TRAVEL GUIDE


ALLOW ME TO BE YOUR TOUR GUIDE, AS I GUIDE YOU ON SOME OF MY FAVOURITE CITIES WHICH I HAVE HAD THE PLEASURE TO VISIT. NORMALLY I GET TO SPEND A LIMITED TIME IN A CITY, AND HAVE PUT TOGETHER A LIST OF THE TOP ATTRACTIONS YOU SHOULD VISIT, ESPECIALLY IF YOU FIND YOURSELF SHORT ON TIME. I HAVE INCLUDED SOME OF MY TOP RECOMMENDATIONS TOO, ON FOOD, SHOPPING AND ACCOMMODATION. 

 YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE PAST TO UNDERSTAND THE PRESENT. FOR THIS REASON I HAVE INCLUDED A BRIEF HISTORY ON EACH PLACE.


TRAVEL TIPS


Packing for a holiday can be difficult. You are constantly packing, unpacking, packing again, checking that you have got everything, then you realise you have forgotten your toothbrush. Get used to it. It will happen more than once. What you need is a packing list. One thing to remember straight away – what you don’t pack, you buy. Many travellers just take the bare essentials, buying everything they need once they are on the road. You need to work out a happy balance for you.

TRAVEL TIPS

 

1. Carry a small backpack.

35/40 liters capacity will do.

2. Pack light.  

Write down a list of essentials. 

3. Take an extra bank card/credit card with you.

Disasters happen. It is good to have a backup plan in case you get robbed or lose a card. Keep it in a safe place.

4. Make sure to use bank cards with no fees

Do not give banks your hard earned money. Get a credit/debit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees or ATM fees.

5. Travel by yourself at least once

You will learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent.

6. Use a map.

    I use an electronic map. I download maps on the following apps: HERE WeGo & CityMaps2Go. Both these apps have offline map capability and I drop-pin places of interest that I want to visit.

7. Do not be afraid to get purposefully lost.

Wandering aimlessly through a new city is agood way to get to know it, get off the beaten track and away from the tourists.

8. Always visit the local tourism information centre.

They know about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities and special events happening during your stay.

9. Do not buy a money belt.

       Thieves are on the lookout. It basically shouts, "look at me, I am a tourist with money." Besides, they look stupid anyway. 

10. When you go out only take what you need.

Limit the amount of cash and bank cards you carry with you. Rather leave most of your ATM cards behind in the safe in your hotel room.

11. Always carry a lock.

      A lock is especially handy when you are travelling alone.

12. Make extra copies of your passport and important documents.

Do not forget to e-mail a copy to yourself too.

13. Ask hotel staff for information.

Even when you are not staying there.

14. Learn basic phrases in the native language of your destination.

     You will earn the respect of the locals.

15. Learn the history of a place before you visit.

You can't understand a place’s present if you don’t know anything about its past.    Read up on the destinations you are visiting. It will give you a deeper understanding of the place.

16. Do not book direct flights.

When booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to book a transit flight. Be sure to shop around for your flights and know that any direct flights are not always the cheapest.

17. Never stand in line behind families.

They take forever. It’s not their fault. They just have a lot of stuff because of the kids.  Rather get behind a business traveller.

18. When you check into a hotel, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade.

They have a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades at check-in. It never hurts to ask. Just be super nice!

19. Most cafés have free Wi-Fi.

You can also use their public restrooms.

20. Lunchtime is the best time to visit historical sites.

Be a contrarian. You will have fewer crowds getting in your way as big tour buses, groups, and most travelers head to lunch. 

21. Never eat in a touristy area or near a tourist attraction:

As a general rule, walk a few blocks in either direction before finding a place to eat. The closer you are to tourist attractions the more you are going to pay and the worse the food and the service.

22. Do not eat out every night.

Go grocery shopping. You will save money.

23. Eat at expensive restaurants during lunch.

Most expensive restaurants offer lunch specials featuring the same food they would serve for dinner, but at half the price!  

24. Pack a flashlight.

Who is not scared of the dark.

 

25. Carry a basic first aid kit.

Accidents happen so be prepared.

26. Book your flights 2-3 months in advance to get the best price.

Do not drive yourself crazy trying to get the absolute cheapest fare. Spending five hours to try to save $10 will cause you a lot of stress.

27. Be open to strangers - Not everyone bites.

Say Hi to people on the road. Turn strangers into friends. You never know, you just might make some friends along the way.

28. But keep your guard up.

Some people do bite, so keep a healthy level of suspicion. You don’t want to fall for any travel scams or get yourself into uncomfortable situations.

29. Try new food.

If you don't, you might miss out on some unusual and delicious local cuisine.

30. Avoid taxis.

They are always a budget buster. Never take a taxi unless you absolutely have too. I normally use ubers or other public transport.

31. Take an empty metal water bottle through airport security and fill it up at your gate.

Drink from the tap when it is safe — you’ll save money and help the environment.

32. Take free walking tours.

Besides being free, these tours will give you a good orientation and background of the city you are visiting. You get to pepper the guide with questions, and you get to learn a lot about where you are.

33. Get city attraction cards.

If you are going to visit a few museums and other attractions in a short period of time, a city pass is going to save you money on admission and most provide free public transportation too.

34. Take pictures of your luggage and clothes.

If your bag gets lost or stolen, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.

35. Carry emergency cash.

Because emergencies do happen.

36. Buy a good pair of shoes that are comfortable to walk in.

Expect to walk a lot when you travel. Look after your feet as they will take you to amazing places.

37. Get vaccinated.

Because falling prey to an illness in a foreign country is not fun. Many countries require you to get vaccinated in order to visit them, so regardless of your opinion on the subject, you just might have to.

38. Learn to haggle.

Haggling is a fun and playful way of not getting charged the foreigner price. It is the art of negotiating and one that will help you throughout life, not just at the market.

39. Use points and miles for free travel.

Learn the art of travel hacking and collect points and miles through your everyday spending so you can get free flights, accommodation, train tickets, and other forms of travel. It is what all expert travelers do to lower their travel costs and something you should do too!

40. Eat street food! If you skip the street food, you miss out on culture.

Do not be scared. If you are nervous, look for places where kids are eating. If it’s safe for them, it is safe for you.

41. Make sure you have travel insurance.

Travel insurance is the most important thing you get that you never want to use. If something goes wrong, you do not want to be out thousands of dollars in bills. It will be usefully if you get robbed, flights get cancelled, you get sick or injured, or have to be sent home. It’s comprehensive and for just a few dollars a day, one of the best investments you can get for a trip.

42. Be patient.

Things will work out in the end. No need to rush. You will get to where you are going in due time. Travel is about the journey, not the destination.

43. Do not overplan your trip.

Let your days unfold naturally. Schedule two or three things and let the day fill in the rest on it's own. It is less stressful, and letting the day just take you is one of the best ways to travel. 44. Relax. Is this not what holidays are for?

45. Be frugal — but not cheap.

Do not be pound-foolish. Look for deals and do not waste money, but do not miss out on great experiences or walk 10 miles to save a couple of dollars. Time is money. Spend them both wisely.

46. Buy earplugs.

You will sleep better, especially on an aeroplane.

47. Always have an extra USB charger.

Batteries die.

48. Book your tickets online.

If you are planning to do any activities or excursions on your trip, book them online. Companies usually offer a discounted price when compared to buying in person. Not only that, but you will be able to pay with a credit card, giving you some extra protection as well as more travel points!

49. Pre-book your tickets to attractions.

Many major attractions allow you to reserve your spot and skip the line. Always look online to see if this is an option. This will allow you to avoid wasting time in multi-hour lines and go right in.

50. Finally, wear sunscreen.