Are you dreaming about going on a trip? Are you itching to take off and be footloose and fancy-free? These travelling tips and tricks from world explorer Danny Newman will get you started. In 2018, Danny sold everything he owned and took off on an adventure around the world.
I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t travel, heck, I don’t know who I’d even be. My entire life (up until coronavirus brought it to a shuddering, grinding, teeth-clenching halt) has revolved around travel for the last two years or so, and I had built up an encyclopedia of travelling tips for my loyal readers.
I’d done a reasonable amount of travelling throughout my early twenties, but then, in 2018, I finally plunged head-first into the full-time travel lifestyle that’s now my norm. I sold my stuff, packed everything that was left into a backpack and hit the road with a remote writing job under my belt, thinking I’d travel and work my way around the world for the foreseeable future. But then the pandemic hit, everything went mad, and I had to go back ‘home’ to the UK!
A few months later and with international travel still off the table, I’ve started reflecting on just how much I love (and miss) it. That, in turn, got me thinking about the advice I’d offer someone who’s about to go travelling for the first time.
What travel tips could I give them to ensure they had such an incredible time that they ended up loving travel as much as I do?
I narrowed it down to 10 things.
Want to find out what they are? Read on for my top 10 travel tips that should help anybody have an incredible time on the road.
- Travelling Tips and Tricks
Travelling Tips and Tricks
10 Travel Tips for the Best Trip Ever
1- Pay For It Yourself
This might sound strange but hear me out as this is a perfect travelling trip.
I think paying for your adventure is massively underrated and like anything that you work hard to achieve, the result is all the sweeter.
Let me put it another way, who do you think appreciates their travels more? Someone who works two jobs, saves every penny they can, sells their stuff and does whatever it takes to get the money together to pay for their trip? Or somebody who gets given all the money they need by a well-intentioned family member?
Person A, of course.
Honestly, something special happens when you pay for your travels.
Everything you do, from watching a perfect sunset to diving the Great Barrier Reef, takes on a new meaning because you earned it.
You set a goal, dreamed night and day about your adventures and then made them happen through sheer grit and determination.
You appreciate everything that you purchase far more, as a result, spend your cash more sensibly and prolong the trip in the process.
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2- Take a Smaller Backpack
Here’s a practical travel tip: Try to pack everything from your minimalist hiking shoes to your cold-weather gear into a smaller backpack than you think you need (aim for 40 to 50L if possible).
It’s the best method I’ve come across to help you pack light for your road trip or journey around the world.
After all, with limited space, you’ve got no other choice but to pack the bare essentials
By comparison, it can be incredibly tempting to fill the space that a giant pack provides.
The result is you will take more on the road than you need and have to carry it around wherever you travel.
Pain, strain, and general discomfort become constant companions, so trust me, less is more when it comes to packing.
There’s less stuff to carry, lose, and repack every time you unload your luggage.
In other words, everything gets a little easier.
3- Buy a One-Way Ticket
One of my favourite travelling tips is to buy a one-way ticket because the whole experience is open-ended, with no end-date that looms ever-closer with each passing day.
It makes the whole trip feel liberating as the open road unfolds before you, stuffed full with a never-ending list of opportunities.
With no return ticket, there’s no hard-stop to the adventure, and you could, in theory, keep travelling in perpetuity, until you no longer feel the need to continue.
That’s not to say that having a return ticket is terrible, though.
In some ways, knowing your trip will come to an end makes you more inclined to wring the last drops of experience from every day on the road.
Like life itself, the fact your trip isn’t indefinite helps to imbue it with a sense of poignancy.
Every second counts and I love the sense of possibility that comes with committing to one-way ticket travel.
It helps me relax, take my time, and indulge my desire to explore slowly.
4- Don’t Plan (Too Much)
It’s always tempting to plan your travels, especially when you’re hitting the road for the first time. Why? It comes down to two things:
Firstly, you want to make the most of your experience, and with so much to see and do, planning seems like the best way to avoid missing out on anything.
Secondly, though, it lends a reassuring sense of control to what can otherwise feel quite daunting.
You’re heading to a new place, far from your loved ones and the comfort of what you know.
In the process, you move away from a place of certainty to one of total mystery, and it’s natural to want to reign things in.
Having a plan does precisely that; soothing the angst that such uncertainty can create but in the process, though, you stifle the potential for adventure.
There’s nothing like a lack of plans to lead you into unexpected encounters.
You go with the flow, feel more able to say ‘yes’ to opportunities and will be less compelled to stick to a schedule.
I try to strike a happy medium. For example, I might plan where to stay on my first couple of nights in a new place and research a couple of the main things to see and do.
From there, though, I leave myself open to whatever comes my way.
Just as importantly, I’m more than ready to set my tentative plans aside if something more exciting arises.
5- Don’t Dwell On the Dangers
Don’t listen too closely to the news (or your mum) when it comes to planning a trip or you might end up feeling like travelling is a sure-fire way to get yourself killed.
Wars, political upheavals, famines, natural disasters and rising levels of violent crime dominate the headlines.
The whole world seems too full of trouble to risk exploring it, but the reality of travel is very different.
Ask anybody who’s done it and the vast majority will explain how safe it is, even in places that might have a bad reputation.
Sure, some will also have experienced the occasional close call and dodgy situation, but that’s life. These things could easily happen at home.
Don’t focus on what could go wrong when you hit the road and turn your attention to all the things you’ll gain by going (and miss out on if you stay!).
Another sensible travelling tip is to get yourself some travel insurance, be sensible and alert when you arrive in the country, educate yourself on local scams and learn about the areas of town to avoid.
Do all that and, with a bit of luck, you should be safe and sound for as long as you’re travelling.
6- Say Yes At Every Opportunity
One of the most common tips for travelling the world should be to seize the moment, challenge yourself, explore new environments and opening yourself up to new experiences.
That’s how real adventures happen, so take that approach during your travels, and you’re sure to feel the true power of travel.
You’ll walk away from it as a very different person to the one that first landed on those foreign shores.
One way to achieve this is to say ‘yes’ to whatever opportunities come up along the way (within reason, of course).
- Say yes if a friendly fellow traveller at your hostel asks whether you want to explore together the next day.
- Say yes if someone suggests you do a bungee jump and you’ve got the money to do it.
- Say yes if a local person who you meet one day invites you over for dinner.
Say yes enough times to enough opportunities, and you’ll come away with hundreds of unforgettable stories that you’d otherwise have missed out on.
7- Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes, saying yes might take you well and truly out of your comfort zone and assuming you’re not putting yourself in harm’s way, that’s not a bad thing.
That’s how you grow, develop and reap the full rewards that travel can provide.
It’s a bit like growing in a physical sense as well. Remember the dreaded growing pains that you struggled with as a kid?
Well, you can see the discomfort of stepping out of your comfort zone in the same way. This time, though, you’re growing at an emotional, spiritual, and psychological level.
This has different meanings to everyone as one person might have an irrational fear of riding scooters around Thailand. At the same time, another might hate the thought of eating from street vendors in India, and someone else may struggle to introduce themselves to people in hostels.
No matter what’s holding you back, one of my top travelling tips is to lean into that discomfort rather than avoiding it.
That’s when the magic will happen.
8- Don’t Rely On the Guidebook
I have mixed feelings about travel guides.
Although they come in handy in terms of highlighting things to do, planning your itinerary, and finding somewhere to stay each night.
On the other, they stifle your experience if you follow their suggestions too closely.
It’s like sticking to the beaten path on a popular hike.
Sure, it’ll get you to the destination and show you some nice things along the way, but it’s hardly going to help you have an adventure.
You can end up doing exactly what everybody else does, stay ignorant to opportunities that aren’t in the guide, and get funnelled down the same well-trodden path just as sheep get herded by a shepherd.
My suggestion? Use a guidebook if you’re short on time and want to see the most popular parts of a particular destination.
For people who aren’t in a hurry, though, I recommend putting the guidebook away now and again.
Speak to locals instead (hostel owners are particularly useful sources of information) and ask them about things to do in the area.
Honestly, there’s nothing better than getting the input of people who live in the place you’re exploring.
You’ll discover hidden gems that fall off the tourist trail, not to mention engaging with people instead of burying your head in a book.
9- Put Your Phone Away
The same goes for travelling with a mobile phone, take a tip and put it away as often as you can.
They make everything too easy and, even worse, distract you from the experience itself.
You can navigate without getting lost, translate the language without asking for a local’s help, book tickets without speaking to real-life vendors, arrange transport without an issue, and so on.
At one level, mobile phones help make life on the road become a breeze, but after a while, though, it starts taking the fun out of it. I mean, what’s travel without the occasional mishap?
When everything goes to plan, you end up with fewer stories to tell or memories to look back and laugh at.
My main problem with mobiles is how they disconnect you from the world.
You spend the whole time plugged into the internet instead of genuinely embracing new cultures, environments and countries.
People in hostels speak with their friends and family back home rather than interacting with the countless new faces around them.
Having a mobile phone comes in handy all the time when you travel but make sure you put it down once in a while.
10- Go Now, Not Later
My final piece of advice for any aspiring traveller is to go whenever and wherever you can, without delay.
Don’t postpone your trip.
Don’t hold back and tell yourself you’ll do it when you’re older and have more money.
If your inner voice is telling you to travel now, then you owe it to yourself to make it happen.
As unfeasible as it might seem, your future self might not be able to enjoy the road as much as you could now.
You might have less energy, more ailments and a warped outlook that’s come from the hard knocks that life can deliver over time.
Look what’s happened with coronavirus. You never know when something’s going to happen to snatch away those long-held travel plans from your grasp in the blink of an eye.
Want to travel and have the option to do it? Then go! Book a ticket before you can talk yourself out of the trip. You won’t regret it.
These are my top 10 travel tips for anybody thinking of hitting the road whenever coronavirus finally disappears.
Hopefully, by keeping these suggestions in mind, you’ll be able to embrace the experience, live it to its fullest and come home having ignited the same love for travel that so many of us already share.
Got any additional questions or concerns about taking a big trip overseas? Could you drop a comment below to let us know?
Danny Newman is currently writing and travelling his way around the world in a bid to figure out what he’s doing with his life. He’d love you to follow along with his journey over at What’s Danny Doing.