My 25 Best Travel Tips To Make You The World’s Smartest Traveler
People aren’t born being savvy travellers. It is something you only get from experience on the road. Travel savviness comes from making small mistakes, missing buses, foolish behavior, cultural awareness, and other little errors. One day you’ll be able seamlessly to move through airports. You can then integrate yourself into other cultures like a fish to water.
At the beginning you make a lot travel mistakes.
However, I want to speed up the process and avoid my mistakes. I’ve compiled this massive list of my best travel tips. It covers everything to help anyone reach their full potential as a travel ninja.
Always keep a towel on you.
It’s essential for successful galactic hitchhiking. You never know when you might need it. Many hostels have towels available, but you don’t know if they will. Carrying a small towel won’t add much weight to your bag.
You want a light, quick drying towel. Regular towels can be too heavy and bulky. Dry Fox travel towels are my preferred (use the code “nomadicmatt”, to receive 15% off your purchase).
Use a small, lightweight backpack/suitcase.
A small backpack, such as one that holds 35/45 liters is ideal. This will allow you to keep your stuff light and compact. We are naturally inclined to fill our bags with stuff. Even if you are light in weight, but still have plenty of room, you’ll find yourself thinking “I can take more” and filling that space. You’ll regret it later, as you’ll end up carrying around extra weight and unnecessary stuff.
The same goes for suitcases. A large suitcase is a burden to carry around, especially if you are traveling for a long time (short-term, not so much). I like Level 8 suitcases. They are strong, durable, spacious, well-designed, and reasonably priced (luggage can often be very expensive). The zipper has a TSA lock.
You should also consider packing cubes if you are going to be carrying your backpack for longer than a week or more, or if you want to organize your bag better. They are available in many sizes so you can store small and large items. They are ideal for organizing all your belongings in one place.
You can make a list and then cut it in half. Only pack what you need! You won’t have enough room to carry extra stuff if you buy a small backpack. Don’t buy more than you need. It’s okay to wear the exact same t-shirt for several days.
Unbound Merino’s travel clothes are great because they can be worn everyday for weeks without becoming greasy. They are light and stylish. They’re very soft and comfortable.
You can also buy extra socks
Laundry gremlins, wear, tear, and hiking can all cause a lot of weight loss, so it’s worth packing more. It’s a good idea to take more than you actually need. This is what I mean. Nothing is better than a new pair of socks.
Add a second bank card or credit card to your wallet
Things can be stolen or hacked, and disasters do happen. I once had my credit card duplicated with a freeze placed on it. It wasn’t available for use during my entire trip. It was great to have a backup. You don’t want your money to get lost or be locked out. One friend experienced this once, and had to borrow money for me for weeks as they waited for their new cards to arrive.
You should use no-fee credit cards.
Don’t lend your hard-earned dollars to banks. Save that money for you and use it on your travels. Make sure you have a debit or credit card that doesn’t require an ATM fee or a foreign transaction charge. They will quickly add up over the course of a long journey, as the small amount they charge each time will be significant.
You should travel solo at least once.
You will discover a lot more about yourself and how you can be your own boss. This is a cliché but it’s true. Solo travel taught me how to be independent, speak to others, and navigate unfamiliar situations with ease. I feel much more comfortable about myself and have learned a lot about my capabilities. I can also be extremely selfish and do whatever I wish. Although it may take some time to get used it, you should at least attempt it once. You will be surprised by how uncomfortable you are. When you push yourself, you’ll discover valuable life skills.
Do not be afraid to use a mapping tool.
Not looking like a tourist is as bad as getting lost and being in the wrong area. Use a map, ask for directions, and act like a tourist. Remember, you’re one!
However, don’t be afraid if you get lost.
Wandering aimlessly in a new place is a great way to get to understand it and get away from the tourists. You may be surprised at the hidden gems that you discover. I enjoy wandering around, trying to find my way through the landscape without Google Maps. Travel is all about discovery. You’ll never know what amazing little place you’ll find.
Always check with the local tourism information centre.
This is probably the best travel tip in the entire world. The tourism information centers are well-informed about the local events. They can direct you to special events, free activities, and everything else in between. They offer discounts on transportation and attractions. Their job is to make sure you have a great experience. It’s incredible how many tourists skip this when they visit a place, but savvy travelers will know to use it!
Avoid buying a money belt; they’re foolish.
Thieves know that thieves exist and seeing one with them is like shouting, “Look at my, I’m just a tourist with money!” Rip me off!” It’s easier to be a local and make deals, and avoid being ripped off. You should be more vigilant about your stuff if you worry about pickpockets.
Only take what you absolutely need when you are out.
You should limit the amount of cash you take with you. If something happens, you will be able to easily recover. Do not take more than one ATM card or credit card. Cash is $50 USD.
Always have a lock.
Take a small combination key lock with you on your travels. You will find them useful, especially for those who stay in hostels. Many hostels offer lockers. Budget travelers should bring their own travel locks to protect their belongings. You can either rent or buy them at hostels but it is much more affordable to purchase one before you travel. It’s best to not use the key-equipped one as you could lose them.
Take extra copies for your passport and other important documents.
You can also e-mail a duplicate to yourself. You never know when you’ll need it and you may not want to take your original. You will also need a copy in case your passport is stolen to help you file a police report.
Ask staff at the hostel for information even if they aren’t there.
All day, hostel staff work with budget travelers. They are familiar with where to find affordable meals and other attractions. They’re also likely to be locals, so they are very familiar with the area. Ask them for information. Even if the place you’re staying isn’t one of theirs, they can help. They will almost always give it.
Learn basic phrases in your destination’s native language.
You will find it helpful and appreciated by locals. While you don’t have to be fluent in the language, learning some phrases like “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Thanks!” and “Where is the bathroom?” will make it easier to communicate with the locals. They’ll appreciate the fact that you tried.
You should read a history textbook!
Without knowing anything about the history of the place, you can’t understand its present. Do your research on the areas you are interested in visiting. You will gain a deeper understanding about the destination you are visiting. You can store thousands of books on a Kindle so you have something to keep you occupied, no matter where you are.
You shouldn’t feel ashamed to enter a McDonald’s or Starbucks.
Both places offer free WiFi and public restrooms. McDonald’s is a bad place to eat. You’re just too sick to eat that crap! You can return it home! Free Wi-Fi is available in most coffee shops and libraries.
Fly direct only.
Booking flights can sometimes be cheaper to fly into airports near your final destination. Then, you can take a train or bus to get there.
Find out how much it costs to fly directly to your destination using this method. Look at the prices for nearby airports. I’ll look into the costs to travel from my primary destination to the other airport if the difference is greater than $150 USD.
Two of my favorite flight search engines for me are:
Skyscanner – This is my favourite website for finding low-cost flights. It searches for a wide range of airlines, including many budget carriers that are often overlooked by larger websites.
Google Flights: One of the best search engines for flight information, Google Flights allows users to enter their departure airport and then see all the flights in the world on a map. You can also see which destinations are the cheapest.
Always be with business travelers at all times when crossing security lines.
They can move quickly because they are in a hurry. They are very familiar with the routine. They will encourage you to line up behind them. You’ll speed up the entire line!
Family members should never be forgotten when you are at the airport.
They take forever. It is not their fault. The kids just give them a lot. It’s best to not get in the way of too many children. It will take time.
Do not be afraid to ask for an upgrade at check-in.
They are flexible when it comes time to assign upgrades at check in. It’s always worth asking. Many times, they will accommodate you even though the hotel is full. You can be super nice!
Note: A hotel credit card may be worth considering if you are a frequent guest in hotels. Spend at home every day to earn points that can be converted into free stays. You can upgrade your card by acquiring status.
Write down your experiences.
Even in our hyper-technological age I believe that everyone should be writing more on their travels to keep a record of what they did. I don’t leave home without my journal. I use my journals for work (I am constantly taking notes and writing ideas down), but also to keep track on my travels.
Simple travel journals can be used to keep track of your journey, write down information about the trip, and even provide contact information.
The new Travel Journal is more than just blank pages. It has space for itinerary planning and places to write notes in local language. The journal is designed for travelers and allows you to take notes, write down reflections, and even share stories during your travels.
The best time to visit historic places is during lunchtime.
Be a contrarian. As large groups and tour buses arrive, there will be less people blocking your path. It is best to go to attractions early in the morning, later, or after people eat. Even the most popular spots will be available to you!
Never eat in touristy areas or near tourist attractions.
I generally walk five blocks each way before finding a restaurant. You’ll pay more for tourist attractions if you are closer. The food (and service) will be worse if you are further away. Open Rice, Google Maps and Yelp are some of the best websites to locate popular restaurants in your area.
Also, you should never eat at a restaurant where the menu only comes in six languages. The restaurant is not meant for tourists.