best travel tips

Now, after more than twenty years of travelling the world, we’ve perfected all these skills and we’d like to share our best travel tips with you.

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.

Let’s begin! Our Best Travel Tips from 20+ Years of Travelling the World

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 for 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 Skyscanner.

We love that you can search for accommodation at the same time. They have a huge range of products to offer and the best thing is that 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 comparison websites such as Skyscanner or CheapOair, 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 worldwide.

Taxi drivers absurdly rip off vulnerable tourists, touts tricking you into paying for a tour. This usually 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, for which he receives a commission.

Or perhaps you made the mistake of ordering a meal or a drink in a place that doesn’t have prices visible and almost have a cardiac arrest 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 accept beforehand. It’s essential 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 POST – 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 learn some of their languages.

This doesn’t mean 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.

So many free phone apps can help you with this, the most popular ones being Babbel & Duolingo.

Considering the 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 little time each day will enrich your life and 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. Some great features you can use offline will help you communicate with locals.

We love the feature where you can face your camera over some written foreign language and it translates it into English for us.

This makes our grocery shopping and dining experiences in each country much easier.

RELATED POST – 7 Tips: How to Find the Best Food when Travelling

4) Purchase good Travel Insurance

Some people have the attitude that nothing will happen to them. They think 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 the countless terrible stories we’ve heard from travellers over the years, we strongly recommend investing 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.

If you’re not covered, the cost of emergency surgery or medical evacuation overseas could put you in debt for the rest of your life.

We recommend both Heymondo (get 5% off your policy) and SafetyWing travel insurance.

RELATED POST – What Travel Insurance Covers & How To Choose The Best One

5) Slow down

Travel to Solomon Islands Island Time Relax in Hammock
Island Time in the Solomon Islands at Fatboys Resort, Gizo

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.

If you travel slower, you can negotiate better deals when booking accommodation on 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 organise a few things.

Tasks like booking onward accommodation, arranging visas, and booking flights or onward transport take time.

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

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 allows you to try different cafes and restaurants, find some hidden spots that only locals may know about and immerse yourself more in the culture.

RELATED POST – Travel to the Solomon Islands – 15 Essential Things to Know Before You Go

Get Connected with eSIM

Get connected the easy way when you’re travelling – and buy an eSIM! An eSIM works like an app: buy it, download it, and get connected within minutes! It’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Keep your original phone number too!

Read more about how an eSIM works or click below to see which eSIM data plan you need for your next adventure. Use our referral code: RACHEL5045 to get $3 off your first purchase!

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.

Having a VPN turned on is the only way to feel safe about money matters online. 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.

You can get around these restrictions by having previously installed a VPN on your phone or computer.

Make sure you’re one step ahead of the game and sign up with a good VPN provider today.

We use Surfshark 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 is for an item to be purchased in Australia, yet prices seem to drop considerably by changing the location to the USA.

Sign up with Surkshark VPN and get connected today.

7) Get a debit/credit card with zero international transaction and ATM fees.

This used to be a thing that you just couldn’t avoid and it drove us insane. Years ago, all banks would charge you a fee for using an international ATM or purchasing in a foreign currency.

The rate was around a 3% fee for a currency conversion charged by your bank for purchases made internationally. If you made a withdrawal for any amount of cash using a foreign ATM, you would be charged between $5 – 10 (depending on which bank’s ATM you used).

It doesn’t sound so much, yet when you’re having to make multiple withdrawals and purchases each week, it quickly adds up and really eats into your travel budget, especially if you’re a long-term traveller.

We applied in Australia for a debit/credit card with ING Direct, which was the best thing we ever did! We’ve saved so much money on avoiding foreign transaction fees and ATM fees internationally (up to 5 per month), and we want all travellers to have this same feeling of winning!

Check out our article below which explains how to sign up. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Related Article – The Best Travel Debit/Credit Card for Australian Travellers

8) Exchange or withdraw money on the road

Family and friends are often curious as to how we constantly deal with using different currencies as we travel. It’s 2023, so long gone are the days when you exchanged your hard-earned money at home for foreign currency to go and travel.

The rates from banks are and always have been terrible.

Don’t do this; instead, we recommend that you wait until you arrive in the country and then withdraw money at an ATM. There is bound to be one at the airport arrivals area.

Remember that international debit card we recommended you apply for above? This card will be the best investment you ever made, and you should use it every time, at every destination. You won’t pay any transaction or ATM fees, it’s a no-brainer.

To be honest, even if you don’t have one of these recommended debit cards we speak of, still use your other debit card to withdraw cash at the ATM rather than changing money at the airport. You will still come out on top by getting a better exchange rate.

best travel tips

Another Tip: We always travel with some hard currency such as USD and EUR for those times when things don’t go to plan.

Occasionally, our debit card might be rejected at that particular ATM or we’ve forgotten to transfer more funds to our travel bank account, so we’re declined.

When this happens, we’re always prepared. We exchange a small amount of cash at the airport (enough to pay to get to our hotel/accommodation using local transport or taxi) and away we go.

Once we’ve arrived at our hotel, we’ll check online that our bank account has sufficient funds.

If it does, we’ll take a walk to find a different ATM to withdraw the cash we need.

Sign up with WISE or Revolut – Get more for your money as you travel the world

Wise is an online account that lets you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. With a Wise account, you can get paid in other currencies and send money overseas. 

This service has saved us loads of money in International fees. When you sign up for a Wise account using our personal invite – send your first International transfer for FREE!

Alternatively, you could sign up with Revolut – it’s similar to WISE. The truth is, they’re both awesome!

Revolut helps you get more from your money. Leave the ‘old school’ banks behind (and their huge fees) and sign up for an account with Revolut. Request money from friends and family around the world, and they can pay with a tap using Apple or Google Pay. No fees.

These guys ARE the future of banking. Get A$15 cash reward when you sign up here.

9) Keep multiple copies of your passport, travel insurance & important documents

Make a bunch of photocopies of your passport page and keep them in a few different spots in your large backpack/suitcase and your smaller daypack.

We’d recommend you keep a few copies of your insurance policy and for travel in some countries, your yellow fever certificate too.

Take photos of these important documents and email them to yourself, your partner or your family member. We like to upload them to Dropbox or Google Drive to access them from anywhere in the world.

It’s a good idea to place them in an easy-to-find folder on your iPhone and computer, too.

Passports and smiles. Last country let's go

10) Charge your electronics whenever possible

In this day and age, most of us have at least two or three forms of electronics (iPhone, computer, camera, Go-pro, kindle, Ipad, power banks to name a few) that we use on the road to make travel easier and to capture memories at the same time.

It’s a little heartbreaking when you run out of camera battery on an amazing day trip or your iPhone dies and the details of how to get back to your accommodation are stored on it.

Whenever possible, charge your electronics to avoid disappointment. We always charge our electronics overnight, many travellers use a travel powerboard to charge many things at one time.

A popular choice is the USB Charger – with 3 USB ports to charge electronics or a travel power board with 4 AC outlets and 2 USB ports to charge additional gadgets.

We recommend you get a USB Solar power bank too. This allows you to charge your smaller electronics during the day when you don’t have access to a power outlet, convenient if you’re on a long bus or train journey.

11) Eat the local food

You’re travelling to discover a new culture, new surroundings and learn something new, right? Make sure you try the local food too.

It’s the best chance you will get to interact with locals, try new flavours and possibly have one of the best travel experiences of your life.

Local food can be found on the streets, in food markets, in small family-owned eateries or even in your hotel restaurant. From our experience, the best food in every country is always the local dishes.

We love to eat when we travel…but you probably already know that…

We love to eat, so we like to research where we should go to find the best food in a new destination. We’ll read blogs, watch videos and read social media posts before we arrive, then just pin the locations on our offline maps.

(We use an app called Maps.Me to navigate our way around most new countries. Just download the maps when you have an internet connection, and once you arrive, it works offline).

We also love to join food tours or even cooking classes when we travel. We recommend GetYourGuide and Viator for the best deals on tours.

RELATED POST – Travelling for Food? 10 Best Countries for Food Lovers

best travel tips
Try the local food when you travel.

12) Handwash your clothes on the road

This will really save you loads of time and money. In some parts of the world such as West/Central Africa or Central Asia, a washing machine is rarely an option, so you gotta do it yourself.

Alternatively, you can find a local that may be willing to hand wash it for you for a price, but don’t be surprised if you’re missing a few items when you get it back simply because of it blowing away in the field where it was laid to dry in the sun.

Of course, if you are travelling in countries where laundry service or self-service is available for a small fee, then use it.

Hostels are a great option to get a load of laundry done at a good price. We sometimes visit hostels (even if we’re not staying in them) and just ask the reception if it’s ok to use their laundry facilities. Most often than not, it’s no problem and you can hang out there whilst you wait.

One of the reasons we book apartment accommodations on around the world is to have access to a washing machine. 

Fact: Have you ever noticed that hotels charge absurd prices to launder your clothes? They generally charge per piece, which makes it a very expensive bag of laundry. We’re long-term travellers and now we’re experts at hand washing our clothes on the road.

We travel with a Scrubba Wash Bag, which does a top job!

RELATED POST: 17 ESSENTIAL Things to Know Before Travelling to West Africa

Travel clotheslines are ideal

We pack a travel clothesline in our carry-on backpacks. 

We’ve found it much easier to just wash what we wore that day when we shower each night and hang it in our room. If we don’t do it daily, we do it every few days. If you get into this habit, you’ll find that your bag is much easier to pack if you’re not lugging around dirty laundry.

We usually carry around a small bag of washing powder, which is easily found in most countries. If we run out and can’t find it, any bar of soap will do the trick. 

Africa Packing List - Essential packing list for Africa -3

13) Pack a few sets of earplugs and a sleep mask 

One of the handiest, cheapest things you’ll have in your bags, is earplugs. We’d recommend keeping a pair in your large backpack and another in your smaller backpack.

Earplugs will be your saviour when you’re on that loud overnight bus journey, a long flight or those times when the guy in the next room or tent is snoring like a chainsaw.

The sleep mask is great to use on flights and for those rooms that lack decent curtains on those bright mornings.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Expert travel tips, resources and exclusive discounts worldwide

14) Use a filtered water bottle

It disappoints us that people still buy countless plastic bottles of water in countries where tap water is entirely safe to drink (Australia and New Zealand, most of Europe, North America, and some parts of Africa, Asia and South America).

Not only is this harmful to the environment, but it’s also unnecessary. We recommend bringing along a filtered water bottle. 

It will save you hundreds of dollars and time trying to find water as you go, not to mention you’re doing your bit to help reduce plastic and be a more responsible traveller.

15) Buy an eSIM (Digital SIM Card)

esim vs physical sim airalo checkout on phone

Nowadays, we take it for granted to always be connected to the internet. Many of us have data included as part of our phone contract plans in our home countries.

Unless your phone plan has free international roaming (highly unlikely), as soon as you turn your phone on in a new country, you’re going to start unknowingly paying for data roaming fees. If this has ever happened to you before, it sucks.

These fees rack up very quickly and can be very high.

There’s a way to avoid paying those high roaming fees

But avoid those high international roaming charges to get connected internationally, and get an eSIM instead. Learn more about how an eSIM works in my Airalo eSIM Review. 

We use the internet for everything on the road – so eSIM works best for us

From booking flights and accommodation on the go to navigating around cities, being connected is important for what we do. We also use it to research good cafes or coffee places and to keep tabs on our social media pages and website too.

Essentially, an eSIM is a digital or virtual version of a SIM card. So forget having to search for local SIM cards when you travel.

Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination and avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product!

Airalo eSIM code very hungry nomads rachel

You just need to make sure your phone is compatible, but read the post above for ALL the essential info.

And CLICK HERE to view Airalo Data Plans.

In some countries, WIFI is non-existent, expensive to purchase or slow 

Airalo has an eSIM to help you get connected in 190+ countries – now that’s impressive, right? But, we recommend buying a local SIM card for the few countries that don’t offer eSIM.

Get a local SIM card upon arrival to stay connected when eSIM isn’t available. They’re generally inexpensive (well, they’re usually more expensive than Airalo eSIM, but if you don’t have a choice, then this option is recommended) and a sim card with 1GB of data will usually cost around $5 – 10.

We think this is a smart investment, even for staying connected should an emergency arise or for peace of mind.

You can apply for a sim card within minutes when you arrive at the airport. Alternatively, if you’re travelling overland in countries, locals sell them on the side of the street. You will generally need a passport or a colour copy of your ID to get set up.

TIP: Before you arrive in a new country, go to the ‘Settings’ tab, then ‘mobile’ and TURN OFF the ‘mobile data’. Ensure that in ‘Mobile data options’ the international roaming has also been turned off.

NOTE: Your phone must be unlocked for you to use local sim cards. 

RELATED POST – What is an eSIM? – Read this post to learn more

16) Keep everything important in your daypack or bag

When you’re on the road, keep all your important things in your daypack or bag (we use this Osprey day pack) and never take your eyes off them.

Important documents such as your passport, credit cards, money, cameras, laptop, hard drives and phones should always be carried on your person.

Depending on what type of accommodation you are staying in (hotel, hostel, guesthouse or even a tent) will depend on what you do with these important items when you are in one place.

If you’re staying in a hotel with a safe, use it. If you’re staying in a tent, it’s probably better to keep these things on your when you head out to explore.

Either way, use your common sense to ensure your most important items are kept as secure as possible.

RELATED POST 12 Tips For Keeping Safe On Your Travels

Did we miss any of your best travel tips? If so, please share them with us below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your favourite travel buddy.

Travel Tips & Inspiration

We love to share our knowledge of traveling, and you may enjoy reading our top 6 travel hacks to save you money and our ultimate packing list for travellers.

For the food lovers out there, don’t miss our top 10 best countries for foodies! And, if you’re more interested in history, these 30 amazing historical places in the world will fascinate you!

Perhaps you’re travelling on a budget? These 10 cheapest countries in Europe to visit may be just the tool you need to start planning an epic trip.

But, here are 8 things to know about traveling to Eastern Europe and it’s good to know these 7 misconceptions about Eastern Europe too.

Or, perhaps these 21 Cheapest Countries to Visit Right Now is just the thing you’ve been searching for.

We’ve got a bunch of tips for how you can save money to travel the world, and even when you’re out there travelling, maybe these 20 jobs that PAY YOU to travel the world will help you travel longer. It worked for us, and we bet it can work for you too.

And, if you’re planning a new trip, whether it’s for a week, a month, or even a few years, consider buying an eSIM to stay connected. This is our favorite travel product, and you can read more about what is in eSIM and why eSIM is so convenient for International Travel.

Check out the travel gear we use on the road, and for the products and websites we recommend to plan new trips, head to our Travel Resources Page.