Travel Tips From A Seasoned Traveller Travel

It’s no secret that travelling can be expensive and, at times, stressful. While there are so many benefits to travelling, there are a few pitfalls with most trips, especially longer travel experiences. After travelling for quite some time, I’ve come up with a list of travel tips for you to help minimize any pitfalls, stress and hopefully costs. If you follow a few of these travel tips, your next trip will surely be one of your more fun trips you’ve taken. Maybe you’ve considered some of these options, maybe you haven’t.

Research But Don’t Plan

Travel Tips From Years of Travel If you’re like most people, you probably love to have every day of your trip planned out before you leave. While this can be perfectly fine and enjoyable, it doesn’t really leave you open to new opportunities.

Have you ever gone on one of your pre-planned trips only to learn of something really interesting once you arrive, but you have no where to fit it in? Sometimes the most interesting attractions in a location are the ones you can’t research on the internet beforehand.

So go ahead and research as much as possible about your destination beforehand, but please do not plan anything. Or if you must plan, leave a few days empty, just in case. This might be the most important travel tip you’ll get anywhere.

I bought a one way ticket and my only plan was to meet a friend in a relatively unknown city, and it was probably the best decision I ever made. The people I met and the places I went and the things I saw would have been completely unknown to me if I had pre-planned anything.

Be Aware of Your Safety but Don’t Let It Drive You

Always in the back of my mind is my mother saying “be careful, be safe, don’t be stupid”. And while she is right to worry about my safety, if I were to listen to her and everyone else about going places that weren’t ‘safe’ then I’d never leave home, and you wouldn’t either.

Enjoy the little thingsYou should always be very aware about your safety and do not do anything that might endanger yourself while travelling. But you also shouldn’t stay in your hotel the entire time because you’re too afraid to walk in the streets at night.

Sure you hear a lot of scary things in the news, but those tend to be isolated incidents that likely also happen in your own hometown. You’ll find that people are generally very nice, hospitable, generous and willing to help you.

Know how to keep yourself safe, where the local authorities are, don’t flash around your money or wear expensive things in a city you might be worried someone will rob you. Be smart about how you travel and be aware. Otherwise, if your mom is like my mom might come after you.

Don’t Be Afraid To Splurge Sometimes

This is one of those travel tips that might not make much sense to you. But if you’re afraid to spend your money on that extra trip because you’d prefer to buy a new pair of pants, frankly you’re being ridiculous.

If you’re travelling on a budget like most, then your money is very precious to you. However, in the end you’ll be more glad you splurged a little to take that extra trip to some unknown part, or you even just treated yourself to a nice meal in the middle of all the budgeting. You might just find something completely unexpected.

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Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Travelling is all about new experiences and breaking out of your comfort zone. You’ll meet new people and do new things. These new people will encourage you to do something you never even dreamed you would do. If you haven’t planned your whole trip out, then you’ll be open to trying new things outside your comfort zone.

You’ll learn there are people out there with different ideals, opinions and interests. Don’t judge them, but try and learn what life is like for them. You don’t have to agree, but be open to different possibilities. Make a list of all your fears before you travel and try to conquer each one.

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Pack What You Need – Then Remove Half

travel-tips-pack-lessPacking for a trip can be really difficult, especially if you are going on a longer trip that will go through various climates.

On my first trip, I left with a 50 litre bag jammed full of stuff. By the end of the trip I didn’t use a lot of what I had brought. On my next big and longer journey I made sure to get a backpack that would be small enough to carry on to any airplane, and it was just 38 litres, and even then it seemed like I had too much stuff for my 9-month trip through chilly mountains and humid rainforests.

I host a lot of travellers through Couchsurfing at my place and the most common complaint is that they brought too much stuff with them and they leave things behind for us to pass onto other Couchsurfers.

So, moral of the story, the best of travel tips is to pack less. You can always buy something when you are abroad. While they might not have the exact brand of band-aid you want, the country you are in will have band-aids.

Meet Or Stay With Locals

So often you go to a hotel or hostel and meet other travellers, but they do rarely leave the hostel and only talk to other travellers. Even though meeting and talking with other travellers is great, you do not really get to experience the culture of the country you’re visiting. It’s a shame when you meet someone who has been travelling around South America for over 6 months and they still cannot speak a word of Spanish.

At the very least, you should make an effort to meet locals, and if possible try to stay with locals. Couchsurfing is a great resource for meeting or staying with locals. It connects you to people and places you’d never meet otherwise. What better way to get to know a city than with a local. Don’t be shy, just say hello. If you want to be a traveller and not just a tourist passing through, then this is one of those travel tips you’ll want to listen to.

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Volunteering is another great way to get to know the local culture and people. Just make sure you find a local program upon arriving in a city. A lot of the larger NGO’s that charge you over $1000 for 2 weeks of volunteering are not quite the same experience and a lot of the fee you pay to volunteer never goes to the actual program. You can find volunteer programs you do not have to pay for.

Buy Travel Insurance

travel tip buy insuranceBuying travel insurance can save your life, literally. It might seem expensive at first if you are going on a longer trip, but in the end it is worth it.

I met someone who was hiking up a snowy mountain, hours away from anywhere and she fell and broke her leg. Luckily the people she was with were strong enough to carry all 6’1″ of her back to the nearest town. She didn’t have travel insurance and had to pay a lot of money to stay in the hospital for weeks and have her leg heal.

Or another guy who did have travel insurance and had to get emergency surgery on his teeth that would have cost $2000 but everything was covered, worry free.

Get travel insurance. Listen to these travel tips.

Take A Lot Of Pictures

take-pictures-travel-tipI know this might seem like a no-brainer. But I was not one to take many pictures and now I do not have many things to show off my trip or keep for personal reminders. With the digital age you can always delete the ones you do not want to keep.

If you take a lot of pictures there will be a few spectacular ones that you can print off and frame in your home when you’re done travelling.

You can get some pretty amazing point and shoot digital cameras how that easily fit into your pocket. So get one and take as many pictures as you can. Just respect the locals and always ask before you take someones picture.

Pack A Sarong

Now you might be wondering why this is on my travel tips list, but a sarong actually comes in very handy. You can use it as a back up towel, you can put it on the bed in a hostel you are unsure of the last time they cleaned the sheets, you can tie it so it becomes a bag (good for taking laundry to the laundromat), you can use it as a blanket on the beach or use it as a window cover for privacy.

pack a sarong travel tips

There are infinite possibilities with a sarong. They come in so many different colors that men can get non-flashy ones and use them too. They are lightweight and take up almost not space when they are folded, perfect for any one trying to save space.

For more travel tips check out my post on the Long-Term Multi-Climate Packing Tips for any trip.

Travel tips journey

What do you think of our best travel tips list, do you agree with what I have included? What is one very important tip you think I have missed?


  • http://gleefulgrandiva.com Tamuria

    This is great advice. Especially helpful points were not over planning and not over packing. Sounds like you have a lot of fun on your travels.

  • http://www.becauseimcheap.com Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com

    Hey Mal! Stopping by from the Sunday Blog Hop. Love your tips! I follow every single one except using a sarong. I’m a plus size girl 😉 But maybe I can use it for some other things, like you mentioned above. Thanks again for linking up!

  • http://www.travelationship.com Heather @Travelationship

    Good tips. Especially like that you pointed out to meet the locals. Hands down enhances any trip once you meet some locals.

  • http://www.traveltipy.com/ Julius @ Traveltipy.com

    Good tips! Packing just half of the stuff is really important as well as taking thousands of pictures. When I go somewhere on trip I’ll always bring at least 400 pictures a day :)

  • http://www.theglobetrottingteacher.com Jackie | Globetrotting Teacher

    So true on the packing light! It just makes the entire trip better when you’re not lugging around a heavy bag with stuff you didn’t need. Also, so important to be safe, but not let irrational fear impair your decision-making.

  • Carly Moore

    Sarongs and travel insurance. My most important items when travelling! Great tips in this article.

  • http://hitchhikershandbook.com/ Hitch-Hikers Handbook

    Great tips! I agree, you should never plan as the best things that happen to you while travelling are usually the random, spontaneous stuff! That’s why hitchhiking is great as nothing ever goas according to plan and that’s the beauty of it!

  • Buddy The Traveling Monkey

    I think I’m getting better about packing less. I wouldn’t say I’ve half what I initially pack, but I do end up taking some out. And a sarong really is great, especially if you’re visiting an unexpected temple and need to cover up.

  • Megan Claire

    Fabulous tips, thanks for putting together such a spot on post. I really agree with the “be aware of your safety though don’t let it drive you” because so many poeple go on and on about how traveling the world is supposedly unsafe, though really, the biggest thing to safety is just practical common sense! Sure, we definitely need to be aware of our surroundings, though in general the world is a very safe place.

    So thanks for the awesome tips, hopefully it will make people realize that the world is not in fact a scary place!

  • Melody Pittman

    All very good tips. I have just recently started purchasing travel insurance but my friends have used it alot. Also, I like how you drive it home about not being so stuck to a schedule and stepping out of your comfort zone, definitely things that will help optimize your travels. Well done.

  • Kristi Trimmer

    These are great tips – especially the sarong and removing half of the stuff out of your bag. I still struggle with that one!

  • Gemma

    Lovely piece. I agree with staying with locals. We’ve done two homestays in Peru and they were a magic way to get to know an area AND live within our budget. You often find that the shops around homestays are cheaper too as in less touristy areas.

  • http://www.turnipseedtravel.com/ Vanessa (@Turnipseeds)

    I think it’s key to allow for a few splurges. My style of travel is pretty focused on saving money but the right splurge can make or break a trip. And sometimes they can even help save you money – like when a night in a gorgeous hotel room helps restore your energy and gives you some relaxing time to search for flights or track down coupon codes.