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7 Ways To Make Any Trip Easier

USA | Wednesday, 9 December 2015 | Views [252] | Comments [1]

Spending the last few months of my life constantly on the road has taught me a lot — about people, other cultures and how to be prepared for (almost) anything. I’d never trade my time spent travelling for anything, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t learn some of these lessons the hard way.

 

Confusion due to language differences, fines paid for not having the correct tickets, having no way to get in touch with my mum and friends back home; I’ve wrestled my way through all of it. And I’ve even let my fumbles get the better of me a time or two, but I’ve since learned to not let any bad luck or misunderstanding ruin my trips. After all, travelling is supposed to be fun, right? Right!   

 

There’s never a guarantee that your trip will go off without a hitch. In fact, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you’re more likely to hit a few bumps along the way than not. But taking a few extra precautions before you go can help you spend less time feeling frustrated or dealing with problems, and more time actually enjoying your vacation.

 

I may not know it all, but these seven tips have proved really helpful to me on more than one occasion on the road. And maybe one or two can help you too!

 

  1. Learn a few key phrases in the local language

 

You don’t have to be perfectly fluent, and you don’t even have to have great pronunciation. But if you take the time to learn a few main words and phrases in whatever the local language is, it’ll be a huge help when it comes to getting around.

 

Learn how to ask for directions, how much something costs, and basic pleasantries (like hello, goodbye and how are you). Striking up a conversation with a local has always lead to some of my best experiences abroad, but I wouldn’t have been able to do do it had I not taken a few minutes to learn some of their language.

 

  1. Get a grasp on the available public transportation

 

This is one of those learned-the-hard-way lessons. Public transportation is usually the way to go when you’re travelling — it’s not like you have a car of your own most of the time, and taking taxis everywhere is too expensive and a prime way to get scammed — but it can be really confusing when you’re in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language (all the more reason for tip #2!).

 

The local subways, trams and buses all have their own schedules and ticketing systems, and while they tend to be pretty similar from place to place, they can sometimes be a little tricky. And the last thing you want to do is end up 13 stops past where you should have gotten off in the middle of the night, with 45 minutes until the next tram and no way to buy a ticket for it. Because believe me, you will be fined, and it won’t be fun.

 

  1. Get all your itinerary information organized

 

Whether you’re taking one vacation with only travel to and from, or planning a long trip that requires several plane and train rides over the course of multiple weeks, it’s always a good idea to get your travel plans organized before you hit the road.

 

You can go the old-fashioned route and print out physical copies of all your ticket confirmations and itinerary information (nothing wrong with that, just print a couple of extra copies), or use an app on your phone or tablet to organize it all for you. I honestly tend to do both, but only because my mum taught me to always be over-prepared for anything.

 

  1. Make a list of emergency contact information for the region

 

It’s always smart to make a list of important phone numbers and contact information before you head off around the world. Get the address and phone number of wherever you’re staying, at least one number for a taxi company and a list of emergency phone numbers to reach police or a hospital.

 

You never want to think of anything bad happening on your trip, but it’s a good idea to be at least partly prepared for any situation. Store these numbers in your phone and on paper, in case your bag is stolen or your phone dies (unless you prevent this by using tip #7!). Speaking of a stolen bag, it’s also a good idea to have the correct contact information for reporting a lost or stolen credit card, so you can cancel the cards before thieves make any charges.

 

  1. Unlock your phone before you go

 

This is one of the best tips I’ve picked up along the way, and it’s saved me so much money since I took off to travel the world. Travelling can get expensive pretty quickly, so I’m always trying to save a bit where I can. And not paying international roaming fees has definitely helped with that.

 

I figured out that if you get your phone unlocked, you can use the local cell networks for everything from texts and calls to data useage. So you can stay in touch with people back home, look up directions and share all your vacation photos without being a slave to wi-fi, and without racking up a giant phone bill to come home to.   

 

  1. Have backup chargers and/or batteries

 

Once you handle getting your phone unlocked, you’ll find yourself relying on it much more often during your travels. This means you’ll also have to deal with it running out of juice more often, and unfortunately that usually happens in the least opportune moments (like when you’re using the directions to find your way back to your hostel).

 

Keep a fully charged backup charger in your bag at all times, and you won’t have to hassle with finding somewhere to plug your phone in, not to mention toting around the outlet converter you may need in order to do so. And if you use a real camera and not the one on your phone, don’t forget the extra batteries for that too! There’s almost nothing worse than being somewhere you may never be again and not being able to capture it on film.

 

  1. Find one “favorite” to visit while on your trip

 

This step is pretty easy, and it’s probably something a lot of people do anyway before travelling, but I always make a point of finding something special to look forward to while I’m gone. Whether you like to get outdoors, try craft cocktails, eat an authentically local meal or learn more about the area you’re visiting, research the best places to experience these things at your destination, and pick one to go to.

 

Doing this always gets me excited for my trip; having one favorite thing to look forward to cuts through any stress you might feel while trying to pack and get everything organized before you go. Plus, if anything does go wrong, it’ll be a bright light to focus on!


I’ve picked up quite a few travel tips during my adventures, but I’m always looking for some more. Do you have any advice that’s worked well for you on your trips? I’d love to hear it — let me know in the comments!

Tags: advice, easy trip, traveller

Comments

1

I'm a new world traveler, having been to China for a month, Mexico for two and Europe for six months. You could clearly have more than just 7 tips, but I can easily agree with ALL of the ones you have listed. We are getting ready for a year in Europe and will try to practice all of these, thanks.

  Harold Hall Dec 10, 2015 2:00 AM

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