After years of traveling to all different places, I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade that make travel easier and more enjoyable. These tips can help you make the most of your next trip!
Don’t cram too much in
The biggest mistake people make, especially by new travelers, is that they want to see as much as possible but don’t have an unlimited amount of time to do it. For some reason, we have this misconception that we may only get to a place once, when in reality, you’re really in control of that. So don’t try to plan to see five countries on your two week Euro trip, instead try and see a couple really well. Otherwise you are going to end your vacation feeling like your whole trip was rushed or spent in transportation to your next destination.
Buy tickets in advance for attractions
Buying tickets in advance for attractions like museums can really help you save time so you have more time to see more. Almost all attractions nowadays allow you to buy tickets online, and although you might not always know when you want to visit during your trip, deciding in advance can save you lots of time. When I was in Amsterdam for example, the line for the Anne Frank House went all the way down the road! However, I had bought my ticket online and walked right in.
Use websites like Skyscanner to find the best flight deals
Skyscanner is one of my favourite websites because it allows me to find the cheapest deals on flights, or if I’m trying to figure out where to go next, I use their “everywhere” option to see what flights are like in different places. Skyscanner will curate flight prices from all the websites out there and bring them all together in one place, so you don’t have to look for hours to see who has the best deal.
Say “yes” as much as possible
When we’re at home, it’s easy to get set in our own ways. We know what we like, we know what we like to do, and we’re creatures of habit. However, when you’re abroad, saying “yes” often can only lead to great new things or at least a good story to tell later. So push yourself out of your comfort zone when you’re traveling and agree to do things that maybe you wouldn’t try at home! 99% of the time you won’t regret it.
Ask locals for recommendations
Lonely Planet books are great, and I definitely buy one for every one of my trips. However, nothing beats asking locals for their recommendations. Often times when a restaurant gets into a book like Lonely Planet, even though it’s still worth visiting, it now becomes a bit of a tourist trap. Locals will recommend places that they like and personally would go too, which sometimes will be the best places you’ll visit or eat at during your whole trip!
Wake up early
We all love sleeping in, or at least killing way too much time staying in bed in the morning, however, even though you don’t need to be up on vacation, I encourage you to get up! Waking up early not only allows you to have a full day to do things, but have you ever heard the early bird gets the worm? Attractions can be so much more enjoyable before people wake up or in the early hours. For example, I saw the famous Bean in Chicago with literally no one around it. Almost unheard of, but I got up at 7am to get there before anyone else. And did I regret not staying in bed? Nope!
Keep good notes
Whether you’re a blogger or not, keeping a journal or taking notes can be incredibly helpful and beneficial. How many times has someone asked you for suggestions on a place you’ve been but you can’t remember the name of that hotel you stayed, or the restaurant you ate at? How about when you want to go back to a destination but you can’t really remember the details of your trip you had before? Writing notes, even if it’s just in point form can be fun to look back at and come in handy!
Bring copies of important documents & confirmations
This sounds incredibly old school when everything has shifted to digital, but when you travel, you don’t always have direct access to your phone or WiFi, and surprisingly sometimes people require paper copies of your confirmations. I’ve been at airports where they don’t let you enter without a copy of your flight itinerary. I’ve been at hotels where they can’t find my reservation and need to see confirmation, and tours often require your printed ticket too. Even if you don’t end up using them, it’s valuable to have hard copies, even in 2016.
Pre-load Google Maps with your location or destination
If you don’t have a phone that works off WiFi in foreign countries, one thing that I do is while I’m on WiFi at a hotel or restaurant, I open Google Maps and enter the location of my hotel (or where I want to go). I then make sure I don’t close the app or try and type in a new destination when I’m off WiFi. This way, my phone will still show me where I am in proximity to my hotel or the place I’m trying to find incase I get lost.
Splurge a little
I get wanting to travel on a budget, but at the same time, when you travel, opportunities may present themselves that may require you to potentially spend more then you planned. One of my biggest words of wisdom is to not be too afraid of splurging a little bit. You may never travel back to the place you’re visiting, or ever have the chance to do what you are debating spending money on. So treat yourself!
What are your biggest travel tips? Share them below!