Some might say that travellers are a peculiar bunch, but in their madness they also have some insider travel tips that aren’t always common knowledge to those that don’t travel very often, but that can make your trip a whole lot better.

I thought I would share some of these with you, cos’ I know you want to travel. 🙂

Golden rule #1: Travel light

Packing is a great example, as my mate Roscoe always impressed upon me when I was getting ready for my first international adventure, in fact it’s his golden rule “put everything you want to take with you on the bed, then take half, but take twice the cash.”   

Over the years whenever Sam had a trip somewhere with either her school or various soccer teams, her friends would show up at the airport with two large suitcases jammed full of “stuff” plus a backpack, whereas Sam would have a carryon and her backpack.  They would always be totally amazed at how little she took with her, yet survived quite nicely without having to lug around a huge amount of luggage.

It’s one of my golden rules to traveling and have always impressed upon this my kids – always travel light!   

There is nothing worse than having to lug around a suitcase of things that you don’t end up wearing. So leave them at home, but creative and mix and match your outfits to suit your climate and adventure.

Golden rule #2: Hydrate & stretch

This is one is particularly important, especially on long-haul flights. Although as I’ve gotten older and wiser (well, okay older) I’ve found that if I don’t drink lots of water during my flights (take a cup every time the flight attendant offers one) I end up with a pounding headache. Yeah – not great to get off at your destination feeling crappy!

Another aspect of this is to ensure that at some point in my flights (3+ hours) I get up and walk around, even if it’s only back and forth to the toilet. For longer haul flights every couple of hours I get up and stretch just to get the blood flowing to your extremities. The best place I’ve found is to stretch near the exit row where there is generally more space to manoeuvre.

You don’t have to do a lot to get the blood flowing and the muscles stretched, plus it feels invigorating especially on overnight or long haul flights. Compression socks (long ones) are also good for those of you that have issues with your ankles swelling.

Golden rule #3: Connectivity

Not sure about you, but I’m fed up with the telecommunication companies charging us an arm and a leg for international roaming when I’m out of the country and having to face often an enormous bill upon my return from vacation.

All is not lost! There are a couple of choices for those facing this conundrum. (1) If your phone is unlocked you can buy a local sim card with refillable hours and place this in your phone upon arrival. The big trick is to not lose your micro sim card for when you return home as they are super small – always pack a zip lock bag for keeping it safe. This can work well, although it can be a bit of a hassle to arrive into a country and the first thing you have to do is find and purchase a sim card.

I’ve resorted to a slightly different approach since my trip to Japan and Bali last year, including all subsequent trips since. I brought myself a Skyroam international portable Wi-Fi hub that I turn on as soon as I arrive into a new country, activate my day pass and keep it in my backpack all the time – I am my own portable WiFi hotspot. The cost for a day pass is $9.99 and can accommodate ten devices at any time, and totally password secured. This enables you to turn off your roaming cellular and only operate on Wi-Fi.

I’ve personally have used this on every trip I’ve taken in the past year and love it! Just remember to turn off your cellular on the plane and turn on and activate your Skyroam while you’re still on the plane, pop it into your backpack and you’re all set! Trust me it will save you a bundle long term.

Golden rule #4: Less planning and more exploring

I’ve never been one personally for taking organized tours or all inclusive resorts, not that there is anything wrong with that, but just not my cup of tea if you know what I mean.

I personally like to define a short list of things I’d like to do and see when visiting somewhere new (no more than 3 – 5), and to be honest I don’t even feel tied to these things, but have them more as a “nice to see or do”.

However, what I love to do is to explore and in most cases get lost, before discovering a few off the beaten track places or experiences before figuring out my way back. This is my own personal approach and its worked beautifully for me over the years. In fact, the more I travelled, the more I’ve realized that this is the secret ingredient to my most amazing adventures… Just sayin… 🙂

Clearly, you need to know when to do this, so not necessarily suggesting that you get lost whenever you travel. No, you have to follow your gut instinct and realize when and where your personal safety boundaries lay and follow these.

Golden rule #5: Cultural and Self awareness

It’s also important to understand where you are in the world, and dress accordingly. As an example, it may be important to dress down and not wear jewelry in some countries or places you’re going to visit as sometimes this may single you out in a crowd.

Don’t be the easy tourist target. Also important to keep your wits about you at all times, and be firm but polite. I’ve found that it always goes a long way if you smile when you’re saying “no thank you” and keep moving.

Even better if you can say it in the local language, but not imperative.

Well, I hope these few little eclectic tips spur you to plan a trip soon and even better if you let me know if these helped you.

Until next week