Top 10 Travelling Tips

Going travelling this summer? Or going on elective? Check out my Top 10 Tips for travelling!

Maya Beach in Thailand

1. Plan!

This is pretty obvious but it's something that a lot of people fail to do. You may book flights and maybe look at a few places to stay beforehand but if you're out travelling for more than a couple of weeks you may feel like you have the time to not have planned certain aspects.
There are some things you can get away with not planning so much, but in my opinion some of the essentials that you should plan before you leave include:
  • Flights 
  • How long you plan to stay in each location
  • A couple of ideas of places to stay, perhaps book some of the early on accommodation
  • A few ideas of what activities you want to do in each place
  • If you're planning anything big during your trip, get that sorted; safari, scuba diving, Machu Picchu trek, climbing Kilimanjaro etc.
  • Budget - how much you can spend a day so you don't run out of money mid-trip!

2. Pack light

You may feel like you need to pack for every instance, especially if you're going on a long trip; however, in the end you will pick up lots of items during your trip and if you're moving around a lot too, it will become tedious dragging a massive backpack or suitcase around. 
As mentioned during my post about my trip to South East Asia, I stuck to a small CabinMax backpack which if required can be taken on as hand luggage which I found much more preferable to the 80L backpack I heaved around Tanzania with me!

3. Travel insurance

This is a bit boring but it's important to give you peace of mind just in case something happens. Unfortunately things do sometimes go wrong, whether it be a stolen wallet or an accident with a scooter.
A good site to check out travel insurance is Money Supermarket where you can compare the different providers.
If you're going on elective or volunteering you need to make sure you have appropriate insurance too - check out organisations such as Dental Protection who can provide this for you. 

4. Get personal recommendations

Rather than just Google the places you want to visit, ask around the people you know. A lot of people travel nowadays so just putting out a Facebook status asking for recommendations around that area of the world will get you plenty of responses. 
I've also been lucky to know people who have either lived or are currently living in other areas of the world which is great as you'll get the inside information from the people who know these areas best. 

5. Haggle

When you're elsewhere in the world, don't be afraid to haggle when you're out and about but know where it is appropriate.
Whilst generally it's ok to haggle in market places, you can also get better deals with things such as safari trips, excursions and even hostel rates in the down season. 
Some people love this, but some people really hate the idea of being hassled or haggling with locals. It's up to you but as long as you have an idea in your head of what you are willing to pay and remain friendly with the seller then you'll get on great!

Sunset over the River, Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

6. Lonely planet

The bible of travellers' guides. Take caution with some versions as they may be a couple of years out of date and there were a few instances where the places in the Lonely planet were no longer open and the prices are usually not always right. 
They do come into handy on the move with their maps of the areas and give you a great overview of the areas you're visiting. 

7. Don't always get your currency in the UK

You may feel like you need to get all your currency all at once before you head over where you want to go, but look up the best way of getting your required currency as this isn't always the best way.
When I went to Tanzania I took American Dollars with me as a lot of places accepted this currency and it also got a decent exchange rate over there into Tanzanian Shillings.
We also took Sterling over to South East Asia and changed it up out there to avoid having to order in the currency which some Forex's charge for.

8. Take a good camera

To capture all those great moments! This is also a good reason why you should have insurance. 
We bought our camera out when we were in Hong Kong and it was definitely worth it, we got some really memorable pictures from our trip.

9. Skyscanner

Skyscanner is a great site to help you book your flights. It compares different flight carriers and it's easy to visualise what is the cheapest option with the flexible month bar chart which shows the prices nicely. 
I've booked all my flights via Skyscanner and not had any problems. 

10. Make the use of stop overs

So on Skyscanner or whichever site you're using it says you have a significant stop over time. Whilst long stopovers overnight can be wearisome you can actually turn them into something positive.
Some airlines let you extend your stop over to a few days, even for free! On the way back from Tanzania, we extended our stopover in Dubai for a week! And when we had a 26 hour stop over in Beijing, we were able to get a 72 hour visa and explore the sites of the Chinese capital.

Desert Safari in Dubai

I hope you've found this post useful when you're planning your trips abroad! Do you have any other tips? Or planning a particularly special exploration? Please leave your comments in the section below!

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