50 Travel Tips to become a Savvy Traveler

50 Travel Tips to become a Savvy Traveler

Become a savvy traveler.  50 Travel Tips to guide you through your adventures.

Can you become a savvy traveler?  Most people achieve savvy traveler status through trial and error, by relying on experience so we’ve put together 50 useful travel tips to guide you through your adventures.

Travel is one of the most exciting things we can undertake to re-envigerate ourselves.  Consider the adventure you need right now.  Are you looking for a relaxing week on the beach?  Do it!  Want to party in New York City?  Go for it!  Planning to trek up Mt Kilimanjaro? Knock your socks off!  Have you had a burning desire to walk the Great Wall of China?  Book your tickets now!

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The important thing is to ensure you don’t leave yourself vulnerable. Missed flights, cultural naivety, carelessness and oodles of simple mistakes will eventually teach you to become a savvy traveler.

We’ve all had that one trip that has provided some life-learnings, light-bulb alerts with some head-shaking ‘why did I do that’ moments.   I’m no different!  There are a number of situations that I have had that earth-shattering reality check too.

This post is about giving you a head start and providing you with the tools to navigate your adventures without the headaches.  Avoid the mistakes I’ve made with these 50 travel tips that will help you reach your full savviness (is that a word?):

50 Travel Tips to become a Savvy Traveler

1Make a List

Write up a list of travel destinations so you can check off the things you want to see and do.   A bucket list is a great starting point to collect your thoughts and prioritize your travel.  Now is the time to get this happening!

2Research your Destination

Research your destination before you leave home.   Map out your ‘Must-see’ sights, plan a couple of day trips, look up the historic attractions, learn basic language phrases and be familiar with the currency and exchange rate.

For additional information, follow a couple of travel bloggers who’ve already been to your destination and utilize social media platforms to help.  As a starter … Subscribe to TerritoryMob’s travel blog and Follow @TerritoryMob on Pinterest.

3Don’t Cram your Itinerary

Don’t overplan your trip.  Enjoy your experiences. Leave time to explore.

We’ve all made the mistake of coming home from a holiday feeling that we need another holiday to recover from our holiday.  Chill, don’t try to cram everything into a short space of time, or consider extending your stay a couple of days to make sure you can see and do everything comfortably allowing plenty of time to relax.

4Be flexible

Enjoy your travels wherever they may take you.  Some of my favourite experiences have been the unplanned and unexpected surprises!

5Cash in at the Travel expo

Often a travel expo will have some amazing flight and accommodation deals going as a time limited offer.  If you know an expo is coming up soon, map out your dates and think about where you want to travel next and expect to get a great deal.

We got a fabulous deal for a recent trip to the States by booking our fares all at once.  It was a simple matter to line up our accommodation to fit our travel plans later.  Win Win!

6Book Online for great Travel Deals

Try booking your travel online.  There are so many online booking sites that will give you cost-effective options.   Tip:  Book your flights 3-4 months in advance to get the best price and tap into some of the best travel deals available.

Try Expedia or Skyscanner for flight options.  Shop around. When booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to fly into airports close to your final destination, and then take a train or bus to where you need to go.

Don’t forget Travel Insurance to ensure you’re covered.  Get a quote here!

7Try different accommodation

Think outside the box – try different accommodation options for a change.

If you’ve always stayed in mid-high range hotels, why not be a little daring – try one of these to add some difference into your adventures.  If you’ve always gone ‘budget’ treat yourself to a weekend at a ‘5 star’ hotel!   I love booking a ‘mystery hotel’ experience with Wotif, just for the surprise element!

Try Booking.com or Wotif.com for Accommodation choices.

  • Backpacker hostels 
  • Air BnB
  • House Sitting
  • Couch Surfing

Sometimes it’s an opportunity to try a new type of accommodation to meet new people and add a new dimension to your travel experience.

8Pack Light

  • Clothes:  Don’t pack too many clothes.  You really just need a few basics.  2 or 3 pairs of jeans.  4 shirts. Enough undies & socks for a week.
  • Shoes:  Don’t take more than three pairs of shoes.
  • Toiletries: Make sure you take soap and toothpaste.

Consider where you are traveling to, the weather, the activities you plan to do and be mindful when you’re packing.  Some places have nearby laundromats or day wash and fold services that make life simple.  Some of my early travel experiences were a great learning opportunity.  Lesson learned, now – we travel light.

9Prepare for Long-Haul Flights

Prepare well for Long haul flights.  Make sure your traveling time is used doing something you’ve wanted to do in a while ie: watch a movie, catch up on reading or sleep your time away.   I like to take a sketch book and outline a few of the drawings I haven’t got to yet or do some writing for my blog.  Well deserved ‘me time’!

Make sure you stretch your legs regularly, engage in some ‘in seat’ stretches and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

10Don’t let Jet Lag get you down

Jet Lag can be treacherous.   In order not to lose time at your destination, take precautions to minimize jet lag by timing your flights to take place overnight, stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol and try to get some sound sleep on the flight.

11Be excited about your new adventure

Map out your ‘must-see’ sights, plan a couple of day trips, look up the historic attractions and if you can, base your accommodation central to the sights you wish to visit to cut travel time.

In the lead up to your departure, learning basic language phrases and familiarize yourself with the currency and exchange rates.

12Look Beyond The Guidebook

While travel guidebooks and tour guides do provide a wealth of information about a place, their information is not necessarily the Bible of that place. Speak to locals and discover hidden gems that no guidebook mentions.

13Keep An Open Mind

Be open and tolerant when traveling. Some places may be a culture shock but always be tolerant and try to understand the differences of their way of life.

14Don’t be afraid to use a map

Get that map out and get your bearings.  Ask for directions.  I’d rather look like a tourist than end up in the wrong neighborhood!  Wandering aimlessly through a new city is a good way to get to know your way around.  You might be surprised by the hidden gems you find.

Don’t be afraid to get purposefully lost. Some of my best travel experiences are my accidental discoveries!

Visit the local tourism office. They can point you to free activities, special events happening during your stay and so much more.

15Connect with a Local

Be sure to connect with the locals, they’re usually happy to share some of their favourite spots. Strike up a conversation with the concierge at your hotel, or the friendly waitress who serves your coffee at the nearby café or sing with a street-performer.  Stop a local for directions or engage a market stall holder in chat.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak the language. A few words and some sign language are usually enough to break any barriers.  We make a habit of breakfasting in the same café (if the coffee is good) so that we become familiar faces and conversation becomes so much easier.

Ask for their tips about what to see in their city.  It’s a great way to do something different that’s not mapped out in every travel guide.   Most people are proud of their city and will willingly offer suggestions about their favourite places so that you can enjoy them too.

16A little local lingo is a great icebreaker

Traveling to a new country is a great opportunity to learn a little of the local lingo.  A few words like “Hello, Goodbye and Thank you” will go a long way when visiting another country.  There is nothing like speaking a few words in the local language to get a welcoming smile from locals.

Our breakfast waiter in Ubud, was very keen to help us use the correct Balinese greeting which ended up being fun for us all. Even a clumsy attempt at pronunciation will usually draw a smile from a local and they love to correct you.  The locals will appreciate it and it will make your interactions easier.

Read up on the destinations you are visiting and ask questions to find out more.

17Be Comfortable

Always ensure that you do your research and dress appropriately and comfortably according to the place and weather conditions. Dress fashionably and make sure you dress respectfully and are comfortable.

Get good comfortable shoes. You are sure to walk a lot when you travel.

Take a light scarf which can double as a cover-up when visiting temples, or sacred places as well as provide an extra layer for warmth when needed.

18Get your bearings in a new city

Take a ‘city explorer’ bus trip to get your bearings when arriving in a new city.  It’s a great way to familiarise yourself with the city and learn about it’s main attractions.

We often head to the highest lookout point to get an look at the city from the highest vantage point.  It’s often an exhilarating sight and a great opportunity for a photo-moment or a ‘we were here’ selfie for Facebook and Instagram!

19Don’t Fret if it’s Wet

The weather is always out of our control but there are plenty of activities to do which will be out of the rain and still be a whole lot of fun.

Buy an umbrella and take a waterproof jacket just in case, and use the weather to your advantage.  Many tourists won’t be out and about so you may be lucky enough to have some of the prime sights to yourself.

As for photographs, cloudy days provide fantastic lighting for some moody photographs.  Enjoy!

20Chase the Sun

Sunrises and sunsets are my favourite time of day when traveling.  It’s a time when the light is gentle, and the crowds are smaller.

Look out for vantage points for your travel photos to capture some beautiful shots for your journal.  We love to get up and about early while there’s hardly anyone around, take a few snaps and head to where the locals are having their morning coffee.

21Take a Walking Tour

Cycling or walking tours are a fun way to explore a new city and we usually try to include them whenever we can.

  • I took a ‘Pub Crawl’ walking tour in Sydney a few years ago which turned out to so much fun and a great way to learn about some of the convict history of Old Sydney Town and meet some new people, albeit over a few beers.
  • Another fun walking tour was the ‘Brothel Tour’ in Singapore where we walked through the former ‘red light’ district which was the ‘seedy’ area of Chinatown in early days.  It was great fun and we learned about so many things that were definetly not in the guide books.

Tour guides on these sorts of adventures are a wealth of information and usually filled with like-minded travelers who are looking for the adventure.  They’re usually inexpensive and jam-packed with information.

22Invest in a City Pass

If you’re planning to visit a lot of museums and other attractions in a short period of time, a city pass is going to save you money on admission and most will provide free public transportation too.

23Head to Historical sites at Lunchtime

The museums and galleries often empty out at this time so you’ll have fewer crowds to contend with.  Plan your day to suit.

24Visit Local Markets

Nothing is more exciting than visiting local markets.There’s nothing like the smells of the fresh produce, local cheeses and preserves. Often busy, these marketplaces are a hive of activity, full of laughter and energy.  It is such a pleasure to mingle with locals and experience a slice of their life. Local markets also provide a fascinating window into the culture of the place you’re visiting.

25Learn to Haggle

Haggling is a fun, playful way of not getting charged the foreigner price. It’s the art of negotiating and one that will help you throughout all of life, not just at the market.

26Look for Free Wi-Fi

Keep in touch with friends and family while you’re away by uploading travel snaps to social media.  Trust me, Mum will love you for it!

Many hotels include Wi-Fi with your room charges, however if you’re if you’re staying someplace that charges you to connect, check out local libraries, Starbucks and cafés for free Wi-Fi.  They’re also great places to do some people watching!

27Keep a Photography Journal

Make sure you have a reliable and good quality that will capture your travel memories for posterity.

Take as many photos as you can. You may never go back again.  Capture the people with you and around you. Take lots of photos. Years from now, you’ll want to look back on those nights you can’t remember and the people who made them memorable.

Don’t forget to upload over WiFi as soon as you can.

28Keep a Travel Journal

Often it’s hard to remember the little things on your holiday so it’s always good practice to take notes of things that you’ve found interesting, especially if your trip is a long one.

Social media is sometimes used as a travel journal so it makes it easy to post a few photos up on Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr every few days for an easy to use record of your adventure.

Perhaps you could establish a blog for your family and friends back home, it’s easy to do and a nice way to record your travels.

29Savour the local flavours

I always think that tasting the local flavours is one of the best parts of the overall holiday experience.  There’s just something special and ‘real’ about mexican food in Mexico, savouring hot pretzels from a street vendor in New York, Jambalaya in New Orleans, enjoying Pasta in Italy, spicy Mei Goreng in Indonesia and eating street food at the hawker centres in Singapore.  It just can’t get any better!

I do know travelers who’ve eaten at Maccas everywhere they went, ‘just because they could be sure of what they were eating‘.  Don’t be that traveler!

30Eating Tips

Eating and exploring local food is undoubtedly a part of travel. But be careful with what and where you eat. Eat healthily so that you do not fall ill and and spoil your holiday.

We never choose a cafe near a tourist attraction as they usually are far more expensive and not always typically local style food. Instead, walk a few blocks in either direction and you will more likely to encounter authentic food.

Eat at expensive restaurants during lunch. They offer lunch specials — same food as dinner but half the price.

I always find it interesting to go grocery shopping when I’m in another country.  I found Wholefoods Market in New York City so fascinating. I loved the easy takeout food sections for those who don’t have time or energy to cook … and choice!  Wow!

Do eat the street food! If you skip the street food, you miss out on culture.  If you’re nervous, look for places where kids are eating. If it’s safe for them, it’s likely to be safe for you too.

31Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

I can’t express how important it is to keep hydrated when traveling. Keep drinking water and stay hydrated during travel and otherwise. This is an easy way to fight off illness and fatigue. Always carry a good .

32Must Have Gadgets While Traveling

There are some tech gadgets which are indispensable while traveling.  Keep these gadgets in mind as they really do make your life easier when traveling.

Some of the gadgets are a , a smartphone, , , , and .

33Money Habits

Emergencies do happen.  Take a spare bank card and credit card with you in case your cards are lost or stolen.  Carry emergency cash.  You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds.

34When you go out, take only what you need

Limit the amount of cash and bank cards you carry with you so if something does happen, you can easily recover.

35Advise your Bank and Credit Card Company about your Travels

Keep your bank and credit card company aware about your travels and transactions from a different country to ensure there are no hitches.

36Safety comes first

Always be conscious of your surroundings and be sure not to put yourself at risk.  Do not keep all your cash in one place, break it up.

  • Keep your travel plans, including accommodation details, to yourself.
  • Don’t hitch hike.
  • Avoid the ‘risky’ places of the cities you visit, especially at night.
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport and all other important documents in a safe place.
  • Use ATMs during the day, when other people are around.
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash on you. Rely more on credit cards than cash.
  • If you are mugged, don’t fight back. It’s better to lose your wallet and watch than get injured.

Consider taking a second wallet, ‘a dummy’ wallet loaded with a smaller about of cash and a few old ‘no longer active’ cards to provide to the mugger should you get attacked.

37Don’t set yourself up as a target

  • Don’t wear expensive jewellery on display.
  • Consider carrying a ‘dummy’ wallet with a small amount of cash.  Hand this over if you are directly confronted by a mugger.
  • Wearing a bum-bag around your waist or carrying a bulky backpack screams ‘traveler’.  Consider a bag which isn’t so ‘touristy’.
  • Try to blend in with the locals and avoid looking or acting like a tourist.

Don’t buy a money belt, fanny-pack or bum-bag.  Thieves can quickly identify you and target you.  Money belts say “Look at me, I’m a tourist with money! Rip me off!”

If you are concerned for your safety at any time, make sure you know the safest path back to a safe zone as quickly as possible.

38Being scammed

There are scammers out there, and it’s the naive rookie travelers that are their easiest targets.

Many people will warn you to be cautious when traveling.  Often there’s no way to anticipate a scam.  These people are ‘pros’ who’ve been doing this their entire lives. All you can do is be prepared as much as possible and try not to part with too much cash.

39Medical

Get vaccinated. Because getting sick when you’re away from home in a foreign country is no fun.  Make sure your prescription drugs are in your carry-on luggage incase you and your suitcase part company, and make sure you have a letter from your doctor confirming a legitimate script if you need to get replacement medication.

40Carry a basic first-aid kit

Accidents happen, so be prepared. I take with me band-aids, antibacterial cream, and ointments for cuts and scrapes.

41Scan Your Important Documents and Email Yourself

Keep scanned copies of all important documents like passport, visa and any other identification documents. As a precaution, email yourself copies for easy access.

42Share Your Itinerary with Friends and Family

Make sure a few of your family members or close friends have your itinerary. Keep them updated on where you are.

43Don’t Panic

Sadly, things will go wrong. Not because you’re not a savvy traveler – things are not always going to go to plan. That’s part of travelling.

Don’t let things get you down.   You won’t be the first traveler who’s hotel booking has gone astray, or you lost your train ticket or $100 has disappeared from your wallet.  Keep calm, don’t panic … getting upset is only going to make it worse.  There is always a solution.

44Be Respectful

Be patient. Things will work out in the end. You’ll get to where you are going in due time. Travel is about the journey, not the destination.

Be respectful. Locals will often be willing to help you out, but there’s likely to be a language barrier, so keep your cool when something doesn’t go your way.  If you don’t, you’ll end up just looking like another rude tourist.

45Be aware the Political Climate

There is political chaos in a number of destinations and these situations will change fast.  Be aware of the situation in the country you are visiting. Register with your own embassy before and during your travel and keep up to date with notifications.

46Familiarise yourself with Local Laws and Customs

Be aware of the local customs and laws. Make sure that even inadvertently you do not break a law or do something which is viewed as disrespectful to the local culture. Dress appropriately so as not to cause offense.

47International Driving License And Traffic Rules

If you plan to drive while traveling then ensure you have the required driving license.  It is vital that you are aware of all the traffic rules and regulations before you drive in another country.

Before you embark on a road trip, ensure you have the map, a well-serviced car with good tyres, information about places you can eat and stay while on the road and a first-aid kit.  Make sure your insurance covers you when driving in another country.

48Take Photos of your luggage and clothes

This is a great tip: If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.

49Buy Travel Insurance

Did you know that all medical expenses incurred are not covered by your travel insurance policy?  Insure and be assured.  Read and understand your travel insurance policy.  Make sure you carry the policy with you incase of an event.

Following are the benefits that you could get with travel insurance:

  • Emergency Overseas Medical & Dental Expenses
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption
  • 24-Hour Assistance Services
  • Baggage safety
  • Get covered for adventure/sporting activities

If something goes wrong, you don’t want to be out of pocket. Travel insurance is the most important thing you get, that you never want to use.

50Remember to Relax

It is a holiday after all.  Enjoy!  Take the time to chill out, relax and enjoy where ever it is you’ve decided to visit.  It’s the most important part of traveling!

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Please feel free to add to our 50 Travel Tips to become a Savvy Traveler.  What do you do when you’re traveling?  How do you blend in?  Share your best tip to relax and enjoy your holiday with us.