Soooo.... maybe you followed my 20-Day Travel Tip Series on Instagram... Maybe you didn't. Whether you did or didn't follow the epic 20 days of travel tips, I have provided all of those tips is a post just for you so that you don't miss out on these awesome tips! Oh, yea... and I have included some travel mistakes that I hope you will learn from as well.
So without further ado, here are my top 20 travel tips to help you explore more, spend less money, and to dive deeper into the world of travel!
TRAVEL TIP #1:
Never let your age be greater than the number of countries you have explored
This tip is near and dear to my heart and has inspired me to travel as much as I have. I was first exposed to this travel tip in 2017 by my Global Studies Professor Don Gogniat while studying abroad with Semester at Sea.
Now, this tip does not mean you should race out into the world and travel non-stop just to check off a country on the map. Exploring the world is not a race and shouldn't be treated as one. It means that you should always be inspired to continue exploring and just because you are getting older (I mean... we all are) or in a different stage in life, you should never be discouraged to continue traveling.
Never stop exploring!
TRAVEL TIP #2:
Eat the local cuisine
Why would you travel all that way to only eat food you can already eat at home? I don't know either.
Breakaway from what you know and try something new! Visit a local market, check out a street vendor, or even take a cooking class! Trying new foods is one of the best ways to get to know a city or town, to meet new people and to try something you may never find anywhere else! You may even find your new favorite dish!
What is one of your favorite dishes you have tried while traveling?? Share with me below!
TRAVEL TIP #3:
Pack light - bring 1/2 of what you think you need
I am not saying that you need to be like me an only carry a 40 L backpack on your adventures (I really do), but learning how to pack light is super important. You really don't need to bring 3-5 pairs of shoes, 15 different outfits, or all your toiletries. They take up too much space (and weight) and you can always buy something while traveling if you need it.
Save yourself the hassle. No matter how long you are traveling for, take only half of the things you think you need. Bring fewer clothing items that make more multi-functional outfits and bring shoes that can be worn for any occasion. Also, many hostels and most hotels offer laundry services. So if you run out of clothing, you can always wash it!
Packing light can also save you money - the less you carry the less you pay!
I always carry my trtl pillow, kleankanteen water bottle, and nike drawstring in my G4freegear backpack on every adventure. What are you packing essentials?? How do you pack light for your adventures??
TRAVEL TIP #4:
Get lost... on purpose!
It may sound weird, but I mean it. I live by this tip every day when I am traveling, and you should too!
Breakaway from your routine and comfort zone. Wander the streets, move away from touristy areas, and let your eyes and feet (and nose!) tell you where to go. You will discover so many hidden gems, meet the most amazing and down to earth people, and find a dish that inspires you to go back the next day for breakfast.
I challenge you to get lost next time you are traveling. Go for a walk, a run, or a bicycle ride and get lost exploring the city or town you are in. Leave your accommodation with no set plan and go exploring!
And then tell me... what happened when you got lost... on purpose??
TRAVEL TIP #5:
Put your phone down
I am not saying that you need to leave it at home and forget about it. But, in a way, that's exactly what I am saying.
While traveling, it can be sooo easy to get caught up in capturing the perfect Instagram-worthy photo or create a video of your scuba diving adventure. Instead of being glued to your phone and consistently on WiFi, I encourage you to put your phone down and enjoy the moment. Take a deep breath in and enjoy life, the sunset, the music, the food, and the people around you. You'll be glad you did.
Often times while traveling, I will leave my phone in my room to charge and go out for lunch at a place very near my hostel. This way, I disconnect from technology for a little bit and enjoy the world move around me, all while still being within walking distance of my hostel to know the way home without a phone.
TRAVEL TIP #6:
Learn the local language
Don't expect the world to bend over backwards to learn your native language just because you don't speak theirs. I cannot stress how important this one is while traveling. Learning a few words in the local language will help you ask for directions, start up a conversation, or even ask for the bathroom because you really, really need it.
The locals really appreciate it when you try to learn the language, even if your pronunciation isn't quite there yet. Your initiative really goes a long way and is often time repaid in dividends. While dining at a local restaurant in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, I made a friend with a Javanese local who helped me to understand the menu and even taught me a few words to help me get by on my travels. I am still so grateful for his help.
TRAVEL TIP #7:
Spontaneity is everything!
Well... it really is when traveling. Being spontaneous may be the most adventurous thing you do while on your trip. It could be as small as walking up to a street vendor to try the local cuisine to as large as seeing an amazing flight or tour price and booking it without checking your schedule (or sometimes your bank account).
Your spontaneity may take you to a local production of Madam Butterfly, on a 2 am walk along the water to stare up at the stars, or even to a country you have never even heard of before.
Take a chance, step out of your comfort zone a little bit, and enjoy living by the seat of your pants. Who knows where your adventure will take you!!
TRAVEL TIP #8:
Expect something to go wrong
Your bus might get delayed, your flight could be canceled, you could get into an accident, you may get food poisoning or TD (traveler's diarrhea), or you could even get robbed. Unfortunately, things never go the way we hope or plan and this is especially true when traveling.
Sometimes, even when you plan things out, life has a different path for you in mind. So expect something to go wrong, and it's okay to be upset about it. I know that sounds weird. Give yourself permission to be upset, just don't beat yourself up over it. In a couple of days or weeks (or maybe months) you will be able to look back at the moment and laugh. It takes time. Always expect the unexpected.
Do you have a story of when things just didn’t go the way you wanted them to while traveling??
TRAVEL TIP #9:
Take lots of photos
Do you take tons of pictures when you travel?? Do you take pictures with you in them??
In the moments when you choose to pull out your phone or camera, take photos and videos and don't stop. Capture the people, the culture, the language, the food, the fashion. Capture the moments that take your breath away and the things that make you smile. And don't forget to capture yourself in these moments!
Years from now, you will look back at these memories (some that you may not even remember at first) and be so grateful that you kept them.
"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time" - John Muir
TRAVEL TIP #10:
Travel during the shoulder season
The shoulder season is one of my favorite times to travel! There is still lots of life where you are going, but with fewer crowds of tourists. Which means shorter lines and less noise!
You can also save more money during the shoulder or off-seasons!! There are better discounts because there is less of a demand for activities and lodging. Traveling in the shoulder season is more affordable and no matter where you are, you will see your money go a little further than if you were traveling during the high season.
TRAVEL TIP #11:
Have a contingency budget
On top of saving and budgeting for your flights, accommodations, and activities, I highly recommend that you give yourself a contingency budget as well. You should always be over-prepared for your adventures.
Extra cash allocated for your travels could really come in handy.
Something could go wrong and you miss your flight and you need to quickly purchase another one. Or you may absolutely love where you are and want to extend your trip another week.
Do you give your self a contingency budget for your travels?? How do you determine how much to give yourself?
TRAVEL TIP #12:
Travel on your own
I believe that everyone should try traveling on their own at least once in their life. It is an eye-opening and adventurous experience. It builds confidence and self-reliance and is a great opportunity to learn from yourself.
Solo travel looks different to everyone and should be. A solo trip could be a weekend road trip to get away for a little bit and explore a nearby city. It could also be a 2-week trip to a new country, or in my case a 2-month backpacking adventure to explore multiple countries. Solo travel is only for one person - you. Make it all about what you want, what you needed, and where you want to go!!
Have you gone on a solo adventure ?? Where did you travel to??
TRAVEL TIP #13:
Keep a journal
Have you ever had so much on your mind that you didn't know where to put it?? Have you seen amazing things while traveling and wanted to remember your adventures??
Write it all down in a journal. Regardless if you’re an avid traveler or just starting to travel, a journal helps you share with yourself all the adventures and memories of the days that were downright awful and the days when the sun never stopped shining.
Your journal will be your secret weapon to remember the small details, the crazy nights, and the beautiful sunsets for years to come.
TRAVEL TIP #14:
Ask for directions
I am definitely one who is not good at doing this, and that’s why I highly recommend it.
As someone who is not always okay with asking for help (I am working on it), I try to get myself out of my comfort zone to ask for help and directions. No Google or Googlemaps I challenge myself to do it in person.
I have met some of the most amazing people this way and have had conversations that lasted hours. People genuinely want to help and offer me guidance. And in the end, I have a new friend who I know I could always ask if we ever crossed paths again.
Do you find it easy to ask for directions or help when you are traveling? What stops you if it isn't easy? And what drives you if it is easy?
TRAVEL TIP #15:
Join a free walking tour
As a backpacker, I have picked up so many tricks and hacks to help me save money, but also help me explore more and meet people all over the world. Free walking tours are a great place to start.
If you frequent hostels as I do, many of them in major cities offer their own free walking tour. They invite any hostel guests to join and provide you with 2-3 hours of sightseeing, history, food, and culture, and they offer you new friends with whom to do it all.
If you are not a frequenter of hostels and prefer hotels or Airbnbs, free walking tours are still available to you. If you Google "Free walking Tours in... [your city here]", you won't believe the number of companies that will come up.
Join a free walking tour, learn about the city you are visiting, make some new friends, and enjoy yourself. It'll be one of the best decisions you make!
TRAVEL TIP #16:
Sign up for flight and hotel deals
If you have been trying to go on a trip or are already a traveler just itching for your next adventure, then you should absolutely do this!
1) Getting travel deals straight to your inbox will be the best motivation to find that next adventure and will encourage you to book it!
2) The internet is doing the work for you. Let these travel and flight deal sites find you great deals so that you don't spend hours searching for the perfect trip.
3) you save money! That's why they are called travel deals. They are usually a better price than what's out there. When you find somewhere you have always wanted to go, book it and save!
Do you use flight or travel sites to help you save money?? What’s sites do you use??
TRAVEL TIP #17:
Drink lots of water
Water is super important when traveling. You are often exerting yourself more than you would probably do at home. You are always walking, exploring, hiking, swimming, you name it. And you need water to do it all!
A reusable water bottle is the perfect way to drink you water and keep the earth clean! I bring my Klean Kanteen water bottle on all my adventures. I love how it keeps my drinks cold or hot for up to 12 hours.
TRAVEL TIP #18:
Take a class
Taking a class is a perfect way to get to know a city and its culture. Take a dance class, a cooking class, or a language class. These classes are a perfect way to immerse yourself in the place and the culture.
Have you ever taken a class while traveling?
TRAVEL TIP #19:
Watch the sunrises and sunsets
Do you make an effort to watch the sunrises and sunsets when you travel??
Watching the sun rise and set is not always something we do in our daily lives. Often times we may still be sleeping or up well before the sun welcomes a new day. And other times we are stuck at work or stuck in our own lives that we miss the sun’s parting. We miss such beautiful masterpieces.
But, even when we travel, we still tend to overlook these magical moments and take them for granted.
I challenge you to make an effort, whether you are traveling or not, to wake up a little earlier to catch the sunrise and get yourself outside for the sunsets. This beautiful sky is for you; enjoy it, revel in it and breathe in the new air. They are nothing short of amazing!
TRAVEL TIP #20:
Slow down, take a breath and be yourself
I have saved the best travel tip for last. Traveling can be frustrating, can take a toll on your body and mind, and can make you homesick at times. But, it is also liberating, confidence building, and can be one of the best things you can do in life.
First, when you feel a little off or feel overwhelmed by the world, slow down and take your time. The trip you are on or are about to embark on is for you to enjoy and savor. Second, take a breath and breathe in the air around you. The world is beautiful and it is right in front of you to explore. And last but not least, be yourself.