THERE’S an art to travelling well. Some little secrets you learn on the way, like making sure you find a map at the airport before you leave and always throwing spare plastic bags into your suitcase for dirty clothes.
Here’s the ultimate travel advice list. Have we missed any? Let us know.
1) Wash your clothes in the sink / shower. Use the hotel soap. Or take a little traveller sized bottle of laundry detergent with you. It’s much easier than finding a Laundromat in a foreign country.
2) Learn how to use a needle and thread. You’ve only got space for a few items of clothing. Sewing a broken button back on will save you a lot of hassle.
3) Carry baby wipes / facewipes. This can be used to feel clean when there are no showers. Yes, sometimes there are NO showers.
4) Learn how to say “no thank you”. Most travel advice columns will tell you to learn how to say “hello”, “yes please”, “thank you” and “do you speak English?”. But in some countries you really want to be able to say “no thank you, please leave me alone”. Think about the crowded market places in Asia. Knowing how to say “no thank you” in their language is going to give you a lot more peace.
5) Grocery stores are a traveller’s best resource. Cheap food, local flavours. Find the nearest one to your hotel and you will save yourself a heap of cash. Have a picnic lunch every day.
6) Keep an emergency stash of money. If you lose your wallet you will still need to eat. An empty Chapstick is a fantastic secret hiding spot.
7) Roll your clothes when packing. No creases and more clothes fit into your suitcase.
8) Always keep a stash of spare plastic bags for dirty clothes / shoes. Smelly socks will make your clean clothes stink. Always.
9) Learn how to pack light. You do not need to take 20kg for a week of travel. You CAN wear trousers two days in a row or more. The less you have to carry, the happier you will be travelling. And if the French Metro goes on strike on the day you need to get to the airport – you will thank us.
10) Know how much it should cost in a taxi. Carry a card with the hotel address and a map. Ask for taxi drivers to use the meter. Make sure they are legitimate taxi drivers.
11) Always carry a hard copy map of the city you’re going to. Save your phone charge for when you really need it.
12) Make sure your bank cards work. There is nothing more annoying on holidays than spending hours on the phone to the bank back home.
13) Pack sandals for use in showers. Showers can be gross. You don’t want your feet to touch the floor.
14) Be prepared to sleep anywhere specially at airports. Ear plugs and eye patches will help block out the light.
15) Learn basic first aid. This is just a great life skill, if nothing else.
16) Get folders for travel documents and itineraries. Keep them organised so you don’t have to mess about digging through pockets in your bag at the airport check-in.
17) Use public transport. It’s fast. It’s easy, it’s cheaper and it will give you a better travel experience. Get a map, learn the different ticket types and if you are heading to London – organise an Oyster Card in advance.
18) Buy and wear good walking shoes. Blisters are not fun and high heels don’t work on Europe’s cobblestone pathways.
19) Ask the locals for advice, tips. The best beach probably isn’t the most popular one. The locals can help you find those secret spots you will rave about.
20) Eat where the locals eat. Just like number 26 – the same goes with restaurants. Ask the locals where they eat. Go there instead.
21) Peg clothes to the outside of your backpack as you walk around in the sun to dry them after washing. Cheap and easy!
22) Know where the embassy is. Seriously. Find it on your map. Don’t think just because you are in a “safe” country you won’t need it. All it takes is a quick Google search, write down the address and put it in a safe place.
23) Get your vaccinations if you need them. Yellow fever is not fun. You will kick yourself if you could have prevented it and you didn’t.
24) Scan your passport and travel documents. Give copies to family/friends. If you lose your passport or travel documents, this backup will save you a lot of heartache. It will also help your family to find you in the event of a disaster.
25) Learn a few phrases of the local language. Speak to the locals. Experience their culture. Don’t just wander through it.
26) Know the scams of each destination. ‘Thai driver want to show you his best restaurant?’ It’s probably his mate’s. Get on the internet and work out the scams so you don’t become a sucker. Then refer to number 4.
27) Learn the art of haggling. Haggling saves you money. Be bold. That extra $4 will buy you a coffee.
28) Learn the basic geography of the country you are visiting.
29) Learn how to use a compass. Sounds extreme but it could help in a crisis.
30) Get travel insurance. It’s obvious, but probably one of the most important items on this list. The French always go on strike meaning your flight could easily get cancelled and accidents do happen, particularly if you want to ride a scooter in Bali. Get travel insurance.
31) Allow relaxation time to get over jet lag. You don’t want to be on the go for six weeks straight. It should be a holiday. You should relax at some point.
32) Keep a change of clothes and basic toiletries in your carry-on. If your luggage gets lost you will be very glad.
33) Research the airports you are travelling through so you can a) find the fastest way through and b) use the facilities. Don’t just sit at the boarding gate.
34) Take a jumper on the plane. It is cold. It has air conditioning.
35) Take thick socks for the plane. Cold feet will stop you sleeping.
36) Take Imodium and panadol/nurofen. The cuisine of other countries can be harsh on the tummy.
37) Check if the drinking water is safe. That includes brushing your teeth, ice in cocktails and drinking water in the shower.
38) Be aware of altitude sickness. Give yourself time to adjust between altitudes, drink a lot more when you are high up.
39) Know the local road rules.
40) Be respectful. Pay attention to how local women dress to work out how you should.