Little travel tricks I’ve picked up along the way

During the course of my shorter trips I’ve always learnt something new, but the last five months have been particularly enlightening. Here’s a list of some of my favourite tips of all time:

  • Don’t put clothes in hotel room drawers if you might forget to take them out when you leave.

  • It’s always better to ask a question when in doubt rather than stand back and accept something. A negative answer is the worst you’ll get.

  • Never assume that the person next to you can’t understand the language you’re speaking.

  • Help save the world by taking a reusable shopping bag with you. I got mine through Envirosax. They’re super strong but compact.

  • In addition to a travel adapter plug, take a double adapter plug so you can charge two items at a time.

  • Always carry loose change.

  • Go with your gut instinct – it’s usually right.

  • Pick up on little things that locals do or wear, and adopt them if you are having trouble blending in. Pay special attention to shoes, bags and accessories, and on public transport wear a scowl and roll your eyes at the lack of air-conditioning!

  • If you’re a female traveller by yourself, bite the bullet and pay for an authorised taxi home if you’re returning late.

  • Check reviews on tripadvisor.com to avoid disappointment with accommodation you book. Reviews will also let you know if the hotel/hostel is in a good location and if it’s suitable for certain groups of people. But something to note is that only excellent or terrible hotels will have plenty of reviews; people don’t usually feel compelled to comment on something that was satisfactory.

  • Ensure that your bank offers convenient and easy options for banking online, and that you clarify how you can contact them from overseas. Most banks will allow you to call collect in an emergency.

  • Over-the-counter drugs (for sore throats, headaches, or insomnia) are usually excellent in parts of South America and most of Europe so don’t bother bringing too much from home unless it’s really specific.

  • Never have expectations about food (or anything, for that matter) in different countries, because you could set yourself up for disappointment. For example, hamburgers in Argentina don’t generally come with lettuce and tomato unless you ask for it. In parts of Europe, your side salad may be huge and the main might be small.

  • For a few Euros, the Paris Circulation map booklet is a good investment if you’re in Paris for a while, and means you can avoid the instant tourist “I have a huge foldout map” look. Even the locals have them.

  • Take a small AM/FM radio so you can learn about what’s on that day in the area, or if it’s in a different language then you can be exposed to the music they like.

  • Wearing headphones (even if there is no music playing) is a great way to not have to acknowledge unwanted attention, without feeling too rude!

  • Remember that people everywhere are still people. They like to be liked, praised and accepted, so keep this in mind when you’re asking for anything. Flattery does work!

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2 thoughts on “Little travel tricks I’ve picked up along the way

  1. Christine Udy says:

    I can relate to the first point especially! A wardrobe full of dresses left in a Marseille hotel, realised they were left behind when we reached Lyon, they were returned via courier post to London in under a week! Phew!

  2. Solange says:

    That was very lucky! I’ve definitely learnt my lesson. I got my stuff back too but it was a mission, and I was still in the same city!

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