Including solo travel tips and family travel
Table of Contents
If you are new to travelling then it can seem rather daunting. We all made loads of travel mistakes when we first go abroad. Small errors like taking a taxi instead of using the subway which is cheaper or trying to integrate yourself into a new culture and being completely unaware.
You don’t have to make the same mistakes as we have. This is a huge list of our best travel tips that covers everything from how to book cheap flights to how to save money on your trip.
All our tips will help you become a more confident traveller which in turn means that you’ll enjoy your holiday more.
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Travel tips and tricks
We have divided this post into different sections so you can find the tips you need quickly and easily. Our useful travel tips can help you have the very best time!
Before booking your trip
Before you spend any cash at all make sure you go through our quick tips here which could help save you money and product your holiday.
Use price compassion sites
Our favorite price compassions sites are:
Expedia – You can search for everything you need and look at prices. This includes car hire and transfers. What we do is search Expedia first then use the other price compassion sites to see if we can get our holiday or trip any cheaper. It does take time but is worth it cost wise. Get a free quote from Expedia here.*
Sky scanner – Use this when you are booking flights. Put your phone or mobile into incognito mode though as too much searching on one flight can increase its price. Have a look for flights here and find your perfect flight.*
Have a think about if you need to try direct? Is it going to be cheaper to fly somewhere else and catch a bus or train to where you want to go? This can be a great way to see more of a country and save you money.
You don’t have to stay in a hotel when you go on holiday. You can stay wherever you feel most comfortable. We’ve stayed in a range of different accommodation depending on what we wanted out of the holiday.
You could stay in a hostel if you are looking to backpack or move around a lot. This gives you the freedom to come and go as you please and move on to a new place quickly.
AirbNb is another great idea if you want that home from home feel. It means that you can really get to know an area well and hopefully have great neighbours that you can chat to who can recommend some great days out. Using an AirbNb also means that you don’t have to spend money on food every night as you can cook yourself.
Make sure that you book travel and health insurance for your trip away. It’s always best to be fully covered so that if the worst happens you can get the help you need. We cover everything from the trip itself to all our belongings and our health care.
Take pictures of your items that may be worth something. This is to show the insurance company that exact item and stops any messing around when you are trying to claim.
Have a look at Travel Insurance 4 Medical* here for some quotes to get a base line.
Make sure that all your important documents like passports and visas are up to date and valid. Doing it now means that you nothing can stop you going. Make sure you take copies of these important documents and put them into your suitcase. That way you have them in two different places in case of emergencies.
Learn about your destination
Decide on where you want to go now. Map out and roughly plan your days on what you are going to do. Get a book about your destination from the library and research it’s history and culture. This will give you an early insight into what they have to offer.
These are our best packing tips that we use every time we go away on holiday. For our full packing guide make sure you have a look at The Ultimate travelling checklist here.
You don’t need as much as you think you need. Pack all your essentials first then really think about what you are going to use while you are away. You can use our free packing checklist PDF that can downloaded here.
Take extra socks
This is our rule in life anyway but life is too short to be washing your underwear.
Pack a towel
Even if you are staying in a five star hotel, having an extra towel means that you can use it for the beach or as a towel to lay on. Many places don’t give you enough.
Small backpack for hand luggage
Use a backpack as your hand luggage carry-on. They are perfect for fitting in overhead lockers and have so many pockets that you can stick everything you need in it and grab it out quickly. Read our full guide to what to pack for a long-haul flight here.
We don’t go anywhere without ours now. They are super comfy to wear and mean that we can split our money and other important documents between us so that if one of us loses the belt then it’s not the end of our trip. It also means that we can see the belt at all times as its clipped at the back. In a backpack, we couldn’t always fill if someone was going through the pockets.
Take credit cards
You only need to use it in emergencies but they do happen. Having a spare credit card with you means that if the worst does happen then you have access to money so you can sort it all out. Have a look at the fees of your credit and debit cards though to work out how much each transaction could cost you.
Pack an empty water bottle for your trip. There’s nothing worse then trying to find a drink throughout your day. We pack our stainless steel bottles and fill them up before we leave each day.
Take a lock
If you are staying in a hostel or on a campsite then having your own lock is a great way to protect your items when you aren’t there. We actually bring a few locks in different sizes. Small one’s for our backpack for train or bus trips and bigger ones for lockers.
Pack a torch
Even a small one can help you navigate in the dark. We use ours if we are staying in a hostel and need the toilet at night or even if a street is a little dark and we need to read a sign.
First aid kit
We take our first aid kit everywhere with us. We have out full first aid kit essential list here but our basics are plasters, antibac wipes and cream. Remember to pack some parcetomol too.
Pack and wear sunscreen even if you don’t think it’s going to be hot enough. We’ve forgotten it so many times and come back burnt for only a 12 degrees day.
We also forget ours so now we wear them on the day we are leaving so we don’t leave them behind.
Don’t forget your coat
Even if you are heading off to somewhere warm, don’t forget to pack a light rain coat. In many countries the evenings get cold and there’s nothing worse then getting wet!
International travel tips
We have made so many mistakes in the past when we have gone abroad. These tips for traveling will help you to avoid them.
Line up behind the right people
This is going to sound stereotypical but business suit types travel a lot. They know what documents they need so have them ready. Queuing behind them means a quicker line at check-in or through security.
Travel solo at least once
It’s a scary thought but travelling by yourself can give you the confidence you need to really get you out of your comfort zone. Travelling solo makes you chat to people, rely on your own instincts and learn about what you can really do. It was truly an eye opener for us when we did it. It took our fear away of going to places and exploring cultures that are so different to ours. Before our solo trips we only went to places that felt familiar and safe. It really made us go that extra mile.
Read our guide here on travelling solo for the first time.
Local tourism office
Always try and make the local tourism office your first port of call. They are a hub of amazing tips and information. This is a great place to get a map and ask about all the best places that you must see. Ask the best way to get around and if they know of any secret tips that could help you to really get to the know the area well.
Even if you aren’t staying in a hotel the staff will be more than happy to help you. Ask them for advice on where to eat or where to go for entertainment and they’ll be able to give you the insiders tips that you might not get from the tourism office or from Google.
Use a map
Don’t feel like using a map will mark you out as a tourist. Maps, either digital ones or paper can help you find where you need to go quickly and easily. Stop and ask for directions. Don’t be scared. Many people will stop as they will want to help you.
Many of us just stick to the main tourist hotspots and get scared of going off the beaten track. Don’t be scared! Ask around to find out where the locals go for dinner or a drink every night. By tracking the locals you really get the feel of the place you are visiting. You may be surprised what you find.
Take what you need
Only take out what you need. Do you need your passport? Do you need all your money? This helps to limit your risk.
Google translate can only get you so far. Try and learn a few of the basic words and sentences that could help make your trip easier. We also try and learn the words “toilet or restroom”, “which was to the bus?”. These kind of simple words can help speed you up and earn you a little goodwill with the locals around you.
Use free wifi
Most countries have a Mcdonalds or KFC that offer free wifi. Use it to connect with friends back home or to map out your next move. There’s nothing wrong with eating in a takeaway either. Sometimes the comfort of eating what you know can help give you that little feeling of home.
Ask for an upgrade
This applies to everything. Don’t be scared to ask for an upgraded room or flight. What’s the very worst that can happen? They say no but they could also say yes!
Visit the sights at lunchtime
This works for most places. If you are going to a tourist hotspot then try and visit it over lunchtime. Many people will be having lunch and it leaves you with the room to fully explore it in peace.
Eat away from the tourist trap
Ask about to find out where the best places to eat are. We aren’t talking about gourmet food here but good food at good prices. This can help you to avoid all the tourist traps that offer bad food for silly prices.
You don’t need to eat out for every meal. Find a local grocery store and buy any snacks or drinks you need. This is a lot cheaper than having to buy small meals on the go and means that you always have food with you.
Be open to new experiences
Try saying yes. Look out for the normal scams but many people just want to be friendly. By saying yes more you’ll have a more authentic trip.
We made this mistake on our first trip and it cost us dearly. Use the local transport that is going to be cheaper and get you to where you want to go. Just ask if you are stuck.
It’s not rude to ask if someone can offer you a better price. Do it in a fun and cheeky way and see what happens. If it’s a flat NO then you’ve tried and that’s ok. If it’s a yes then have fun and see how far you can push it.
- 41 Family Fun Travel Tips For Beginners
- Long Haul Flight Essentials You Need to Pack for 2021
- The Ultimate Travelling Checklist: What to Pack, Top Tips, and Essentials
Try different food
You may be surprised and really like it. Try the street food you pass and see what the countries authentic cuisine is like.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more travel tips then have a look at our section here for our full guide to what you need for the perfect holiday. You could also pop over to our Pinterest boards for lots more travel tips on Travel Tips for Beginners and Beginner Travel Guides.
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