Unusual Travel Tips That Are Actually Pretty Handy

Travel. You go. You enjoy (mostly). You meet people, some good, some forgettable. You see the sights. You take pictures. Some photos even make it into frames when you get back (order a collage photo frame here). And after it’s all said and done, with any luck you’ll have picked up a thing or two about travelling.

For what it’s worth, here’s my travel advice that you may have overlooked…


Related: “Ultimate Travel Guide to Vietnam”

Travel slow (it’ll save you money)

There are two main things to consider here. First, there’s the length of time you plan on staying in your accommodation. I once met an American in Italy. His college had been flooded and so the funds were provided for him to carry on his studies elsewhere. He chose Italy.

To keep his costs down, he stayed in a hostel (for three months!). He was able to negotiate a much cheaper price due to his long-term stay. You too may be able to negotiate discounted rates if you plan on staying anything more than the typical few nights.

Secondary to this, there is the cost of travel. Travel is expensive, and the faster you want to go, the more expensive it’s going to be. If you can switch to an off-peak night flight or find a coach route, you’re going to save serious money. Travelling slow is also a much sustainable way to travel, so not only will you be saving money but saving the environment too.

Hack Google Maps

One of the best travel tips is the use of Google Maps offline!  This hidden feature allows you to access your maps without an international data plan! All you have to do is whilst you have wifi is zoom to the map area you’re interested in and type “OK maps” into the search box. You’ll see a pop-up that reads, “download map?” That will make the map available even when you’re outside of connectivity. I found this especially useful during our self-guided tour –4 days itinerary in New York!

Pack a multi-vitamin (in a pill bottle)

Blister packs of vitamin pills might look fairly robust. The pack comes in a cardboard sleeve and the blister pack is sturdy plastic, so, what is there to worry about? Well, after 4 hours at the bottom of a pile of bags in the luggage hold  on the plane, and after being slammed down on the ground 18 times before you reach the hotel while you check your map or fumble in your pocket for money to buy water, that blister pack is going to start popping out those vitamin pills all over your socks and underwear. In fact, this is good advice for any kind of pill that you need to take with you. Always take a pill bottle.

Make use of free Wi-Fi wherever possible

The whole point of travelling is to experience the final frontier, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go… wait, that’s Star Trek. Still, the fact is that travelling is meant to be all new all the time, otherwise you could have just stayed at home.

Now, when it comes to Wi-Fi (and especially FREE Wi-Fi), you’re going to find that very few cafés or restaurants offer the service, and when they do, the speed of the overpacked service is likely to be abysmal. This is where McDonalds and Starbucks come in. There’s no shame in it. Everybody does it.

Get smarter with your toiletries

I take eco-friendly baby wipes with me everywhere I go! They will give you the ultimate refresh after a long-haul flight or get you out of some sticky situations whilst you are backpacking through Asia where toilet paper and running water are a luxury.

I converted to the Ethique bar shampoo and conditioner and it’s a life-changer. Firstly they are eco friendly which I love, the bars products won’t explode in your bag, they can be packed in your carry on if you’re not checking luggage, they last a really long time and they take up minimal room!

Don’t believe the online reviews (entirely)

I once knew a self-published author who had three reviews of his book online. All 5-star reviews, all from people with the same surname as him. If the reviews you’re reading are from users who have only ever posted one review, and if their name is something like Herbert von Shwiffin-de-doo-dar the Third, perhaps take it with a grain of salt. You can normally tell if a review isn’t genuine – if it lacks detail or they’re all written in the same style, it may well have been posted by the same person from different accounts. Use common sense with this – if there are hundreds of reviews for one place, you’re more likely to find the feedback you can trust.

New York itinerary for 4 days

Board first instead of last

I don’t get why so many people ‘wait to the end’ to board. If you board too late, your luggage might not fit in the overhead bins and be redirected to cargo, meaning it’ll take longer for you to get off the plane. Or it might be stowed metres down the plane or wherever it can fit, which means when you are getting off the plane you will most likely have to wait until everyone has left to retrieve your luggage.

Also, I like to get in first, organise myself and shotgun those armrests! If you are last to board there’s a chance your neighbours will have already take up most of the space!

How to find cheap flights

Set yourself a daily goal

Yes, you may be on the trip of a lifetime and want to focus on solely enjoying yourself but think of what you could get back from the trip, as well as a break from reality. If you set yourself a daily goal, no matter how small, you will feel like you are achieving something and not wasting your time away.

For example, it could be something as simple as speaking to a stranger in your accommodation or trying a new type of food that you’ve never heard of before, or learning to surf in Bali on a retreat. You could even try to learn some of the local language and practice putting it to use when you venture out – the locals will appreciate your efforts with this, even if you don’t execute it perfectly, it shows courtesy.

These small daily goals can not only open your mind to different cultures and people but they can push you out of your comfort zone, so you can make the most of your time away. Write them down, give them a go and document them by taking pictures or by writing about the results! It can be a fun travel challenge for you that you might find you enjoy more than you’d think.

Noosa coastal walk

All in all, travel is about experiencing new things and learning about the world around you. If you take all these considerations on board, your trip is likely to go more smoothly and you will hopefully get the most out of your trip! Good luck and enjoy it.

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