Did you know that 45% of travellers have a travel bucket list in mind?
How does one achieve them with ease?
Travelling has become a part of most of the lives of millennials. We all want things easy, don’t we? How many of you want to travel, but find it too tiring? Do you think it’s difficult to pack for a long trip? Do you struggle with finding cheaper flights? Here are some tips to make your travel experience easier and more affordable.
As someone who has been travelling for the last five years, I have learnt several travel hacks through experiences and experiments. From being robbed in a train to missing flights, it has all happened, and I’ve learned my fair share of lessons.
It’s great to have a proper plan before visiting a place. However, issues like flight delays and local bandh are not under your control. So, make up your mind for any such hindrances during your travel. Vacations are to keep you relaxed. Why get worked up for something you can’t control?
If your trip is long, plan a day or two to simply laze around or plan smack visits that will not tire you. A vacation can become too much at times, especially if it’s a long one. It’s absolutely fine to have one or two lazy days in between to rejuvenate and thoroughly enjoy your trip.
A classic example would be when I was backpacking through Germany. Any European country is overwhelming. Each place has so much to offer, and I had done two cities in four days. I realized it could be exhausting and planned my next city accordingly. Spending two days in a small city called Cologne gave me time to stick to small walks around the city and my body got the rest it was craving for. The next visit was to Berlin, which required a lot of time and energy. Thanks to my rest in Cologne, I was able to enjoy the rest of my trip.
Safety, especially if you are a solo traveller, can pose a huge challenge. Can we always guarantee safety? No. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here are some tips related to safety while travelling, either solo or with company.
- Divide your cash.
Never keep all your money in one place. Divide them and keep them in different places, mostly weird ones. I keep some cash rolled up inside an empty chapstick. I even keep some inside my socks. (Stinky money is better than no money, isn’t it?)
Here’s a video to demonstrate some hacks to keep money safely.
- Carry a crossbody bag.
A backpack or a handbag can easily be picked. A crossbody bag is always in your watch and cannot be snatched from you. Keep the essentials in them and stop worrying about being robbed. They are handy when you use the restroom too!
Do not carry everything. Pick what you want, keep them in your bag and leave the rest in your luggage in the hotel or hostel room.
- Let someone know where you are.
It could be either someone at home, or a friend who stays in the locality. Always let someone know of your whereabouts. Keep the right people in emergency contacts. A person who can help you in that moment is what you need in case of emergencies.
- Beware of your surroundings.
Get insanely drunk only if you have good company. Being aware of your surroundings and having an eye on things/people around, and trusting your gut are the best ways to react spontaneously and escape danger.
- Weapons are illegal in some countries.
A passenger I was travelling with in a local train in London was arrested for carrying a knife. Sharp objects are illegal in the UK. Similarly, several countries have made pepper spray illegal. Just because something is legal in your country doesn’t mean it applies to the countries you are visiting. Respect their laws and carry out safety measures accordingly.
- Use common sense.
This is something which people either have or don’t. Be street smart and apply common sense wherever you go. A scammer will offer you “the best deals” which no one else does. A scammer will approach only the tourists to strike conversations. A scammer stalks you after you say “no”. These do not require any experience to understand. A simple common sense and basic knowledge of people would do.
Ah, the most troublesome part of travelling! Packing can be tedious, messy, and annoying. Getting better at this comes with practice. Follow these hacks for a better packing experience.
- Pack light
Carry one pair of bottoms and match them with different tops. It’s a win-win with photographs and packing! For a longer trip, I usually maintain a ratio of one pair of bottoms for 4 or 5 tops.
Girls! Match them with different stoles to make a style statement. They are the most diverse pieces of clothing and make the best use of them while travelling.
Carry a common footwear to match all your outfits. I usually wear them and carry hiking boots in my luggage. If I have no plans of hiking, flip flops all the way! I am all for comfort over style.
- Rolling over folding.
Are you someone who struggles with arranging your clothes, even if they are minimum?
Follow these folding techniques to save space and thank us later!
Attribution: Hacks Unlimited
- Packing cubes.
This has been a hit and a miss for different people. I personally found them useful if I carried a suitcase. However, just folding clothes was enough for backpacking.
Packing cubes are used to organize your belongings. I usually sort them based on how I am planning to match my clothes.
Attribution: Packing cubes- are they worth it?
- Pack logically.
Emergency kits, essentials, first aid box go into the carry on. Plan what go into the carry on and what fit into the baggage. If you are a backpacker, carry only what’s allowed on flights in carry ons.
Well, size matters here! 😛
Make sure your carry-on is within the size and weight limit the airline permits. Read the regulations carefully, as it might differ with each airline.
Pack some clothes in the carry-on, to be prepared for any mishaps with collecting your baggage. (Although we hope it doesn’t happen to anyone).
Logic also includes packing according to the weather of the place. Warm and cold clothes do not go in the same luggage.
- Pack the essentials.
Basic travel items like shampoo, soap, phone, charger, etc. should be a part of a permanent list of things to carry wherever you go.
Find travel adapters which would let you use the sockets in various countries.
When in Rome…
Every country has a different lifestyle. Respect their customs, and sentiments. An open mind lets you soak in the best of what a place has to offer.
I have hosted a few travellers in India. Most of them do not understand some of our habits and cultural practices. For instance, a friend of mine from England was taken aback when I offered her my water. After a while, she saw me drink water without sipping the bottle and understood why I had offered her my water. What’s common for you is not common for someone else.
Research, yet leave room for spontaneity.
Plan your trip and make a list of places to visit. Include more plans to plan most of your days so that you do not miss the must-visit places. However, things do not always go as planned. Keep an open mind to be flexible with your plans.
I usually talk to other tourists in my hostel to see if I have missed out on any spots.
The best way to make the best use of the flexibility in your plans is to mingle with the locals. They know the cheapest and the best places for meals. The people in hotels and hostels see travellers day in and day out. They know what the expectations are and can guide you to the best spots and the best way to reach them.
Your basic research should include the best time of the year to visit a place, best places to stay, and the must-visit tourist spots.
Book your flights early
Booking your flights much ahead will not only give you the cheapest deals, but also seals your travel plan.
Are you a last-minute planner?
There are several apps that give you the best and the cheapest flight and hotel deals. The ones I often use are Hopper, Momondo and Skyscanner.
(WARNING: They are addictive!!! I often find myself researching flights even when I am not travelling)
They even let you keep a track on the go.
Do not fly direct. This is a small hack that goes a long way in saving money. Fly to a small airport close to your destination and take a bus or a train to reach the place. This is economical, and even time saving, in some cases.
Bank and credit cards
Let your bank know of your travel plans.
This was a lesson learnt the hard way. Once while travelling, I found one of my cards blocked and could not use it anywhere. This was because my bank noticed “suspicious usage” of my cards. This was because I was travelling to different countries and used them more than usual.
Carry more than one card.
How did I get out of that situation? I had another card, which wasn’t used as much as the blocked card. Luckily enough, I survived the whole trip with that.
Have a check list of all the travel documents to be carried.
Make multiple copies of them for safety.
Do not carry around the original documents. Keep them locked in your luggage or hotel. In case of legal emergencies, show the copies you have with you.
The local language
Language barriers have often demotivated travellers. It’s ideal to learn the basic phrases in the local language like “Thank you”, “Hello”. “Goodbye”, “Where is the bathroom?”, etc. These go a long way in ever day communication, and help you survive irrespective of the place.
Food preferences are subjective. If you love experimenting, talk to the locals and try the best local food available. A different cuisine may be expensive, and you do not want to burn a hole in your pocket by spending on food alone.
Do not be afraid to get into popular outlets. Are McDonalds and Starbucks your comfort food? Go for it and eat safely.
Are you a budget traveller?
Find hostels and Airbnbs that cater to your budget constraints. Couchsurfing is also the latest trend among budget travellers. These are the best ways to meet other travellers and even find company in them.
When I was travelling solo in Singapore, I stayed in a hostel where I met a group of female travellers on their vacation. Since I was alone, they offered to take me with them as our plans were similar. I not only found company for that trip, but also made friends for a lifetime. We are in the process of planning a trip together.
If you prefer hotels, find the best ones in the centre of the city you are visiting. That gives you room to travel easily internally and be amidst everything the place offers.
Several European countries offer flights that are as cheap as bus and train fares. Find the best and the easiest way to travel inside the country.
Remember that options like Uber and Lyft are illegal in some parts of the world. Research well before you depend on the local transport. Enquire the rates before you get into a public transport.
Free walking tours
This is a boon for travellers on a budget. Several hostels and travel agencies offer free walking tours, touching the best tourist spots. Find a good footwear to withstand all the walking and you are good to go!
Hop on and hop off bus tours. These are bus tours that take you around at the lowest prices with local guidance. Oh, wait! It gets better. You can even book them in the last minute.
However, if there are attractions that require pre-booking, make sure you do that instead of facing disappointment on the day of travel. If online bookings are available, make the most of them.
A clear head and peace of mind is what one expects at the end of a trip or vacation. These hacks help you ease your travels and have a rejuvenating and the best travel experiences.
Here are some tips to save money and travel.
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