It’s easy to get distracted with all the travel advice and tips out there. Most are somewhat one-sided, meant to mainly promote a certain travel agency, website or brand through the guise of helping, whereas others tend to be down-right common sense that you’re mother could have told you but it was just somehow recycled to appear differently. Nothing new there.
Back in April, I came across a very informative post on the widely-popular travel blog The Everywhereist that’s based on Geraldine’s (the traveler/writer) own personal travel experience around the world. And she’s been everywhere, so her 55 Best Travel Tips are certainly a reference I would trust!
Geraldine covered almost all the points we could think of, and then some. We especially loved the following tips, listed below, that she shared in that post. The parts in italics are notes from our own travel experience just to spice things up..
#2 Packing for a trip is infinitely easier when you’ve just done laundry.
You never know if or when you’ll get a chance to do laundry on your trip anyway. Save yourself the headache.
#5 You will never wear that second dressy outfit, so stop packing it. Most trips, you won’t even wear the first dressy outfit (but you should still pack the one).
Pretty ballerinas and a few funky accessories do marvels – and are very easy to pack. Try to think of how you can make your outfits work for both day and night with them.
#9 If you’re staying with someone, get them a present. Either bring it from home, or take them out during the trip, or send them something afterwards. Do it not only because you will likely be invited back, but because your mom will be so proud.
When in doubt about what to get or if you don’t know the people you’re staying with that well, give sweets. Almost anyone would like it, especially if it comes in pretty packaging. If you’re visiting a foreign country for the first time or volunteering abroad, bring along local delicacies as it will broaden the cultural exchange and raise the value of your gift that much more.
#14 Don’t go into a McDonald’s. I don’t care if you are scared or starving – McNuggets are NEVER a viable option. If you need fast food, at least hit up a regional chain.
Our fail-proof guide to choosing places to eat while traveling are simple: fullness and locals. If it’s full, that’s a green light it’s up to standard and popular. If it’s got locals, that’s another green light that it’s not just intended to lure tourists but will actually taste awesome. If it’s full and it’s got lots of locals, you’ve hit the jackpot!
#18 Never carry your wallet in your back pocket, and never carry your purse on just your shoulder.
Same for all valuables really, including mobile phones and cameras..
#19 Take notes. As much as you believe the contrary, once you get home you will not remember your tour guide’s name, or the artist whose work you loved so much, or even the city where you stayed. Write it down.
Notes, business cards, flyers.. anything really as a memento. It’s also great if you ever want to refer someone to those places to be able to pull out such references.
#20 If you have an inkling that you should be taking photos of something, take them.
One of the worst feelings for any photographer is not taking a shot. It’s double as worse when you’re traveling and know you won’t be able to visit for a while. That regret stays with you and sucks. Just take the photograph and don’t over-think it.
#26 You will inevitably forget something, either at home or while on your trip. Accept this reality, and pray it’s not your passport or your spouse.
And anything your forget, you can always buy from the local country. Don’t obsess on taking everything you might need with you – only essentials that really can’t be found where you’re going.
#36 Toilet paper is not a given in many parts of the world. Which is why those little packs of tissues they sell at drugstores are a godsend.
So is hand sanitizer. You never know if there will be clean water so grab a few of them while you’re at it.
You’re going to have to check her original post to see the rest, but you get the gist. While reading her post, a few tips also came to mind that we’d like to add to her 55:
#56 Take your business cards. Networking opportunities may strike anywhere, especially while in transit. If you don’t feel fully comfortable handing out your full contact details, customize a few of your own on Moo.com with your name and email or URL.
#57 If you promise to give someone their photograph, do it. Not everyone has the luxury of being photographed and you know they’re already doing you a favor by letting you take their portrait. Keep your word if you say you will, that’s all.
#58 Learn a thing or two about social customs and etiquette. You don’t want to offend others in the country you’re visiting and a little sensitivity from your side will go a long way for them. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it.
#59 Don’t buy souvenirs until 1-2 days before you leave, no matter how tempting it might be. This will also keep your luggage light while you’re on the move. By all means, look around and see what would be cool to bring home, but don’t buy right away. See what still looks interesting after you’ve been there for a while too as oftentimes it’s the same souvenirs everywhere. Keep in mind prices and come back to the shops that offer the best deals.
#60 Avoid taxis unless it’s late out or if you really must. Walk or use public transport as there’s no better way to truly experience a new city. You might make some new friends while you’re at it too and discover things off the beaten track.
Well, that’s all for now – is there anything else you think we should mention here? Perhaps you have some of your own tips to share? Let us know!