The benefits of travel can not be under estimated, it takes us out of our comfort zone, expands our minds, creates memories and is just so much bloody fun. I have travelled quite a bit within Australia but didn’t actually have my own passport until I was 45, I know…I was a late bloomer.
For a girl who two years ago had never been overseas I have sure been making up for that and in a week I will be off again with the Huz to Japan. I know, I am soooo excited! I have become pretty good at traveling fairly light and also picked up a few handy travel tips so as always I figured I would share. Feel free to share your tips in the comments.
TOP TRAVEL TIPS
When packing make sure you look up the local weather of the destination you are travelling to and consider activities that you have planned and also think about any that may arise that you haven’t planned for. I’ve put together some of my fave travelling pants you can see here!
Try on your wardrobe before you travel
Yes, get out all that you intend to take and try everything on. Consider if the pieces you are packing are able to create multiple outfits, are they in good condition and are you happy with the fit and feel.
Take pictures of luggage and all tags
Take some happy snaps of your luggage including any markings or scratches that can identify that it your property, and don’t forget to photograph the attached tags. Handing over photos to staff in a foreign country can be clearer than struggling with language barriers.
Wear good shoes
Now this is one that is a non negotiable for me. Sore feet, aching soles and blistered heels is one sure fire way to dampen a fabulous holiday. Consider the activities you will be doing, whether you will be doing lots of walking and if you might have a few special events planned. A good rule of thumb is three pairs to cover off all situations and activities, of course my go to brand is Frankie4 Footwear, stay tuned for a video of what styles I will be packing for japan.
Try free stuff
I don’t know about you but I don’t have an endless budget when travelling so it can be a good idea to seek out free activities, speak to hotel staff and information centres for ideas. A free walking tour is a great way to see more of your travel destination
Luggage choices do matter
Purchasing a smaller bag will force you to pack lighter and will have the added bonus of being easier to manoeuvre. I would also advise you to consider packing cells, I swear by these zip up soft cases that make packing easier, neater and more ordered. For day trips I use a cross body bag or small back pack with plenty of hidden compartments and room for a water bottle. You can check out some of my packing tips here!
Ask for an upgrade
If you don’t ask you don’t get and I have a few mates who always ask for an upgrade and mostly always receive one! On this Japan trip I am going to give it a go, I will keep you posted as to how I go.
Observe daily life
Travel isn’t about rushing and cramming your days so full that you actually don’t allow the daily of your destination to seep in. Take some time to meander, sit and people watch, have a slow day every few days. This is when you really take it all in and can appreciate the culture of your destination.
Keep an open mind and open heart
I always say that if you travel with an open mind and open heart you will reap more from your travel experience. Having no expectations and traveling with the flow, accepting the cultural differences and showing gratitude for all that your holiday brings really is key to a fab experience
Don’t plan too much
We are headed to Japan for twelve days and have only booked accommodation for five nights. While we know where we want to visit we don’t want to be dictated to as to ‘when’ or for ‘how long’ so we will wing it. I don’t want to close myself off from experiences or be forced to stay somewhere I am not enjoying by having our holiday planned down to the minute…after all it is a holiday.
Look after your body
Now this is a big one, while we want to enjoy our holiday it isn’t license to abuse our bodies so try to be at least a little conscious of eating some good food, drinking plenty of water and moving your body. This will actually give you more enjoy and you will return home feeling great.
Get travel Insurance
Again, not negotiable. It’s insane to travel without insurance so speak to a broker or travel agent and get adequately insured.
Pack a jacket or wrap that you can carry at any time.
A jacket or wrap that can easily fit into your day bag can be invaluable, especially if the weather suddenly changes or your plans change and you find yourself out later than expected.
Carry emergency money
Having a few extra dollars in local currency tucked away means you won’t be stuck if card access is an issue
Pack earphones, ear plugs and a sleep mask
For comfort and sanity on planes, in airports. on trains or in hotels all three are must haves.
Take advantage of a lunch special
If you fancy a nice meal or a special treat and the budget is tight then eat at a lunch sitting, the prices are always better and there are often lunch specials.
Visit a local tourism centre or make good friends with concierge
When you arrive at a new destination seek out an information centre, they have enthusiastic and knowledgeable local guides who can help you.Let them know what experiences you are interested in and ask if there is anything you should see or do. A good hotel concierge staff can also offer invaluable tips, like where the best coffee is, night spot, tailor or anything else more personlised.
Book a window seat
I always book a window seat, it means I have a great view, can rest my head on the window and is less squishy. Even if I have to pay for the privilege it is worth it.
Learn basic phrases
Learning a few basic phrases means not only will it be easier to get by but it shows good manners and will lead to fun interactions with locals.
Try new food
I don’t understand travellers who go to a foreign country but demand western food and won’t try local cuisines. Unless you have dietary requirements give it a go, it’s all part of the cultural experience…and oh so tasty. Click here to read about my experience at an Indonesian cooking class!
A no brainer, wear sunscreen and save yourself the pain of sunburn and risk of skin cancers. Traveling with a roll on sunscreen means you can take it in hand luggage and there is no stress of spillage or mess.
Contact your bank before you fly
Give you bank a call to advise them of your travel dates and what cards you will be taking with you, there is nothing worse than going to use a card and having it blocked because your bank thinks it is being illegally used.
Have your accommodation address on your phone and on a piece of paper
An address of your hotel or destination can often be in another language that can be challenging to pronounce and communicate to drivers so collect a few business cards, photograph the address and write it down. When I jump in a cab I show this to the driver and its smooth driving.
Visit local markets
Local Markets are fun and filled with local culture, customs and food. There’s also plenty of bargains to be had, so enjoy.
Drink more water
Easy to forget but dehydration leads to lethargy, headaches and being a cranky mole so remember to carry a water bottle and drink up.
Read up about local customs
It’s easy to forget that when we travel we are actually a ‘guest’ in a foreign country and do not have free reign to do and act as we please. Read up on local law, custom and expectations to avoid any hiccups or embarrassing situations. If you’re travelling to Bali anytime soon I’ve got some great Bali specific tips for you here!
Pack a portable charger
We can’t escape that we will travel tech gadgets like a phone, computer, IPAD or maybe even a smart watch so make sure you pack all necessary chargers, adapters and also a portable charger for emergencies. Remember to keep the portable charger juiced up and charge it regularly.
Know that you won’t be able to see everything
A holiday should not feel like a marathon, you will not see and do ‘everything’…and that is ok.
Talk to the locals
Wonderful memories can be made by interacting with locals. A simple and open chat can give you greater understanding of the culture and of their personal daily lives. Don’t be scared of locals, we are all more alike than you know.
Don’t eat out for every meal
We don’t eat out for every meal at home because it’s usually unhealthy and crazy expensive so try to do some meals in your hotel or pack a simple lunch.
Make copies of important documents
Photocopy and photograph travel documents, accommodation details and passports. Leave a set with someone at home, keep a set on you and a set in the hotel safe.
Phew! Let me know if you have somewhere you are dreaming of traveling to and don’t forget to follow along with my Japan trip on Facebook, Instagram and Instagram stories.
Til next time,
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Updated June 2018