30 of my best travel tips
It's true; wisdom comes with experience and only after many, many mistakes. Here are thirty tips learned from years of budget travel to help you on your way.
1. Make sure you feel cute in the clothes you've packed because, after a week of travel, clothes you feel bad wearing will make everything seem worse than it is.
2. Always, always, always bring more money than you think you'll need. You'll need it.
3. If you're arriving in a new place after dark, get a taxi to your accommodation.
4. You should always keep emergency funds behind your phone case.
5. Speaking of money, don't store all of it in one place especially if you're travelling for weeks and have more than you usually would in cash. I usually separate it out – socks and sanitary pads are great hiding places.
6. Before you leave on a trip, make a loose itinerary of things you want to see or do. There's nothing worse than wasting time in a destination you might never get to see again because you don't know what to do or where to go.
7. If you're looking to get some cute content, do a search for "The Most Instagrammable Places in LOCATION." It sounds daft but hey, it works.
8. If you're travelling somewhere hot or in the summer months, keep deodorant and wet wipes in your bag. The chub-rub is real, ya'll.
9. USE THE TOILET WHEN IT'S FREE EVEN IF YOU DON'T NEED TO GO.
10. Your emergency kit should consist of; plasters of varying sizes, painkillers, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, deodorant, Vaseline, a clean pair of pants and a clean pair of socks.
11. Be early. It's way better to arrive with plenty of time than to be rushing for a flight, train or bus.
12. So, dealing with cancelled flights. This is a pretty recent addition to my travel advice almanac. In the event of a cancelled flight, you can either rush to the airline information desk with the rest of the passengers or get yourself a drink, use the facilities, then join the queue at the airline information desk. Take it from me, the first option is stressful. If your flight is cancelled, the airline is legally required to put you on the next available flight and if that flight is the next day, to put you up in a hotel for the night and transport you to said hotel. Don't panic, there's no point. Just ride the storm. Unless this happens to you at Istanbul Airport in which case, I'm sorry. The process will be rough.
13. Have a seemingly mundane codeword or phrase with your friends or family in the event of being kidnapped abroad. Jokes aside, use it in any situation where you feel unsafe but can't make it obvious. I have a specific emoji to text if calling isn't an option.
14. If you're planning on using public transport in major cities, download a journey-planner app. It's super helpful when your knowledge of the language is lacking.
15. If you're a foodie – or have an unlimited budget – ignore this point. If you'd prefer to spend your money seeing sights and experiencing the destination, don't splurge on eating out at restaurants. There's plenty of options in supermarkets and the like.
16. Sophie Nadeau of Solo Sophie recently made me realise this. When travelling, self-care is important. If you feel like a quiet evening watching a movie, do it. If you can find a face mask, slap it on. It's so easy to burn out when you're constantly on the go and burn out isn't a fun travel companion.
17. Nail clippers, tweezers and razors are useful to pack because you'll only ever need them when you don't pack them.
18. Sunscreen is important. I have been cursed with dodgy tanlines because of ignoring this point.
19. Never stop for people trying to sell you stuff or people with clipboards. They're likely trying to scam you or steal from you. It's a tough world, kiddos. I speak gibberish in Welsh and they back off when I don't look like a helpless tourist.
20. Don't, under any circumstances, take your purse or wallet out and start counting money in a public place. That's asking for trouble.
21. If you're taking a bag, invest in one with hidden zips or bring one with zips you can keep an eye on. Don't use a bag with easy access for anything you don't want to be stolen.
22. Put your camera away when you don't need it. It will make you look less of a helpless tourist.
23. Do a regular phone-bag-passport-camera-valuables check. I always ask the person I'm travelling with to do the same because who wants to ruin a trip by misplacing your belongings? Because of this system, we have saved many pairs of Mollie's sunglasses.
24. If you're staying in a hostel, check the cooking facilities before you go to the supermarket and buy a load of food you'll potentially not be able to cook.
25. If you're storing food in a shared kitchen, label everything, put it in a bag, label the bag, and tie it up. Also, expect it to be stolen because people are rude. It's been four years and Mollie still mourns the loss of a €6.00 six-pack of Dr Pepper.
26. Take a lot of pictures because each one is going to have a memory attached to it. Write that memory down, if you can.
27. Invest in a lightning memory card cable for your phone so you can edit your images easily on the go. Mine was £8.00 from Amazon.
28. Travelling is stressful, no matter what the woo-woo quotes say. At times, you will bicker with your travel partner but don't abandon them in an unfamiliar destination just because you can't deal with your stress. Take a deep breath. Look around at where in the world you are. Carry on. You'll laugh about it eventually.
29. For the love of all that's holy, don't bring a selfie stick. You're asking to be mugged.
30. The absolute commandment of coping in a shared dormitory is to bring an eye mask and earplugs in abundance. You also need to be able to passive-aggressively tell people to f**k off when they're making too much noise late at night.