After more than 5 years spent travelling the world, visiting many of the best backpacking destinations you can think of, we figured it time to put together our top travel tips!
These are all tips we’ve used over the years and are planning to use on our future travels.
Many have been hard learned after making plenty of mistakes over the years!
So if you're just starting out on your world travel adventures, take note to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
They should help you with everything, right through from planning your adventures, to saving money and even how to stay safe on the road!
Plus, we’ve split this guide into different sections to help you out, you're welcome!
Let’s get started ...
It’s important to ALWAYS travel with travel insurance.
It’s a silly risk to take if you’re not covered and you’ll soon find that paying for healthcare out of your own pocket is very very expensive.
If you’re taking more than one trip a year, it’s often more feasible to take out an annual policy.
These tend to be cheaper and you can get policies that allow you to take trips up to a length of 3 months at a time.
Most flight companies release their flight schedule a year ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best deal.
There seems to be a sweet spot when it comes to booking flights, and that tends to be around 4-6 month mark.
That's not to say that you can’t bag some great last minute deals!
However if like us you like to be a little prepared when booking long haul flights, then this is a good guideline to aim for.
Sure, you may be able to save a little more closer to the time, but you could also end up being forced to pay a lot more!
You’ll soon find that when travelling (especially when backpacking), your plans don’t always play out.
This means you’ll need to cancel hotel bookings last minute.
Rather than losing out on that money, it's great to use a website like Booking.com that often offers free cancellations (sometimes even on the day you’re due to arrive!)
This has proven really useful for us in last minute situations where circumstances have changed.
We love a last minute trip, and whilst they are great, if you’re going somewhere that requires a specific visa, then some visa applications can take up to 6 weeks, so bear this in mind when you’re planning your travels.
Plus, it’s the same with vaccinations and planning certain tourist sights.
Most people aren’t digital nomads who work whilst travelling, so remember to book your vacation time well before you go.
If you can, build up your vacation time so that you can really make the most of your trip!
If you’re heading on a city break try and book a Thursday and/or Monday off, so that you can turn it into a long weekend.
This is such a great travel tip and something I’ve started doing in more recent years.
Instagram is a haven for travel inspiration, and you can discover some pretty awesome places, both popular and remote.
If you save those travel photos, you can go in search of them when you visit a location, and lots of time people tag the location in their photos which is super helpful.
I found myself with a lot of places to discover from Instagram when we visited The Philippines.
It was awesome!
Don’t make the mistake of just travelling with one bank card.
It’s too easy for it to go missing, to break, be stolen, and there is even the chance that the ATM will not accept it (or eat the card!).
Prepare for this by bringing at least 2 or 3 cards with you.
This could be one debit card, one credit card, and a travel card.
Before you head off on an adventure, it’s a good idea to research different backpacks and suitcases that will perform well in the environment you’re visiting.
Of course if you’re just visiting one destination that’s quite tourist friendly, then you’ll probably not need something robust and sturdy, but if you’re backpacking for long periods of time in different terrains and places, then you’re going to need a backpack that can handle that environment. Typically, higher quality backpacks are a little more expensive, BUT, they last a lot longer!
We can recommend the Osprey brand for backpacks.
Bradley and I have taken a lot of connection flights over the years, and I’ve learnt that there is a perfect balance when it comes to a connection time.
Clearly you don’t want it to be too long, because the wait is just annoying, but you also don’t want it to be too short, because that means there is no room for error.
We’ve often had flight connection times that were 45 minutes, and when our first flight landed 15 minutes late, and we still have to go through security, run to a different boarding gate, or get on the next flight, there suddenly is NOT a lot of time!
We’ve found that a 1.5 hour connection time seems to work well. You’ll have time to go to the toilet and catch a coffee before your next flight.
We have never booked a flight without using Skyscanner.
Skyscanner is a flight comparison website and it shows you the best possible flight combinations, in terms of time and price.
You’ll never definitely get it cheaper searching direct (unless you have points of course), so Skycanner is the best way to find the best deals on flights all over the world.
Plus you can set up price alerts if you’re looking to buy flights at the cheapest price!
Booking tickets online for all aspects of travel has become very popular. We are in a digital age where paper isn’t really necessary.
With regards to travelling, this is really useful.
There’s less complication and confusion when everything is online.
Plus, you’ll often see that when you’re booking tourist attractions online, you can get discounts, coupon codes and flash deals that will allow you to save money.
On the same note … there are a lot of tour companies online offering different deals and experiences, but you’d be surprised at just how much the difference in price can be between some of these companies.
We always cross-check different websites for the same tour or experience, to see who is giving the best deal.
Sometimes this might only be a couple of dollars, but if you’re on a budget, this will add up!
Here’s all the tour sites we have used and recommend:
Rome2Rio is a fantastic website which lets you type in any two locations in the world and it will give you all the options of getting there, alongside the estimated cost.
This is really good, not only for planning a travel route, but also for quickly working out a rough budget.
The one thing I will say is to never take their prices as a firm answer.
When it comes to actually booking, prices on your chosen days can be a lot different, so instead use them as a rough estimate.
It’s really annoying when you book flights with your friends or partners and the airline wants to charge you $30 a seat each so that you can sit together.
I don’t think it’s justifiable.
But there is a way around it.
All airlines will tell you the exact time their check-in will open for a flight.
I suggest you set an alarm and check it right at that moment, and you’ll likely get to sit next together.
This has always worked for us, especially on long haul flights.
Some airlines, like Ryanair, purposely seat you away from each other because you didn’t pay for extra seats, but they’re a short haul airline, so it’s fine!
A great way to discover local experiences that are low-cost, or free is via Facebook groups.
Most popular destinations will have a Facebook group that’s dedicated to sharing information about travelling around that destination.
We found this group super useful when planning our visit to Sri Lanka.
At the time, drone laws were incredibly vague in Sri Lanka and this group was vital in helping us to find out if we could take our drone and also to providing unique spots to film.
Here’s 2 other groups we’ve used regularly over the years:
If you’re doing an adventure trip but you're only going to warm destinations, then you certainly won’t need a thick jacket, jumpers or a hat.
So don’t pack those unnecessary items.
BUT if you’re planning on visiting somewhere like South America, where you will pass through a variety of climates from very hot to very cold, then you’ll want to plan for that.
Especially in that continent where buying warm clothes isn’t cheap.
I remember being stood outside of Ushuaia airport in southern Argentina, shivering under a blanket because we hadn’t brought any cold weather clothes with us!
When we first started backpacking, I’m pretty sure I took 4 pairs of shoes with me!
I had hiking boots, I had trainers, I had a pair flip flops and I had a pair of Skechers.
This is WAY too much. I now carry two.
I always have my water shoes, and a pair of Skechers or Tropicfeel shoes which work well for walking and day-to-day outfits.
If I need other shoes, such as flip flops, I’ll buy a cheap pair in the country I’m visiting.
If you’re heading on a shorter trip, then sure, you can throw in your favourite pair of sandals or boots, but not when you’re backpacking for a longer period of time.
I guess this also applies to all clothing.
Basically pack enough clothes for a week.
I’m not talking about full outfits either, it’s easy to bring 2 pairs of shorts and a couple of tops and suddenly you’ve got like 5 different outfits.
But always pack a week's worth of underwear. I actually bring about 10 days worth, simply because I always seem to lose something.
Ear plugs are really useful for a lot of occasions when travelling.
They’re perfect for plane travel, when you want to get some sleep, they’re really good for hostels, perfect for busy cities when the walls can’t drown out that city noise, and super long bus and train journeys throughout the country.
Or, if your partner simply snores a lot!
If you struggle sleeping in different light conditions, then an eye mask might be a good idea too. But these are typically provided on long-haul flights so you can just take it off the plane with you.
When we first started travelling we used to bring a big towel each.
Turns out, it just took up too much room and it was unnecessary as every hotel we have ever stayed in has provided us with towels.
But bringing a small towel is a great idea for the days you are chasing waterfalls or by the beach and need to dry yourself off.
Here’s a great lightweight, fast-drying towel.
Lots of people make the mistake of bringing shampoo and conditioner, body wash, and maybe some lotion.
This really isn’t necessary.
Firstly, it takes up valuable space, and valuable weight from your luggage.
Rather, most hotels and hostels will provide you with these, and if you wish, you can pick up a smaller version of them at the airport, or even in the country you're visiting.
There is no real need to bring your own with you (unless you have a specific skin condition).
Packing cubes are an excellent way to maximise the space in your suitcase or backpack.
They are also very useful for bringing some sort of organisation when travelling.
You’ll also find you can fit more in when you use packing cubes, because you become strategic with how you pack.
Again these are easily purchased online.
This is more relevant for women, but it also is necessary for men in quite a few countries.
A sarong is required at a lot of religious sites across Asia.
When you’re travelling in a hot continent like Asia, naturally you want to have lightweight clothing on, which usually means your shoulders are exposed.
This is a big no-no if you want to enter certain religious sights, so having a lightweight sarong with you is an easy way to cover up.
Plus they’re great as cover ups by the beach, or or lie on instead of a towel.
We always travel with a small first aid kit that’s packed with the essentials.
This includes paracetamol, flu tablets, tablets to help your tummy when issues arise due to food, plasters, antiseptic cream and a couple of bandages.
You may wish to put more or less in, but that tends to be a good start and will help you with any minor issues.
Overpacking a backpack is so easy to do. I mentioned above that a week’s worth of clothes is enough, but naturally when you start packing, you’ll do more than that- trust me.
So I suggest you pack your backpack with everything you think you need, then you get rid of a third of it.
You will thank me later when your back isn’t killing you and you realize having an extra 3 dress, or shorts is unnecessary.
Travel is all about creating memories and most people don’t travel with a laptop like Bradley and I do.
So you’ll not have a way to back up your photos and delete them to create space on your memory card.
So rather than having to delete precious photos, I suggest you bring extra memory cards with you.
This means you never have to miss out on an epic photo.
Always bring a light jacket when travelling.
Not only do they class up an outfit (when needed), but even if you’re visiting the hottest of countries, it tends to get chilly in the evenings.
You’ll also notice that when your body starts adapting to the heat, you’ll feel colder at temperatures you never thought you could!
They’ll also keep you warm on the plane and bus journeys that are typically cold from air conditioning.
This goes hand-in-hand with your overpacking.
But whilst avoiding overpacking is important, it’s also important to consider the weight of what you are packing.
Remember, you’re going to be carrying your backpack around with you.
And if you’re on a real low budget, then you’ll probably be walking from train stations to your accommodation.
It’s therefore important to test the weight against what you can actually carry.
Pop your backpack on and go for a 10 minute walk, you’ll soon find out whether it’s too heavy or not.
Keeping your clean and dirty clothes separate is not only great for your sanity but for obvious cleanliness reasons too.
Just bring a small extra bag that you can pop your dirty clothes in, then this is the bag you can send to the laundry room when washing clothes!
Bradley and I share the same bag to save space.
In a lot of countries, toilet roll is a luxury, and if you’re doing some serious travelling you will find yourself going to the bathroom in a hole in the ground where there is no form of toilet paper.
Just the classic bucket of water situation.
I always suggest you carry a roll of toilet paper, or if on day-trips then a packet of tissues that you can use when necessary.
Packing lists are a really useful way to visually see and check off everything you need to bring with you on a trip.
You can either create your own, or use an online list and combine it with yours to make sure you’ve covered all angles.
We’ve actually created some pretty cool packing lists for certain destinations that you can check out below.
You can’t travel without a universal adapter.
It’s an absolutely travel necessity!
Adapters can change from country to country, so a universal adapter will allow you to stay charged whilst travelling the world.
I LOVE to plan, but sometimes that’s actually a downfall.
Sometimes when you overplan everything, you become rigid and restricted in what you can and want to do.
This means if something doesn’t go to plan, you’ll be disappointed or frustrated.
Well, things will not go to plan all the time, so it’s important to learn to go with the flow.
Some of our best travel adventures and memories were completely unexpected.
If you wonder how people take great travel photos with no one else in the background, it’s the art of getting up early.
Most people often think “oh it’s just Photoshopped”, not always true.
If you’re one of the first people to arrive at a destination, then you’ll easily beat the crowds!
It’s really nice having a spot to yourself before others arrive, it gives you a sense of peacefulness and excitement.
You’ll really have the chance to appreciate your surroundings.
Only take the bare essentials when you're sightseeing.
If you’ve got a lot of important documents and items with you, you’ll spend most of your time worried that something will be stolen, or has gone missing.
Take only what you need and it’ll be a lot less stressful. Don’t flash your cash or fancy jewels either.
It just puts you at increased risk from thieves.
Now, I can’t say that I’ve never been to a Mcdonalds in a foreign country.
It’s a great place to pee and get a coffee or a snack at night, but don’t let that replace the amazing local cuisine that will surround you!
Try new foods, ask locals for food recommendations and support the local businesses.
I have to say our favourite country for amazing local food is India.
India has the best food in the world, and after 3 weeks of eating there we never got the dreaded Delhi Belly.
Whilst you don’t need a super expensive camera to take great photos, it’s still worth having a phone or camera that can take good quality pictures.
You will constantly be surrounded with the opportunity to take pictures and you should!
Photos are the best way to capture a memory and look back on it in the future.
When we travel, we take:
If you’re travelling somewhere that’s famous for it’s waters, then you’re going to want to bring a GoPro- trust me.
We’ve tried other low-budget cameras that are similar to the GoPro, but they do not live up to the standard.
We didn’t bring a GoPro to The Philippines and honestly it’s a massive regret!
So if you want awesome underwater footage, great snorkeling pictures etc, then bring your GoPro!
We now have the GoPro Hero 8 and the quality is just fantastic.
Getting lost often leads you to new places and new adventures, so don’t be worried when you do.
When you get lost for real in a destination, locals are more than happy to help you find your way back.
So enjoy the experience of where you are and take the unknown road. You never know where it could lead!
Travelling is all about pushing yourself to try new things and new experiences in a new country. This is fantastic, but don’t be afraid to say no.
If you’re terrified of something, don’t just do it because you feel like you have to because you’re travelling, or it’s “for the Gram”.
Only do things you are genuinely interested and comfortable doing.
Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you need to either.
Especially if said thing is unsafe.
Some of our favourite travel moments are from making friends with locals.
We’ve met some amazing people over the years and chatting with people who live and breathe the country you're visiting is such an amazing way to get real insight into what the country is like, rather than just what’s in the guidebooks.
Some of my favourite moments are enjoying a fire with the locals outside in Nagarkot (Nepal), chatting about life and learning about Nepaliese pop music, and meeting awesome locals in El Salvador who invited us for surfing and a really great night out.
They’ll also find you locations to discover that you didn’t know existed!
Different countries have different religions and rules that need to be abided.
Just because it’s something you’re not used to, or you don’t necessarily agree with, doesn’t mean you just blatantly ignore it.
For example, in Muslim countries it’s important not to go around showing off loads of skin.
Local people are tolerable to a certain extent of course, but it’s nice to be respectful of a culture and to reflect that in your actions when visiting their country.
Failing to do so could land you in a lot of trouble.
It’s important to remember that when you’re a new destination, the people of that country aren’t zoo animals that you’re looking at.
So what I mean is, that you can’t just take close up pictures of them without asking.
You’ll often find most people say yes to pictures being taken, but just ask first.
This is especially true if you’re taking pictures of local children. Just be wary of what you’re doing.
I have to say, I wish this worked the other way.
When in India I felt like I had the paparazzi with me anywhere I went.
People were constantly taking my picture, to the point crowds would form and I would be overwhelmed. I’m not joking.
But, I realise I look unique to them, so I accept it to a certain extent, but say no when I feel uncomfortable.
When you’re using your phone to navigate yourself, taking pictures and using Instagram or other apps, you’ll find that your battery is going to drain pretty quickly.
This can often be really frustrating, so I suggest bringing a power bank with you so that you can keep your phone charged when out on your adventures.
Better yet, grab a solar powered one that recharges itself throughout the day!
Google translate has saved us quite a few times!
It’s all well and good knowing little bits of the local language, but if you need to ask something specific, you’ll run into problems.
A great way to overcome this is simply by using Google translate.
It’s also a good way to learn new phrases too!
There seems to be some sort of stigma when it comes to sightseeing certain attractions.
So you’ll often see bloggers and travellers stating things about getting off the beaten track, and “alternative things to do in, such and such”.
Well, that’s great, but it’s also completely fine to see the generic popular sights of a city or country.
They are popular for a reason.
I wasn’t disappointed by a single sight when we visited Rome, but they were all very touristy. Who cares! It’s your trip, see and do whatever makes you happy.
There is no better way to explore a country than with a set of wheels.
Whether it’s a car, moped, or a tuk-tuk (like we had in Sri Lanka!), having your own vehicle allows you to explore far more than you ever could on a tour.
Even just driving the local roads will give you a whole new perspective on a country.
We always suggest that if it’s possible, then rent a car for at least a day and head out and find new things to discover.
Rentalcars.com is a great website to compare rental car prices around the world.
If the opportunity is there, then 100% get a campervan.
Our favourite trips around the world have been in campervans and it’s our go-to form of transport when planning most new trips.
We’ve had the opportunity to wild camp in some of the most epic locations around the world.
The most memorable being around Norway when we saw the Northern Lights almost every night!
A campervan is a great way to just emerge yourself in the nature and surroundings of a country and it can be a useful way to save money as you’ll be combining accommodation, cooking and travel costs into one.
Atlas Obscuras has proved extremely useful is finding the most random attractions, but also great fun.
For example, when road tripping Sweden, two of our favourite spots were found through Atlas Obscura:
They weren’t mentioned on any other travel blogs so we’d have missed them otherwise!
If you’re revisiting a destination you’ve been to before, or you’ve managed to see all the sights you want to see and still have some time left, then this is a fantastic way to discover even more. Seriously a lot of the time you wonder how these places were even found!
In many countries, when you’re at a market or even trying to buy a tour from a local street vendor, haggling is expected.
Of course there is a fine line between getting a great deal and offending someone.
Naturally, when locals expect you to haggle, they start you off at a price that’s crazy high (something you would never pay back home), that’s because they expect you to cut it by half and start your negotiations from there.
Sometimes, if you’re haggling for the sake of a couple of dollars it’s not worth it, so you may just want to pay the little extra.
But haggling can be a lot of fun once you get the hang of it, and a great way to share a joke with a local!
We’ve found this to be the case in many countries all around the world, such as Bolivia, France, Ireland, Peru, and Spain.
Lunch time is the time of day you can get great meal deals in restaurants.
Typically it could be a set menu for a low price (in Bolivia it’s $2 for a 3 course meal!), or all lunch dishes are $5, and things like that.
So if you want cheaper food, then have your bigger meal at lunch time and something smaller for dinner.
Tonnes of hotels and hostels include breakfast in their rate, but if they don’t, you’ll often have the option to add it on.
In Asia, this typically costs an extra $1-2 so it’s worth doing.
When possible, we try and choose an accommodation option that includes our breakfast.
That’s one less meal we have to worry about paying for!
If you’re really tight on money, you could also book accommodation that has cooking facilities so you can cook your own lunch and dinner.
We aren’t students any more, but when I went to South America, I still had a valid in-date student card and was able to get some great discounts, especially on famous sights in Rio de Janeiro. You’ll also get lots of discounts throughout Europe, so it’s definitely worth bringing your student card with you on your travels.
Most cities nowadays seem to offer some form of free walking tour and over the years Bradley and I have partaken in quite a few.
They are a great way to get some extra insight into a destination and work out sights you want to return too.
You should give your guide a tip, as that’s what their earnings are based on! It’ll always cost less than actually forking out for a tour.
Shoulder season is brilliant for a variety of reasons.
Firstly there are less people and the weather is usually still great, but the most appealing reason is that it’s always cheaper.
You’ll get cheaper flights, cheaper accommodation and even cheaper entrance fees.
So shoulder season is the sweet spot for anyone wanting to save money whilst travelling.
Whether it’s a romantic partner or a great friend, travelling with someone else always seems to work out cheaper.
You’ll be able to get a twin room/double room often for less than it costs for two dorm beds, you’ll be able to haggle for better prices on tours, and you can split food bills and taxis.
It’s one of the reasons Bradley and I love travelling as a couple!
Laundry soap bars are very cheap and a great way to keep on top of your washing.
When travelling, doing the laundry is actually time consuming, so we often try to do it once a week, or every 10 days, but this means we might run out of basics, like underwear.
When you’ve got your own laundry soap bar, you can clean these yourself to stay on top of things.
Monzo and Revolut are two digital banking systems that offer the best exchange rates on the market.
There is no hidden detail or charges, it’s very basic and you get the best exchange rate available.
You also get no charges for withdrawals up to a certain amount, which in the UK is £200 per month on each card.
So we often travel with two cards each, which means we get £800 worth of free withdrawals between us monthly.
You’ll find that most places take cards nowadays anyway, so you never really go over the limit. But even if you do, it’s only a small percentage (2%).
Exchanging at the airport is a waste of time and money.
Just withdraw your money from the ATM at the destination you’ve arrived at with your travel card.
REMEMBER, when the ATM asks you to choose either the ATMs exchange rate or your bank’s, you choose your bank’s.
This option is sometimes called: “continue without conversion”.
We’ve only done couch surfing once, when in Chile, but it was amazing.
We ended up staying with a wonderful couple who we are still in touch with today.
Staying with locals allows you to really see more of a country from a local perspective and it’s a great way to make new connections.
Plus, couchsurfing works on a free basis.
You stay at the hosts home for free, and in return, you are typically just expected to spend some time with and get to know them.
You really never know just who you might meet!
Local transport is always cheaper because locals use it.
It’s true, in some countries local transport is over-crowded, not very safe, and just very manic.
But if you like a challenge, then it’s always fun to use and the cheapest way to get around.
It’s always best to just ask a local for advice with local transport.
Tell them where you want to go and they’ll point you to the right train or bus.
This is an awesome device I recently discovered as Bradley got me one for my birthday!
This nifty device allows you to make real espresso on the go!
All you need is your coffee and hot water and you’re ready to make great coffee.
I’m a coffee lover, and sometimes I miss espresso coffee when travelling, especially when on a road trip, so this is a brilliant alternative and a great way for me to get my caffeine fix!
It also means you can pick up local coffee from around the world and try it when travelling. Central America is a great place for this since it has so many amazing coffee regions including, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica & El Salvador.
Sign up codes are a great travel tip when you want to save money for travel!
Lots of accommodation websites use sign up codes to entice you into your first booking, and if a sign up code requires an email address, remember you can use different email addresses to reuse the code on different occasions.
Here are a few of our sign up codes you can use to get started:
Be sure to pass your own referral code onto friends and relatives so you can benefit again and again!
A lock is a good way to help keep your items more secure.
I do think that they aren’t full proof, because if someone wants to steal your stuff, then a lock won’t stand in their way.
But it can act as a deterrent. Locks are cheap, just make sure you don’t lose the keys!
Since I have type 1 diabetes, this is an important factor for me, but lots of people travel with some sort of condition or illness and if that applies to you, then make sure you split your important supplies between two different bags.
It could be your bag and your travel partners bag, or a day bag or a main bag.
This means if something gets stolen (or ruined), you have a backup plan.
No one knows the safety of a city or country better than the locals themselves.
Ask your hotel staff or guy at the coffee shop if the area is safe.
Ask if there are anything extra precautions you should take, can you walk alone at night, should you trust the taxi drivers, etc.
You’ll often find that locals want to keep you safe, so that you can encourage others to visit, so they’ll be open and honest. We’ve always found this.
Unfortunately not everyone you meet will have your best interests at heart.
So, you need to find the balance between trusting people and having your guard up.
This is actually a pretty difficult balance to find, especially when you’re approached by locals in the street.
You just need to keep common sense.
If you ask for directions and you know it’s somewhere left, and the person you ask is directing you another way, then the chances are, they’re not trying to help.
This happens in Marrakech a lot. Some people are genuine, but you just need to be wary.
This is pretty easy to do if you’re sharing your travels on social media.
Often I’ll say on Instagram stories what the plans are for the day, where we are going, and this is really useful if suddenly we were inactive, someone would know the last place we said we were.
This also works for if you’re travelling solo, tell someone at the hostel desk where you’re planning on heading out to, or let your friends and family know back home, so that if they don’t hear from you, then they have a starting place on where to look.
I’ve mentioned before the importance of taking more than one bank card with you when travelling, but it’s also smart not to place them altogether.
You should separate your cards into different bags so that if one bag goes missing, you’ve still got another.
This is more applicable to daily days when travelling.
If you’re heading out for the day it’s a good idea to plan your route before you leave.
This means you’ve got an idea of when places close, and ensure you’re closer to your hotel/hostel before dark.
It also allows you to feel secure in where you’re going, so if someone tries to offer you advice that throws you off track, you can stick to the route you had planned.
Of course things change, but it’s good to be prepared.
Always save your hotel or hostel on Google Maps.
This means if you get lost, or you need to show someone where you’re staying, you can show on Google maps rather than trying to explain verbally in a language you probably don’t speak. Locals can often work out where your hotel is once you show them a map, or if not, you can direct the taxi driver yourself to ensure you get back okay.
This is another reason why we love Booking.com; their mobile app syncs up to Google Maps; so once you’ve made a booking, you can quickly click through from the app to the exact location of the property on maps.
Not only is this a very useful travel tip, it’s actually pretty fun!
I really enjoy trying to learn basic phrases in the language I visit.
And honestly, this is one of the reasons I love visiting Central/South America, basically anywhere that speaks Spanish, because I love learning the language!
You don’t need to know a lot, just basic, “hello”, “thank you”, “do you speak English”, tend to be useful and the locals really appreciate it.
This is really important.
Your passport is pretty much your most important document when travelling, you’ll need it to get into and out of a country.
Sometimes it’s required in certain countries that you carry your passport with you daily for random spot checks.
I can tell you that in all my years of travelling, this has never ever happened.
So, instead I would carry a photocopy of my passport, and if they need further information, then I’ll just have to bring my actual passport to a station at a later date.
With regards to health insurance documents and visa documents, make sure you have digital copies of those with you that are easily accessible.
This is a really useful travel tip, that I only learnt from experience.
You’ll need passport photos for random things, it could be a visa application at a border, or it could be to get a local sim card (this happened in India).
It’s really useful to carry just one or two passport photos with you and I usually keep mine in the back of my phone for safekeeping and easy access!
Local sims are the easiest and cheapest way to stay connected when travelling abroad.
We’ve used local sims all around the world, from Nepal the USA, and they’ve always proven to be better value for money.
You just need to ensure that your phone is unlocked, which basically means your phone will allow you to use another sim.
Speak with your phone provider to find out if your phone is locked or unlocked.
We always plan for the “what could go wrong” before we head off on a big trip.
You can’t predict absolutely everything, but it definitely brings you more confidence if you’re ready to accept some of the potential mishaps that could happen.
For me, I like to have a rough idea of how I can get a hold of type 1 diabetes supplies, just in case something bad happens and my supplies get lost or broken.
If you like to be particularly cautious, you could always go ahead and download important local numbers, such as health services or the police.
In the eco-friendly world we live in, or aspire to live in, this is definitely a great tip.
Bringing your own water bottle with you will ensure you use less plastic, and it also means you’ll save money on buying countless bottles of water.
Lots of cities have water fountains, and typically if you ask your hostel/hotel or a cafe to fill up your water bottle, they will!
You can get water purifiers too (if you’re worried about the quality of water you’re drinking).
I’m a coffee fanatic, and this is something I’ve started doing on my recent travels.
I now bring my own little pop up travel coffee cup that I use daily.
This is perfect if you want to bring your coffee with you on the go, and if you’re grabbing a coffee from a cafe, you can use your own cup.
It’s also handy for it to be collapsible as it saves space in my bags.
Slow travel is not only cheaper, but it’s just an all round better experience.
You’ll get the chance to really immerse yourself in a new culture and way of life, and you’ll feel much more relaxed when sightseeing and visiting a country.
There’s nothing worse than being super stressed that you’ve only got a day to see all the best sights in one location, then rushing through them and not really admiring or connecting with what you’re actually visiting.
We’ve learnt this over the years, and I much prefer to give myself extra time than rush through a destination.
After all, our mission is to see every country in the world, but we have a lifetime to do it!
Travel burnout is a real thing and when you’re constantly on the move, constantly taking in new situations, experiences, your brain is on overdrive a lot of the time.
Eventually you’ll just feel overwhelmed or super tired and you lose interest in what you're seeing. These are all signs that you just need to take a day or two to do nothing.
Just relax, reconnect your thoughts, and then you’ll be ready to take on the world again!
I never get jet lagged (well, hardly ever) and it’s because I stick to this one rule:
I only sleep when my destination country is sleeping.
So if I’m on an overnight flight, but my destination is awake, then I’m awake too and if I arrive in a country and I haven’t slept in hours but it’s not bedtime yet there, I force myself to stay awake.
It’s a challenge, but it means you reset your body right away, so when you wake up, you’re already connecting to the new time zone.
I sleep really easily, so this marks it easier for me. But, it’s a good travel tip that genuinely works!
For more flying tips, check out my guide on the best things to do on long flights.
It’s really important you protect your skin when travelling.
The sun is a powerful thing and damage to your skin, and skin cancer is a real possibility if you do not wear suncream.
If you’re going to be swimming and snorkelling, then opt for reef safe sunscreen when possible. But don’t let yourself burn!
Suncream will be more expensive in hotter countries, so if you can get a great deal for suncream online, or in your hometown, stock up there.
People actually underestimate how easy it is to get blood clots in the legs when flying long haul. It’s really important to keep your feet moving.
My legs have swollen a few times, and it’s not great! Wear flight socks when flying long haul, and get up and walk around the cabin.
If you don’t want to get up a lot, then just do little feet exercises at your seat.
This is a pretty basic, but important travel tip … always carry hand sanitizer!
A lot of the toilets you’ll be visiting if you’re backpacking will not have any sort of cleaning facilities in place, and it’s super easy to pick up infection.
Clean your hands before you eat too, as again, you don’t know what you’ve been touching all day.
This is really useful when you don’t want to drain your battery with your internet data on whilst sightseeing.
Mark all your sightseeing locations on Google Maps and download offline maps so that you access directions without the internet.
This has been super useful for us when travelling and I can’t imagine how we survived without it before!
Whilst a lot of places accept card payments nowadays, when you visit very local places, the chances are, no cards will be accepted.
So it’s good to have a small change with you.
Small change is also useful for local transportation.
For example tuk-tuk drivers can’t break large notes, and it’s also good for restaurants and cafes when you’re leaving a tip!
Try to use larger supermarkets and stores to break change, rather than a local market which will be less willing or able.
As you travel more frequently, you’ll begin to develop your own little routine for hotel check-outs. But one tip I can give you is to always check under the bed!
Stuff constantly falls underneath or even between the bed and you could misplace it easily. Bradley will confirm this, but we always find one sock under the bed before we leave hotel rooms...and that leads me to my next tip ...
I don’t know why I keep losing socks, I don’t do it intentionally, I try to keep track of them, but I always end up losing my socks when travelling!
They’re either stuck in between the beds, or they go missing when laundry is done, but you’ll just have to accept that those darn socks will disappear.
VPNs are not only a great way to protect yourself online, especially when using the internet in foreign countries where connections might not be as secure.
But, it’s also perfect for being able to access websites that may not be accessible in your destination.
For example, in China where a lot of social media networks sites are blocked. Or if you just want to access Netflix movies from another region!
There are lots of great VPNs on the market, but we can recommend this one for your travels.
It’s important to strike a balance when it comes to staying in connection with your friends and family.
If you’re in touch too much then there is a good chance you will start to get homesick, whereas if you ring them weekly it’s fun to catch up on all the awesome activities and things you’ve seen that week.
Don’t feel guilty either, you’re family and friends want to have fun on your trip of a lifetime!
I find that Instagram story updates are a great compromise.
That way, your friends and family can see what you’re up to every day and you don’t have to repeat the same stories for everyone!
Lots of people decide to take the risk when it comes to travelling and vaccinations, but I think this is a silly attitude.
The conditions you’re getting vaccinated for can kill you, so why would you take the risk.
Most vaccinations last a couple of years, and some a lifetime, so it’s an investment into your future travels.
To find which vaccines you need for different countries, it’s always best to visit a travel nurse before you leave!
Oh, and make sure you visit at least a month in advance (ideally 2) so that you have enough time to receive the different vaccines needed.
So there you have it, our ultimate travel tips that will hopefully help you plan the perfect trip and ensure you have a fantastic time on your adventures!
We really hope you’ve found this post useful and if you’ve got any other travel tip suggestions then please do drop a comment below and share with fellow travellers.