35 Travel tips to become a savvy traveller
We’ve put together 35 travel tips to guide you through your adventures to become a savvy traveller. Lets help you get super-smart about your travels.
Travel is one of the most exciting things we can do to re-invigorate ourselves. Here’s a few travel tips to help you navigate through your next adventure and become a savvy traveller.
We’ve all had that one trip that provided some life-learnings, light-bulb alerts followed by some head-shaking ‘why did I do that’ moments. So, to help you reach your full savviness (is that really a word) here are 35 travel tips that you’re going to love!
Travel Tips to Become a Savvy Traveller
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Cash in at the Travel Expo
If you know a Travel Expo is coming soon, get ready to take advantage of the deals! There will likely be amazing flight and accommodation deals available on a time-limited offer.
Be ready! Consider your preferred travel dates and the destinations you plan to travel to and expect to snag a great travel deal.
We were lucky to score a fabulous deal for a recent trip to the States by booking our fares on the spot. It was a simple matter to line up our accommodation to fit our flight plans later. Win Win!
Book online for great Travel Deals
There are so many online booking sites that will give you cost-effective options.
Try Kayak, Expedia or Skyscanner for flight options. Shop around, when booking flights. Sometimes a cheaper option is to fly into airports close to your final destination, and take a train or bus from there.
Tips: Book your travel on a Tuesday – as strange as it may seem, flight prices are often lower on Tuesdays!
Try something different
If you’ve always stayed in mid-high range hotels, why not be a little daring – try one of these to add some difference into your adventures. If you’ve always gone ‘budget’ treat yourself to a weekend at a ‘5 star’ hotel!
Try Booking.com for accommodation choices. Sometimes it’s an opportunity to try a new type of accommodation so you can meet other travellers and add a new dimension to your travel experience.
Tip: Get adventurous – Book a ‘mystery hotel’ experience just for the surprise element!
Research your Destination
Research your destination before you leave home. Map out your ‘must-see’ sights, plan a couple of day trips to get you started. If you can, base your accommodation central to the sights your planning to visit to cut down your transit time.
Take the time to learn basic language phrases and become familiar with the currency and exchange rate of the country you’re visiting.
Follow a couple of travel bloggers who’ve already been to your destination for their best tips on where to go.
Don’t Cram your Itinerary
Don’t over-plan your trip, leave some things to chance.
Enjoy your experiences. Leave plenty of time to explore and, make sure you have a little fun. We’ve all made the mistake of coming home from a holiday feeling that we need another holiday to recover from our holiday.
Chill, don’t try to cram everything into a short space of time, or consider extending your stay to allow plenty of time to relax.
Enjoy your experiences wherever they may take you. Some of my favourite experiences have been the unplanned and unexpected surprises we’ve encountered along the journey!
The time we bumped into SantaCon in the middle of San Francisco is the perfect example. We just had to know more so we followed the Santa procession and had an amazing unplanned adventure on a wet rainy day.
Before you go
Tell someone: Make sure a few of your family members or close friends have your itinerary. Keep them updated on your movements so they know where you are and arrange to contact them from time to time.
Important documents: Keep scanned copies of all important documents like passport, visa and any other identification documents. As a precaution, email yourself copies for easy access.
Be aware of the local customs and laws: Make sure that you do not break a law and be careful not to do anything that is considered disrespectful to the local culture. Dress appropriately so as not to cause offense.
Take Photos of your luggage: Its also easier if having to declare lost luggage to foreign based airlines with limited English speaking personnel. If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.
Register your travel: Register with your embassy before you leave the country. This is vital if an emergency occurs and your family needs to contact you. This can include political disturbances, riots and uprisings or natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and Tsunami warnings.
If you plan to drive while travelling, make sure you have the required driving license. It is vital that you are aware of all the traffic rules and regulations before you drive in another country.
Before you embark on a road trip, ensure you have the map, a well-serviced car with good tyres, information about places you can eat and stay while on the road and a first-aid kit. Make sure your travel insurance covers you when driving in another country.
Tip: Apply for an International Drivers License before you leave home.
When packing, consider where you are traveling to, the weather and most importantly, the activities you plan to do. Most places have nearby laundromats or day wash and fold services that make life on the road, simple.
Some of my early travel experiences were a great learning opportunity.
Tip: Travel light.
- Clothes: Don’t pack too many clothes. You really just need a few basics. 2 or 3 pairs of jeans, 4 shirts & enough undies & socks for a week should cover most situations.
- Shoes: Don’t take more than three pairs of shoes.
- Toiletries: Make sure you take soap and basics like a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Prepare for Long-Haul Flights
Prepare well for long haul flights.
Travelling time can be a bonus if you use it to do something you’ve wanted to do in a while. Choose to watch a movie, catch up on reading or edit your travel photos. It’s also a great time to catch up on your sleep after a busy trip. Enjoy!
I like to take a sketch book and outline a few of the drawings I have floating around in my head or do some writing for my blog. Well deserved uninterrupted ‘me’ time!
Don’t forget to stretch your legs regularly, engage in some ‘in seat’ exercises and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Don’t let jet lag get you down
Jet lag can be treacherous.
In order not to lose time at your destination, take precautions to minimize jet lag by timing your flights to take place overnight. Stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol and try to get some sound sleep on the flight.
I try to time my flights to arrive mid to late afternoon at my destination so that I can check into my hotel and take a leisurely walk to unwind.
Explore beyond the Guidebook
While travel guidebooks and tour guides do provide a wealth of information, there is often more to see and do beyond the guide.
- Speak to locals and discover hidden gems that no guidebook mentions.
- Visit the local tourism office. They will know all the free activities, special events happening during your stay.
Take your map and get your bearings. Ask for directions. Wandering aimlessly through a new city is a good way to get to know your way around. You might be surprised by the hidden gems you find.
Don’t be afraid to get lost. Some of my best travel experiences have been my accidental discoveries!
Keep An Open Mind
Be open and tolerant when traveling.
Some places may be a culture shock but always be tolerant. Try to understand the differences of their way of life and remember, travelling is a way of expanding your experiences.
Enjoy the differences.
Connect with a Local
Connect with the locals is one of our best travel tips to become a savvy traveller.
Strike up a conversation with the concierge at your hotel, or the friendly waitress who serves your coffee at the nearby café or sing with a street-performer. Stop a local to ask directions or engage a market stall holder in chat.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak the language. A few words and some sign language are usually enough to break any barriers. We often make a habit of breakfasting in the same café (if the coffee is good) so that we become familiar faces and conversation becomes so much easier.
Ask locals for tips about what to see in their city. It’s a great way to see different places that are not mapped out in every travel guide. Most people are proud of their city and will willingly offer suggestions about their favourite places so that you can enjoy them too.
A little local lingo is a great icebreaker
There is nothing like speaking a few words in the local language to get a welcoming smile from locals. Travelling to a new country is a great opportunity to learn a little of the local lingo. A few words like “Hello, Goodbye and Thank you” will go a long way when visiting another country.
Our breakfast waiter in Ubud, was very keen to help us use the correct Balinese greeting which ended up being fun for us all. Even a clumsy attempt at pronunciation will usually draw a smile from a local – they love to correct you. The locals will appreciate it and it will make your interactions easier.
Always ensure that you do your research and dress appropriately and comfortably according to the place and weather conditions. Dress fashionably and make sure you dress respectfully and most importantly, comfortable.
Take a light scarf which can double as a cover-up when visiting temples, or sacred places as well as provide an extra layer for warmth when needed.
Tip: Good comfortable walking shoes are a must.
Get your bearings in a new city
We usually head to the highest lookout point to get an look at the city from the best vantage point when we first arrive. It’s often an sight and a great opportunity for a ‘we were here’ selfie for Facebook and Instagram!
Take a ‘city explorer’ bus trip to get your bearings when arriving in a new city. It’s a great way to familiarise yourself with the city and learn about it’s main attractions.
Invest in a City Pass: If you’re planning to visit a lot of museums and other attractions in a short period of time, a city pass is likely to save you money on admission and most will provide free public transportation too.
Don’t fret if its wet
The weather is always out of our control but there are plenty of activities to do which will still be a whole lot of fun.
Buy an umbrella and take a waterproof jacket just in case, and use the weather to your advantage. You may be lucky enough to have some of the prime sights to yourself!
As for photographs, cloudy days provide fantastic lighting for some moody photographs. Enjoy!
Chase the Sunshine
Sunrises and sunsets are my favourite time of day when travelling. It’s a time when the light is gentle, and the crowds are less.
Look out for vantage points for your travel photos to capture some beautiful shots for your journal. We love to get up and about early while there’s hardly anyone around, take a few snaps and head to where the locals are having their morning coffee.
This photo was taken on a Turtle Tracks tour with hardly a soul around. Perfect.
Take a Walking or Cycling Tour
Cycling or walking tours are a fun way to explore a new city and we usually try to include these whenever we travel.
I took a ‘Pub Crawl’ walking tour in Sydney a few years ago which turned out to so much fun. It was great way to learn about some of the convict history of Old Sydney Town and meet some new people, albeit over a few beers.
Another fun walking tour was the ‘Brothel Tour’ in Singapore where we walked through the former ‘red light’ district which was the ‘seedy’ area of Chinatown in early days. It was great fun and we learned about so many things that were definitely not in the guide books.
Tour guides are a wealth of information and usually filled with like-minded travelers who are looking for the adventure. They’re usually inexpensive, fun and jam-packed with information.
Visit Local Markets
Nothing is more exciting than visiting local markets. There’s nothing like the smells of the fresh produce, local cheeses and preserves.
Often busy, these marketplaces are a hive of activity and bustling with energy. It is such a pleasure to mingle with locals and experience a slice of their life. Local markets also provide a fascinating window into the culture of the place you’re visiting.
Learn to Haggle
Haggling can be a fun, playful way of not getting charged the foreigner price. It’s the art of negotiating and one that will help you throughout life, not just at the market.
Tip: Don’t be too ruthless. Always leave a little something for the vendor.
Keep in touch with friends and family while you’re away by uploading travel snaps to social media. Trust me, your Mum will love you for it!
Many hotels include WiFi with your room, however if you’re if you’re staying someplace that charges you to connect, try the local libraries, Starbucks and MacDonald’s and other cafés for free Wi-Fi. They’re also great places to do some people watching!
Take Plenty of Photos
Make sure you have a reliable and good quality camera that will capture your travels.
You may never go back again. Take lots of photos. Years from now, you’ll want to look back on those nights you can’t remember and the people you met along the way who made them memorable.
Back up! I back up from my camera to a portable hard drive and back that up to Google Drive over WiFi at every opportunity.
Keep a Travel Journal
Often it’s hard to remember the little things on your holiday so it’s always good practice to take notes of things that you’ve found interesting, especially if your trip is a long one.
Social media is sometimes used as a travel journal so positing a few photos to Facebook or Instagram every few days is an easy way to record your adventure. Our @Aussie_Mob Instagram account is a perfect travel journal and has a great selection of photos covering our travels over the years.
You may want to set up a blog for your family and friends back home to keep up with your travels. It’s easy to do and a nice way to tell the adventure stories and share photos.
Savour the flavours
Tasting the local flavours is one of the best parts of every holiday experience.
There’s just something special and ‘real’ about Mexican food in Mexico, savouring hot pretzels from a street vendor in New York, Jambalaya in New Orleans, enjoying Pasta in Italy, spicy Mei Goreng in Indonesia and eating street food at the hawker centres in Singapore. It just can’t get any better!
However, I do know travellers who’ve eaten at Maccas everywhere they went, ‘just because they could be sure of what they were eating‘. Don’t be that traveller!
Tasting and exploring local food is undoubtedly a part of travel. But be careful with what and where you eat. There’s nothing worse than falling ill and spoiling your holiday.
Try the authentic food at local cafes and restaurants – after all, that is part of your holiday experience.
I always find it interesting to go grocery shopping when I’m in another country. If you’re in New York City – check out the Wholefoods Market. Amazing! I loved the easy takeout food sections for those who don’t have time or energy to cook … and the choices! Wow!
Tip: Do eat the street food! Watch where the locals are eating. It’s usually a good sign!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
I can’t express how important it is to keep hydrated when traveling. Keep drinking water and stay hydrated during travel and otherwise. This is an easy way to fight off illness and fatigue.
I do suggest drinking bottled water when you’re travelling as often the water quality isn’t safe to drink. No ice in your drinks either! This is particularly important throughout Asia and other third world countries.
Most of the hotel rooms have safe’s installed for secure storage of your important possessions. They are a good place to keep your passport safe, store extra cash, spare credit cards, any jewellery you aren’t wearing and other important things you’re carrying.
- Take a spare bank card and credit card with you in case your cards are lost or stolen.
- Do carry a small amount of emergency cash. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds.
- Limit the amount of cash and bank cards you carry with you so if something does happen, you can easily recover.
Don’t forget to advise your bank and credit card company of your travels. Keep your bank and credit card company aware about your travels and transactions from a different country to ensure there are no hitches.
Don’t be a target
Make sure you follow these simple travel tips to be a street-wise savvy traveller.
Ensure you are not a target for crime. Blend into the crowd. Thieves can and will quickly identify you as a tourist and target you. Always be conscious of your surroundings and be sure not to put yourself at risk.
- Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself.
- Don’t hitch hike.
- Avoid the ‘risky’ places of the cities you visit, especially at night.
- Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe place. Email yourself a copy for easy access.
- Use ATMs during the day, when other people are around.
- If you are mugged, don’t fight back. It’s better to lose your wallet and watch than get injured.
- Don’t wear expensive jewellery.
- Wearing a bum-bag around your waist or carrying a bulky backpack screams ‘tourist’. Consider using a bag which doesn’t look so ‘obviously touristy’.
- Try to blend in with the locals and avoid looking or behaving like a tourist.
Tip: Consider taking a second wallet, ‘a dummy’ wallet loaded with a smaller about of cash and a few old ‘no longer active’ cards to provide to the mugger should you get attacked.
If you are concerned for your safety at any time, take the safest pathway back to a safe area as quickly as possible.
Scams and being scammed: Be cautious. Often there’s no way to anticipate a scam and these people are ‘pros’ and have been scamming people their entire lives.
Don’t forget your Travel Insurance
Sometimes the unexpected does happen!
A recent trip to Bali left us stranded and at the whim of an erupting volcano Mt Agung with all flights to and from Bali cancelled. Over 90,000 international travellers had their travel plans interrupted leading to flight and accommodation issues for us all.
In short; chaos!
That’s where travel insurance can minimize the stress, or at least defray some of the costs.
Travel insurance is not only about medical insurance. It also covers you if you lose your camera, someone steals your laptop, your luggage gets lost or if your flight is cancelled … or even if (your worst nightmare) a family crisis occurs whilst you’re away and you need to head home in a hurry.
It is the single most important thing you should purchase before you travel!
Travel insurance usually only costs a few dollars a day but it should be an essential part of your travel planning. It’s peace of mind!
Get an obligation free quote today!
Get vaccinated before you leave home – Avoid falling ill when you’re away from home in a foreign country is no fun.
Carry a basic first-aid kit – Accidents happen, so be prepared. I have a mini-first aid kit that I take with me with band-aids, antibacterial cream, and ointments for cuts and scrapes. It’s often a good idea to carry a some diarrohea medication should you be exposed to some dodgy food in your travels.
Prescription tips: Make sure your prescription drugs are in your carry-on luggage in case your suitcase doesn’t arrive with you. Take a letter from your doctor confirming your scripts and medical conditions are legitimate if you need to get replacement medication.
When things go wrong
Sadly, things will go wrong. Things don’t always go to plan. That’s part of travelling and it’s also part of the adventure.
Make sure you have a contingency plan if you need one. You won’t be the first traveller who’s hotel booking isn’t on record when you arrive, or you lost your credit card or your wallet was pick-pocketed. Keep calm, don’t panic. There is always a solution.
Be patient: Things will work out in the end. You’ll get to where you are going in due course. Travel is about the journey, not the destination.
Be respectful: Locals will often be willing to help you out, but there’s likely to be a language barrier, so keep your cool when something doesn’t go your way. If you don’t, you’ll end up just looking like another rude tourist.
Remember to Relax
It is a holiday after all. Enjoy! Take the time to chill out, relax and enjoy your holiday. It’s the most important part of travelling!
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Get excited about your next adventure
With the Corona virus on the warpath at the moment, travel is limited but it won’t be long before we start stretching out wings again. Stay safe by social distancing as you become a savvy traveller.
Where will you be adventuring to next? Are you looking for a relaxing week on the beach? Planning to trek up Mt Kilimanjaro? Or do you have a burning desire to walk the Great Wall of China? Go ahead, start researching your next trip now and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.
No matter where, be sure to take these travel tips onboard and become a savvy traveller.
Read more posts:
- Unique places to visit in Australia
- Turtle Tracks – the journey to Bare Sand Island
- Australia Travel Tips – Things to know before you go
- Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- What to do in Bali when the volcano erupts
Do you have anything to add to our Travel Tips to become a Savvy Traveller? How do you blend in and get the best out of your adventures? Share your best tips with us in the comments below.