In my 13+ something years of frequent traveling on business and leisure, I have realized the number of copious and crazy mistakes I have made. Well, I still make a few even now because I believe no matter how much you grow as a traveller there will always be something new to learn or a better way to do the same thing. The key is never to stop learning, and I constantly strive to do that.30 #traveltips for a global traveler! #TravelwithArchie @archanackapoor Click To Tweet
In my traveling journey through the years, I can proudly say that I have learnt some tricks. Here is a list of my ‘Archie Special’ favorite tips that you may find handy!
Bags with wheels are the best and easiest to take around. There are many who seem to think that backpacks are better and more agile, but it does become cumbersome and how much can one keep carrying on her back?
Regardless of size, never carry more than two bags. In fact try to pack everything in one bag and carry a small empty bag inside the first one, just in case you may need some extra space later. Try and get the carry-on bags with round wheels so they are easy to maneuver. These carry-ons also roll while upright. When you have to walk long distances at the airports, believe me, it can be a big boon!
- Travel-size First Aid kit:
This comes in so handy, you can’t even imagine it. Ensure that all the common medicines for various aches and pains, decongestants, bandages and antibacterial cream are packed in it. It may be difficult to get a hold of medicines in many countries as many are prescribed. Very few medicines are available over the counter.
- Reusable water bottle
Not only is bottled water very expensive at some places, but there is no guarantee of getting clean drinking water too. Keeping a bottle always helps.
- Formal dressy clothes
I am used to packing party wear and I think apart from a couple of occasions I never got the opportunity to wear it. Just pack one dressy outfit and that will suffice. If need be, you can always recycle it with some accessory.
- Not worn? Don’t pack!
As a rule, don’t ever pack something that you haven’t worn before. You never know how the new stuff may fit whether they are shoes or clothes. Why take chances that may make your journey unpleasant and uncomfortable? If you are not comfortable in an outfit, don’t pack it!
- Pack now!
The moment you think you may need something, pack it right away. You will surely forget it if you wait. I surely do!
Also read: Tips on how to travel light
Pack one set of underwear more than you think you would need. They don’t take too much space anyways. If you are packing for a really long trip that would involve the outdoors, try disposables. That way you don’t have to worry about carrying too many or washing them somewhere. Another option is to have the light ones which dry faster. Btw, always carry atleast one pair in your carry-on.
They are a boon for travelers and never go without one. The trip may not be as much about the looks as about comfort. Decide what you want to go with.
On a separate note, pack your socks inside shoes to save space and also the shape of the shoes.
- Dryer sheets
They remove static from your hair and clothing and make your suitcase smell wonderful without taking up any room.
- Folding clothes
Rolling clothes is a much better option than folding them. It takes less space and if the clothes don’t wrinkle, its all the more better. If you must fold clothes, use tissue paper as it helps lessen wrinkles.
If clothes need to be ironed it’s better not to pack them. Always best to pack freshly laundered clothes. Here is a video on how to pack efficiently by rolling the individual clothes.
- Toilet paper
In a lot of countries toilet paper is not necessarily a given and its always better to be safe than sorry. The little packets of tissues are very handy and I always ensure that there are a couple of packets in my handbag all the time. Coleman’s Camper Toilet paper roll is a great option. It is tightly packed and in that little roll you have lots of paper to last you a week.
Please pack some, especially if you are fussy about food, or if you are a vegetarian. In some countries eggs and fish are considered vegetarian so you may land up eating stuff you shouldn’t. Always better to be safe.
Increasingly I am becoming a fan of drinkable super meals during strenuous travel, my favorite being Ambronite. Ambronite consists of high grade 18 natural ingredients such as organic nuts, oats and wild berries which ensures daily intake of essential nutrients especially while traveling.
Instead of putting off packing chargers, do it NOW, while it is still on your mind. Cell phone chargers and camera chargers are the most crucial items. I think chargers of toiletries like shavers, electronic toothbrushes etc., are a waste of space because you would be better off using disposable ones.
In case you forget any toiletry ask the hotel first before rushing to buy it. Hotels usually keep a stock of toothbrushes, combs, sewing kits, shower caps, and disposable razors and don’t charge anything extra for these items. Most of the good hotels have some of these basic toiletries as part of their in-room amenities.
- Passport Copies
Carry photocopies of your passport and leave a couple with friends or family. Also, scan a copy and store it in your email for easy retrieval when required.
- Cash/ Money/ Credit card
It is essential to carry some local money in cash as a lot of places don’t accept credit cards, especially the smaller ones.
If you are a great lover of plastic, please call your credit card company before you leave so that they can put a travel alert on your card.
If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t pack it. This will save you regrets later.
- Emergency contact numbers
Keep some numbers handy:
- Credit card company’s international customer service number
- The embassy’s local number
- The local contact number of your cell phone company and if they don’t have a local number keep their customer service number handy
- Lavatory in the aircraft
During my early travel days I did not hesitate to use the toilet in the aircraft without wearing my shoes. I used to wear socks on the plane all the time and out of laziness avoided wearing shoes. As a rule NEVER do that! The reasons are obvious, aren’t they?
- Books & In-flight entertainment
If you are an avid reader carrying a book is always great. A kindle is preferable though because atleast then you have the option to select. Most long haul aircrafts have a decent entertainment system, so that will keep you busy in case you don’t like to read on a plane.
- Essentials in carry-on/ handbag
Very important to keep a pair of underwear, a spare tee, prescribed medicines, toothbrush, a small moisturiser bottle and a pack of tissues in your carry-on. You never know where and when you may get stuck and having essentials with you means you never go wrong.
Ironically, luxury hotels charge for wi-fi usage, while most budget hotels that I have stayed at offer free wi-fi. Check on it before you choose your hotel depending upon how important wi-fi connectivity is for you.
While it is not mandatory to tip hotel staff, it is good to do it. They are very helpful in most cases and tipping them will ensure that your requirements are taken care of, even if it means asking for extra bottles of water or shampoo etc., 2 to 4 dollars is a good tip, depending upon how much you would like to spend daily.
- Cap and sunscreen
Use a sunscreen whenever you are outside irrespective of the weather. Doctors recommend wearing it when you are inside your house as well, hence in the outdoors it is a must.
Carry a cap or a hat depending upon what you are comfortable with for the outdoors.
Never leave valuables in the car or the vehicle that you are traveling in. If you must, leave them in the hotel safe because it is surely not worth the risk.
- Souvenirs/ Mementos
I am a huge fan of buying souvenirs for myself as well as for gifting to family and friends. But many times, I tend to postpone it thinking I may get a better choice elsewhere and always end up regretting it. Make sure you buy something you like else you may not get the chance later. Besides, souvenirs are perfect collectibles to keep memories of your travel intact.
Taking notes is something I rarely did previously, but now I do. I write down everything that is important to remember, on my cell phone (since I don’t carry a small notepad; especially because I tend to mention people, places and things in my travelogues. Much that we think we will remember later, the truth is that most of it will be forgotten.
Another easy way is to click a picture of a board or a place to remember the name. This has served me well over the past few years. One way to store all your information on your cell could be to use Evernote. Evernote provides a very efficient way to record notes, audio, video and images in one place. You can also create a list.
Just like souvenirs make sure you click pictures when you think it is a picture shot. Don’t miss out on it. However, in the urge to be behind the lens at all times don’t miss out on experiencing the real beauty of that place. Do read: To click or not to click for my detailed thoughts on this topic.
A few others for the road!
Please buy a present if you are staying with a friend or family, or even someone else. If you have forgotten the gift, buy something from that place or atleast remember to send them something later. This is the least someone can do for honoring hospitality.
- Local language
If you can make time learn simple words like thank you, please, how are you etc., if you do not speak the local language of the country you are traveling to. Rosetta Stone courses for learning languages are the most efficient and cost effective way to quickly learn a foreign language.
- Be safe
By all means never take any risk. Carry cross-body bags preferably instead of lugging your purse on just one shoulder. Men should avoid putting their wallets in their back pockets and ensure large currency notes are not seen in the front pocket. Carry your passport locally only if you need to show it somewhere, else it is best kept in the safe of the hotel.
Happy and safe traveling!
One who is born with wings has many stories to tell. I was a born wayfaring story-teller! But then, how does a chirpy story-teller who also has wings on her back and wheels on her feet find a colossal audience to recount those sometimes awe-inspiring, sometimes eccentric encounters. I realised there was no other way I could narrate my tales to the world unless i started penning them down in black and white. That's how TravelwithArchie was born. I love calling myself a vagabond! One who dreams about places and then travels there to see how they look in the real world. Come, borrow my wings for a while and see the world with my lens!