22 Great Travel Tips Everyone Should Know

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As a frequent traveler, I often get asked for travel tips and hacks. Here are some of my favourite ones that I’ve learnt over the years.

  1. Before travelling, scan all your important documents like passports, visas, drivers’ licences as well as air tickets and itineraries (if you do not already have electronic copies). Then email copies to yourself and / or upload to Dropbox. That way, if your documents get lost or stolen, you still have the electronic copies which will make it easier to replace them.
  2. Always compare prices. I use Travelstart to compare flight prices and Booking.com to find the best hotel deals. Here are more tips on  how to find cheap flights.
  3. Call your bank/credit card company before travelling to let them know that you will be using your bank cards overseas.
  4. Many medical aid companies offer free travel insurance. If yours does, take advantage of it. Just confirm with them before you travel.
  5. Keep a packing list on your phone. You can add things on as you remember them before you actually do the packing. If you’re not sure, what you should be packing, check out this ultimate packing list.
  6. Try to get suitcases in unusual colours. You will be able to find them more easily when looking for your luggage at the airports amidst hundreds of black ones. If you are saddled with a black set, then tie a bright coloured ribbon around the suitcase or the handle, in order to identify yours more easily.
  7. Travel light. Use a backpack if possible.
  8. When packing, if you are travelling with your family, then spread out your clothes amongst each other’s suitcases. It may be a schlep but, that way, if one suitcase gets lost/stolen/broken into at OR Tambo, then you will still have some clothes to wear. Also keep a change of clothes in your hand luggage. If your luggage is delayed or you have an “accident” like I did, when my 2 year old son got plane-sick on me, then at least you’ll be able to change.
  9. Roll your clothes when packing. It allows you to fit more in and also reduces creasing. Pack socks and other small items inside shoes.
  10. Keep dirty laundry in a separate bag. I usually carry new dustbin bags for dirty laundry because they are big.
  11. Keep a portable luggage scale with you when travelling and weigh your luggage before going to the airport – to avoid nasty surprises and penalties for overweight luggage.Travel tips
  12. Take a collapsible bag with you when travelling. That way, if you do a lot of shopping, you won’t have to buy a new bag.
  13. Roll up plugs and adaptors and put an elastic band around them to avoid a huge tangled mess when you get to your destination. You can also use sunglasses/spectacle cases for smaller plugs. Or you can use ziplock bags.
  14. Keep travel sizes of your favourite toiletries instead of big containers.
  15. Store jewellery in a pillbox to keep items separate.Travel tips
  16. ALWAYS keep your valuables in hand luggage.
  17. Put your phone on SMS roaming to avoid international roaming charges. Use a local sim card or Skype to make phone calls.
  18. Always sign up for free loyalty cards when using an airline or hotel chain. You may be able to do something with your points eventually.
  19. If you are an adventurous eater like me, ask the locals – like your taxi driver and hotel staff, what their favourite local food is and where they like to eat it. Then, be adventurous, and try it out. I’ve eaten some of my best dishes ever, this way. If you are prone to digestive problems, or scared of a Delhi belly, carry Imodium with you.
  20. Check Tripadvisor for other travelers’s reviews and recommendations when travelling. I have found many good hotels and attractions this way – and been dissuaded from visiting those that weren’t that great. Download Tripadvisor on your phone too.
  21. If your ears pain when landing or taking off, carry chewing gum and chew vigorously – but discreetly off course. Use pacifiers for babies.
  22. Wander off the beaten tourist path and take a walk where the locals live and shop – unless you’re in a high-crime area. It will give you a better feel of the area.

For more money-saving tips, click here.

For tips on travelling with children, click here.

What are your favourite travel tips?

 

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17 comments
Mike McLean

Thanks for the great travel tips!

Reply
    Sara

    It’s a pleasure Mike. Hope you find them helpful.

    Reply
Abbi @ Spin the Windrose

Great tips! Pleased to say I already do most of these! I never take a luggage scale cos I never have that much stuff though haha. I always pack cable ties, you never know when they’ll come in handy!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Abbi. Cable ties are a good idea too. I can imagine a few good uses for them 🙂

    Reply
penelopi

Great tips! Thanks!!!

Reply
    Sara

    Thank you Penelopi . I’m glad you like them.

    Reply
penelopi

Great tips! Thanks!!

Reply
Jacqui cooks

Thank you Sara very useful tips. I must invest in a portable luggage scale. That’d save me so many tears ? I like point 1. I use an app called TripIt that saves my important travel docs in one place. It’s free and so handy to use!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Jacqui . The portable luggage scale has saved me a lot of hassles at the airport. Tripit sounds very useful. I’m going to check it out.

    Reply
Anisa

Great post you captured most of my tips. I guess I would add bringing a neck pillow along. It makes a big difference in the quality of sleep I get on the plane which helps me not be so tired when I get to my destination.

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Anisa. Oh yes, I forgo to mention the neck pillow even though I do carry one with me when I travel. Thanks for reminding me.

    Reply
Sara

Thank you Foz. If you have tips that I haven’t mentioned, please do share them.

Reply
Foz

Some great tips. We fly regularly too to see the family and do most of the stuff you have listed!

Reply
Sara

Thank you Ummbilalo1. I thought it was a great idea when I first heard about it too!

Reply
Ummbilal01

Awesome tips. Like the pillbox idea. It has never crossedone my mind. Barakallahu feeki

Reply
Sara

Thank you S. Malik – I’m glad you find them helpful.

Reply
S Malik

Quite helpful tips, thank you.

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