There are countless reasons why people love to travel, and they all vary from person to person. From challenging yourself and your perspective, to having an adventure and learning about the world, to getting in touch with yourself and appreciating life, to just escaping and relaxing…
Travel exposes us to new countries and cultures, and different ways of life. It changes how we see the world, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Here are some of my tips and tricks to make sure all your overseas adventures go smoothly.
TIP #1 – PACKING
Your always going to over-pack wherever your heading, its like an unwritten rule than you need 10 times more clothes than you normally do when going away. Always take items that have multiple uses and are durable, you don’t need that sequin gown you bought at a charity shop that you’ve never worn once and are never likely to wear again. Pack wisely and choose items that don’t crease easily and won’t need to be ironed or steamed, and make sure what you pack is practical. This may sound boring, but it’s necessary. If you travel frequently, then I highly suggest you buy a set of packing cubes. Packing cubes can transform the way you pack, easily fit within your luggage, and stop you from over-packing. This saves you time and space! Once you think you’ve finished packing, revaluate what’s in your suitcase and/or carry-on and be brutal.
TIP #2 – MANAGING MONEY
When travelling abroad, you never know what the situation may be and worst comes to worst you don’t want to be stranded with no money. Always carry some local currency, and preferably two debit or credit cards to get you out of sticky situations. Both forms of payment have pros and cons, but both are crucial. Always make sure you read the fine print when using a card abroad, and its worth calling your bank ahead of your trip to avoid having your card suspended or frozen – the horror!
TIP #3 – PROTECT YOUR DOCUMENTS
You may think your being safety conscious by carrying your paper documents with you at all times whilst abroad, but the truth is there are still ways fraudsters can scam you electronically. You can buy cards that will block attempts at RFID skimming, but you still need to be cautious when using your cards at ATM’s or gas stations etc. Always keep an eye out for card slots and keypads that look dodgy, and protect your pin from view of cameras and passers-by. These things can easily be missed so make sure to keep a close eye on your bank account/s, and if anything seems suspicious don’t hesitate to contact your bank immediately.
TIP #4 – CHECK IN AS SOON AS CHECK IN OPENS
If your going on a long haul flight, chances are you don’t want to be stuck next to the toilet the entire journey. It doesn’t matter so much on short haul flights, but check in as soon as online check in opens to avoid being stuck next to the loos. Also, the earlier you check in the better choice of seats are available.
TIP #5 – FACTOR IN THE COST OF GETTING TO & FROM THE AIRPORT AT EACH END
Whilst you may think you’ve got a sweet deal, and why that 6am flight may look too good to turn down, chances are your going to pay an extortionate price for a taxi at ridiculously early hours of the morning. What may look like a bargain at first may lead to disappointment, so always take into account the cost of getting to and from the airport at each end.
TIP #6 – RESEARCH LOCAL ETIQUETTE
As a traveller in a country that’s foreign and new to us, its always handy to research the local customs and etiquette of the country and culture we’re visiting to avoid any confusion and mix-ups. For example, in Japan its incredibly rude to eat on-the-go, instead always find somewhere to sit down and eat so you can ensure you’re respectful and considerate of their customs and culture.
TIP #7 – WHERE YOU STAY IS IMPORTANT, BUT THE AREA YOU STAY IN IS EVEN MORE CRUCIAL
Whilst it may seem like a good idea to stay in a 5-star hotel thats in a chic and upcoming part of the city, if it costs you an expensive taxi ride or Uber to get anywhere chances are your going to regret it. The best place to stay isn’t always right where the action is, so ask around and speak to people who’ve visited where you’re going before or give it a quick Google search and see what you come up with. You’ll be far happier in a more standard hotel in an interesting part of town where theres lots to see and do, rather that in a more rural location which is far from anywhere.
TIP #8 – ENSURE YOUR PHONE WORKS ABROAD & ALWAYS CARRY A PORTABLE BATTERY PACK
You don’t want to get to all the way to an exotic location you’ve desperately wanted to go to for years just to find out your phone doesn’t work, and its going to cost you an arm and a leg to be able to use it whilst your away. As the world becomes more developed more phone companies are beginning to offer worldwide coverage, and if this isn’t a deal you can get with your current network provider it may be time to start looking around. If you forget to look into this before you go away, grab a local sim once you’ve got to your destination (not at the airport) and choose a package thats best suited to you. Also, get yourself a USB portable battery pack (you can find cheap ones on Amazon) so you can can charge on-the-go. They don’t take up a lot of space and are a great investment – just remember to charge up your battery pack before you go anywhere!
When travelling abroad and exploring a different country and culture, you are bound to encounter those headache moments that make you want to cry in frustration. A lot of these problems can be easily avoided, and hopefully my tips/tricks will make your trip run a lot more smoothly. Let me know in the comment section if theres any more tips and tricks you would like to add…