... As We Experienced it during our Travels
"Please be a traveller, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what's right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in."
Always learn a few Phrases in the Local Language
It is very useful to know a few phrases in the local language of the country you intend to visit. The locals appreciate it very much if you can at least great them in their language. Even better if you can say “please” and “thank you”. The locals feel very honored and flattered if you went through all the trouble to learn a few words.
Travel Insurance is Important
Anything can happen to anyone at any time. So please don’t think that you can travel without insurance. If you look at the medical cost in a foreign country, that you have to pay when visiting a doctor or medical centre, it’s worth having Travel Insurance.
Keep your most precious assets with you
This is important. Never leave your most valuable items in the room or in you bag or suitcase in the hostel. Rather carry it with you in a backpack or any convenient way. Always carry it with you on flights, on a bus or while you exploring a city. Lock your luggage in a locker on the airport if you explore a city before your flight.
Carry your money in a safe place
They say a money belt is the safest way to carry around your money. We always split the money between us, so that in case of a lost or stollen wallet, the other members of the family still has some money, and the loss might not be that big, I hope. Don’t carry to much cash on you. Rather make use of Bank Cards as a payment option or you can use payment apps on your phone. Look them up, there are quite a few such apps that are widely accepted all over the globe.
Always Pack Earplugs
This is a must pack item. Earplugs comes in handy when you share a room with someone who is snoring heavily or if you are staying in an area where all the pubs and clubs has their blurring loud music on and you want to sleep. It is also handy in aircraft. When doing a lot of flying you soon realise that it is very noisy in a plane, or you just want to block the noise of a baby crying on the plane. Earplugs are light and cheap and made of different material.
Don’t Pack stuff you can’t afford to lose.
Losing stuff or getting stuff stolen is just a part of travelling. Any person that travels a lot will tell you that these things happen.
For this reason it is best not to travel with items that you cannot afford to lose. Don’t pack sentimental items, because you will regret losing it.
Always remember that things can and will go wrong on a trip
You can plan as good as you can, but the unforeseen will always surprise you.
Unpleasant surprises are part of any travellers nightmares. Don’t blame yourself if it happens, it happens to everyone.
Keep Several Records of Your Most Important Information
Be it the address and phone number of the place where you are staying or a person that you have to meet. Keep the information in more than one place. This can be wherever you feel comfortable, on any device you feel safe with, as long as you can retrieve the information at a heartbeat.
Make Sure All Your Photos are Safe
Pointless in taking all this photos and something happens to it. Capturing memories requires effort to safeguard it. Either backup your photos to a separate Hard Drive or keep it on the memory card or what ever way you can to prevent it from getting lost or corrupt.
The best way for us to to upload a copy to the cloud such as dropbox , Google Photos or Google Drive.
Check Everything Before Checking Out
Discovering that you have left something behind in your previous town or country is very unpleasant.
Check thoroughly before leaving your room. Some small item might just found its way behind the bed or cupboard. It’s better to spend an extra few minutes to check your room than being grumpy the rest of your trip.
Use a Proper Travel Towel
Don’t pack a big heavy towel that you use at home.
These days you can find synthetic fiber towels suitable for a traveler’s needs, available in different sizes and easy to pack inside a backpack, that feel light on the shoulder, and that dry in a matter of minutes.
Don’t Exchange Currency at a Country’s Entry Point
Do your research first before you rush into the first Currency Exchange on the airport. These Currency Exchanges are not the best place to get your first cash. Rather use the ATM or use a Current Exchange in town. Their rates will be far better than the on e on the Airport or Train Station.
Learn to Deal with Not Having Internet
It all depends on where in the world you might find yourself or travel to. If you go the South East Asia you might find that you have little to no internet connection. Either learn to get along without.
If you cannot get along without, you can try a local SIM Card and use your phone as a Hot Spot. Although it is not always very reliable it might get your next flight booked.
Always do your research on the availability of internet. Most Cafes and Hotels offer free WiFi, which is not bad.
If You’re Leaving Early, Pack the Night Before
This is just to prevent stuff left behind or the worst is when you overslept and all of a sudden you have to rush because the taxi is about to leave. If you still have to pack, you will be without a taxi, or even worse you might miss your flight.
If you share a room with others, if packed, you don’t have to wake them all with your packing noises.
Use a Notebook. The once you write in.
Since we are living in the digital age, we think everything digital is good. Not that it isn’t, but believe me there is nothing like a good old notebook. The once that you write in, yes!
A Notebook can be use to keep all your travel information and to take notes of stuff that happens as you travel. I know, you think that you’ll remember everything, but no, you don’t.
Get Lost in a City
If you arrive in a new city, don’t be afraid to take a walk. Wander off into the less travelled streets and discover the gems of the city.
More often you find the beauty of a city by wandering off, and maybe get lost. This is where a city shows it’s true colours.
Remember, always be vigilant and stay safe.
Carry a Mini-Pharmacy with You
This is one of the most important tips we can give you. It all depends on the duration of your visit abroad.
If it is for more than 10 days carry a mini pharmacy with you. You never know what might happen throughout your visit. Get prescription medicine from your local GP, and carry a copy with you, just in case.
Having an antibiotic, everything to cover from a scratch to a mild burn and to treat from a cold to a running stomach and nausea.
Nothing is worse than landing in a foreign country and getting a stomach bug.
Carry a Multi Adapter AC plug
Various countries make use of various AC sockets. You can do your research beforehand or just buy one of the multi adapters that can swap to fit any AC socket in the world.
They even come with USB ports for charging your phone or camera.
If possible that a extension cord, because the AC socket might just be located in a awkward spot and very inconvenient to charge anything.
Don’t forget the plastic bags
You can fold three or four plastic bags and chuck them into you r luggage. They doesn’t take a lot of space and weighs almost nothing, but might come in handy at some point.
Plastic bags has multiple uses. It can be used to organise your luggage, to separate your cables from your clothes and to keep stuff dry when needed.
Don’t pack clothes that you’re not going to wear. This is the clothes that you pack just for “in case”.
Pack old clothes that you not afraid might get damaged when washing an elephant in a river or sliding down the rock face of a waterfall.
Then comes the washing part. This depends on how long you’re staying. When staying for a longer period you will need to wash your clothes. You can either use a laundromat or a laundry service.
Keep Track of your Finances
Very important. Check your budget status regularly to see if you still on track. Don’t overspend on your set budget.
It’s very easy to lose track of your spending, and then all of a sudden you realise that you don’t have enough left to enjoy the rest of time.
You can use your notebook to keep track of your expenses. This will help you to stay on track.
Carry Emergency Snacks
If you visit some tropical countries you might get caught out by the climate.
It is best to carry some water and energy bars in your bag. You don’t know how long you might be walking around without the ability to get water or something to eat.
Walking through museums and other places of interest might let the time past without you noticing. Have something to nibble on in your bag. ALWAYS carry water with you.
Spoil Yourself to a nice Hotel from Time to Time
Travelling on a budget can sometimes takes its toll. Therefore, spoil yourself to a nice hotel for a night or so. Enjoy the comforts of a nice room. This is so good for your body and soul.
Take Care of Your Body
When you travel for longer periods, it is important to look after your body. This means that you have to eat good and exercise. It doesn’t mean that you have to go to a gym, but it can help.
Rather take a walk than a taxi if it the distance is manageable. Eat local food in look for the healthier options.
If your body tell you that it needs rest, give it some rest. it brings wonders to the body and soul.
Go on Free Tours
You can search the internet for “free tours” in whatever city you are visiting. You can find freelance tour guides that will take you around the city fro free. The only thing is that you give the guide a tip at the end of the tour.
You will also find museums and other places of interest have free entrance on certain days and times. Just look them up on Google to get all the information.
Look for Free Activities & Events
This good. As we visited some cities in South East Asia we learnt that they have festivals and its open to everybody to attend for free.
Check on Google to see if the next city you visit have any activities that you can attend.
If so, just check for availability of accommodation, as there can be an price increase for that period.
Use Google Maps
This is very handy when you making use of a taxi. Google Maps will tell you if the driver is taking you for a ride or are you still on route.
Sometimes the driver knows in which direction you want to go, but need more accurate information, and this is where Google maps can assist you.
Leave to the Airport as Early as Possible
You are required to book in two hours before your international flight. This seems like a lot of time, but you will so often find the line at the airline desk very long.
The traffic to the airport might also be a factor to take into consideration. Your GPS might indicate that it is an hours drive but in reality it takes up to two hours to rich the airport. It is therefore important to leave to the airport as early as possible.
Make Use of All Good Travel Apps on your Phone
Do some research on the internet to find the best apps for the country that you will be visiting.
Handy apps for travelling South East Asia is Booking.com, Hotels.com, Agoda.com and AirBnB for accommodation. You might also download Gojek, and Grab for easy and reliable transport. Skyscanner, Cheapflights and Expedia can be your path to booking cheap flights.
There might be a lot more, but these are the ones we used with ease.
Keep Your Family and Friends Posted
They are the ones sitting at home wodering what the travellers are up to right now. Don’t keep them waiting, keep them posted. This way they will become part of your journey.
It will also assit them to find you if something serious happens to you. Since they are up to date with your travels it easier to inform others of your last whereabouts.
Check All Visa Costs and Exit Fees in Advance
For many countries you might not need a Visa to enter or you can simply do a Visa On Arrival. There might also be a fee for the Visa On Arrival. Check that you have the relevant currency to pay for it. They might not accept Bank Cards as a payment option.
Some countries have an Exit fee. Just do you research to see if you have to pay to exit, and what the amount is. You don’t want to get a surprise when exiting a country, and you don’t have any currency with you to pay.
Get Your Credit Cards Authorised for Use Abroad
Most Credit Cards needs prior approval to be used abroad. Don’t get caught off guard. Get your Bank Cards Authorised for use abroad before you leave your country.
Another important thing is to take a second authorised card just in case the one card get lost or stolen, and you don’t have other means to withdraw cash.
Eat where the Locals Eat
Some people only eats in Western Restaurants, but if you are travelling on a budget, it is good to see where the locals eat, and to enjoy a meal with them. Not only is it fresh, you will get value for money.
Especially during the mid day you will see where the locals go to to buy their food. This is the place where you want to get your next meal.
Keep Track of Passport Validity
Check your passport validity before you leave your country. Most countries only except passports with at least six months left before it expires.
So if start your jouney and your passport is still good, it might not be excepted in a months time. See that you have enough time left before it expires. It will make your life so much easier, by not having to go to your embassy to apply for a passport while abroad.
Pack a Scarf or Sarong
If you are travelling to South East Asia, and you are visiting Temples, there are rules to follow, before you can enter the Temples. Ladies must cover their shoulders and knees (not always) and men must wear long pants.
If you have a scarf or piece of cloth with you you can just wrap that around your waist and you are good to go. Ladies can cover their shoulders with a light weight scarf and it’s acceptable.
Smile and Treat Locals Respectfully
You will find most people abroad friendly and helpful. Although language might be an obstacle, it’s not that difficult to communicate. The locals will go out of their way to assist.
Smile is a word that is understood in all languages. Just give a smile and you get one in return. With the smiles comes respect. Never treat locals as inferior, it might bite you in the ass in the long run.
Take Passport Type Photos with You
You can either need them when applying for a “Visa on arrival” or need it to purchase a SIM card on the airport.
It is mostly used to hand out to a remote family that you have visited and want to leave a memory.
Don’t be caught without one. You never know when you need one for whatever reason.
Learn About Local Customs before you go
Almost all locals are very tolerant of tourists, it’s best to learn about local etiquette before you visit a country. This must just keep you out of trouble. It will put you in a position to know what to do and when. This is part of showing respect to locals.
Remember, things that might be OK for us, might be insulting to some cultures.
Ask Permission before Photographing People
All you need is a simple gesture, and they will reply with either a nod of the head or a smile. This is much nicer that to steal a photo from someone that has issues with taking photos off. This person might put you in a awkward position.
Show some respect and ask before you take a photo. Most of the people doesn’t have a problem, and will even pose for a photo.
Do the right thing and get great travel photos.
Pack a Roll of Toilet Paper
If you have travelled to a few countries, you will recognise that have toilet paper around becomes a luxury.
Always carry a roll or at least a few sheets of toilet paper. You never know when you might need it the most.
Don’t assume that public toilets have toilet paper available, not even in all restaurants.
Take Photos of Yourself
Photos is the best memory of all your travels. Don’t forget to take photos of yourself during your travels, it will show that you were there too.
If you see people taking photos of you in an amazing setting, ask them to email you a copy.