Throughout our travels we have made plenty of mistakes. Here’s a list of travel tips we’ve learned the hard way so you don’t have to!
Tell your bank where you’re going so you can use your bankcard there.
Get good walking shoes.
Shop at local supermarkets and cook for yourself. Locals don’t eat out all the time and neither should you!
Buy a small backpack, forcing yourself to pack light. Always pack as light as you can.
Pack a needle and thread.
When you go out, take only the bare essentials. Bring the amount of cash you plan on spending. Don’t bring your bankcards and passport with you every time you leave the place you are staying.
Make extra copies of your passport, flight info. and other important documents. Put these copies in different bags and if you’re traveling with a buddy; carry a copy their documents and vice versa. If something happens you will be able to get a new passport easily.
Pack a flashlight or headlamp. You will be surprised by how much you will need it.
Avoid taxis, they’re always more expensive than buses and other public transportation.
Ask hostels what there is to do in the area even if your not staying there.
Always barter. Everyone likes a deal! Vendors will barter not only with money, but with things that you don’t mind parting with. I’ve traded with toothpaste, pens and all sorts of random things in my pack. Generally in a tourist area, offer a quarter of the price they originally offered and negotiate from there. Learning how to haggle will help you in all aspects of travel.
Take pictures of your bags. If they get lost, this will allow you to find them quickly.
Don’t forget chapstick!
Take tons of pictures! You’ll be glad you did later when you forget some of your adventures.
Tell someone at home your detailed travel plans. Leave them with all your flight itineraries and information about your hosts and where you will be staying. If your plans change, let them know.
Carry a combination lock, they come in super handy when staying in dorms and hostels.
Try new foods and eat street food. Be respectful of other people’s culture by trying their food and enjoying it! You will save money and have a better experience.
Ask questions and be curious. There are endless things you can learn from being immersed in a different culture from your own.
Walk as much as possible. You see more, save money and meet more people.
Don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray!
If you are traveling to a country with a travel advisory, read it! Apply for the STEP program if it is recommended.