Seriously Practical Travel Tips That Will Save You Time, Hassle, and Money

January 8, 2018
Practical travel tips from an expert

Seriously Practical Travel Tips That Will Save You Time, Hassle, and Money

Practical Travel Tips

Photo: Toa Heftiba via Unsplash

By: Kayleigh Gibson

Kayleigh has spent her twenties traveling and working around the world. She’s a badass female who thrives on solo travel.

She’s taught English in China, backpacked Europe, wandered around Mexico, and picked up odd jobs in exotic destinations.

After years of travel, Kayleigh has come up with the ultimate list of travel tips. They come from tons of lessons learned while galavanting the globe.

Want to really prepare yourself for travel? Check out her list:


Pack a Small Padlock


It will be essential for most hostel lockers and useful on your backpack during transit. Plus, it allows you to leave luggage in your room while you’re out for the day/evening.

(Shop for small travel padlocks)

Take An Extra Layer


For over-air conditioned transport and airports!

Lie With An Arm, Head or Your Feet Resting On Top Of Your Bags


If you need to rest in public places, rest this way so that nobody thinks they can take anything from you. No one will be able to open your bag without you feeling it and waking up.

Take a Travel Towel


They’re so lightweight, take up minimal space in your bag, and dry quickly. They are ready to pack in the morning too.

You can use them to provide privacy in hostels by hanging them across a bottom bunk . And, they double up as a blanket for air conditioned flights/airports/buses.

(Shop for travel towels)

Have a Separate, Small Bag


It should be just big enough for valuables like headphones, travel documents and a pen. This makes it so easy to get through airports and fill out departure/arrival cards on flights. You’ll have instant access to everything you need.

It’s also more secure to keep it all with you when you store your main bag in overhead lockers or at the end of a train carriage.

This is great because you can produce your boarding pass and travel documents easily without taking your backpack on and off during multiple flights.

(Shop for small backpacks)

Double Check And Cross-Reference Information Regarding What Visas You Need


For visas you can get on arrival, make sure you have passport photos handy and a way to pay for it on arrival into the country.

Carry a Printed And Electronic Copy Of Your Visas And Travel/Medical Insurance


You don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t access these documents.

Don’t Use Wheel-along Suitcases 


Wheel-along suitcases are impractical outside, up steps or when finding storage space. You also have to walk slower than you do with backpacks, so backpackers get ahead in immigration queues.

Even small ones can’t squish into spaces in overhead lockers near you.

Use Restrooms Before Arriving At The Airport, Bus Station or Train Station


This will help you avoid leaving your bags unattended. And, you won’t have to worry about lugging your bags with you into crowded bathrooms and small bathroom stalls.

Save Napkins From Restaurants or Coffee Shops


Stuff them in your pocket or bra, because not all public toilets are well maintained with toilet paper.

Don’t Stress About Getting On or Off The Flight First


You waste more time waiting in line than if you just chill. It’s better to be smart and have what you need for the flight in your main hand-luggage bag.

Take Multiple Bank Cards And Split Them Up


Guys, use your socks and shoes; girls, wear bras/bikinis with a pocket intended for padding and you can store cards/notes inside. If you lose your wallet or your bag gets stolen, you’ll have a backup card in your secret hiding spot.

Always Know How You’ll Get Home And Make Sure To Have Backup Cash


Make sure you can get home easily and safely and have back-up cash if you go out (especially if you go out drinking) with new friends in an unknown city.

This is especially important if you don’t speak the local language. These nights out are fun but be able to look after yourself at all times.

Don’t Expect People To Speak Your Language


Make sure you know a few basics or screen shot them, so you can point to what you’d like to say.

Also, always write down your accommodation address for taxis. Similarly, have your destination city, date, and time of departure written down to pass to the ticket office whilst booking public transport.

Travel Light


‘Hand luggage only’ is cheaper and faster, with far less chance of getting lost or stolen.

Bring  Zip-lock Bags


You’ll need these for toiletries under 100ml  as you pass through customs.

Store Electronics And Toiletries Near The Top of Your Bag


They will be easier to lift out for scanning as you go through immigration. Again, have your boarding pass and passport in a small, secure bag or pocket, to be lifted out and replaced easily when required.

Add Basic Hygiene Products To Your Hand-Luggage


So you can freshen up after/towards the end of long flights..

Notify Your Banks When You’ll Be Using Your Cards Abroad

If you don’t they may block them as ways of fraud prevention. You don’t want to get stuck with no access to your money.

Take Cash Out of The ATM In Large Quantities

This will help you avoid transaction fees each time. Look into cards with minimal roaming charges too.

Bring a Network Unlocked Phones And Use a Local SIM Card

SIM cards are cheap and allow you access to data for maps and information that’ll come in handy when in a foreign place. Plus, they’ll allow you to keep in touch with guides, accommodation, friends and family. It’s a cheaper option than roaming charges in many situations too.

Don’t Assume The Worst of Everyone


By assuming the worst of people you’ll miss out on opportunities to meet amazing friends. But remember that nobody else is going to look out for you.

Sometimes Taxis Are The Better Option


Even if they cost slightly more and give you less of a feel for the ‘real country’ you arrived into.

Weigh up: cost, distance, would you have to take multiple public buses instead or walk a long way from your stop to you accommodation.

Do you stand out from the locals, are your bags heavy or inconvenient to take down streets, which may be crowded and you may take a few wrong turns. You can always explore once you’ve dropped your bags off and got your bearings.

Book Tours After You Arrive 


You can research tours and activities when you arrive. And, you will probably get better deals from locals than online. Book quickly after you arrive in your destination and be flexible with your plans.

Buy Certain Necessities When You Arrive In Your Destination


Buy shampoo, insect repellent, sun cream etc when you arrive in your destination.  Liquids are heavy and can spill, ruining all your clothes. Plus, you may risk getting them taken away at the airport.

If You Are Visiting a Country That Restricts Internet Use, Buy a VPN (Virtual Private Network)


If going to certain countries ( like China) get a VPN onto your device to make sure you can access the internet. Do this before you start your travels. It’s much harder to install it once you’re already in the country that blocks websites, as they will also block VPN sites.

Check Your Hotel/Hostel Room Well Before Leaving Your Belongings There


Check your space/room thoroughly each time you leave anywhere and before you set up in a place. Learn to work the safe and make sure curtains aren’t covering open windows for somebody to sneak in.

Know Your Essential Items And Keep Track of Them At All Times


Know your essential possessions and check you have them each step of the way. Keep them close during all activities and travel and know they are secure whenever you sleep.

These include: passport, credit card, and phone with all your information on it.

At the end of the day, you can replace outfits but losing the essential items really upsets your ability to travel.


Be Polite to Everyone You Meet


You might start a new friendship, encourage them to help you out when you need them or just brighten up your own day by having a nice chat!

Not everyone is after your money and those who are probably work for extremely low wages. Everyone has to make a living. Try to keep this in mind when you start getting annoyed by people trying to sell you things.

Supporting a country’s economy is part of the deal when you’re exploring it.

Do you have any travel tips to add to the list? Please let me know in the comments!

Note: This post does contain some affiliate links.

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