Over the last seven years of travel, I have learned a lot. Most of what I’ve learned comes from my own trial and error. With this article, I’m hoping to save you from making some of the same mistakes that I have. This advice has a wide range and will help you in all aspects of travel. Without any more delay, I give to you 10 Incredibly Useful Tips from a Professional Traveler.
1. Use Skyscanner to Book Flights
For most of us, the biggest expense of travel comes down to transportation costs. There’s no reason to accept a price that a single airline gives you when there is so much competition in the airline industry. What I’ve found that works best is using an airfare comparison tool. My favorite throughout the years has been Skyscanner. Time and time again I’ve found better deals on Skyscanner than any other airfare compare websites out there. They allow you to compare many different airlines which will give you the best rate, and over time, these can really add up.
I also recommend you to keep your travel dates flexible. This will save tons of cash and this feature is also built right into Skyscanner. It’s easy to compare airfare for different dates allowing you to find the cheapest price. This has been incredibly useful on my recent trip to Asia!
2. Keep a Positive Mindset
You can use all of my advice and have the best intentions and things will still go wrong. You cannot always control external circumstances, but you can control the way you react to them. Keep a positive mindset and when things go wrong, look for the good in the experience. Maybe you’ve missed your flight but it gives you an extra day to explore a city. Don’t cry over spilled milk, stay positive and you will always be happy.
3. Backup to the Cloud
I talked about backing up physical items but what about digital? Traveling and producing content about experiences is my business. I’m constantly taking tons of photos and videos that I will continuously backup to the cloud. Yes, I do keep external hard drives but backing up remotely will save you in the case that you lose your physical backup.
You might be thinking that you don’t want to pay for a cloud backup service. Trust me I understand, and luckily I’ve found a solution. I have a web host that has unlimited storage. This way I don’t have to pay extra for the backup. I’d already be paying for the web hosting so why not backup my content as well?
4. Document your Trip
I’m not saying that you should take yourself out of the moment and be behind your camera the entire trip. What I am saying, is that you should take time to snap a few photos during your experiences. It’s about balance folks. Also, I’ve found it very rewarding to journal about my experiences. I travel so often that I would easily forget what I did if I didn’t have photos to look back on.
5. Don’t Pay ATM Fees
I understand that this isn’t possible with all banks. However, I’ve now had a bank account without ATM fees for the least seven years and it’s saved me thousands of dollars. I don’t need to carry tons of cash (except my backup cash) because I know that I can simply withdraw money and not have to pay a fee. This is great because if I ever lose my wallet, I won’t lose my cash also. This saves time and hassle of exchanging currency as well.
6. Keep a Backup
Recently, I left my debit card in an ATM. Luckily, I’ve got a great bank that will send a new card quickly. Also, I keep spare cash with me, stashed away for situations like these. Having this extra cash around saved lots of hassle because all I had to do was find a currency exchange and I was on my way.
This goes for other items as well. Make a photocopy of your passport and keep a copy online. I have yet to lose my passport, but if I do, I’m sure this will save me a lot of unneeded stress.
7. Pack Light
There’s nothing worse than dragging your heavy luggage for a long distances in a foreign land. Instead, why not minimize your luggage so you can carry it anywhere easily? I started with two giant suitcases 7 years ago. Now, I’m down to traveling continuously with only a carry-on luggage and laptop bag. This saves a lot of stress and makes my travels easier and more efficient. For example, instead of waiting for my luggage to come out at the baggage claim, I can simply walk from the aircraft to the exit while saving valuable time. Be sure to read my article on selling everything and traveling the world for more inspiration!
8. Learn the Language
You don’t need to be completely fluent in the local language, but learn the basics. Many people don’t give any effort and expect everyone to speak English. This is rude and inconsiderate. Like I said, you don’t need to know everything but learn the basics. Learn how to say hello, thank you, sorry and other pleasantries. When you try, the people will respect you and it will create a better experience for both you and the locals!
9. Participate in Local Culture
Don’t stay in your comfort zone. The whole reason you’re traveling is to learn about something different. For example, instead of eating pizza when you’re in Asia, go find yourself some noodles from a street vendor. You’ll get a glimpse into what it’s like for local people. I guarantee that this will make your travels a lot more interesting! Show genuine interest in things you don’t know about and people will jump in to assist you.
10. Don’t be Afraid to Get Lost
When you travel or even just walk around your own city, I’m sure you’ll notice many people with paper maps out looking confused. You’ll never catch me doing this because A. I download Google maps for offline use B. I enjoy wandering around learning about a place and its culture and C. When you look lost, you also make yourself a target for scammers and thieves.
Sure, it’s good to have a few destinations picked out, but don’t be afraid of not finding the most efficient route to get where you’re going. Accept the fact that you’ll do a little extra walking but you’ll also witness things you never would’ve seen if you weren’t open to getting lost. Even when you’re offline, your GPS in your phone will still work. Therefore, if you have an offline map downloaded, you can never really get lost. Conclusion is go get lost!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the 10 Incredibly Useful Tips from a Professional Traveler. These are things that helped me a lot and will save you a lot of heartache and cash throughout your travels. I hope you can implement these into your next trip and beyond. Happy travels!