed or undeveloped local tourism is, please always visits local tourism office and you will definitely find some useful information which is not always available online. You will get free maps with attractions, free tourist guides, bunch of leaflets with different tours, free guided tours, etc. You will be probably able to buy some bundle attraction passes and save some money.
14. When you go out, take only what you need with you
This goes for safety and security of your trip. Even in the most secure and safe places around the world there are people working and waiting for tourists to drop the guard and you will be without your valuables in no time. To minimize this risk please take with you only most necessary things for your outing, your phone, one of the credit cards, enough cash for emergencies and necessary stuff only.
15. Make extra copies/scans of your passport and important documents.
We also explained in detail how you can protect your travel documents in this post. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have a copies or digital scans of your travel documents, especially when you're travelling far away from your country. These copies will be your proof of your travel documents in case you need to contact the embassy and they have to issue some emergency document in case your passport was lost, stolen or damaged.
16. Starbucks or McDonald’s are your friends abroad
Famous food and coffee chains are famous cause they're everywhere and because they have same amenities and services around the world. This means that if you walk into a Starbucks or McDonald's anywhere in the world, you would expect to have familiar food and drinks and free Wi-Fi. This will get handy in case of emergency and you want to quickly connect to your online thing if you run out of data plan or you just want to have your latte if you feel homesick or something. Yeah, no judging people have weirdest way to deal with being homesick.
17. When you check in to the hotel, ask for an upgrade
Hotels always have something available for the guests and depending on the season they might have a better room for you, complimentary breakfast or free Wi-Fi. It doesn't hurt to ask. From our experience hotels are very happy give free Wi-Fi so that they can get customers happy and create a good PR for them. Just ask.
18. Never eat or buy things in a touristy area or near major tourist attraction
This is also no brainer, but many people are not getting it - any restaurant, cafe or a souvenir shop in the city center or near most popular attractions is a typical tourist trap. Avoid them by any means if possible. Of course, if budget is not your problem then feel free to eat in the most expensive places as you wish, but the problem is, those places usually don’t serve good food and souvenirs are not that great. You will literally need to walk few blocks and find great restaurant, cafe or a souvenir shop that is not a rip off.
19. Carry a basic first-aid kit
Bringing basic stuff such as band-aids, pain killers and skin cream can be proven to be very useful when it's comes to any problems such as light injuries, sore thumb or a simple scratch. Blister from long walk or a sunburn are just a minor medical problems that can be sorted out with this quick solution.
20. Bring noise cancelling headsets with you
This advice is important. Bring noise cancelling headsets with you wherever you're travelling – short trip, a weekend, long trip, long haul flights, anywhere. This simple ‘trick’ will help you isolate in noisy environments: flight, train, bus, crowded areas in cities, you name it. And you can have your favorite music or a podcast playing in the background so you can enjoy your time without interruptions. Noise cancelling headsets were very expensive until recently and now you can get them in the range of 50 to $100. That's a little price to pay for game comfort and peace of mind during your travels. Trust us on this and you'll thank us later.
This is a list of 20 ‘ultimate travel tips’, but there are more, many more. We will either add them to this post or create new ones with another catchy title, such as ’20 more ultimate travel tips’; one word, ‘more’, and we just added completely new meaning to that title. Safe travels.