” We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfilment”.
Here is some of the best Tips that we experienced throughout our travels
Learn some sentences in the local language.
It is best to know a few words and especially a few sentences in the local language. The locals appreciate a traveller if they at least try and speak to them in their own language. Try to learn at least to greet them, and say thank you, in their native language.
Take Travel Insurance seriously
We all want tpo belief that nothing will happen to you or your family while travelling, but belief me, you will want to be prepared for when you need it. You don't want to get to a point that you and one of your family members end up in hospital, and you get stuck with a hugh bill. This is the easiest way to ruin a holiday. South African bank credit cards gives you up to 89 days of travel insurance free if you purchase your flight tickets with that credit card.
Keep your most precious assets with you.
If you leave your room to stroll the streets, take out your valuebales from your suitcase and put it in the bag that you will be carring around with you at all times. Don't just trust everybody and leave it in your room, especially if you are sleeping in hostels.
Always pack earplugs
If I say pack earplugs or any noise cancelling device, I mean it. It is very helpful on local flights, as the plane makes a constant noise, or you can use it to get to sleep if you are booked where there is a lot of street noise. The best located accommodation is usually close to the best pubs and clubs that has load music until the early hours of the morning.
Noise cancelling headphones is a great item to have, since you can listen to your own music, podcast or audio book while it's blasting in the streets.
Don't pack valuable stuff
Things like jewellery is best kept in a safe place, or left at home, if you are not a Nomad. Pick-pocketing is a way of income to certain people and if you wear flashy jewelry you might became pray to these people. Rather pack stuff that is replacable and that has no sentimental value.
Something might go wrong
Not that it is something that you wish to happen, but be prepared to handle situations that doesn't go according to plan. These things do happen more often than not. A hotel booking might not be recorded when you pop up at receiption, or the taxi that was supposed to pick you up is late, or you booked flight is delayed.
Keep record of important information
Make copies of your most valuable documents and put your passwords where you have access to it. Have a few passport photos taken and carry it with you. You'll never know when it might come in handy at a immigration counter.
Keep your photos safe
This is quit important. It would be a disater if you come to a point that you want to retrieve images and finds out that the staorage you used is corrupt or not funtioning at all. We take photos and safe it to external devices and we also send a JPEG copy to Google Photos. At least if all else fails, you still have a JPEG copy at Google Photos somewhere in the cloud.
Check everything/everywhere before checking out
Make it a habbit to thouroughly check your hotel room or accommodation for any items that might have slipped in behind the bed, before checking out. Even if you leave the plane, check at the feet to see if nothing has slipped from the seat to the feet. You normally discover that it's missing when there is no way to return.
Don't exchange currency ot the airport
Always remember that the point of entry to any country is the most expensive way to exchange money. If there is no other way to get local currency, it is allright to exchange, but for the best exchange rate go visit an agency away from the tourist areas or use an exchange at a local bank.
Get use to no or poor internet/wifi
In most of the countries you will find decent internet connections, but it is possible that you'll get to a place with limited or no internet connection. You can just put all your work asside, relax, explore the destination until such time that you will be able to connect again. Don't let you visit to that destination be spoiled due to a lack of internet. Make the best of it.
If you leave early, pack the night before
This is a crucial point. Packing the night before limits to possibilty of leave stuff behind. Especially if you are leaving very early in the morning, it is best to have everything ready and just pack your pyjamas, grab your bags and go.
Take a real notebook
Everybody thinks that technology has take over the old trusty notebook. NO, belief me you will regrey not using a notebook. There are so many things that you just want to keep record of and there is no better way than to keep an old fashioned journal.
Explore a new City
Just take to the streets of a new city and get lost. This is the best way to discover the beauty of any city. See it as an experience.
Keep a copy of your most important documents in the cloud
Upload copies of all your travel documents to a folder on your Dropbox or Google drive or even iCloud. This is just a safe way to retrieve the information when needed.
Always carry a pharmacy with you
Before taking a trip go to your local medical practitioner and get all kinds of medication. Get a wide spectrum antibiotic to somting for a stomach bug all the way through to a cold. Take some plasters, ointments even a badage or two. You might not need it, but if the moments pops uo that you do, you might as well be prepared. Just keep a copy of the medical prescription with you at all times. Its normally not a problem to have that in you luggage.
Check the type of power adapter that is needed in the country that you are visiting. See that you have a compattible adapter with a multi outlet plug to charge all your goodies. Click on the photo to see all the different AC socket types and in which country they are used.
Stick to your Budget
When we leave on a trip we have a set budget. It is important to keep track of your finances. You don't want to find yourself in a possition where you have more travel time left than money. It should be the other way round.
Take emergency snacks
It is a good practice to through in some snacks and water when you start exploring the sterrts of a new city. You might end up walking far distances without a place to buy food or drinks. Just buy a few snack bars or packets of nuts and a bottle of water before you venture out. It can save your day. This will also save you during those long layovers at the airport, when you have spend all the currency of that country, and gets hungry.
Pack old clothes
Since you are exploring various places and will be doing some adventure stuff, you will need your oldest clothes. If something happens to your shirt, it's no big deal, or you rip you old pants, not a big deal. If you luggage gets lost or some of your clothes get missing during a laundry run, its nothing serious.
Spoil yourself to a nice hotel from time to time
If you are travelling for quit some time and has stayed in hostels or home stays, it is good to treat yourself to a nice hotel with breakfast included and AC in the room. It does wonders for body and soul.
Only pack what you really need. The essentials. This might differ from person to person, but take only what you need. This will reduce the space in you bag or suitcase and reduces the cost of luggage for you flight. You normally get only a few kilos for booked luggage, before you have to upgrade to more weight, at a rediculous price. So keep it light. It saves on the budget.
Take care of yourself
If you don't feel to well, take a break and stay in. Its your body's way to tell you that you need some rest. Instead if being cranky all day, take a day off and rest. You''ll feel better in the morning and will enjoy the day much more.
Visit free Museums or Places of Interest
There is no worst felling of paying a bag of money to visit a place that is not worth the money. Just because its for tourists, its expensive. There are a lot of museums and other places that has no entry fee. These places usually are as interesting to visit as some of the expensive ones.
Always carry a rain coat
The day might start out as a beautiful sunny day, but in no time it can change to a rainy day. Be prepared. Always carry a small raincoat with you for these unpredictable weather patterns. You will not regret carrying that exstra small weight with you at all times.
Leave for the airport as early as possible
This is a crucial point. Leave for the airport as early as possible. You'll never know how long it will take you to get to the airport due to traffic congestion, or long ques at the counters or at security at the airport. Most of the airlines requires you to book in at least two hours before the flight.
Download good travel apps on your phone
Download and activate all good travel apps to your smartphne before going on a trip. Apps like uber needs to be activated, and cannot be activated out of your country. Download apps for accommodation and flights as well as transport. Apps like Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, Uber, Grab, Gojek, Expedia, Cheapflights, Skyscanner are all handy apps to have.
Keep family and friends up to date
Leave a itinerary with a famliy memebr, and if you do not travel on an itinerary it is good to keep your family and friends updated, just in case of something serious might happen. At least someone will know about your whereabouts.
Check out all Visa requirements and fees
It is a good practise to check out all the requirements for a visa to a particular country. See what forms needs to be filled and how much its going to cost. Also find out in what currency the entry fee or stamp fee must be paid. Immigration is not a good place to learn about hidden costs and differnet forms that needs to be filled out. It takes an enormous amout of time to get it ready at immigration. Be prepared and the process will be smooth.
Using your bank cards abroad
Always inform your bank of your travel destinations. They need to activate your credit card for that destinations as well as the time that you will be using it abroad. It is also wise to take a second card with, incase something happens to one of the cards.
Using ATM's abroad
ATM's are generally save to use abroad. You might find scams, but we have never experienced any. The only thing that you need to be aware of is bank charges. Do some research to see which banks has the best withdrawl rates. You will pay an predetermined amount for every transaction. The other thing is to ensure that you take your card out of the machine in time before you leave the ATM. Cards lost in the ATM usually get destroyed immediately. Be sure to take a second card with you, just in case.
Check for events/festivals at your destination
Always check if there are no big events or festivals happening during your stay at your destination. It is amazing to attend some of these festivals. You might be in Chiang Mai during February to see the Flower Festival or in Da Lat during November to join them in their flower festival. There is a bucket full of festivals happening all over the world, feel free to join in. You will not regret.
Check Passport validity
Make sure your passport has more than six months validity before leaving for your trip.You don't want to get stuck in a foreign country with an outdated passport.
Pack a scarf or sharong
If you go site seeing always have a scarf or a sarong with you. Some religios places don't let you enter if your body is not covered properly. Scarf to cover your head or shoulders and a sarong comes in handy to cover your legs. Do not take thick heave ones, just take a light ones. They can also double as protection when it gets chilly outside.
Treat locals with respect
Greeting locals with a smile will take you a long way. Smiling is a universal language for greeting. Always show respect to loacls and you will be amazed by what you can acheive.
Read about local customs before you go
Although most people are tolerant of tourists, it’s best if you learn about local etiquette so you don’t do anything they might be considered offensive. We just don’t know about certain local customs and habits. You’ll really have to research and learn. Using your common sense is not enough. Some things that feel okay to us might be an insult in some cultures. Like eating with your left hand or crossing your legs when sitting.
Ask permission before photographing people
Always ask permission before taking a photo of someone. Even if you just look them in the eyes and ask with a gesture. They will immediately respond with a nod, a smile or with a gesture. If they don't want their photos taken, they will give an indication. Please respect that, smile and walk on.
Pack a roll of toilet paper
This is white gold.since it doesn't weigh much it might take up some space. rather have it and don't need it, than need it and not have it. Most of the restrooms are well prepared, but if you visit the rural areas, you might run into a place that has nothing. This might be at the most inconvenient times. Always be prepared.
Take photos of yourself
It's best to come into the habit of taking photos of yourself, or at least let someone take photos of you if you are a solo traveller. It is good to look at your photos and find some of yourself in the mix. It at least shows that you were part of the travels.