Tricks to make traveling easier
Always pack a towel
It is the key to successful galactic hitchhikers and general common sense. You never know when you'll need it, whether it's on the beach, on a picnic, or simply to dry. While many hostels offer towels, you never know and carrying a small towel will not add that much weight to your bag.
Buy a small backpack / suitcase
By buying a small backpack (I like something around 35/40 liters), you will be forced to pack light and avoid carrying too much luggage. Man has a natural tendency to want to fill that space, so if you pack light, but have too much extra space in your bag, you end up with "Okay, I think I can take more" And then there will be regret.
It is okay to wear the same T-shirt for a few days in a row. Take half the clothes you think you'll need ... you won't need as much as you think. Write a list of the essentials, cut it in half, and only then pack it! Also, since you bought a small backpack, as I said, you won't have much room for extra luggage anyway!
But get extra socks
You will lose a bunch of laundry, wear and tear, and hiking so packing extra will work. I take just a little more than I need. Nothing beats a fresh pair of socks!
Carry an additional bank card and credit card with you
Disasters happen. It is always good to have a backup in case you get robbed or lose a card. You do not want to be trapped anywhere new without access to your wealth. I once duplicated a card and put a freeze on it. I could not use it for the rest of my trip. I was so happy that I had a spare and was not like my friend, who was not forced to borrow money from me all the time!
Make sure to use a bank card without charge
Do not give your hard earned money to banks. Keep it for yourself and spend it on your trip. Get a credit card and debit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees or ATM fees. During a long journey, the few dollars they charge each time will actually increase!
Travel alone at least once
You will learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent. This is a cliché, but it is true. Traveling alone taught me how to handle myself, talk to people and handle unfamiliar situations easily. It has made me comfortable with myself, helped me know what I am capable of, and allowed me to be super selfish and do whatever I want! If you have never done it before, it may take some time to get used to it, but do it at least once. Make yourself uncomfortable and surprise yourself. You will learn valuable life skills when you push yourself!
Don't be afraid to use a map.
Looking like a tourist is not as bad as actually getting lost and ending up in the wrong neighborhood. Don't be afraid to use the map or ask for directions and look like a tourist. After all, you are one! I always use the map when I travel. It helps you get where you need to go!
But don't be afraid to get lost purposefully.
Walking aimlessly through a new city is a good way to get to know it, get off the beaten path, and get away from tourists. You may be surprised by the hidden gems you find. I love walking around and trying to find my way without using Google Maps!
Always visit local tourism office.
They are aware of everything happening in the city. They can tell you about free activities, special events that happen during your stay, and everything in between. They also offer discounts on attractions and transportation. It is their job to help you experience the destination better. It is amazing how many travelers leave it when they go somewhere, but as a knowledgeable traveler, you know how to use this resource! It is probably one of the most used travel tips in the world. Use the tourism board! save money!
Do not buy money belts - they are idiots.
The thieves know that they exist and one is seen basically shouting, "Look at me, I'm a tourist with money! Loot me!" The more you can mix and act as a local, the easier it will be to get deals and avoid brokers. If you are troubled by pickpockets, better keep an eye on your baggage!
Take only what you need when you go out.
Limit the amount of cash and bank cards you carry with you, so that if something happens, you can easily recover. Never carry more than one credit card or ATM card with you. My rule for cash is to limit everything I carry to $ 50 USD.
Always carry a lock.
They come in handy, especially when you live in the dorm and you need to take your luggage off. Keep a small combination lock with you as you travel. Do not use one with the keys, because if you lose the keys, you are screwed!
Make additional copies of your passport and important documents.
Don't forget to email a copy to yourself as well. You never know when you might need to keep any type of documents with you and you might not want to keep your original documents with you. Additionally, if your passport is stolen, a copy of it will be used in your police report.
Ask the hostel staff for information - even when you are not staying there.
Hostel staff treats budget travelers throughout the day, every day. They know where to go for cheap food and attractions. They are also local so they know the city well. Ask for all kinds of information from them. Even if you are not living in one, just come in and ask for help. They will usually give it.
Learn basic phrases in the native language of your destination
The locals will appreciate it and this will make your conversation easier. You don't have to master the language, but "Hello," "Goodbye," "Thank you!", "Where is the bathroom?" Need to learn some things like. Will go a long way to make themselves in love with the locals. They would like that you tried.
Read the history book!
If you do not know anything about the past of a place, then you cannot understand its present. Read on the destinations you are visiting. This will give you a deeper understanding of the place you've been wanting to see for so long!
Don't be ashamed to go to Starbucks or McDonald's.
Sometimes it is comfortable to get acquainted and both places have free Wi-Fi and public toilets that you can use. (Just don't eat at McDonald's! That shit is gross and unhealthy for you! You can bring it back home!)
Do not fly directly
When booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to fly to airports near your final destination, and then take a train or bus to where you need to go. Be sure to shop for your flight and know that straightaway is not always the cheapest route. My favorite flight search engines are:
Momondo - This is my all-time favorite search engine. They always find airlines that offer the best deals and their calendar view lets you see which days are the cheapest to fly. I like them because they search for small booking sites and no one does.
Google Flights - One of the best flight search engines out there, Google Flights lets you enter your departure airport and see flights all over the world in one map so you can see where the cheapest destination is.
Skyscanner - This great website searches for many different airlines, including many budget carriers that miss larger sites.
Always be behind business travelers when you are in the security line.
They move faster because they are usually quicker and in traveling light. They know the drill. Line up behind them as much as possible. You will speed through the line!
Never stand behind families.
They take forever. It is not their fault. They have so much because of children. Try to avoid getting in line with too many children. This is going to take some time.
When you check in at the hotel, don't be afraid to ask for an upgrade.
They have great flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades at check-in. It never hurts to ask. Many times they can accommodate you if the hotel is not full. Just be super nice!
Libraries, Starbucks and most cafes have free Wi-Fi.
If you are living in a place that charges to join you, check out one of these places. You can join for free.