Traveling is one of the most beautiful, rewarding, enlightening and simply unforgettable experiences you can ever have. And if you have the right information, it can get pretty simple as well. While traveling the world we have been observing things and taking notes. We are more than happy to share with you some travel tricks and lessons we’ve learned along the way. 😉
For specific suggestions on preparation or packing check our articles Planning & preparation and Packing and for tips on traveling in pairs please visit Travel for couples.
1) Try to be flexible with your travel plans – this way you can save a lot of money. Travel in low season (unless the weather is awful), fly indirect, search for the cheapest dates to fly, check the travel websites or daily deals sites regularly and wait for a special offer, or try to find a last-minute transportation or accommodation offer.
2) Plan your trip early enough! We never plan all the details, but sometimes it’s best to at least check the season, weather, and the transport and accommodation prices and availability in advance. Popular hotels and resorts are sometimes in high demand, so you may want to check it out on time. You should also check the immunization requirements in advance.
3) Join the airline loyalty program (especially if you travel often – you might get free travel upgrades or a discount). Buy membership cards and city attraction passes (you save a lot of money on attraction entrance fees and sometimes even transportation). Become a member of all the major transportation or accommodation companies (e.g. Booking) to get discounts.
4) Always pack less! We have already mentioned this, but it is really important! There may be stairs, rain, mud, stony roads or other difficult conditions on the way to your final destination, disabling you to wheel your luggage and you might have to carry it a long way. We guarantee you will realize right then and there that packing seven pairs of shoes was a mistake. Not to mention the crazy fees you have to pay when exceeding the weight limitation! The only items that really matter are documents and money, almost everything else can be bought at your destination.
5) Use a new, lighter, safer and more practical suitcase/backpack/etc.
6) If you’re struggling with the luggage weight limitation put on the heaviest shoes and the thickest jacket (you can always wrap it around your waist).
7) Make sure to pack fragile items in the center of your suitcase and to wrap them in T-shirts.
8) Properly secure your luggage. Write your name, address and phone number on it, buy a TSA approved lock, get a TrackR or at least never leave your luggage unattended. A good security trick is to take photos of your luggage and its content, which will help you in case it gets lost. Before leaving a place always take a look around to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.
9) Avoid queues with children, old people or women. Studies suggest that queues with young men move much quicker.
10) If given the chance, choose your seatmate carefully. Drunk, crying, overly chatty, loud or otherwise inconsiderate co-passengers can make your journey really uncomfortable.
11) Airport security check can be stressful, the regulations and restrictions annoying and the employees may be unfriendly. Nevertheless, we advise you never to pick a fight with those guys because rules are rules. He/she won’t give in and you could end up detained. Not to mention NEVER to joke about bombs or national security! You could get in real trouble.
12) After paying for something always demand the receipt.
13) Think outside the box!
There are tons of cheaper, but just as comfortable accommodation options besides hotels. Maybe you should consider hostels, private rooms or apartments (Airbnb), Couchsurfing, house sitting, farm stays or home swapping. You can do some volunteer work and get free accommodation and sometimes even food. (Note: no matter what type of accommodation you pick, make sure you are staying in a private room! After all, this is your honeymoon and sex is a very, but very important part of it!) You can also save some money on transportation. Instead of calling taxis, you could take an Uber, a metro or a bus. Find out how locals usually travel and join them. It will definitely be a more interesting experience than calling a cab.
14) At your chosen accommodation pay attention to the check-out time. If they don’t provide you with this information, ask about it yourself. Otherwise, you may end up paying for a whole day just by being a few minutes late.
15) Ask locals (or Google) if it’s safe to drink tap water. If it’s not, we advise caution when showering and brushing your teeth.
16) Be careful about where you exchange your money. It’s always best to simply withdraw your money in the local currency (ATMs are literary everywhere), but if you have some other currencies you would like to exchange, do it at banks (which usually provide the best exchange rates) or exchange offices. Always try to find the place with the best rate (since they can vary dramatically) and make sure to avoid exchanging your money at hotels, random merchants or with strangers on the streets!
17) Don’t be paranoid! We have traveled to some of the ‘most dangerous’ countries in the world and we have always felt safe. Don’t believe everything the media tells you! The world is a beautiful place, filled with good people!
18) Still, try your best to fit in! Hide your huge cameras, awkward paper maps, and guidebooks. Scammers won’t be tempted if you won’t wave at them with expensive jewelry, big suitcases, and fancy cameras. Try to maintain a low profile, be wise and careful and you will be fine! Follow these basic travel safety precautions:
- Leave your jewelry and other valuable belongings in the hotel safe.
- Keep your emergency cash apart from the rest of your money.
- Dress comfortably and carry only the items you will need for the day.
- Don’t carry a lot of money.
- Always make sure to lock your room before leaving the hotel.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Stay in well-lit areas.
- Try to maintain a low profile and do your best to fit in.
- Carry a travel wallet/money belt/money pouch for carrying money and documents safely.
- Avoid contact with potential scam artists.
- Don’t count your money in public.
19) Eat like a local! Trying new cuisines is one of the most exciting and fun travel experiences. Besides, this way you can eat a lot cheaper and far better than in local Western-style restaurants. You can also save money on food by eating fast food, at street vendors, at buffets, during lunch specials or by cooking your own food.
20) Always eat at crowded restaurants. If the place is crowded it means they have fresh food. You can also Google good restaurants beforehand. By the way: if you decide to eat near main tourist attractions, be prepared to overpay. We usually avoid eating, drinking or shopping in touristic areas.
21) Meet locals and follow their example with food, accommodation, transport, activities, and way of living. Observe them and learn from them. That kind of experience is priceless! And before saying goodbye, make sure you get their contact information. You might become friends for life.
22) Get local recommendations on sightseeing and activities. Main attractions are usually overpriced and sometimes even overrated. Locals probably have some insights on how to get a better experience for less money.
23) Be a nice, respectful guest! Respect and accept other cultures, races, habits, and manners. Realize that we’re all the same! Smile at people and say hello. As John Muir once suggested: ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.’
24) Visit tourist attractions at lunchtime! It’s less crowded.
25) Don’t be afraid to bargain. Merchants will usually try to charge you the foreigner price, so you should learn how to softly negotiate the local price.
26) Be spontaneous! Of course, you will have a basic plan about your activities, destinations, etc. But we advise you not to be set in your ways, to stay open. You will end up having the best time.
27) Neale Donald Walsch once said: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” We truly believe it does, so step out of your comfort zone! You could experience things you have only dreamed of and learn the greatest lessons along the way. Take chances, seize life! The result will be incredibly freeing and rewarding, in other words – amazing! 😉
28) Slow down! Clear your head, forget your worries, put down your electronic devices, enjoy the moment and realize that life is right here and now.
29) Take lots of photos! You will only regret the ones you don’t take!
30) Don’t overbook your trip! It’s your honeymoon, after all, so you should try to find to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company.
31) Don’t be homesick! Cecelia Ahern said: ‘Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling’ and we agree with her. We believe it’s a feeling of warmth, love, safety and belonging and we believe you can find it in your partner. After all, that why people get married in the first place, right? So if you’re going on your honeymoon, you’re actually taking ‘home’ with you. Enjoy!
32) Keep notes! We always write down our daily locations and we usually keep at least a photo diary. Write down all the important information, the lessons you’ve learned, the things you’ve seen, tried and experienced and try to describe the amazing feeling you’ve felt along the way.
33) Write down the address of your accommodation and keep this information with you at all times. We have already been so excited to be somewhere new that we have forgotten the address and even the name of our hotel! So if you want to get back to the same room at the end of the day, you should remember where exactly that is. 🙂
34) Don’t be afraid to ask! When you get to a strange place it’s simply impossible to know everything. No matter how much you’ve read about it, no matter how experienced you are, it’s still better to ask locals about the best restaurant, the best disco, the best way to travel etc. All you have to do is ask!
35) Be smart about your finances! Calculate how much money you will need, set a daily budget and don’t buy things you can’t afford! Keep track of money, but don’t stress about it!
36) Stay hydrated!
Congratulations! Now you’re an educated, prepared and savvy traveler and it’s time to hit the road! 🙂