These are 10 frequent travellers tips that I personally use and believe in while I lived in 6 continents. They are verified and have proven to be useful in the 50+ countries that I have travelled to.
Learn a few words of your host country language
That will be very helpful to break the ice with locals and will make you stand out among the dozens of foreigners they see every day. “Hello”, “goodbye”, “please”, “thank you” and the name of your country in the foreign language will make the difference, especially if you want to bargain!
Tourist traps often start by a few words in your own language, coming from them. If you do the same to them, go toward them and say in their language “I want that stuff/tour/massage/whatever for that price”, that will give you leverage on the bargain! And the seller is very likely to laugh, which is another leverage.
More and more apps have an offline mode, like Google Maps, Google Translate, Wikipedia, Maps.me, Google Drive, Pocket.
In some countries, like Cuba or Laos, it’s easier to find a flying unicorn than a working wifi! Get your maps, travel itineraries, translator and articles offline! Another cool thing to do when you are away from big cities is stargazing. Google Skymap will help you to spot every planet and constellation.
I am pretty good at it in life in general. Last minute deals are almost always a good option, except for flights, on certain conditions (see next part).
Don’t book any hostel, hotel or tours in advance, you might be able to find someone to host you at the last minute like a random person met on a boat, that happened to me in Indonesia.
Brokers like booking.com or agoda.com use yield management, aka the process of examining consumer behaviour to achieve the maximum amount of profit from a perishable good, just like the airlines. A customer will be more likely to book a flight/a room a few weeks in advance, to make sure they have a seat or a bed to sleep in and feel safe about it, thus, airlines and hotels will display a higher price tag.
A hotel night is a perishable good, as is a seat in an aircraft: the minute the night arrives with an empty room, and the minute the plane takes off, its value becomes none, zero, nada. As such, hotels and airlines are likely to decrease their fares a few hours before so that they avoid losing 100% of the value of their service.
With agoda.com, you can have discounts up to – 60% if you book after 5 pm the very day! If your hotel/hostel is not listed on the websites, even better. Go straight to the counter and ask for a discount, you can easily get 20% off if you check-in after 6 pm, even more at low season.
Plan for the worse, hope for the best
While travelling, especially when it becomes a way of life, there is always a slight chance that thing will go wrong. You might lose your wallet, destroy your credit card, jump into the water with your phone or passport, or even get mugged. Shit happens, and you must be prepared. Rely on common sense and technology, with these tips.
- Memorizing your passport and credit card numbers (super super important).
- Register on your phone your banks 24/7 credit card opposition number, the one your medical world insurance (mandatory in some countries and mandatory for all travels more than 3 months long), and the one credit card insurance. Synchronize everything on the Cloud with Gmail.
- Scan and upload on an encrypted file on your mailbox and cloud service provider (Dropbox, Onedrive, etc.) your passport main page, driving license, international driving license, credit/debit card(s) both sides and make sure you memorize the password of the file and that of the cloud service
- Based on your citizenship, download a database with the addresses and emergency contact numbers of every embassy and consulates worldwide (French one is diplomatie.gouv.fr).
Gadgets & Devices
- Enable the photo/video cloud uploading feature of Google Drive, Dropbox or Onedrive, so that you can save them automatically each time you have wifi. They are safe in case you lose your phone.
- Secure your devices: enable the touch ID feature of your smartphone and computer. Alternatively, a password will do the job.
- Backup phone: whatever phone will do the job, even your Granny’s one, as long as it’s multiband (international) and unlocked. You can use it with your home country’s sim card while you have a local one on your smartphone.
Trevellers tips: if you’re a citizen of the European Union, in case of problems, you can seek assistance with any embassy/consulate of a country member of the European Union worldwide.
Travelling expensively has changed me, even shaped me in a way. I am very keen to share this experience with people, from all backgrounds: people willing to start travelling, or doing it even more often, wiser or in a more sustainable way. I have received more help, friendships and kindness that I would have expected. For me, this is a way for me to give back, to help people in return, to inspire beginners.