Saturday, 20 July 2019

15 Essential Travel Tips From a (Vaguely) Seasoned Traveller

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I wouldn't say I've been to lots of places in my life, but I've travelled enough to have learned from any mistakes and nail down a system. Going away can be daunting and a little stressful, so the last thing you want is to be pulling onto the hard shoulder on the M11 at 5am in the morning because you've forgotten your passport... ahem.

Some of these tips might be obvious to you, but they're all helpful to remember.

1. Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It prevents creases and gives you a lot more room in your suitcase.

2. Take an extension lead so you only need one travel adaptor. Yay, plenty of plug sockets!

3. Unless you forget. In which case, if you're still struggling for plug sockets, you can always try charging electronics using the USB port found in the back of a TV. Genius.

4. Take a portable phone charger. I use this one from Amazon and it's never let me down. It's small and lightweight, too.

5. Get yourself a foreign currency card! I use Revolut, but there are lots of other companies you can go with. I like Revolut because it comes with an easy-to-use app, where you can see all of your transactions, exchange currencies and keep an eye on exchange rates in real-time, enable and disable security settings as you wish such as contactless and online payments, and much more. It also means you're not carrying large quantities of cash. Although if anyone wants to give me a large quantity of cash to carry, I would not complain.

6. Take an empty water bottle through security so you can fill it up at a water fountain on the other side. Then you don't have to pay ££££ for water, and you're using less plastic.

7. When you book anything, from excursions to even your flights, search Google for a promo code first. You can often get a discount on your booking, and who doesn't love a saving?

8. If you're struggling with the liquid allowance, one thing you can do (aside from buying essentials when you land) is to swap toothpaste for toothpaste tablets, as these are not a liquid and so they can go in your normal luggage. You could also swap liquid shampoo for a shampoo bar, and instead of using a spray-on deodorant, you could use a roll-on. These are more eco-friendly, too!

9. To stop jewellery from getting tangled in your luggage, put each end of a necklace or bracelet in a drinking straw, and then do it up. This prevents the two sides from tangling together. I didn't come up with this one but it's pretty damn good.

10. If you're staying in an AirBnB, ask your host for recommendations and live like a local.

11. Buy a portable luggage scale! They're tiny and it saves any awkward unpacking at the check-in desk...

12. Go to Google Maps and download a map of your local area for use offline, so when you're away from WiFi, you don't get lost and your map is always ready to use. Of course, you could buy a physical map, but that's another thing taking up room in your bag. (And it's extra effort, lets be honest.)

13. At the end of your trip, if you have a fair amount of loose change left and you don't want to keep it, donate it to a homeless person or leave it as a tip. No point taking it home if you don't want it - you might as well brighten someone's day instead.

14. Use Seat Guru to find the best plane seats. You don't want to book a seat with a broken TV screen or no plug socket.

15. Take a pen with you! You never know when you might need one. Depending on where you're going, you might need to complete a customs form, and flight attendants aren't going to have enough pens for everyone. In that situation, a pen is like gold.

What are your top travel tips?

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