Some totally cliché things I’ve learnt about travelling:
Other travelers are your new extended family. We love how quickly you can bond with people that are stuck in the same visa queue, on the same diving course or muay thai class, in the same tour bus as you. Send out good vibes and they’ll be reciprocated.
Compartmentalize. If it works for highly secretive regimes, it’ll work for you. Use packing cubes for your luggage so you don’t have to root around your entire bag. Use smaller pouches and bags to keep tech bits, medication, any essentials from loosely floating about your handbag/backpack.
Don’t bother with those diarrhea pills. This is verbatim my doctors advice in India. Unless you need to catch a flight or are about to board an endless bus/train/donkey journey. They only keep the nasty bugs inside your body. Let your body get rid of them naturally, as unpleasant as that may be. Just please make sure you take care of yourself and re-hydrate. Think you’ve drunk enough to make up for lost liquid? Wrong. Drink more. Sip slowly, but keep sipping.
Budget for a trip. And then add 50%. There will always be things you just need to have/try.
Visa costs make no sense. Especially for second- and third world countries they are never what you expect them to be. Yesterday, £130. Today, £65. Tomorrow, £185. Your best bet is to carry wads of cash when applying for a visa in person.
Speaking of cash – there are certain bank accounts that let you take out money free of those annoying international withdrawal fees . If you travel a lot it’s definitely worth looking into getting one.
Drink Diet Coke. It may not be the healthy option but it will help if your stomach is unhappy with some unusual foods.
Always take a
towel scarf. Not only will it give you shade/protection from over-active air-cons. Simply pull it over your head and face in airplanes, trains and buses to avoid being photographed fast asleep with your mouth wide open looking like a travel zombie.
Shower caps make great shoe protectors. They’ll stop (most) dust and dirt getting all over your clothes when packing. Unless you have dedicated shoe bags. If you have shoe bags you need no tips.
To Do lists are your friend until they become your overwhelming enemy. Rather than one big list chop them up into areas: To Plan, To Organise, To Pack, To Do Before Leaving, People To See etc. Do it on paper and hang it up on your wall or use an app like Keep, Wunderlist or Evernote.
Annoy your friends and family. Make a countdown until your take-off date and talk about your trip incessantly.
Be short and sweet. Find an app like One Second Everyday and stitch together short clips of your trips. Everybody has time to watch a 2-minute clip, nobody can be bothered to stalk through hundreds of photos of a sunrise.
Pack several sets of earplugs. I always lose at least one while sleeping on planes, trains, buses/down the side of the bed. Try wearing them regularly for some nights before you actually need them to get used to sleeping with blobs of foam in your ears. Same goes for eye masks.