This is always key to anything in life. Start off using a note book, folder, binder etc to keep all your papers and important information together. Make sure you are aware of the correct timings, terminals, and so on. Stay on top of them throughout your journey and mark down anything new in a strategic order.
2. Plan Ahead
Have an idea of where you’ll be staying, what you will be doing, and when. From there check out for daily discounts or coupons then purchase your tickets in advance. It is cheaper and you avoid the hassle of long lines. Try not to plan too much but enough to have an idea and understanding of what your trip is about. Rather than wasting time while traveling.
3. Budget Efficiently
Know your limit, spend within it! Set a budget for each category such as transportation, accommodation, food, shopping, gifts, miscellaneous items to help get your over all budget. When it comes to food always carry water and some small snacks. With transportation try buses and subways instead of costly cabs/taxis. For cheap accommodation check out Expedia, Price line, Air BnB (heard some good and bad things – I say check it out anyways) etc. to compare for best results. Set a travel budget and stick to it with wiggle room for emergencies, only!
4. Have extra money
Make sure you have extra cash along with a credit card for emergencies. You never know what may come your way and if your in a country where you do not personally know a single soul your stuck! Therefore It is key and essentially important, period.
5. Do your homework
Research your travel destination prior. Check the weather, and be physically prepared with your essential items like sunscreen, or bug repellent if necessary. Look for recent scandals/scams, it is best to be alert and aware in order to prepare yourself in the best way. Know what to avoid, such as their laws because the last thing you want is to end up in jail for breaking a law which you did not know existed as it is a normal thing back home lol! In terms of site seeing some areas get busier during specific days of the week (usually weekends) so its best to avoid them to enjoy your time efficiently. On the other hand others have special offers, you would not want to miss those (specific days of the week)! Know where to get the good deals for souvenirs because especially in touristy area’s you will blindly be ripped off!The more you know prior, the better so do your homework and avoid disappointment.
6. Travel light
Travel light as possible, you don’t want to be that person lugging around a hand luggage that is so full its nearly about to explode (that was me, thanks mom) along with a “laptop” bag, and a purse the size of a hand luggage. Plus it adds stress you don’t need, rather try to avoid! Pack realistically, especially if you plan on shopping. You don’t need 10 blouses if you are going away for 7 days and intend on buying more. Less is more friends!
7. Ease Up
Laugh at yourself because believe me you will look like a fool here and there, that is okay. Remember that nothing is impossible, you will always find your way. Take sometime to think it through, stay positive, be patient, and don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to ask a stranger for help. You may be ignored once or twice but you will also come across people with open arms willing to help.
8. Back everything up
If your traveling with gadgets make sure to back them up prior to leaving home. I know you protect them like your babies but you never know what might happen. Its better to be safe than sorry!
9. Maximize your memory cards
Pictures are good memories so take full advantage of your camera’s and cell phones! Take as many pictures as possible or else you will regret it (apparently 2000 was not enough for me).
10. Be polite
With language barriers, your body language becomes key. So make eye contact, smile, and say hello to a stranger. Be respectful and understanding of the locals customs and culture.
11. Buy cheap souvenirs
If it is for gifts or yourself buy some cheap souvenirs for memory sake! Don’t be quick to buy from the first booth or shop you find. Shop around because trust me there is always a store that sells them higher than the rest.
12. Get out of your comfort zone
Lets face it you have traveled as far as you have to enjoy yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and do something extraordinary. Be fearless and live a little “YOLO” (hahaha as a Muslim I believe in the after life so that does not apply to me however it seemed mandatory to say)! Of course don’t do anything that would put your life in danger and have a bad after math but something exhilarating.
13. Protect yourself
Stay safe! Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations by taking a “risk.” We are all adults so we are fully capable of knowing the difference between “fun” and “stupid,” think wisely. Avoid travelling to dangerous areas alone. If you are travelling alone make sure family and friends back home are up to date with your where abouts. Keep them in the loop.
Take advantage of the free Wi-fi available at cafes, restaurants, and hotels. Back to my last tip, use it to stay in touch with those back home.
15. Be cautious of your surroundings
Always check before leaving an area for any of your belongings! Double check if necessary, it never hurt nobody. Stay cautious of sketchy people around you, you never know when someone might snatch your stuff. Be guarded and protect your belongings. Don’t have your cell in your hand in busy areas. Make sure your bags and purses are never left open.
These are a few tips I found essential in my travels. There are plenty more and I’d love to hear some so please share.
Peace and Love,