The life of a full time travel blogger sound luxurious, doesn’t? A dream job of plucking away a new blog post on a laptop with wildlife chittering in the background or toes in the sand snapping away photos. It may sound all glamour, but travel bloggers deal with the same things the average traveller does. Planning the trip, booking flights and rooms, finding a lost passport, overcoming language barriers, coughing up airline fees, and of course the struggle to have the best possible experience within their budget.
That’s why I asked a group of travel bloggers to share their best nuggets of wisdom. These tips range from the practical to the profound and the tips they share are applicable for any traveller, worldwide. RETHINK LODGING “Book an apartment instead of a hotel and be sure to seek out the local cuisine. I always try my hardest to travel off the beaten path. I love experiencing the food, people, and city I’m in through the eyes of the locals.”
PACK WISELY “Pack things you aren’t afraid to part with because you’ll definitely need more room for newer and better items.” SAVE ON FLIGHTS “Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to certain countries within the same continent of where you’re going, and travel country to country within that continent. For example, RyanAir is a cheap airline that allows you to fly within Europe usually around $10-50 per trip.
If you were flying to Europe, it may be beneficial to fly into a ‘cheaper’ airport like Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy and then RyanAir it to your destination.” CHOOSE YOUR SEAT WISELY “When travelling by bus, sit on the same side of the bus that you put your backpack under the bus. That way, with all the stops before yours, you can watch and make sure that no one steals your backpack, and it will still be there when you get off the bus.”
AVOID LANGUAGE BARRIERS “Take a snapshot of the name and address of your hotel in the native language of the destination before you arrive/before you leave the hotel. That way you can approach anyone for directions without having to worry about language barriers, just show them the snapshot (which is in their native language) and they will be able to understand and help you.”
MAKE USE OF YOUR LAYOVER “Use those hours of waiting around at the airport to research your destination – read a guide book or research online. Don’t miss out on something awesome because you didn’t know it was there!” PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES “Scan a copy or picture of your front passport page to your email so it is easier to replace if it is lost. Contact your bank to let them know you will be using your credit card or debit card abroad. Leave your itinerary with a family member or loved one.”
MUST HAVE ITEMS “There are five things you should always have on you, in a pocket and not in your hand luggage: your passport, cell phone, boarding pass, credit card and a bit of cash. If someone takes your hand luggage by mistake or if there is an evacuation, having those with you makes your life much easier.”
MAKE A FRIEND BEFORE YOU LEAVE “Find a trusted friend in your travel agent to help plan your trip. They have access to a wide range of wholesalers to compare prices and availability to get you the best deal. They can also help with more complicated itineraries and use their knowledge, experience and industry contacts to your advantage. And when everything goes wrong and there is an earthquake on the opposite side of the globe, they will have your back, sit on hold to the airlines for hours and find a way to get you home safely.”
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME “Travel off-season! Like they say, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes! I have saved sometimes over 40% by travelling off-season and have had the best of experiences! I end up avoiding crowds and exploring more destinations with the same budget as I save on tickets and accomodation rates.”
BE PREPARED FOR THE WORST “Keep an old credit card that has expired. For men, place it in an old wallet with 10USD – n case of getting robbed, this can be handed over in place of your true wallet. Another tip for an expired credit card is that some hotels now use a credit card to open and close room safes- instead of using an active one, use the expired one, just in case you get compromised!”
SAVE ON MEALS “One of the things i do regularly to save money: eating right from the supermarket! A lot of ‘bigger’ supermarkets have areas with hot food or a place to heat food! This is a cheap place for dinner and you can eat your food in front of the supermarket as a picnic.”
CARRY DOCUMENTATION “While there is no standard age limit to fly; commonly airlines allow a 2 day old baby to board as long as they have clearance from a doctor while other airlines follow a 7 day rule. If you travel internationally, you need to get passports for the kids.” LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! “Even if it might cost a bit more to stay central, you will save time and money on transportation.”
EAT UP! “Food, according to us, is the most important factor. It is always vital to keep food & water with you at all times – ensure you carry something dry to avoid any mess. If you are on your way to a hill station, do have a bunch of candies in hand. Also, be sure to try out the local food!”
CONSIDER A HOSTEL “Hostels come in many shapes and sizes. Some are clean and some have mold constantly growing in the showers. They can be closer to town or out in the boonies. To make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, check out the customer reviews on a hostel before booking it. The more reviews there are for a hostel, the better of an idea you can have on how the hostel really is.”
BRING GOOD TUNES “Everything good in life should start with that good music (good is relative). iPad, iPod, iPhone or your dad’s CDs or Grandpa’s mixed tape.” EXPAND YOUR LITERARY HORIZONS “Love reading? Always carry a book with you, at least one! If you take a book with you, once you finish it, you might have the opportunity to exchange it with another one you haven’t read. In some hotels or B&B they have shelves where you leave a book and take a new one!”
SAVE ON FLIGHTS “On the average, flying on these days offer the best airfare deals: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.” http://www.photostop.ca/