Anyone can throw those out there and look like they know something about travelling. Whether they’ve experienced them or not is another question.
Here are my top travel tips, from someone who has lived through them and made all the smelly, dirty and painful mistakes.
P.S. This post is part of your entry to the Virgin Australia/ Pro Blogger competition. Let’s hope my tips stand out from the crowd, and the judges are amused by my jokes…
1: Take a Wheeled Bag.
Backpacking? Don’t get all nostalgic and take an actual backpack. They will bring you nothing but pain.
You’re probably going to book accommodation close to train stations when you travel, and because you’re cheap, don’t speak the language, or you’re going to walk from the train station to the accommodation. Easy, right?
Except… you’ll take a wrong turn or two. Or the map will only show some of the streets you need to get there. Or it will negate to mention the six lanes of train tracks that you have to leap over on the way to your digs.
You’ll end up dreading each time you have to heft the bag onto your shoulders and begin to divest yourself of articles of clothing throughout Europe in an attempt to bring your shoulders back into line.
You will also break your neck trying to shove your bags into the luggage section on trains, and then spend the rest of the trip giving evil looks to all those smug travellers who have wonderful, maneuverable, wheeled bags.
2. Don’t Take Your Third Wheel.
Always wanted to travel with friends? Think again.
No matter how well you get along with a person in social situations, taking them on holiday with you breaks down barriers that will test your friendship.
You’ll find out things you really don’t need to know about, like their choice of underwear, habits of bodily function and irritating personal quirks (and in my case, the disturbing coverage of hair on dangly bits).
It’s much easier to tell your partner to nut up, put on a scarf and come and look at six museums with you than it is to convince a friend who would rather just sit in the pub.
3. No Magnets, Please.
Let’s face it, people want souvenirs as much as you want to spend your cash on them. And if you’ve been silly and ignored my advice not to bring a backpack, that extra weight subtly working on your scoliosis is your own fault.
For the people who claim they would LOVE a magnet, tea towel, spoon or snow globe, they’re either lying or you’ll be enabling their hoarding tendencies.
Either way it will end up in the bin eventually, the only thing that will differ is the amount of tears shed when it is chucked.
4. Change Envelopes. Use Them.
If your airline offers those ‘change for a cause’ envelopes on the return flight, dig out all your spare change and turn them in.
You’re probably not going back to that country, and even if you are, you don’t want to travel with $10 in change taking up valuable space in your hand luggage.
Take it from someone who managed to collect over 60 pennies from walkways in Europe. Those things are just going to sit in the back of a cupboard taking up space and gather dust until you throw them out with the magnets.
5. Pringles… They’re Everywhere.
I’m pretty sure it’s not because they’re a delicious treat. They’re actually really good at extending the range of your capability to access unprotected Wi-Fi. Get popping!
If you want to read more of my travel posts, check out my World Nomad page here.
And, if you want some practical advice on packing for travel, check out my friend Robyn’s blog post on exactly that here!