Heading out to explore the world, whether it’s backpacking, traveling full-time or just studying abroad, can be pretty scary. But don’t despair… there are a lot of travelers that were in your shoes not too long ago, and now they are living the dream! With some positive thinking and our travel tips and tricks you will be off to a successful start.
Here are 60+ travel tips we wish somebody shared with us when we first started.
1. Stay in contact with friends and family back home.
2. Don’t hold onto your money too tightly. If you want to do something, do it. After all, the whole point of traveling is to experience new things and places, not to save money!
3. Support local businesses and avoid chain restaurants and hotels.
4. Respect other countries’ customs. Remember, you are a visitor in someone else’s country.
5. Everyone gets scammed at least once. Just be sure to learn from it, and hope you don’t get fooled again.
6. Sign up for a credit/debit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
7. You will make a million and one mistakes (even people that have been traveling for years still make them). No one is perfect.
8. Learn at least the basics of the local language. “Please”, “thank you” and “hello” are always nice.
9. Know that not every day will be an awesome day. Don’t let bad experiences ruin your trip.
10. Be prepared for culture shock.
12. Avoid traveling with your most prized possessions.
13. Guidebooks are good and all, but don’t rely on them for everything.
14. Pack half as much as you think you’ll need.
15. Don’t be naive, but also don’t be paranoid when you travel.
16. Get used to the typical backpacker questions: “Where are you from?”, “How long have you been traveling?”, and “What’s your favorite country?” They are good icebreakers and you will hear them over and over again.
17. Always have backup cash hidden away somewhere in case of emergencies.
18. Make sure you know your destination’s visa requirements BEFORE you get there.
19. Rainy season doesn’t mean it is raining for 24 hours straight every day. It’s actually the best time to travel, as places are less touristy and prices are low.
20. Being homesick is normal. It will come … and it will go.
22. Make a digital copy of your passport before you leave and always have a paper copy of your passport on you.
23. Getting lost is a part of traveling! Don’t worry, you will find your way back eventually.
24. A smile goes a long way all over the world.
25. Travel slowly for a more in-depth experience and to avoid burn-out.
26. Fit some physical activity into your travel days. You only have one body, so take care of it.
27. Be it multivitamins or protein powders, supplements provide vitamins and minerals that you may be missing in your diet during travel, so consider bringing some along.
28. Go to places that are not mentioned in your typical guidebook.
29. Have fun and enjoy yourself, but don’t go overboard.
30. Stay open-minded and try things you have never done before.
31. Know your drinking limit.
32. Brush your teeth with bottled water.
33. Keep in mind that buses and trains might not always run on time. Relax, and remember it’s all a part of traveling.
34. Interact with locals because you never know what you might learn.
35. If you haven’t already, try Couchsurfing.
36. Don’t expect places to look like they do in the pictures. Those Instagram pics are cropped, polished, and altered.
37. Travel responsibly and leave a place better than you found it.
38. Read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
39. Bargain, but don’t get hung up over a few cents. They need it more than you do.
40. Always count your change!
41. Get the best travel tips from locals or other backpackers at your destination.
42. More than 25lbs (12kg) on your shoulders is not only heavy, it’s unnecessary. A 30-45 liter travel backpack is more than enough.
43. Invest in a high quality backpack before you leave home.
44. Buy fruits and vegetables at local markets and not big supermarket chains.
45. A little planning is nice, but over-planning will set you up for disappointments and failures. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow and live a little!
46. Avoid packing white clothes. They won’t stay white for long ;D
47. Bring more money than you think you will need.
48. Unlearn the lies you learned about other countries and spread the truth.
49. Travel the way you want and not how everyone else tells you too.
50. Leave your shyness at home and strike up conversations with other people. Remember, they are in the same boat as you.
51. There is nothing wrong with using condoms or taking birth control. Better safe than sorry!
52. Earplugs are one of the best investments you will ever make, even if you are not a light sleeper.
53. Reverse culture shock is very real.
54. Take public transportation.
55. Everybody gets food poisoning at least once on their travels.
56. Disconnect from technology once in awhile and really connect with where you are.
57. Weed, and many other drugs, are easy to get in most backpacker destinations, but that doesn’t mean they are legal. Some countries have severe punishments for drug users, so use at your own risk.
58. Get travel insurance. It could save you from financial ruin.
59. Try not to have huge expectations for places. High expectations can lead to big disappointments and anxiety.
60. Take more than one debit/credit card with you.
61. Get an international driver’s license. You never know.
63. Expect things to be different from how they are at home. After all, you aren’t traveling to your home country!
64. Most importantly: Be free! And have FUN!
Do you have any more travel tips that you would like to share with us?