20 of My Best Travel Tips

About 60% of my 2012 Travel photos feature me in these hole-filled jeans. Finally retired them in 2013.

I finally got around to writing down some of my best travel tips. I wanted to jot down 20 of my best travel tips to help others travel more efficiently and to lead to an overall better travel experience. These tips are my own personal recommendations. I’d love to hear what your best travel tips are by leaving a comment below after reading this article!

Happy traveling!

  1. Always bring a small travel first aid kit. The kit should contain bandages, ibuprofen, decongestant, and Pepto-Bismol tablets (really handy for a hangover, upset stomach or if for some reason you’re starving in a forrest).
  2. Consider a bag with wheels. Unless you’re planning on doing some hardcore backpacking over rocky terrain, most cities have some sort of road. Perhaps it’s the saying, ‘backpacking through Europe’ that makes people invest in full-frame backpacks, but it’s just not necessary. I’ve tried both and found that my small 22″ wheeled bag was a lot more practical. Plus, you’ll look like less of a tourist. You could just be a local coming back from vacation!
  3. Consider bringing clothes you don’t care about. Sometimes I’ll pack some really torn up jeans that have seen better days. Why? Because I know that my packing will get worst over time and my bag has a tendency of accumulating more items during the trip. By packing some clothes you don’t quite care about, it allows you to easily part with it to make room with something you just bought.

    About 60% of my 2012 Travel photos feature me in these hole-filled jeans. Finally retired them in 2013.
    About 60% of my 2012 Travel photos feature me in these hole-filled jeans. Finally retired them in 2013.
  4. Leave the money belt at home. I honestly never used this. I always just used a small money clip or small wallet that fit in my front pocket or jacket. Why? Because that’s what most locals do. By carrying it in your front pocket, you can guard it with your hards and it’s not uncommon to reach into your pocket for some cash. It would be entirely awkward to have to go to the bathroom or reach into the front of your pants to retrieve your money. Nothing says paranoid traveller like a money belt.
  5. Take more photos then you need. Now isn’t a time to be selective. In a world of digital cameras, you can easily go back and delete them later, but it’s better to have more options for when you go home to edit.
  6. Either eat the airline food to save it for later. If for some reason you’re not hungry on the planeride, save that snack in your bag for later because there will probably be a point where you’re starving but you don’t want to drop 10€ on a sandwich.
  7. Open a travel checking account. If you’ve ever been a victim of debit card theft, you’ll know the benefit of something like this. If someone takes your debit card (why do you have this on you on the first place?), they will only have access to what’s in the travel account. You can easily transfer money to this account via the web, but it’s better not to give them access to your whole fortune. I usually only keep enough money in there to the point I won’t cry about it if it gets emptied out.
  8. Keep multiple copies of your important documents. This means you should make copies of your passport, drivers license, credit cards, insurance, etc. Keep these documents with a trusted friend or family member and another tucked away in a bag that wont get stolen. I made the mistake of keeping it in my backpack with my camera gear and laptop. That was obviously gone with the wind. Also consider storing this online in a secure cloud platform. This way if your paper copy does get stolen, you’ll be able to retrieve it at any local internet cafe.
  9. Leave the neck pillow at home. Honestly I brought this thing and it took up WAY too much space. I have a memory foam one because the inflatable ones just keeps deflating or wasn’t very effective. If you find an inflatable one that is really good, please let me know.
  10. Bring a deck of cards. It’s one of the best ways to meet new people at hostels or just travelling. It’s a group activity or a one-on-one activity with a new friend. It’s always fun to share new games and sometimes make it a drinking game before you go out! One of my favorite games to play is the Canada Casinos at It’s just a great way to past time as well.
  11. Mind your luggage. Don’t bring what you can’t handle. I remember seeing these girls with HUGE wheeled luggage and they couldn’t lift it onto the overhead luggage rack on the train. I got our malls favorite travel set which is compact ant not to bulky. It’s just a burden. Pack less and enjoy a less stressful travelling experience.
  12. If you have an Laptop and an iPad, bring the iPad. The laptop takes up way too much space, weighs a lot more and the battery doesn’t last as long. If you can hold out doing work or can do without some of the features of the laptop, the iPad is just a better choice. It’s light, thin and adds hours of endless entertainment.
  13. Save your liver. Going out for drinks once in awhile is fine, but don’t overdo it. The few times I had something taken from me was when I wasn’t nearly as alert as I should’ve been. It seems like common sense, but when you’re in a new country with your friends, you’ll be surprised how often this advice gets placed on the back burner.
  14. Don’t save your liver. Ok, so I’m contradicting myself here. While you shouldn’t go out and get blacked out drunk, I do recommend going to a local bar and grabbing a drink or two. The key is to have a social drink to meet new people. I always meet locals at bars because the environment is perfect for that.

    Partying Distortion Festival 2012
    Hanging out with Couchsurfers during Distortion 2012 in Denmark
  15. Save receipts online. I always save my receipts while travelling for several reasons: So I can remember where I went and for bookkeeping. The only problem with this is if you travel for a long period of time, the paper clutter amounts to that of a small cat. Once you get a receipt, take a picture of it with your smartphone using something like Evernote. You can also use a service called Shoeboxed. Once you have the digital copy stored, you can throw away the paper clutter leaving you less burdened!
  16. Leave negative nancy back home. Say yes to new adventures and ideas. Travel is about the adventure. You’re not going to have that adventure if you’re not open to new things.
  17. Try traveling alone or with your loved one. Traveling alone or with a significant other will really teach you about yourself. If you’re traveling by yourself, you’ll be forced to be social and try new things. Traveling with a significant other will definitely tell you a lot about that person.
  18. Take your time. I found that 2-3 days per country is just not enough time to really experience the culture. I’d recommend at least a week or two in order to meet locals and experience the culture.
  19. Cycle accommodations. Consider Couchsurfing, hostels and hotels. Couchsurf when you’re tight on budget or want to stay with a local. Don’t expect much. Go with a hostel when you’re in a crunch and need a place to stay for cheap. Use a hotel when you need to do laundry, need free shampoo and soap or just need a day to splurge and relax.
  20. Rent a car. Sometimes the best sites are the ones where the tour buses don’t go. You’ll get some great pictures by breaking taking the road less traveled.
By renting a car, we were able to find some very majestic and hungry horses!
By renting a car, we were able to find some very majestic and hungry horses!

Bonus: Keep a travel journal handy do that if you ever decide to create a site such as this one, it will be easier to remember what you’ve learned through your travels!

What are some of your tips?

I’d love to hear some of your key travel tips as I know I’ve missed a whole bunch of them! Let me know your best travel tip by leaving a comment below.

Written by Ryan Lum

Ryan is an avid bucket lister. Travel, photography, blogging and adventure are some of his hobbies. He once went on a trip to Spain and was robbed of all his stuff except his clothes. No money, no insurance, no identification and no way to contact family and friends from back home. Did he end his trip? No way! He ended up running with the bulls in Pamplona the very next day.


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