In my humble years, I’ve been around the world once or twice. Today I want to share with you some of my best travel tips if you’re planning a trip on your own or with friends. From booking accommodations to getting around, here’s what you should know:
AirBnB and hostels are the better and cheaper way to go these days! Perks of AirBnB’s include having a kitchen, better WiFi and you’ll get to experience your destination’s culture more closely as if you’re a local. Hostels are a great way to meet new people if you’re looking for some travel companions, new friends, and parties. Spend some time in the hostel common areas, bar, or shared kitchen and you’ll get to meet cool people from around the world! Plus if you don’t know what to do, hostel staff (and the people you meet) will always have good recommendations. Hotels on the other hand often have biased recommendations from deals they have with certain attractions (which tend to be really touristy or expensive).
Different countries not only have different cuisines but also dining customs. For example, in Europe, restaurants don’t often seat you upon arrival (don’t stand by the door like an idiot, they will ignore you). North American servers may visit your table more often almost rushing you in and out the door but Europeans want you to stay as long as possible (trust me, it’s actually pretty hard to flag down a server to ask for your bill). Tipping customs are also good to know before dining out in a new country. Most countries accept 10% while others don’t expect tipping at all.
In general I always recommend getting a metro pass in larger cities (depending on how long your stay) and avoid taxis. Most big city metro systems can get you everywhere you need to go and usually run super late (some even 24 hours). It’s always a good idea to pre-map out all the places you plan to go on Google Maps to figure out how far away each location is from each other to plan your transportation methods accordingly (see my personal attraction map for London for example here). In some cities like Prague and Copenhagen, everything is within walking distance while others like Berlin and London are much more spread out.
These are prime for seeing a new city for the first time. It’s best to go on a walking tour within the first few days of your arrival because the tours can give you a great surface taste of the city. After you can explore the highlights you’re most interested in more in-depth on your own. You’ll also learn a TON about the country you’re visiting from the guides. And for free?! So worth it.
Don’t Get Lost
Google Maps is my saviour when I’m travelling. I prefer Google Maps to iPhone’s in-phone maps app because it goes more in depth from exactly what bus/metro/walking path you need to take to what time they come at and tends to be a little more accurate. The cool thing about it is that you don’t need to use any cellular data necessarily to use the app either. You can type in your destination while you’re on WiFi at a hostel/restaurant/cafe, and when you go out and about, you’ll still be able to see on the map where you are without being connected. Not once did I ever get lost and it always gives you the safest and fastest routes.
Backpack vs. Suitcase
When it comes to carrying your stuff around when travelling, there are a few things to consider. First, how long you’ll be in each place and the types of places you’ll be going. If you’re going to be visiting older European cities like Brussels and Venice where there are a lot of cobble stone roads, taking a roller suitcase might not be ideal. Backpacks can get really really heavy on your shoulders on the other hand, but are easier to move around with.
Luggage Cheat Code
Ever had a lot of stuff with you that you didn’t want to carry around the city with you and you’re not staying the night? Here’s a travel cheat I don’t recommend to rely on (unless you’re a total bad ass) but can be super helpful in dire situations. Take your luggage to a hotel and check your bags into their lobby coat check. Tell them you plan to check in later and got here much earlier than planned. That way your stuff is left somewhere safe and you’re free to roam around the city for the day. When you come back, you can take your stuff and go (the later, the more likely there will have been a work shift changeover too). Note: Some hotel lobbies have their bag checks in the same spot as front desk. Walk in and look around first to make sure they are in separate spots so front desk won’t be able to detect your sneaky move.
Get to Know the Culture
Lastly, the number one travel tip I have is to try to experience the unique culture of every country you visit. Try the traditional dishes, find out what bars and hotspots the locals like most (tourist free). Take in as much as you can in learning and experiencing different things. No regrets!
Wanna see where I’ve been? Check out my vlogging adventure YouTube playlist here: