Do you want to travel better on a budget? Take more advantage of the opportunities around you? Get out of your comfort zone? I already know that you’re a badass so here are 39 travel tips to help you be a badass traveller.
All opinions and experiences are my own.
This list below is divided into two categories:
- Logistics travel tips to help you get the best deals, pack more efficiently, and have more seamless travels.
- Travel tips for better, more purposeful travel. You’ll find ideas for how to get out of your comfort zone, to challenge yourself, to stay true to who you are, and to leave a positive impact on the places you visit.
Get The Best Flight Deals On Skyscanner Or Student Universe
When searching for flights I look on Google Flights to get a baseline price, and then I typically book with Skyscanner or Student Universe. Student Universe always has the best prices for US domestic flights while Skyscanner has great prices pretty much everywhere else.
Always Book Your First Night’s Accommodation In Advance
There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than arriving in a new city and not knowing where you’re going to stay that night. Book at least the first night’s accommodation in advance to get the best prices and have peace of mind when you arrive. The best budget options often sell out fast!
I try to be as organized and minimal as possible when packing. Once I’ve packed as little as I think I need, I then take a few more things out. Packing light means saving money on checked luggage, spending less time waiting for luggage at the airport, and it’s easier to keep track of your belongings so losing valuables is less likely.
Bring The Clothes You’d Wear At Home
Bring clothes that can be mixed and matched, that are comfortable, and are the same clothes you’d wear at home. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re going to wear that adorable dress that you haven’t worn since you bought it three years ago!
Bring An Outfit Or Two In Your Carry On
You never know when a bag might get lost. Be prepared for the unexpected by bringing enough clothes to last you a few days in case your bag winds up at the wrong airport.
Change Currency Before You Go
Changing money at the airport when you arrive means getting the least favorable exchange rate. If you can, get cash in the local currency before you go to avoid unnecessarily high fees and commission rates.
Make Photo Copies Of Your Passport, IDs and Credit Card Information
I think that being prepared for the worst somehow stops it from happening. I don’t mean you should constantly worry about bad stuff happening, but be aware and take precautions. Have a plan B, carry local currency, and let your family know what you’re up to.
Get A Credit Card With No International Fees
Want to make your travels a million times easier? Get yourself a a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. There are many cards available for travelers that have no fees for transactions made in a foreign currency. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has great customer service and a low annual fee. At the moment I’m using Bank of America Travel Rewards because there’s no annual fee and I get rewards specifically for travel-related purchases.
You Need A Travel Towel
I spent so much time traveling without a towel, and now that I have a compact backpacking towel, I can’t imagine traveling without one. Hostels rarely give towels and I used to be too stubborn to buy one, opting to use a t-shirt instead (silly, I know!). I highly recommend investing in a lightweight camping towel because dry quickly and take up very little space.
Carry Headphones And A Sleep Mask
You know that feeling when you need to catch some zzz’s but there’s a crying baby in the seat behind you? And it’s 3am?! Having a good pair of headphones and a sleep mask can work wonders when you really need to fall asleep.
Bring A Water Bottle
Bringing a reusable water bottle is a great way to minimize plastic waste and save money on buying water. Most cities have water fountains, or just pop into a cafe and ask them to refill your bottle for you.
Try Out Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing is my favorite way to meet locals and other travelers – saving money on accommodation is just a bonus! I think all travelers should try this at some point. It’s one of the greatest experiences to be welcomed into someone’s home, and to have the opportunity to share stories and experiences.
Get A Sim Card Instead Of International Phone Plan
I mostly use WIFI when traveling, but if I’m in a country where I would feel more comfortable with data roaming, I opt for a local SIM card. It is always the cheapest option since international roaming charges can add up super quickly.
Carry A Scarf With You
A scarf can come in very handy when you’re entering a religious establishment, a more conservative area, or just need to keep warm.
Use Maps.Me App For Online Directions
Whether you get lost easily or are trying to navigate a new city, Maps.Me is an incredible map that works offline. Download the offline map while you have wifi and get directions wherever you need when you don’t have internet.
Don’t Rely On Data or Wifi
Don’t assume that there will be wifi when you arrive in your destination. Always write down the address of your hotel and directions for how to get there before you leave. Your phone battery might die but pen and paper never fail!
Carry Cash In Local Currency
It’s great to carry a credit card that doesn’t charge transaction fees, but you never know when a street vendor or shop won’t take credit card. What’s more, card companies charge business owners a fee whenever you make a card transaction! Using cash puts more money into local business owners pockets instead of credit card corporations.
Get Off The Beaten Path
Wander down streets off the main strip. Find where locals like to eat, drink, and hang out. Strike up a conversation with a hostel owner or bartender to find out the hidden secrets only locals know about.
Develop A Personal Routine
It’s so important to take care of yourself while traveling. Travelers are constantly moving from one place to the next, eating different foods, and having different experiences. This disruption of routine can take a toll. Establish some consistency by doing little things that you love – whether that’s reading a book first thing in the morning, meditating before you sleep, or going to a gym in whatever city you’re in.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Taste new foods, check out different places, talk to strangers, learn a few words in the local language. Do little things that scare you on your travels and you will emerge a better, more well-rounded, and more confident human. By simply saying yes more you will instantly find yourself trying new things and challenging yourself.
Get Up Early
Sometimes traveling can feel like every day is a weekend. At “party” hostels in particular, every day feels like a Friday night. Going out is a great way to meet other travelers but often leads to sleeping in and feeling super lazy.
When I opt to get up early instead, I have more meaningful experiences, I get to enjoy quiet mornings, and I have more energy for adventuring.
Carry A Notebook And Pen Wherever You Go
Notebooks take up very little space and they are a great tool to jot down notes, directions, people’s names, place names, your thoughts, language phrases, brilliant ideas, etc!
Use Coconut Oil For Everything
Being the hippie that I am, I use coconut oil for face moisturizer, hair conditioner, for cooking, for hand lotion. You get the picture, I use it for pretty much everything. It’s so natural and versatile, and who wouldn’t want to walk around smelling like coconuts?
Buy Local Whenever Possible
Buying locally produced goods and foods is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and support local businesses in the process. Buy foods from street vendors and cafés instead of MacDonalds and Starbucks to support the local economy instead of giant foreign companies.
Skip The Souvenirs
The more I travel the less I want to buy trinkets made in China (when I’ve never actually been to China!). Unless there’s something specific and meaningful you need to buy, your friends and family back home will equally appreciate your photos and stories from your travels. These gifts are much more personal than snow globes and key chains.
When In Rome, Do As The Romans
Adapt your lifestyle to suit the environment you are in. Whenever you can (if it’s safe and respectful), eat where locals eat, hang out where locals hang out, and interact with the local culture as much as possible. By immersing yourself in this way you will feel more present, have a richer experience, and get out of your comfort zone.
Lots of people try to cram too much into a day – I am guilty of this too! If you have the luxury of a bit more time, try to travel a more slowly. Give yourself room to wander aimlessly and to get off the beaten path.
Keep Your Cool
Try to remain calm, even during times when things go NOT as planned. If you’re in a stressful situation, take a moment to breath and reassess. Staying calm under pressure will often be beneficial for getting out of sticky situations.
Traveling means that sometimes you’re eating noodles, peanut butter, and oatmeal for days on end (or is this just me?). Finding the time and place to eat healthy and exercise can be hard. Go for a run, or eat a salad or a carrot once in a while. It will make you feel loads better ! If you’re vegetarian or vegan, check out the best destinations to go.
Live In The Moment
Put down your phone and camera and enjoy the moment! Sometimes not documenting every little thing makes the experience much more enjoyable. But if taking photos of every little thing makes you happy, by all means do what brings you joy.
Be Respectful Of Local Customs
You never know why people live the way they do, what they value, or what they enjoy. Ask before you make assumptions, respect people’s ways of life, and always be kind. Ask questions if you don’t understand something.
Make An Effort To Speak The Language
I speak a bit of french but I’m super sky about speaking in front of French people. Deep down, I’m nervous that they’ll give me a weird look and have no clue what I’m saying. That being said, people appreciate when you make an effort, no matter how bad it might sound to you.
Pack A Travel Journal (And Actually Write In It)
It’s such a gift to be able to look back on your thoughts and memories while traveling. Especially when you’re traveling long term, the days can start to blend together and the little experiences forgotten. Write a little bit each day about what you’re up to and how you’re feeling.
You Do You
Everyone has different things they like to see, eat, do, and experience. Some want to check off bucket list items and others like to go slowly and do less. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, just do what you enjoy. Don’t let others make you feel pressured or insecure about how you like to travel just because they would do it differently.
Hang Out In Hostels
Hang out in the lobby of your hostel and strike up a conversation with a friendly stranger. They could become your travel buddy for a few days or months! You never know who you’ll meet just by going out of your comfort zone to talk to someone new.
Pencil In Down Time
Whether you’re traveling for one week or eight, scheduling days with nothing on the itinerary is important. You need time to get over jet lag, do your laundry, catch up on emails, and connect with friends back home. If you try to fill every single moment you’ll get burnt out fast. Don’t feel guilty about needing a vacation from your vacation.
Act Confident (Even If You Don’t Feel It)
Even if you feel insecure, acting like you know what you’re doing will make you feel more confident. Take risks, but trust your intuition. Be open to others, be confident and approach new people. Doing things that make you nervous makes them easier.
Keep Your Itinerary Loose
Not everything will go according to plan, and that’s okay. Give yourself time to take a slower morning, relax in a cafe, or take time to chat with travelers you meet. By packing your days full to the brim with photo ops and museums, you’ll miss the nuances of traveling that make each destination special.
Be Kind And Generous
When you are genuinely kind to locals and travelers, it will open doors for you and make your travel experience richer. When you give kindness to people, they give you kindness and generosity back.
There are more good people than bad in the world and wile traveling, you will meet people from all walks of life. Expect the best of people and ask for help when you need it. Be respectful and don’t be afraid to be randomly kind to others. Project positivity and you will have positive experiences.
I hope these travel tips helped you on your journey towards better, more adventurous budget travel.