OUR TOP 30 Travel TIPS
Let our past experience help to give you some ideas on some things you maybe have not thought of! Naturally there is no right or wrong way to travel, but hopefully, some of these will give you some fresh ideas for your next trip!
1) Get lost on purpose!
This is our number 1 and most important tip! If you want to see areas where people live & work you have to go and visit them! The number one way to do this on foot. You don't need to know where your going, just pick a direction and go! Put your phone away (Except for photos!) Who knows what you will discover. Some of our best photos that we show on our Instagram page would next exist if we had not just got lost. You never know what amazing things you will find around that next corner. You can always catch a taxi back to your hotel later if you venture too far off.
We would have next discovered this gem pictured above without getting lost in Naples, Italy! See more at our Italy adventure!
2) People watch & observe
The best way to really find the true nature of a place is to just spend an hour or two sitting on a park bench or busy street corner watching the people in front of you! We are all so busy all the time; slow down your thoughts and just observe. The colors. The sounds. The smells. It is so restorative, and you will notice things you would not normally.
3) Importance of patience
We have all heard the phrase don't sweat the small stuff. We all suffer from an occasional freak-out moment. Can't find a taxi! I'm going to miss my plane! There will always be another one. Let one detour, help you to find another adventure. Be patient. Take a deep breath. It will always work out, one way or another.
4) Take a lot of photos & videos
Let's face it. This may be your one and only time visiting this amazing place! Once in a lifetime. Be sure you remember them forever with a lot of photos! After all what else could be the "ultimate" souvenir, more then your memories captured! We all come off looking a little touristy every now and then, and that is fine. They cost next to nothing, and what else fits so easily in your luggage than your memories! Just keep this in mind, do come out from behind the lens and actually enjoy the views yourself!
5) Open your mind
The customs and lifestyles of others may be different from your own. It is still important we listen to opinions that we may not always agree with. We cannot assume we are always right, and others are always wrong. Empathy is an often underused human trait. We may not agree with everyone, but open up your mind and you can learn so many things while traveling!
6) Leave your comfort zone
Not the easiest thing to do I know. But I can tell you that Lorie & I, really started having our best adventures when we simply stepped outside of our comfort zone! When we do things that we don't consider normal for us; this is what stepping outside
of your comfort zone means. Scared of some weird looking food? Eat it! Reinvent yourself. You already made the decision to travel somewhere you have never been, so now talk to everyone, even though perhaps you have trouble talking to strangers?
The more you do, the more the anxiety about trying new things will melt away. And the more adventures you will discover!
7) Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself
Don't take life so seriously ... relax! You deserve it don't you? After all, Lorie & I end up doing plenty of foolish things when we travel. Not on purpose mind you, they just happen. Enjoy them and go with the flow. On a train in Tokyo, we thought we were on the wrong train, and started asking all the Japanese folks around us if they could help us. Not one of them spoke any English but we all had a laugh as they tried their best to describe where we were going. We ended up exchanging emails with this nice couple, and still talk to them today. You never know where you may make new friends along your travels!
8) Avoid crowds - Wake up early
Even though we enjoy avoiding the crowds as our choice of travel, we do still sometimes like to see the local hot spots as well. Rise early to have the best places to yourself, before the crowds arrive. Not to mention the best photo opportunities due to better lighting and fewer people. Lorie and I love to do this for many of our Instagram shots. Not to mention somewhat "shady" areas are less dangerous in the morning as well. Criminals usually like to sleep late. Thank goodness!
9) Slow down
7 countries in 3 weeks! Been there done that. Take our advice, and don't do it! Taking the time to explore, is generally when the best things will happen, and you will make your favorite discoveries! Forget the guidebook, explore. Take your time. In all honesty, none of our best travel moments have occurred on day one anywhere. Take your time, and you will have a better time!
10) Discouraged? Not me, and not you!
Perseverance my friend! I can't tell you how many times we have been told something can't be done or is impossible. This just makes us want to prove the impossible, possible! Just meet the right people, and find that solution that you're looking for. We have gone on some insane hikes to some amazing areas after being told we could not get there. We often like to discover an area by looking all around us and spotting the highest area on the horizon and getting to the top of it. Sure we don't always succeed. But trying sometimes is most of the fun!
11) Bring an extra bank card with you
It is always a good idea to have a backup just in case you lose a card, etc. You never want to be stuck anywhere without access to your funds. When traveling we have had cards frozen that we could not use for the rest of our trip, even though we informed them ahead of our trip. Better safe than sorry!
12) Make a copy of your passport!
Let's face it, we all do our best to keep track of our passports, but again you never know! Lorie and I keep a photocopy of our passports on our phones and also have one stored in your main email account. Hopefully, this tip will never need to be used, but nice to have!
13) Learn basic phrases in your destination language
Not only will the locals appreciate it, but it will make your interactions much easier. There is no need to master every language, but simple phrases like "Thank you", "Hello", "Goodbye" and especially "Where is the nearest bathroom?" can really help you out with the locals!
14) Don't always fly direct
Granted we all prefer direct flights, but sometimes you can fly much cheaper by getting close to your final destination than taking some other form of transportation from there. Our favorites for having options are Google flights, Skyscanner and most recently Scott's cheap flights. Their premium service is well worth it, and has saved us thousands!
15) Hotel upgrades
Never be afraid to ask for an upgrade! We get them more often then you may realize. There is more flexibility here then you may think. Just be super nice and ask. What is the worst thing they could say?
16) Do not eat where the tourists eat
I cannot stress this enough! We follow a general rule of going at least 10 blocks in any direction to find a place to eat. If it is near a popular eating time and you see a lot of locals in a place, then that is the place to go! We will often look up a place on google real quick just to see some reviews. Another great tip: If the restaurant has its menu in multiple languages then most likely they are there for tourists. Not necessarily a bad thing, but we normally would eat elsewhere.
17) Carry basic first aid
Simple things like band-aids, and ointments for minor cuts and scrapes. They don't take up much room, and you never know when you may need them.
18) Always keep your guard up
Most of us feel that we could never be a victim of a scam, I know we feel that way. But with that said ... just keep your guard up. We always try to stay open to trying and doing everything, just with a certain level of caution.
19) Good shoes and socks
Far more important then you may think! Especially if you're like us and you do a lot of walking. Socks are just as important. We found in the past that new socks are not necessarily the best idea. Break them in a bit, and know you and your feet are comfortable in them! After all, you plan on having your feet take you on a lot of adventures!
20) Street food
A lot of times we have spoken to people and how they would never eat street food. Some of the best and most authentic foods we ever had in our travels are Street food! Don't be nervous about trying new things, or you can miss out on a lot of local cultures. A good rule of thumb here is to stick to places you see the locals eating at.
21) Online reviews regarding anything
Have a lot to say here regarding reviews, since we did own a restaurant for many years! We had an average review of 4.8 across multiple platforms I'm happy to say! However for the most part when it comes to reviews, we take them with a grain of salt. For the most part, people only leave reviews when something bad happens, but rarely leave a positive review when something great happens, so reviews do tend to be skewed. We all know that many places also inflate their reviews on various platforms. I'm not saying we don't ever use them, but we tend to steer more to reading the "middle" reviews about any given place, which are more than likely the "real" ones.
22) Pack light
I know, I know ... this will not be easy for many of you! Lorie and I always use the rule of thumb of taking half of the clothes we think we will need. it always works! You will not need near as much as you think.
23) Treat yourself on occasion
No question we all feel the same about budgeting ourselves while traveling with our hard-earned money! But still squeezing out every last penny is not always necessary. Treat yourself sometimes to that nicer hotel, and fancy restaurant. Have that 90-minute massage. Remember traveling is all about enjoying yourself!
24) Back up your photos
I have lost a tablet before, and you never know what could happen to those priceless photos. We counter this by having all of our photos uploaded to the cloud automatically every 24 hours, or whenever we are near wifi. Something to consider.
25) Treat your body right
Traveling can really put your body into another state. It is not easy to maintain your everyday routine, and so many of us put off exercise, etc. Remember to treat your body right! Eat healthily, stay hydrated, use sunscreen and exercise as often as you can. And always get enough sleep. It does not mean you cannot indulge as well. Lorie and I just try to counteract our indulging all we can.
26) Ask hotel staff
Remember that hotel staff deals with travelers all day long. They will be the ones in the know for the best restaurants and attractions and know their own city very well. A plethora of information awaits you if you ask!
27) Learn to haggle
This tip is especially good for trips to Mexico, or anywhere in the Caribbean. Haggling here is expected and can be a lot of fun! Not to mention this skill or "art of negotiating" can help you in your everyday life as well.
28) Don't over plan
We all have a different degree of comfort regarding how much research we do when traveling. Lorie and I find that if we let our
days unfold naturally, that is when we find our best adventures! Maybe just schedule a day or two and let the rest just happen. You may even find that this way is less stressful.
29) Check for last-minute deals
Before you go on that trip check for deals you may have missed. If the time frame permits maybe that 60% off a trip to Hawaii can have you put off that trip to Paris until next year. It is a big world out there, with a lot of places to see! Which leads me to our last tip ...
30) Travel more!
Everyone is always telling us how lucky we are that we travel so much. It's not luck ... just plan for it! But it's too expensive! Who is going to feed the dog? I can't get time off work, and my lawn needs to be mowed. Did you know that most people put off travel simply because they are scared? If you wait to travel the world, you most likely never will. It is a large fascinating world out there, and we are merely just a tiny speck on this planet. You do not have to sell all your possessions to travel. We all make decisions every day ... every month ... every year. Do we really need that new phone? Does our 4-year-old car really need to be replaced? The bottom line is if you really want to travel more you can make it happen! Your sprinklers will water your lawn while you're gone.