50 travel tips that will change the way you travel forever

brooke flying
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things I have learned over the years travelling. Wanting to compile a useful list of tips and tricks is one thing, but limiting it to just 50 is another! That’s right… I didn’t struggle to think of 50 of the best travel tips, I struggled to know which ones to include! There’s so much I want to share with you – starting with:


1. Keep a change of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on. 

You never know when your luggage may be lost or delayed, and the first thing you want to do in a new city is most probably not go on a mission to buy underwear.

2. Learn the quickest ways to get over jet lag

Drinking plenty over water, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and fresh air are the best ways to avoid jet lag or at least shake it quickly. Better yet, a shower is as good as liquid sleep… just be sure to head outside right afterwards, as the fresh air will wake you up for the day.

3. Wash your clothes in the sink

One you learn how to wash your clothes in the sink like a pro, you’ll never use a laundromat again.

4. Learn how to pack like a pro

The never ending packing debate has resulted in a few claims to fame, but a combination of both rolling (delicate, wrinkle-prone items) and folding (jeans, etc.) results in a pro packing approach. Better yet, pack clothes that don’t wrinkle. Better better yet, never buy clothes that require ironing!

5. Price One-way Tickets & Return

If you’re going on a Euro trip or visiting another region where you’re covering a lot of ground, consider booking x2 one way tickets (e.g. one way into Paris and one way returning from Moscow). This can save you a lot of time and money as you won’t have to back track.

6. Know how to Pack your hats 

Ever travelled with a hat, only to arrive with it more or less resembling a scrunched up piece of paper? Learning how to pack your hat like a pro can change that. All you gotta do is pack the head with clothes (small items like undies and t shirts), sit it in your suitcase, pack around it firmly and voila!

7. Do your laundry before you pack

On that note, packing becomes about twenty times easier when you do your laundry beforehand.

8. Always carry baby wipes

Sometimes there won’t be a shower. Sometimes there will be delays and showers will be days apart. Avoid feeling icky (with a strong odour) and bring along baby wipes for a quick clean slate.

9. DIY SOS Pack

Make yourself a DIY SOS pack for the plane to ensure you’ve got plenty of snacks and things to do… you’ll never hate flying long-hauls again!

10. Buy a Hard Suitcase

Ever arrived at a destination and found something broken, be that inside the suitcase or the case itself? Buying a hard case was the best investment I ever made: no more broken camera gear, no more worries (I’ve even packed glass bottles inside before with no troubles).

11. Pack one of everything

You can only wear one pair of jeans at a time and to be quite realistic, jeans last a fair amount of wears before needing a wash! The less you pack, the less you carry. If you find yourself in a pickle there will be somewhere nearby to purchase that item – don’t sweat it!

12. Ditch Souvenirs 

One day I decided to stop buying kitsch souvenirs (so long ago I cannot remember when it was precisely), but I haven’t looked back since. Instead of buying souvenirs I try to capture as many special moments as possible on camera and once I’ve returned home make my own souvenirs by scrapbooking a DIY Travel Photo Book.

13. Do Pack Sneakers

If all else fails the sneakers will prevail.

14. Research food before you go

If you have intolerances or dietary requirements that DOES NOT MEAN you cannot enjoy local cuisine! Do a little research before your trip and you will invariably find vegetarian equivalents of famous local dishes or in the worst case scenario, go nuts on the sweets section!

15. Act now, apologise later

For many years I had always been to shy or concerned not to do things – like being unsure if I was allowed to take photos or not knowing if I was allowed to enter a certain door. In the end I realised that if I’m doing something wrong, I could apologise afterwards. Better to see, do and try everything than to never know. Plus a smile goes a long way to get you off the hook!

16. Keep a Journal

Hell, even if its only a few dot points in the evening – write it down! You’ll be surprised how easy it is to forget those intimate little moments like when you caught eyes with a stranger or the finer details like the scent of those fresh blooms… and one day you’ll want nothing more than to remember.

17. Learn key phrases

One of the best things I did a few years ago was take the time to learn key phrases for each country I was visiting in Europe. Knowing how to say “NO”, “Please”, “Thank you” and “Do you have vegetarian?” has been a huge help over the years.

18. Always pack snacks

On a day trip, on a week-long trip, on a plane trip… always pack snacks. You just never know when you’ll next find something to eat.

19. Have multiple streams of money

One of the worst things to happen to me whilst travelling was losing my purse with all my credit and bank cards inside. These things DO happen. In an ideal world I would have had some cash stored away in my suitcase for an emergency, but I didn’t. And boy was that a long, drawn out, hungry day.

20. Ask for help

Chances are that little old lady peeking up from her newspaper is just dying to give you directions. All you gotta do is ask.

21. Ask for suggestions

On that note, start asking locals for suggestions instead of always consulting the interwebs (it does help A LOT of the time, but sometimes it is best to just ask a local). They can tell you some great local insider tips and often will offer to show you around or at least take you to the place you’re looking for.

22. Ditch the Cinemas

Too many times when I have been abroad looking for an activity to do, I have found myself in line at the cinemas going to see a new film. I speak from experience when I say: DON’T DO IT… that film isn’t going anywhere! Instead, opt for something fun where you can actually meet people and mingle with locals, like a bowling alley or local sports event.

23. Dry Shampoo

…saves lives.

24. Wash your undies in the sink

Learning how to properly wash my clothes in the sink has been a lifesaver. Best of all, you can dry them in a matter of minutes!

25. Ditch the sarcasm at border control

…and have a solid answer when asked “What is your profession?” Instead of answering “well I’m a writer, kinda… more like a blogger really… I just, yeah, I just write and take photos”. Never ends well!

26. Never pack a brand new book on a plane

Believe me this should not be overlooked. More often than not I have packed one book, just one chance of survival at that 12 hour flight. And more often than not, that book has sucked. Try starting at least a few pages, maybe even a chapter of a book before deeming it plane worthy. Otherwise, bring a backup!

27. Pack your Carry-On Carefully

After losing my bags in Africa, I will no longer leave a country without packing a few handy essentials in my carry-on, including: my toothbrush, toothpaste, some spare underwear, deodorant and a spare outfit.

28. Do not Sleep in. Ever.

Carpe Diem!

29. Be Patient

You’ll be surprised how much better an experience you have when you just remember to be patient and understanding of the situation. Remember life is not what happens to you, but how you react to it!

30. Travel Insurance

Don’t leave home without it. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Its that simple. What is also simple is using the WOW discount code when booking your travel insurance with Southern Cross Travel Insurance! Just type “WOW” in the promotional code offer for 10% off – for Australia & NZ only.

31. Pack a scarf

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times a scarf has come in handy whilst abroad. Not only to negate the effects of airlines thinking they should resemble the weather on offer in Antarctica, but also in situations where covering up is required.

32. Back Up 

When travelling for an extended period of time you’re likely to accumulate hundreds and thousands of beautiful memories in the form of photographs and videos. Imagine how you’d feel if you lost said memories and could not ever get them back? I would strongly suggest a cloud system (online back up) instead of lugging around a hard drive, or if you store all your photos on a blog somewhere that is also a great help!

33. Take lots of (but not too many) photos

On that note, lets take a moment to talk about photos. I wanted to simply write “take lots of photos” but I strongly believe you can take too many photos, to the point where it becomes overwhelming and you leave your photos for months after your travels before sorting through them (by which time people no longer wag their tails like puppy dogs hopeful of hearing all your great stories). So take lots of photos, yes. But learn how to take better photos so that you can spend more time and effort getting that “great” shot instead of 50 mediocre point and clicks.

34. Learn your camera gear inside out

And on that note on that note, I believe the single most determining factor that led to less stress when I travel was learning how to take better photos and knowing all the lurks and perks of my gadgets inside out. Trust me on this — you’ll never miss that gorgeous pastel coloured sunrise again if you just know how to work that camera.

35. Have more Budget than your Budget

If you go overseas and have a really good time, you’re bound to go over budget. If you don’t go over budget, you’re probably not having as good a time as you could (splurge a little!) So whenever I budget for a trip I always have a booster budget (a few hundred dollars above budget) for the fun stuff I might come across and just want to say yes to, without having to worry about finding the funds to do so!

36. Drink Plenty of Water

It might seem like an obvious one but we’re all guilty of not drinking enough water daily… especially when we travel! For myself I try to stick by the rule of not drinking anything BUT water, and when I do, I have to drink the same amount of that drinks in water alongside it (sounds a little crazy but trust me, it works!)

37. Lower your expectations

I speak from experience when I say that having high expectations hardly ever leads to a positive trip abroad. Remember that when you travel things will always be different to the way you expect them and these are often things outside of your control (take the weather for example). Stay positive – it could be worse! You could be at home on the couch watching the travel channel!

38. Pack your suitcase and then remove half

I once read this travel tip years and years ago and laughed it off, thinking there was no way I could remove half of my luggage after spending so much time diligently picking out each and every item I just knew I would need on my trip. But I promise you, less is more (plus you’ll have more room for purchases).

39. Have a plan for sickness

If you’re prone to illness or you’re spending more than a few weeks overseas, chances are you will fall ill on your trip at some point time. When it happens it really does suck more than at home as you’re in foreign surrounds and your best chance of survival is to come prepared.

40. Travel closer to home

Imagine if there were no borders and you could travel without customs and immigrations, without long lines and airport waiting areas? You can! Travelling close to home is one of my favourite ways to counteract my relentless desire to get away and explore. The best part is you can go whenever without any prior planning!

41. Learn a Language, Any language!

When it comes to learning new languages I pretty much suck for the most part. There, I said it. But while I can’t learn a whole new language and retain that knowledge, I can (and do) make an effort to learn a few key phrases in every language of countries i am visiting and once you start it is hard to stop! Besides getting over the fear of “sounding funny” is half the hurdle. Once you’re find with trying new words and sounds it is much easier to learn a new language as it becomes so much easier to practice on anyone and everyone you meet.

42. Always store your hotel address + room number

If I had a dollar for every time I have found myself exploring a city for hours, always ending up kilometres away from my hotel with no idea how to return… well, I’d probably have enough for a new plane ticket! A great way to avoid becoming legitimately lost is to write down your hotel name, address and room number in your phone so that you always have something to refer back to. Better yet, take a screenshot of your hot pin on Google Maps from your phone before you leave for the day!

43. Supermarkets make for a cheap dinner

Okay I know I probably shouldn’t say this (because eating out is all a part of the local experience and all), but sometimes I just feel like a quick and cheap bite to eat that I can take home to enjoy or eat on the walk home. If you’re in a city like London then you’re in for a real treat – Marks and Spencers, Tesco and Sainsbury’s all make reasonable meals to go!

44. Splurge every so often

If you’ve spent any amount of time on my blog whatsoever I’m sure you will know by now that I’m no stranger to the sporadic splurge. While I admire budget travellers for their frugal ways, I myself have a little too much intrigue when it comes to new experiences (be that food, activities or seeing a theatre show) and just can’t say no. If it makes you feel good; do it. If it doesn’t; don’t. Simple!

45. Always ask the price first

Before you get in a cab, before you commit to buy that kitsch souvenir, before you walk in to a restaurant… always check the price before you commit or be willing to pay more than you’d like for something you may not even like at all!

46. Don’t overbook your trip

Spontaneity is the key ingredient to a fun-filled getaway. Not knowing where you will end up that day or how you will get there is almost always as exciting as the activities you get up to anyway!

47. If you need something, just ask

Ask a local where’s the best coffee in town, ask your receptionist if they have spare bathroom supplies before buying them, ask if you can try a flavour before you buy… its true that if you ask, you shall receive!

48. Be Kind at Check In

One of the biggest tips I have for you when scoring a hotel upgrade or getting a better seat on the plane is just to be kind. Even when you don’t want something from someone, be kind. Always be kind.

49. Run off the plane

Sick of spending too much time in lines and in airports? Arrive late (though don’t miss your flight… that would not be good) and leave early (run off that plane and fly to the front of the line at immigration).

50. Remember its not wrong, its just different

And last of all my favourite travel quote of all that I heard many times in South America – “Its not wrong, its just different”. Always try to keep an open mind and remember that your way is not necessarily right, but just the way you know it to be. Don’t be afraid to look at things from a different perspective – its the best way to learn!

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    March 25, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Really great! Love all of your 50 travel tips so much! Thanks for your effort to share with the world. Have a nice day ❤

    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    March 22, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Awesome ideas! Is it normal if it makes me want to travel now?
    Good thing that I’m off to China on Friday 🙂

    March 15, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Great tips! I totally agree with insurance. I’ve used almost every time I’ve been away in one way or another!

    March 14, 2016 at 2:26 am

    I never, ever bring new books on the plane if I haven’t tested its “plane worthiness”, as you put it, in advance! It really makes a lot of sense, actually – you can have super high expectations on this new read and then, oops, you’re stuck in the airport with nothing to do with some crappy book that makes you vomit 😀 So I definitely agree with your tip: better ensure the quality of your entertainment beforehand!

    March 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Totally agree (re: sleeping in and travel insurance particularly!). If you can’t afford travel insurance YOU CANT AFFORD TO TRAVEL. It really is that simple! We went over as two healthy 20 year olds and STILL ended up having to use ours once as my partner got unexpectedly sick very, very quickly. Because of travel insurance we weren’t down hundreds of euros and the end of our trip! (And that’s a cheap run in, too).
    Also I’d add-PUT YOUR PHOTOS ON FACEBOOK. Even if your family get annoyed at you dumping 300 at once (haha) you can even start up a private account and upload them there. Why? It’s a FREE way of keeping your photos online. If your camera or your phone gets stolen, the photos are on the net and not going anywhere. If you’re not comfortable with Facebook, email yourself the photos!
    Also totally agree re: supermarkets ESPECIALLY if you’re travelling for a long period of time. Aside from the money you’ll save, you’ll also find that you get sick of restaurant food all the time-all that salt, butter, and rich flavouring is great when you go out to eat occasionally, not so great when it’s 2 meals a day for 2 months. We literally booked our last hostel because it had a kitchen! Great way to explore the local part of the city-the supermarkets! And make something yummy 🙂

    March 13, 2016 at 5:31 am

    Realyy great tips – thanks for sharing!

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    March 9, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Fantastic tips! What a thorough list. There is something in this for everyone, great job.

    March 9, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Great tips Brooke. Also wanted to let you know the link ‘how to wash your clothes in the sink like a pro’ is set wrong. It leads us to another link than you probably wanted to link it with. Have a great day!

    Danielle @ Our Passport Pages
    March 8, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    This is one of the best comprehensive lists I have ever seen of travel tips. I learned some new things for sure 🙂

    Rachael @ Catch Me if You Can
    March 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I love these tips, especially the manage expectations one. I had too high expectations for rome and was disappointed 🙁 venice I had none and loved every minute!

    March 8, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Couldn’t agree more! Still trying to learn how to use my camera, it’s very fun practicing photography while travelling. I improved heaps after fiddling around a lot.

    March 8, 2016 at 10:16 am

    So many good tips in here! I’m so desperate to pack my bags and go somewhere, but absolutely petrified of going on my own, and no idea where to start! This blog gives me so much inspiration though and hopefully one day I’ll be ready to dive in 🙂 love reading these posts!

    Georgina x |

    March 8, 2016 at 8:00 am

    These are all so good. I really liked the book one. I would have never thought to start a book before the place. I always bring a new book on to the place, luckily I’ve liked them all haha. Good tip!

    March 8, 2016 at 5:29 am

    These are very good tips. This is a great article! Not buying souvenirs is a good one.


    Carola Bieniek
    March 8, 2016 at 5:17 am

    Totally agree, Trev!
    …and I’d like to add to that: people aren’t sights. While locals in colorful costumes or simply with faces unknown wherever you live might look very interesting it is simply rude to take pictures without asking (and no, apologizing when somebody points that out to you is not the same as either asking beforehand or, at least, afterwards and sincerely offering to delete the photo if it’s not wanted).

    Happy travels!

    March 8, 2016 at 5:16 am

    I love those type of articles that give me some tips ! It stimulates me and give me even more the envy to travel ! 🙂

    Can’t wait to apply all of this.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Kenza from

    March 8, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Some great tips here. One more:

    Walk, everywhere. It’s the best way to see a new city. After a few days, you’ll feel like a local.
    Also, join a small group tour. It can be a great way to meet new people in a strange place and often, you can get access to places that you wouldn’t have known about on your own. Check out to search, compare, and read reviews for multi day tours.

    Kate Bumstead
    March 8, 2016 at 3:33 am

    My best travel tip is to video capture as much as you can! Photo’s are wonderful but there’s nothing better then going back on video recordings of your past travels and re-living the moment! Love all of these as well though – can relate a lot!

      March 8, 2016 at 8:02 am

      I totally agree. I always forget to take video though. I’m so used to whipping out my phone to take a photo. But I am trying to remember to take more video!

    Leah Funderburg
    March 8, 2016 at 2:38 am

    These are such great tips! I love the aspect of splurging because we do often get into our daily life routine, we forget to treat ourselves once and a while! Check out
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    March 8, 2016 at 2:30 am

    Act now, apologise later — love this one!

    Great article, thanks for posting this Brooke!

    March 8, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Walk with a collapsible bucket. Hotel sinks can be questionble!

    March 8, 2016 at 1:51 am

    15. Act now, apologise later” is dangerous. “Act now” could land you in jail where you have to “apologize later” to a judge; especially if you are not aware of local laws (ie PDA in certain countries, walking into a mosque without being covered, yes even taking pictures of religious objects (or people) could land you in deep trouble in some countries, etc). Be aware of local laws FIRST. Being a “dumb” tourist is rarely a defense that will be accepted.

    March 8, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Great tips! I learned #39 the hard way. Now I always carry a small “pharmacy” in a ziplock when I travel. If you’re tight on space, Even having a pill or two of a certain medication can get you through until you could find more.

    March 8, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Such amazing tips! Simple but make such a good difference. I’m getting better and better at packing lighter with every trip!

    March 7, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Great tips, but I think the link for tip number 3 is not the right one… 😉

    Daniela @ Grumpy Camel
    March 7, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    I love this list, it covers everything! I would also recommend investing in a sturdy pair of walking shoes and packing a waterproof pouch for your camera, phone and other valuables just in case you get caught in the rain.

    Amber Johnson
    March 7, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Great tips!! That one about the hotel address, when I was away in Europe a few years ago, it was suggested to me to grab the hotel business card from the front desk. It is now a habit, when I check in anywhere, i grab a card, and keep it with my room key.

    March 7, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Great tips. I adore the last one – “it’s not wrong, it’s just different” it’s so relevant to travelling and many things in life. There’s not one set way of doing things and travel is the perfect way of seeing this first hand!

    March 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Love these tips! 🙂

    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    March 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    great tips!:) I do a lot of them already but you’ve given me some new ideas too:)

    Michelle Logan
    March 7, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    A most important tip is to register at the government website Smart Traveller to register your overseas whereabouts just in case something goes wrong.

    Another tip I also use always is buy a pre paid SIM card on arrival at your destination for calls back home, it’s way cheaper.

    always photocopy my itinerary and travel documents and leave with a significant person especially if I am solo travelling.

    Invest in a pair is Bose noise cancelling ear phones, the best for a long distance haul.
    Invest in a pair of custom made ear plugs especially if you are travelling with your best friend and sharing the room together and they snore! Saves the friendship.

    March 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    These were seriously great! Thanks for the tips gal

    March 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I’ll add one. I have a fear of panic attacks. I don’t have many, but I know if I do, it will throw me off for several days. Before I go somewhere, I do some research and find a place I can go to if I “fall apart.” For me it is usually a church, but it will be different places for different people. I just need to have a safe place in case I need it. So far I haven’t needed it, but knowing I have one makes all the difference.

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    March 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm

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    March 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Great tips as I’m traveling today to Bangkok! Not a long flight, but still a great one! x

    March 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I received my first set of hard shell luggage last Christmas and they have been an awesome addition to my travel luggage. As a travel blogger they will get a lot of use!

    March 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Wow what a great list! Thanks for putting this together. The tip about not sleeping in is one of my faves. I once watched an awesome TED talk where the lady explained how we can’t hit snooze on our alarm and we actually really don’t want to. Being awake and out of bed is where all the cool stuff happens! But we have to force ourselves to have the activation energy to make the move from bed to awake. Once you’re there you never regret it, so you’ve gotta make yourself do it! (Especially during travels!)

    March 7, 2016 at 8:48 am

    This is brilliant – agree with every single point!

    March 7, 2016 at 8:32 am

    These are all amazing tips! I’ve saved it for when I go solo travelling <3

    Another Ranting Reader
    March 7, 2016 at 7:46 am

    This is so useful! Saving this for later reference.

    Jemima x

    March 7, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I love the ‘be spontaneous’ message of this; although most of my travelling up to now has been structured on school trips, this has made me really excited for my gap year where I can do my own thing. Also, number 15 is something I’ve tried to make habit of recently – I always think to myself ‘Will I regret not doing this?’ because there’s nothing worse than wondering what could’ve been!