Most people aren’t digital nomads who work whilst travelling, so remember to book your vacation time well before you go. If you can, build up your vacation time so that you can really make the most of your trip! If you’re heading on a city break try and book a Thursday and/or Monday off, so that you can turn it into a long weekend.
We love a last minute trip, and whilst they are great, if you’re going somewhere that requires a specific visa, then some visa applications can take up to 6 weeks, so bear this in mind when you’re planning your travels. Plus, it’s the same with vaccinations and planning certain tourist sights. For example, getting tickets for hot spots like the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, or the Statue of Liberty in New York require booking at least a few weeks in advance.
When it comes to travel, your flight(s) will likely be your biggest expense. Save money by signing up for flight deal websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, The Flight Deal, and Secret Flying. You’ll get epic flight deals straight to your inbox, saving you time and money. Also be sure to sign up for airline newsletters, since that is where they will announce their sales first!
You’ll soon find that when travelling (especially when backpacking), your plans don’t always play out. This means you’ll need to cancel hotel bookings last minute. Rather than losing out on that money, it's great to use a website like Booking.com or Airbnb, who (most of the time) offer free cancellations (sometimes even on the day you’re due to arrive!) This has proven really useful for us in last minute situations where circumstances have changed. To save even more time with this process, I recommend using a price comparison site like CozyCozy which compares properties around a given location. They rank all properties across both Airbnb & Booking.com, making this search process 10 times easier. And even have the option to only show properties with flexible cancellation terms.
It’s important to ALWAYS travel with travel insurance. It’s a silly risk to take if you’re not covered and you’ll soon find that paying for healthcare out of your own pocket is very very expensive. If you’re taking more than one trip a year, it’s often more feasible to take out an annual policy. These tend to be cheaper and you can get policies that allow you to take trips up to a length of 3 months at a time. Check out World Nomads to get a quick quote!
Average reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, and whatever system you prefer are misleading and sometimes manufactured so don’t pay much attention to them. Look for the right reviews. First, focus on the three-star reviews. These generally reveal the most even-handed pros and cons. Then, if you still aren’t sure, filter the reviews by date and read the most recent ones. For some reason, most review aggregators put the most popular reviews first. Those are what people want to see, not the truth they need to see.
When you’re at home and a tourist stops you to ask a question or for directions, how do you feel? You don’t laugh at them for their poor English or begrudge them for bothering you, right? You feel great for being able to help them out. Helping a tourist out not only improves their trip, but it can make your day too. Wherever you go traveling, make some people’s day in the same way. Ask your waiters where their favorite restaurants are, runners waiting for the light to change about their favorite hikes, and staff at shops what they like to do on their days off. Ask away. Don’t be shy.
Merino is magical. It doesn’t wrinkle and keeps you warm when it’s cold and cold when it’s warm. Best of all to me, Kim, who can smell even my faintest farts from across the room, can’t tell if I’m wearing one of my merino wool t-shirts for the tenth time without washing it. Merino has its downsides—the need to wash with care, the cost, and that it doesn’t dry as fast as synthetic fabrics—but its benefits far outweigh them. So much so that I pretty much don’t buy clothes made from any other fabric anymore. For more on merino and my’ favorite merino clothes, read Merino Wool’s Pros and Cons: The Honest Truth.
“Once you have a checklist, you don’t look at what you have. You look at what you don’t have.”A beanie baby collector with inadvertently good travel advice in The Great Beanie Baby Bubble
If you’re too busy looking at your agenda and hustling from one attraction to the next, you’ll return home with a completed checklist… and an empty feeling inside. Then, when your friends ask you about your trip, instead of having extraordinary stories to share with them, you’ll just bore them with a list of things you saw and cliché photos they’ve already seen a million times before. Put some holes in your bucket list to lighten it up and stay in one place longer than you think you should to make unexpected discoveries that you won’t forget.
Our Google Maps look like Christmas trees by the time we get somewhere new because we use the Saved Places functionality to record every place we read or hear about that might be worth checking out. This helps us plan our itineraries (by trying to make routes that go from one saved place to the next). And when we’re wandering around aimlessly we can pull up our maps to see if there are any nearby places of interest. Read How to Unleash Google Maps Saved Places for more.