You have planned to save up your hard-earned cash and go to your dream destination. Great!
And you have packed your bags. Check.
You managed to get through 8 to 12 hours in the plane and hopefully it wasn’t a bumpy ride. Check.
Immigration check was a breeze and you got your bags safe. Check.
Now let the fun begin! But wait wait wait!
To make your life easier and save your precious time, these are 16 stress-free travel tips that travel pros follow:
#1 Buy a local sim card
My very first travel tip is to buy a local sim card, after arriving at the airport.
Some people may not find it a must but the ability to locate yourself, browse for info on the go and communicate is essential in this day and age.
Do a little homework on which network is reliable and affordable and take a good sim and data package for the trip.
#2 Use Google Maps
I admit I don’t know how to read a map.
I get confused where I am, which street I’m in and it’s a waste of time, asking people where to go here and there.
If you have a local sim card and data package, using google maps will be a lifesaver for you.
Google map will locate your position and give you precious information about how to go to your favorite theme park or shopping mall.
And it will also indicate in which direction you’re heading when walking on the street so that you don’t go the wrong way.
#3 Use Uber, Grab or other ride-sharing apps
If you don’t like walking or taking the local commute, you will want to take a taxi.
Like so many, I have had my share of scamming taxi drivers roaming around, letting the meter run and charge me an exorbitant amount because the guy knew I was a tourist.
But life becomes so easy when you use ride-sharing apps like Uber or Grab.
You need to have a smartphone, your data package (see how it is important?) and the ride-sharing app to start using this service.
Just open the app, pop in your destination, request the driver and he(she) will come to pick you up at a designated meeting place.
The fare will be displayed before you request a driver and you can pay either cash, credit card or PayPal (depending on the app).
Easy as pie!
#4 Use Whatsapp, Viber, Line for communication
On the go, it is important to keep in touch with your loved ones and share the amazing places you are in.
Using apps like Whatsapp, Viber or Line will definitely help you call, text and/or send pictures of where you are.
Again, a good sim card and the data package is a must.
#5 Check the weather forecast
You have planned to go to the theme park today and already bought your tickets online. Yay!
But then, on the day, there are torrential rains and the park is closed! Yikes!
What to do now?
Well, to avoid this situation, my travel tip is to check the weather forecast every day and adapt your plans accordingly.
If it’s gonna rain today, head for shopping inside some cozy shopping malls.
When it’s sunny, go out and enjoy the attractions.
#6 Always check the local time
Little story. I was at an airport for a layover of 2 hours and unbeknownst to me, I didn’t realize that the local time was one hour earlier than my origin country.
The result? A missed connection flight and a whole lot of trouble (and added expense) to find another plane.
So, for the love of God, always check your local time. This is one of the things you must do from all of these travel tips. you do not want to end up like me.
#7 Use ATMs to get local currency
To avoid any unnecessary charges at money changers, when converting to local currency, it is better to use the ATM.
However, this depends on your destination country as, e.g., ATMs in Thailand charge additional bank fees when taking money out.
#8 Exchange some money at the airport
If you don’t have the local currency with you at your arrival, I will advise to take out some cash at the ATM or money changer there first.
Because you will need cash probably to pay for a taxi or other local transportation.
Some hotels also ask for a cash deposit when you check-in.
Just exchange like 100 bucks as the usual exchange rate can be pretty bad at the airport.
#9 Separate your cash
Like the old adage says, ‘Never put your eggs in one basket’. I always think that this is the most important thing you need to do with all these travel tips.
When you are holding a big sum of cash with you, it is never a good idea to keep everything in your wallet.
A pickpocket comes along and you find yourself cashless and miserable for the rest of your trip.
Better separate your hard-earned money and keep some with you, another sum in your hotel safe, another in your backpack, etc.
Be safe than sorry.
#10 Always bring your passport with you when going outdoors
Well, some people may agree or disagree with this travel tip.
I prefer bringing my passport with me because:
1) If the police ask for your ID, your passport will be required
2) When you go shopping, your passport is required to benefit from tax refunds.
3) If you need to exchange online vouchers or coupons for attraction tickets, your passport will be needed.
The downside is that there is more risk of losing your passport when carrying it with you but the pros outweigh the con, IMHO.
#11 Keep a copy of your passport
In my previous travel tip, I advised you to keep your passport with you and I also mentioned the risk of losing it.
Therefore, make a good color photocopy of your passport, just in case you misplaced it.
It’s always a good thing.
#12 Printouts of vouchers and travel itineraries
I understand it’s the digital age now. Even my wife told me so.
But even so, I will advise bringing at least one printed copy of vouchers or coupons for the many attractions you wanna go see.
Some park attendants can have a hard time scanning the QR code on your phone.
Or your phone stopped working. Or the battery died. Ouch!
This tip also applies to your travel itineraries. From my perspective, this is the basic thing you need to prepare from all of these travel tips.
#13 Carry a personal safety alarm
In any country, there are good people.
And also the weirdos. And other sorts of bad people lurking around for some bad deeds.
Carry a personal safety alarm or perhaps some pocket strobe flashlight to signal people when you are stuck with these troublemakers.
#14 While at common WiFi hotspots, look at FourSquare/Yelp reviews/comments section for WiFi passwords
If you followed my #1 tip about getting a local sim card, this tip won’t apply to you in most cases.
But if you did not, have a look at review websites like FourSquare or Yelp, to find wifi passwords at hotspots in your host country.
Mind you, passwords change all the time and it’s kind of a hassle.
Save yourself this trouble and buy a sim card. Lol.
#15 Charge electronics via TV
In your hotel room, if you do not have a multi-plug extender or the appropriate plug, you can connect your phone to the room TV.
Most modern TVs have a USB socket nowadays.
You will be able to charge your phone or tablet.
#16 Be respectful, be polite
Always remember you are a foreigner in a different country with different cultures and mindsets.
My last travel tip is to be respectful and polite to the local people when requiring their help or service.
This goes a long way to make your life and those of the locals easier.
Well, that’s it, guys! These are the travel tips that I always do when my wife and I traveling abroad.
I hope it will help you too when you are on holiday. Let me know in the comment below what other tips that you usually do or know when you’re on vacation! We love to hear about that!
Until then, see ya!