Like anything in life, it takes years of practice to be ‘good at travelling’. In the beginning, we didn’t know all the tricks and expert tips to help us travel cheaper, better and longer. Now, after more than fifteen years of travelling the world, we’ve perfected all these skills and we’d like to share our best travel tips with you.

best travel tips

Whether you’re planning to travel for two weeks, a month or even a year, our best travel tips from the road should help you to be one step ahead of the game. If you stick by the below tips, your travels should be more affordable, easier and more enjoyable.

1) Get creative when booking your flights

With many different flight comparison websites out there and inconsistent pricing between each one, the approach to thrifty flight booking is at times exhausting. After many years, we’ve worked out how to beat them at their own game.

You’ve just got to think outside the box, be flexible and book separate legs of a journey rather than requesting a price for one through-fare to your destination.

For example: If you’re searching for a flight from Melbourne to London, perhaps break it down and first search one flight from Melbourne to Singapore (search for cheap flights with a budget airline such as Air Asia or Scoot Airlines). Then search for a separate flight from Singapore to London with different airlines using the comparison websites listed below. It’s all about staying one step ahead of the big guys.

We book all of our flights on one website

The website we always use and recommend is CheapOair. We love that you can search for accommodation, car hire and activities at the same time. They have a huge range of products to offer and the best thing, they are rarely beaten on price.

Budget airlines can sometimes be the best option available too, so don’t forget about them! You may not get in-flight service and movies, but who cares. Take some food with you and have your laptop fully charged and you’ll be fine.

NOTE: Low-cost airlines aren’t always included in the comparison websites such as CheapOair or Aviasales, so do your research first to find the cheapest fares.

Related Article – How to Find and Book the Cheapest Flights Everywhere

book cheap flights

 2) ALWAYS ask the price before you agree to do anything

We see it happening more and more these days in countries all over the world. Taxi drivers absurdly ripping off vulnerable tourists, touts tricking you into paying for a tour (which ends up being just a sales pitch of visiting different stores around a city, where you’ll get the hard sell from the salespeople there, of which he receives a commission for) or ordering a meal or a drink in a place that doesn’t have prices visible and will literally floor you once you’re shown the bill afterwards.

Unfortunately, there are countries around the world with cunning people that look upon tourists as walking dollar signs. They see you coming and often they know exactly how to con you out of your money.

Trust us on this one, even if you’re a naturally shy person or don’t want to offend – Always ask the price before you accept anything. This practice actually helps the rest of your fellow travellers, in the long run, to keep prices as they should be.

Learn to negotiate and agree on the price of the service you’re accepting beforehand. It’s important to clarify the finer details also, such as price is based on per person or total and if it includes one way or return ride.

Related Article – How to avoid the most common tourist scams in China

3) Learn some of the local languages – it will only enrich your experience

We travel to explore new countries, eat different food, see amazing sights and meet new people. When you’re visiting a new country, you can’t just assume that the people there will be able to understand you. Why should they? You’re in their home country, so you can’t expect them to speak English, for example.

Don’t get annoyed if you’re having trouble communicating with them if you haven’t bothered to at least learn some of their languages.

This doesn’t mean that you should sign up for a comprehensive Spanish course if you intend to travel to Mexico for two weeks, but you should at least try to learn some basic language before you go.

There are so many free phone apps that can help you with this, the most popular ones being Babbel & Duolingo.

Considering the amount of time we spend on our phones these days, we recommend you download one of these apps. Try and spend at least ten minutes each day learning some of the lingo. It’s a much better use of your time than flicking through your Instagram feed for an hour.

We can guarantee you that the language skills you learn by investing that small amount of time each day will enrich your life and your travels.

Learn the basics

Try and learn the basic language such as ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ”thank you”, how much is it’ and ‘where is the bathroom’. We try to learn numbers so we can calculate the cost of taxis, buses etc and also how to say all the food menu items too, because who wants to eat badly on holidays? Not us!

best travel tips google translate

We used google translate in Taiwan to communicate with locals to buy bus tickets at the station.

While we’re talking about phone apps, download Google Translate. Then download the language offline pack which will be spoken in the country you’ll be visiting. There are some great features you can use offline that will help you communicate with locals.

We love the feature where you can face your camera over some foreign language and it translates it into English for us. This makes our grocery shopping and dining experiences in each country much easier.

4) Purchase good Travel Insurance

Some people have the attitude that nothing will happen to them. They’re of the mindset that if they don’t partake in extreme activities on vacation and they’re careful, they’ll be ok.

Here’s the thing though…accidents and unwanted incidents happen all the time. From our personal experience and from the countless terrible stories we’ve heard from travellers over the years, we strongly recommend that you invest in travel insurance.

Getting covered with a good travel insurance policy is one of the smartest decisions you will make – trust us.

Yes, it can feel like you’re spending some of your hard-earned travel dollars on something you may never physically use, (even we find making the initial purchase hard to do) but the peace of mind and benefits are worth it. The cost of emergency surgery or medical evacuation overseas could put you in debt for the rest of your life if you’re not covered.

SafetyWing is the travel insurance company that we’ve used to travel to 100+ countries over the past decade. We wouldn’t consider being covered by any other company now.

5) Slow down

Before we embarked on this trip to visit every country in the world, we travelled much slower. If you have the time to travel slower, you’ll gain so many more valuable experiences and memories. This will be better for your budget too.

You’ll see that if you travel slower, you can negotiate better deals when booking accommodation on Booking.com and save on transport costs with Omio, Trainline or 12Go.

If you’re long-term travellers like us, you’ll appreciate slowing down to take a breath and get a few things organised. Tasks like booking onward accommodation, arranging visas, booking flights or onward transport take time.

If you’re constantly moving and trying to manage all of the above whilst rushing around each destination to see the highlights, you’re likely to burn out.

The answer to avoiding this is to slow down.

We’d recommend getting up early to go sightseeing, hang at the beach or just walk around a new city to take it all in, and then keep your afternoons free. Use this time to relax in a cafe with a good book or get some rest back at your accommodation.

Staying in a place longer also gives you a chance to try different cafes and restaurants, find some hidden spots that only locals may know about and enable you to immerse yourself more in the culture.

Related Article – 7 Tips: How to find the best food when you’re travelling

6) Get a VPN

With our lifestyle, we’re in a different country every other week, so it’s important that you have a VPN to protect yourself and your important data from being hacked.

When you hook up to and browse wifi on unprotected networks, it’s quite easy nowadays for online hackers to monitor what you’re doing. It takes just a few minutes of you entering your passwords to your online banking or purchasing a flight ticket online by entering your credit card details, then all your sensitive information can be collected and abused.

The only way to feel safe about money matters online is to have a VPN turned on. This creates a secure connection and a safe space to do whatever you need to do securely online.

Some countries such as China and Iran will block access to various websites and social media platforms. Our friends in Iran all have a VPN on their phones so they can access Facebook and certain websites that their government bans.

By having previously installed a VPN on your phone or computer, you can get around these restrictions. Make sure you’re one step ahead of the game and sign up with a good VPN provider today. We use Atlas VPN and love this product.

More reasons why VPNs are amazing

In addition to the above, having a VPN is also useful for countries that have geo-restrictions or geo-blocks. This is when a certain website or content providers only allow gaining access to their websites available in specific countries. With a VPN, you simply trick the website into thinking your location is different from where you actually are.

Having a VPN on at all times will save you money too. It’s incredible how different the price i