As some of you know I just got back almost 2 weeks ago from another trip, this time to Bali and Singapore which was great. On my trip I paid attention to some of the things that I realised either were essentials to travel or made my travels a little bit easier and less stressful.
So I thought I would share with you guys my top 10 travel tips;
- Firstly and most importantly.. Remember to check the expiry date on your passport even before heading off on your trip. Check this when you are getting ready to book a trip because some people may not know but your passport needs to be valid for a minimum of 6 months to enter most countries. Checking this at time of booking rather then time of departure or two days prior to departure when you are packing your suitcase means you have enough time to organise a new one before your trip.
- Another important passport related one, not anything new or unique to my style but again some people may not think of this but your passport also needs to have blank pages for countries to stamp when going through immigration.
- If you have a flexible budget when planning a trip, research airlines that you may intend to fly with to make sure you are happy with the reviews and amenities that particular company or aircraft offers. If you are on a budget and cannot afford to be picky with the airline quality that is fine (I have flown some pretty budget airlines – AirAsia, Scoot and Tiger) and the flight can still be bearable if you do a little bit of research first. Research and check what amenities the aircraft has .. Do they have a screen and things to watch? If yes is it free? or is it going to chew into your budget. If it is not free and you have an iPad or even a smart phone maybe look at bringing it loaded with movies, games or eBooks. If you plan on using an electronic device then check if the aircraft provides charger ports on board, if not it might be wise to invest in a portable charger before your trip. Or other forms of entertainment such as music, magazines or a notepad – plan accordingly. Another thing you might want to know is does the airline provide meals and beverages, are they included or do they cost money? If they cost and the flight is quite long maybe look into buying snacks before you get on the plane or are the airport snacks more expensive then the on-board snacks? All these things can help make your flight much more comfortable and less stressful.
This is a good site for airline reviews – http://www.airlinequality.com/review-pages/a-z-airline-reviews/
- If you live in a place where Citibank is available then get a Citibank account. I opened my Citibank debit card account to take with me to USA last year and I had absolutely no problems with it, it was great. A few of the other girls on the trip had cards declined or not working but my Citibank card just powered through hehe. Not only did I get no fees on international transactions especially when using Eftpos or withdrawing from a Citibank ATM but I also got really great conversion rates – most the time only 1-2 cents less then the rate the Reserve Bank of Australia was advising. For example: On our way to Singapore Travelex Currency Conversion at Sydney International Airport was offering 0.90sgd for $1aud if you exchange more than $2,000 AUD at one time. Citibank at the same time was offering an exchange rate of 0.98sgd to $1 AUD when using their card to withdraw or make purchases.
- For girls hand wipes and a hair tie are a must! From the time you leave your house to the time you return to your house you should have both of these items on you. Nothing worse then walking around a humid country all day and realising you’re sweating and your hair is sticking to your face and neck but you cant do anything about it. Secondly, you never know where you may end up and what you might end up having to touch so hand wipes are another great thing just to up your comfort level slightly.
- Know the cost and approximate time of travel between the airport and your accommodation! This saves you a lot of stress, especially in a place like Bali where if you don’t know how much something should cost you will pay much more then you needed to. On arrival into Bali we paid $20 AUD to our hotel but found out later we should have only paid a maximum of $15 AUD. This isn’t a lot of money so we were not too fussed but in countries like USA it could we the difference between a $15 and a $50 cab ride which can be a lot of money wasted if you are backpacking or on a budget. Another reason to have an idea of times between places and even rough directions is to avoid being taken the long way or even avoid being put in an unsafe situation where you don’t know where you are.
- Remember to check opening days and times of attractions you may want to visit and write down if you’re likely to forget before you go. A friend of mine spent the night asleep in a bus shelter in Bilbao because he didn’t check the opening days/times of the museum and ended up arriving on a day it was not open. He was meant to leave the city after the museum but had to stay to see it the following day and ended up unable to find accommodation for an extra night so he slept in a bus shelter. If you don’t have a spare day to wait you will miss out or waste time going back on a day you could be doing something else.
- Pack an extra footy/duffle bag in your suitcase for the trip home! If you only brought your handbag/man bag to carry on and your checked luggage but you’re unsure if you’ll buy more things on your trip, pack an extra bag. You can fold up this extra bag inside your suitcase on the flight over and then once your suitcase gets full pull the spare bag out to use as carry on for your return trip. I do this every time, my trick is to put the fat but light stuff in my carry on to allow enough space for heavy stuff in my checked luggage.
- Always check reviews of anything.. hotels, attractions, tour companies and even plane companies on TripAdvisor or some way before committing. If the good reviews aren’t more than the bad reviews then it’s probably not worth the money. If you can’t get the answer you’re looking for try posting on the a forum such as TripAdvisor yourself to get other peoples options who may have been before, you will be surprised how quick people respond. This also goes for any travel questions you have.
Here is one of my reviews for the amazing company that took me to take the beautiful photo you see above – GSL Aviation in Airlie Beach Australia.
- Comfortable shoes! I get sore feet without a doubt every single time I travel because I LOVE to explore and I will explore from 8am until 2am if I can get one of my travel companions to soldier on with me. The downside to the way I like to travel is the fact that comfortable shoes are a must and I will be honest, during my trip to Singapore and Bali a few weeks ago I was wearing a $5 pair of slip on van look alikes from Kmart 😦 shame on me. My comfortable shoes are a pair of thongs that have been made from yoga mats and they are pretty great but on days when closed shoes have been needed I didn’t really have anything worthy so I ended up with extremely sore legs and feet every single day.. you don’t want this, it ruins the experience. I am promising myself before my next trip (which has already been planned.. shhh) I will buy some good quality walking shoes.
I hope you guys liked my list of the 10 travel tips I found useful during my travels this year.
Thanks for reading.