BEST TRAVEL TIPS FROM 21 YEARS TRAVELING THE WORLD
Best Travel Tips For 2022
1. Don’t Go Into Debt
This is one of the most important tips for traveling we can give you. Don’t spend beyond your means when you decide to go traveling. You’ll regret every moment of your travels if you come back home from a trip of a lifetime only to face a mountain of debt. BBC
If you can’t afford to travel internationally yet, do some adventures in your own backyard. When Dave and I were dreaming of traveling the world, we explored a lot of our home province of Ontario, Canada. Being in nature weekends got us out of our rut and inspired us to try new things. As you explore your backyard, home, you can save money and a plan to travel the world. For us, we put away a lot of money by doing adventures close to home and within a year we were on a trip around the world.
2. Always Get Travel Insurance
This is seriously one of the best travel tips we can offer. Get travel insurance before you leave home. A lot of people say, “I only need travel insurance if I am going off the beaten path” but they are wrong. Accidents can happen anywhere. Dave and I were on a luxury cruise a few years ago and he slipped on a set of stairs and broke his back. If we didn’t have travel insurance, we would have been stuck paying nearly $100,000 dollars for the air ambulance and hospital bills. We can say with certainty to purchase travel insurance
3. Hire Local Guides
One of our top travel tips is to hire a local guide. By hiring local guides, you are directly supporting the local economy. It cuts out the middle man and helps local families. Plus, hiring locals will help you save money. When you book tours overseas or online, you are paying the middle man, the tour operator, and the rent for an expensive office. When you book locally, the money is going directly into that person’s pocket. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends and immerse in local culture. They have often invited us to their homes and given us a more meaningful travel experience.
4. Apply For A Rewards Travel Credit Card
I know we said do not go into debt, but we still feel that credit cards are key to traveling in style and boosting your travel budget. Using a good rewards credit card will help you save money for travel. Rewards add up quickly and offer a lot of perks like free travel, free upgrades, and late checkout. Plus, a lot of travel credit cards offer huge signing bonuses that you can put towards your flight to help you travel the world. So when offering travel tips to save money, we say get a car, just make sure to pay it off.
5. Debit Card And Credit Cards
Before you travel, let your bank and credit card companies know of your travel plans. If they suddenly notice a purchase overseas, they may lock your credit cards. Plus, be sure to carry a few different cards. We’ve had our debit card blocked in Cuba, eaten at an ATM in Istanbul, and our blocked in Sudan even after informing our banks about our travel plans. In Sri Lanka, we tried 3 different bank and credit cards before we could finally get money out of the ATM. It’s good to have a few different cards from different banks on hand to be prepared for all the reasons above.
6. Cash In Small Bills
We’re Canadian, but we always have a couple of hundred US dollars in small bills for tipping when we arrive at our hotel or for the ride from the airport. Whether you are traveling in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, or Europe, US dollars work everywhere. Also, it’s good to have some cash on hand at all times in case of an emergency – USD is the most widely accepted around the world.
7. Take Advantage Of Free Walking Tours
One of our favorite travel tips to tell people about is the free walking tours you can join around the world. Whenever we get to a new city, we join a free walking tour. It’s a great way to get your bearings around town. This is one of the best travel tips that we didn’t even know until we’d been traveling around the world for a few years. But these free walking tours are awesome! Usually, the free walking tours are better than the tours you book ahead of time online. They are led by locals and you only pay what you feel is comfortable at the end of the tour. We usually suggest $10 per person
9. Choose Tours Wisely
We made a lot of these mistakes in our early years of travel and that is why we really wanted to share this very important travel tip. When choosing tours, make sure you go with a responsible company. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to turn them down if you don’t feel comfortable
Don’t swim with dolphins in captivity, don’t ride elephants, and don’t chase wildlife. In Chiang Mai we looked for elephant sanctuaries and everyone claimed that they were one. When we asked questions we found out that they let tourists ride elephants and they weren’t really a sanctuary at all.
If you do find yourself on a tour where your guide is being unethical or having a negative impact on the environment, wildlife or culture, speak up and tell them you are not happy. Guides often think they need to pick up the turtle or chase the dolphins to make the tourists happy or get a tip
10. Respect Local Culture
When visiting a new destination one of the best travel tips we can give is to learn about the culture and customs. Before you travel, do a bit of research to look into the way the culture dresses and what the accepted behavior is in public. You’ll feel more comfortable as you blend in and you save yourself some embarassement by doing something wrong.
11. Give Back
Be it through volunteering, raising money, or visiting a project. You can make a difference when traveling. It can be as simple as staying at a local family-run guest house, hiring a private local guide, or shopping locally. Our favorite travel tip is to tell people to get involved. It truly adds more meaning to your trips and makes you feel better about yourself. We once taught English for a day in Cambodia. It wasn’t planned, but a local teacher asked us if we wanted to visit their class so the kids could practice. We’ll never forget what an uplifting experience what was.
12. Take Lots Of Photos Of Yourself
Dave and I were always embarrassed to ask others to take photos of us. And now we have very few of us together. Ask other tourists to take photos of yourself in front of those iconic sites around the world. And make sure it is more than just a selfie! We started doing selfies and find that they all end up looking the same. Get those epic shots and start making memories. And then print some of them out. Don’t just leave them on your phone or computer, make prints to display when you get back home to remind you of those amazing travel memories.
13. Splurge Every Once In A While
Even if you are on the tightest of budgets, it’s important to splurge on the finer things in life when traveling the world. We’ve done a lot of backpacking on a very small budget, but every few weeks we take a break from cheap hotels. Sometimes when we arrive in a city after a grueling adventure, we book a luxury hotel to recharge and keep the fun, excitement and romance alive. In particular, if you are traveling in Southeast Asia, a luxury hotel can be quite cheap!
14. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Travel is your time to do something spontaneous that you’d never dream of doing at home. Whenever we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone, new and exciting things happened in our lives too. It just takes a small step to make a great change. Travel that can inspire you to take on new hobbies and see your life through different eyes.
15. Don’t Compete With Other Traveller
You know who they are. The travel snobs who have to brag about where they’ve been, what they’ve done, and who they did it with. Who cares? Travel is for you! Don’t let anyone pressure you into trying something you don’t want to, or making you feel bad about where you’ve been or what you’ve done. To those who try to one-up your experiences, forget about them. The great thing about traveling the world, is you don’t have to see them ever again if you don’t want to
16. A Smile Goes A Long Way
A smile breaks the ice when you first meet people and it helps a lot in tough situations. Smiling can ease an uncomfortable moment and it breaks the tension with the people you meet along the way. When you get off off the beaten path, a smile is often the only thing you will have in common when communicating
Even when negotiating at the market, we smile. We find we can get a better deal if we smile. We find that locals approach us more if we smile. We get better service if we smile, and we make new friends when we smile
17. You Don’t Have To Be Fluent In A Second Language
A lot of people ask us if we speak other languages. We really don’t! So don’t let the fact that you don’t speak thr language stop you from traveling the world. In today’s world with Google Translate and countless other language apps, you can get by with ease. But we do recommend learning a few keywords and phrases of the local language. If you can say “hello”, “thank you”, “how are you”, and other simple phrases, people will respect you for trying to learn their language and making the effort. A little bit goes a long way.
18. Sunrise Is Better Than Sunset (Most Of The Time)
Getting out early for sunrise is a chore, I know. But most of our best photographs and memorable quiet travel moments have happened at sunrise. If there is one travel tip we can offer, it is to set the alarm and get up before dawn. When you go to an iconic view or landmark at sunset it is often overrun with tourists. But at sunrise, you usually have the place to yourself. In the morning, nobody is around. We love walking on the beach or through city streets while having it all to ourselves.
19. Make A Plan – But Don’t Over Plan
Travel costs a lot of money, so it’s good to have a plan before you fly. But don’t over plan. We usually make a plan for the first two or three nights of our travels and then play it by ear from there. We book a hotel for the first two nights which gives us time to decide if we like where we are or if we want to move on. We also make a point of joining a tour to see the top tourist attractions at our destination but after seeing the bucket list items our plans can go right out the window. Some of our most exciting travel moments have been when we got a hot tip and changed our plans
20. Be Flexible
This brings us to, be open to changing plans. It’s good to plan your route around the world but it is also important to stay open to new possibilities. We’ve changed plans after travellers recommended we join them and fly to Uganda to climb mt Rwenzori. It was the best decision we ever made.
If we decided to stick to our plans and keep a rigid schedule, we never would have had those amazing moments that we have never forgotten
21. Buy Souvenirs And Use The Post Office
We know a lot of people who say they don’t buy anything from anywhere when they travel because they don’t have space in their luggage. But we love going to local markets and buying souvenirs. We just send it home! We can still pack light and buy a lot. Plus going to post offices in other countries can be an adventure. I’ll never forget having to use the correct color of yarn when sending a package home from a post office in Malaysia. And now that we are home, we have memories. Every time I look at my drum from Bali or Digeridoo from Australia, I am reminded of my travels