When I first started travelling, I did my research. I would spend hours trawling through websites, scouring for the best blogs, picking up second-hand copies of Lonely Planet from the charity shop, and taking out stacks of books from the library (as you can tell, I’m also a frugal traveller). However, there are some things that you learn through experience. Here are a few handy tips you might not have thought about…
1. Magazine subscription – this monthly treat has become a travel lifesaver. Not only do I have material to read when I go away (which I can recycle – I sometimes even just rip out single articles to take), but pick the right publication and you’ll get very handy freebies too. I have stacks of samples of shampoo, conditioner, perfume, make-up, facewash, body cream – all ideal for travel (and often luxury brands too, so my holiday feels even more special).
2. Flipflops – whatever your destination or climate, these are great to have and take up barely any room or weight in your case. Wear them as slippers in the hotel, if you’re suffering from blisters or swollen feet, or if the shower looks a little grubby. Oh, and you can wear them on the beach too of course! They’re so cheap to buy that you can even leave them behind, saving room in your case on the return journey.
3. Wipes – there is a reason why parents carry these religiously. When travelling, there will be many things you need to clean and very few opportunities to do so – hands, faces, armpits, seats, clothing, shoes, ‘gifts’ from passing airborne wildlife; all can be remedied with a wipe. You can buy them in travel-sized packs too.
4. Learn the language basics – ‘they all speak English anyway’ and ‘I’ll just use my phone’ are two phrases I often hear from travellers. However, to me, the whole purpose of visiting somewhere new is to experience the culture – and language is a huge part of that. Knowing ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ are great starting points for interacting with the locals, and they really do appreciate the effort.
5. Double your documents – ok, I’ll admit it; I am a nervous traveller. I will print out my documents, download them to my phone, and take a picture of them if I’m taking a digital camera. Phone stolen? Get out your paper copy. Lost the paper copy? Bring up the picture on your camera. It’s just a simple bit of insurance you can do to help yourself should anything happen when you’re away.
Maybe you already use some of these ideas? Or do you have similar travel tricks worth sharing? Leave a message or get in touch on Twitter @rachel_typing. Happy travelling!