Hey y’all! We wanted to put together a little guide on our top travel tips and tricks that we either researched before we went travelling (now is the perfect time to do this!) or learned on the job. We hope there’ll be some benefit for you in this post.
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The most important in the top travel tips we can give you! We can’t stress enough how important it is to do a vast amount of research on everything before you go travelling; whether it be about the countries you’re planning to visit, typical exchange rates, finding the best hot-spots or even how expensive things are in general. Travelling is a massive eye-opening experience and the more you know before hand, the better. We did a lot of research before we went travelling and had a base itinerary planned out which really helped us along the way! But there is nothing like learning as you go and we found by getting to know other travellers and what they know about the country a great way to learn too! Blog posts just like this one are the best as you can offer the best advice about a country before you visit!
Pack Light –
Unfortunately for both of us, we made the mistake of packing our backpacks to the brim before we left, carrying 5 pairs of shoes each (SUPER UNNECESSARY – we ended up wearing one pair most of the time), countless clothes and just a lot of crap we didn’t actually need. Travelling was a huge learning curve for us and we have come back to regular life favouring a much more minimal approach to how many possessions we need as did most of the people we met while travelling. You’ll be carrying a bag around in the sweltering heat, so you want to make it as light as possible! Plus it gives you the chance to buy stuff along the way!
Bum bags/fanny packs kept us high blessed and favoured, easily being able to get all of our necessary stuff for the day/night around in an easily transportable fashion. We’ve added a link below to one that we both used:
Getting yourself organised is so worth it in the long run! Having ready access to your travel documents, some passport photos etc. in a travel folder on your phone or in a physical folder can save you so much time. Packing your suitcase or backpack right so you have non-essentials at the bottom is also a must-do. We both made the mistake of over-packing as highlighted above but we also packed in a silly way, putting trousers near the top meaning we had to dig to the bottom to get shorts for example. It can cause a lot of stress having to get all of your stuff out of the backpack to find one item, then more stress when you have to pack it up again. Make sure you invest in some packing cubes, they keep your clothes neat, your bag tidy and save a lot of stress!
Write an Itinerary –
Having some form of structure for your travel plans before you get out there is vital in our opinion. We’ve had countless mates who have gone travelling without really planning and end up running out of money because they stick in one place for far too long (we’re not saying they didn’t have a great time though)! You don’t need to have a strict itinerary with stuff like pre-booked flights, buses and times etc. because allowing yourself some extra time in a place you’re enjoying is one of the best things you can do but knowing you have to move on to see an incredible sight or cultural landmark is a great way to light that fire under your ass to carry on with your travels and not get trapped in one spot.
Buy a SIM Card in each Country –
It sounds so simple but we’ve all been guilty of depending on free WiFi to get us everywhere (which works very well most of the time) but having mobile data and not having to plan everything before you leave your hostel/hotel is unbelievably helpful! There are (a lot of) times when the WiFi is absolute trash, either being super slow or just not working at all, meaning you’re kinda left to figure your own way around the city. Hanoi for instance, was a bit of a maze to get around with what seemed like millions of side streets and we would’ve been disoriented to the max without Matt having a SIM card. Top tip though – DON’T get them from an airport, train station or bus stop unless you have no other choice, you often get ripped off, paying a lot more and actually getting less data than you’re told you’ll get.
Kinda covered this in research but we wanted to really touch on it here. Be mindful of it! It’s so easy to get sucked into drinking every night and going out for more expensive meals than you normally would but just be careful of what you’re spending. For us, partying wasn’t our main reason for going travelling but we know that there will be a lot of people who go for that exact reason. Whatever is drawing you to travelling, you can save a lot of money by pre-booking your hostels on Booking.com, HostelWorld or Agoda rather than just showing up to a hostel on a whim. Walking around and exploring rather than taking TukTuk’s everywhere is another great way to save money, take in the sights and burn some of those kCals too! And finally, research research research! There are loads of pages that highlight how much things should cost within each country, divided into street food or restaurants etc. that really helped us out not going over our budget.
Learn the Language –
This is obviously not an easy one and we’re not saying you need to be fluent but grasping the basics really can go a long way. All of the group we were travelling with could speak the basics of each country we went to which actually made the locals a lot more friendly to us and we ended up having banter whenever we ate out or went for coffee. ‘Ôi chúa ơi‘ (pronounced ‘Oi Zoy Oi’ in the North and ‘Oi Choi Oi’ in the South) is the Vietnamese way of saying ‘Oh My God’ and served us as a massive icebreaker and haggling tool. Something as simple as three words allowed us to have fun (in a respectful way) with a lot of shopkeepers and got us a discount a lot of the time. Even if it’s just simple things like hello, thank you or sorry, it shows the locals that you’re trying to adapt to their culture and will often work in your favour!
Be Safe –
We really hope you’ll all be safe in everything you do but travelling can be quite sketchy at times! We’re not saying don’t trust anyone as there are plenty of good people out there but just be hesitant, especially when travelling on your own. We heard one too many tales of a solo female traveller who’d had something stolen from her when walking down the street minding her own business. Some things that can help prevent this are obvious: don’t travel alone at night, stick to well-lit areas, definitely don’t walk down streets with your phone in your hands (it becomes a massive target) and try to make friends in which you can get from A to B with. Sketchy things are far less likely to happen to you when in a group (provided none of your group are acting belligerently or being disrespectful). Bring some travel locks with you for when you’re in hostels where you don’t have either a private room or somewhere you can safely secure your belongings.
Arguably the best part of travelling is the people you’ll meet! People from all different walks of life, countries and backgrounds, socialising really will broaden your horizons to not only the culture of the country you’re in but also from where the people you meet are from. Having a great time is a lot easier with a group of people you click with and can make the whole trip seem a lot less lonely and daunting. We found out about loads of new things to do within cities we’d done a ton of research on just from word of mouth at hostels which really enriched our experience. It’s a really small world and we happened to meet a group of people who we shared most of our travels with who lived super close to us. In any other circumstance, we more than likely wouldn’t have met but we walked away with some friends for life!
Have Fun! –
By doing all of the above, it’s a dead cert that you’ll have an absolute blast on your travels! Preparing and actually getting out there is half the battle (well the entire battle in the current COVID-19 Crisis) but once you do, the world really opens up! Just look on the bright side, gather some travel companions and grab life by the horns!
That brings us to the end of the list, thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog post about our top travel tips! Please don’t forget to follow us on our socials below!
Stay Safe & Much Love,
Matt & Mik
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