For the last 4 years, I’ve been lucky enough to go to some amazing places and do things that I never thought I would. I lived in Malaga and explored south of Spain for few months, travelled around Kerala (India) by bus for 2 weeks, went trekking in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco, went on road trips in Bulgaria several times, learnt how to surf in the Canary Islands… all of these were not only memorable experiences but useful travel lessons as well.
So, as part of the recent Mastercard cashless campaign for travel hacks, I decided to collect all of the things I learnt in one place and share it with you. These tips are especially relevant if you tend to be more of a backpacker and explorer than vacation traveller. But you’ll find something useful for any trip. So here are my top 13 travel tips and hacks for carefree vacation.
Pack less clothes
We all tend to overpack when going on a trip. After all, we’d like to have a choice. What I’ve learnt over the years, however, is that many times I use only around 60-70% of the clothes I pack. With that said, I started packing only clothes I know I’ll wear on a trip which is significantly less than what I used to pack before. Packing less also lead us to the next tip:
Pack smartly and leave room for souvenirs
When I pack, I follow a few simple rules. Rolling clothes instead of folding and packing light fabrics usually saves me a lot of space in my luggage. What I do forget from time to time, however, is to leave some room for souvenirs. It’s obvious that you’ll want to take something back home. So make sure that you have plenty of space for presents and memories from your trip. You can use an expandable travel backpack that has multiple compartments to organize your essentials and the souvenirs you’ll bring home.
Use luggage storages
Many times I’ve been travelling from one city to another with my luggage in me all the time. I’ve even had few long layovers in new places where I’m able to go in the city and do some sightseeing as well. In such cases, it is very convenient to leave your luggage or backpack in a storage and go to explore the city freely. Luggage storage places are usually located in the main train or bus stations in every city. Some can be found on airports too.
Save money by getting online tickets
If you know that you will certainly visit a place such as a museum, a gallery or another similar site, try and buy your ticket in advance online. Most of the sites and attractions tend to give discounts for online bookings just because they want to avoid long lines too. This travel tip applies also for transportation tickets. Many times I’ve found pretty good discounts just by browsing the website of the place before I visit.
Use private browsing when booking a holiday
Speaking of online purchases, there’s one tip you shouldn’t forget. When searching for flights, hotels and other tickets, turn on your private (secret) browsing option. This will help you avoid unwanted price changes.
Don’t sacrifice your healthy eating on the road
While on a trip, we tend to forget about healthy eating and interrupt our normal lifestyle. There are ways in which you can still be healthy and be on the move all the time. Most importantly, drink a lot of water and avoid fast food places as an easy choice. I recently wrote a post about Eating healthy while travelling where I share more tips on this topic.
Help other travellers – write reviews
If you had an unforgettable holiday, pass the good experience along by rating or writing a review of the places you’ve been to. There’s nothing better than helping someone else enjoying their trip as much as you do. That is also one of the reasons I started this travel blog.
Paying with card abroad…?
If you plan to use your Mastercard abroad, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you may want to notify your local bank if you plan to travel to exotic destinations so they don’t flag some suspicious activity. Second, always pay in local currency to get the best conversion rate. And finally, when returning from a trip, check your card statements and report any suspicious transactions within 30 days.
Try to be eco-friendly
As I said, there’s no better thing than helping other travellers or all of the locals, in that matter. When you visit a new city you can reduce carbon by biking (or other eco-frienldy way to travel), recycling and using water and electricity smartly.
Read travel blogs
There are many travel blogs out there that can help you in the planning stage of your trip. Those websites are good because they curate the tons of information that is out there and pick the best out of the best for any travellers. When I research a new place, I simply type on Google “what to see in …. travel blog” so I can check the recommendations from other bloggers first.
Get a good power bank
If you are travelling with multiple devices as me, you’ll want to keep them charged all the time. Especially your phone which is the best travel buddy out there. Get a good multi charger and a power bank for your trips to make sure you’ll be connected all the time.
Visit a local festival
There are plenty of cool summer festivals in Europe this year that are perfect for travellers who want not only to have fun but to explore a new place as well. Also, when you are going to a crowded city or music festival, think about mobile and contactless payments. They are so convenient on a holiday.
Support the locals
When travelling, instead of buying souvenirs that are clearly made in another country and imported, try to find local gems to take back home. These might be anything from hand-made jewelry, paintings from a local artist or coffee from the brewery around the corner. Leave a positive mark by supporting the local community.
Where is your next destination? Are you prepared?
The post was created in partnership with Mastercard and, hopefully, these travel tips will help you plan your upcoming trip better.