The Best Traveling Tips I have learned along the way
Buy one ticket 6 months early, and slowly plan from there ✔️
I have been on many trips in the last few years, and I have done this every time. Buy a one ticket to a place you want to go six months before you plan on going. Then you have the next six months to buy remaining flights, lodging, and anything else you might need.
Hotels.com is my favorite site for booking hotels. Great deals and reward programs, plus there pull from all travel sites so you will always get the best price. You are locked in! Get your tickets now!
How to get around.
You have a few options, first I suggest staying in the city center if possible. You can take a bus, train, cab, or uber. Trains or buses are usually going to be the cheapest, but it will also be the longest.
Taxis are usually everywhere, but I think Uber is the way to go if possible. It is more convenient, and also less expensive than a cab. Below is my personal code getting you discounted rides all over the world!
If you drink, get your liquor at the airport. 🍺
I have been to a few countries that either had very few liquor stores, or even some with none! Not only will getting a bottle at the airport save you money, it could be your last chance to get one.
Iceland did not have any liquor stores, the airport is your only option! Even Amsterdam is really hard to find Liquor.
Fly instead on taking a train when in Europe
Believe it or not it can be cheaper and quicker to fly from country to country. This may not be the case anywhere you go, but I have definitely found it helpful in certain situations.
For example I wanted to go from Rome to Paris. Train tickets were twice as much, and took three times as long as just getting a flight! Make sure to do your research.
Take as many photos and videos as you can!
It does not matter how many I take, it never seems like enough. I really enjoy going through all of my memories! I try to take a picture of every sight, hotel or airbnb, funny moment, or picture worthy event. You will be glad you did!
I also try to take a lot of videos, even if it is of just a landscape, or an empty bar. So much fun to go back and remember everything.
Eat, eat, and then some more eat
There are many reasons I love to travel. And eating is high on my list! Get the exotic food, have dessert, eat often. I love trying the foods! You have yet to eat your favorite food, keep trying until you find it!
Pack light, don’t check a bag!
Personally I think checking a bag is one of the worst things you can do while traveling. Not only is having a big bag insanely annoying and usually irrelevant, but so expensive! 🌆
You don’t need all of the extra items you think you do, reevaluate! Clothes, toiletries, and chargers are all I usually bring.
Also a lot of airlines will charge you more to check a bag than they did for the original ticket. I have seen flights that cost $50, but $100 to check a bag. Not to mention you will have to wait 20 minutes for your bag at the airport, and they may even lose everything.
Research before hand
This is actually really important, and also something I actually really enjoy. Youtube is filled with videos containing important information about places you might be going.
What foods to try, places to see, when to see them, and much more. I take notes from these videos and it really helps my trip to be the best possible. You do not want to miss out! Be prepared.
If the country you are going to uses a different currency, it might be smart to get some of your own. 💴 💶
A lot of places will accept credit cards, but some don’t. I have been in a few countries where the taxis do not accept cards. For example in Scotland they asked me before I ever sat down if I had cash. Then they will offer to go to the ATM.
I have learned that the worst exchange rate you will see is at an airport. ATM are better, but you may still get a fee depending on your bank. If you go to your bank before your trip to purchase currency you will get the best exchange rate.
Stay in the City Center
I try to always stay close to the city center if possible. Even if your lodging is a little more expensive you save the money walking instead on taxis and uber because everything is usually so close.
There are filters on Hotels.com and Airbnb.com that will base your search according to distance from city center.
Run to customs!
When you arrive into a new country you will have to go through customs. This can take a while. When you get off of the plane everyone on that same flight will be headed to the customs line, RUN! The quicker you get in line, the quicker you can get your trip started. Since customs can take a while just beating 20 people on your flight to the line could save you an hour. Has for me!
This is just really fun! With so much going on while traveling it is hard to remember everything. I just add a “travel notes” page to my notes app on my phone and write down anything memorable as I travel. Interesting experience, something I thought was funny, cultural differences, stuff like that. It is really fun to go back and remember some of the little things you may have forgot.
Pack a trash bag and earplugs
If you are traveling for a while I have learned it is smart to pack a trash bag for the sole purpose of separating dirty clothes from clean in my luggage. My first trip ever my dirty socks were mixed in with my clean shirts. Don’t do that!
Also earplugs can be the difference between a good night sleep, and no sleep at all. A place like Amsterdam is loud at all times. Do not go to that city without earplugs if you would like to sleep haha
Go on a walking tour 🏰
My last few trips I have gone on a walking tour. Some are “haunted” some are just history, some are themed. These are usually really cheap, or sometimes even free. It is a really great way to meet people, only takes an hour or so, and never cost much.
It is really cool to walk around with other traveling while I local guide shows you the city. Jack the ripper in London, Hitler walk in Berlin, and underground tunnel walk in Edinburgh are all way worth the time and money.
Do Not Use 3rd Party Travel Sites
Sites like Kiwi.com and Kayak are good for finding great prices, but then go straight to the airline to purchase tickets. If not you may have to re check in to all flights when you have a layover, and you may not be able to choose seats when you use these sites.
Get a translator app
This is really handy, I have had to use mine quite often. If you go to a country that speaks another language there will sometimes be confusion, it just happens. I just pull out my phone and show them what I am trying to say and problem solved.
If you are going to a country that speaks a different language, learn a phrase.
It is so helpful to be able to say hello, thank you, or I do not speak your language. You will most likely be meeting people that do not speak English, out of respect they appreciate when you at least know how to say a phrase or two. Or in situations when there is bad communication, just know how to say “ I don’t speak your language” I have done this a few times haha 🇧🇷 🇲🇾🇳🇴
Store extra cash
Once you have arrived on your trip hide some extra cash in a secret spot in your bag, hotel ect.. Sometimes people steal, especially in some countries. However unlikely, if something bad did happen it is really nice to have some backup money. Even if just enough for a cab or something like that.
Wake up early and explore!
This is one of my most important tips. Enjoy every second! Some of the best parts of traveling is wondering around with no destination or plan. Get lost in the alleys, try a new food, stop and people watch. With so much going on when traveling sometimes it is smart to just sit back and enjoy the view.
Let your bank know you are leaving
If you try to use your credit or debit card while traveling abroad sometimes this will seem suspicious to your bank if they do not know you are leaving. I have even had them shut down my cards until I could talk with them, which is much harder when you are abroad. If you just let them know if advance you will be fine, there are even options to do so online with most banks.
When To Go?
I have learned that if you are going to a tropical place, then you obviously want to go at a warmer time.
But if you are going to a touristy place it can be better to go around April or October. The weather may not be as nice, but it is much cheaper, and there is a lot less tourists.But really I have never had a problem in April or October as far as weather goes.
Leave open days
While I always have an itinerary with all of the activities I would like to do, and all the sights I want to see, it is also important to leave some open days. No plans, just play it by ear. Wander, eat, explore. Enjoy the city you are in!
Screenshot important info!
After your trip is planned and you have plane tickets, hotel or Airbnb reservations, and activity tickets it is smart to screenshot all the important info on your phone. It is really convenient to have your hotel address, your flight time, and your physical activities tickets right in your pocket.
Get that appetizer, see the show, go inside the museum! When you are traveling some of your options are once in a lifetime type activities. Spluge! There is so much to do in this world, do not miss out.
While I have had some frustrating experiences lost while traveling, I have also had some of my best memories while lost. When you have some free time go for a walk. Do not have a destination, and do not pay attention where you are going. Just wander the streets looking at the people, the buildings, the scenery. Get lost!
Adapt, you're not in Kansas anymore!
I have found that some people just can’t do this, and it ruins their trip. Yes, you may not have wifi, you may not understand the transportation system, it may be hard to understand everyone. Problem with your hotel or Airbnb? Accept it! This is a different place, if it were the exact same as where you are from, it would not be traveling.