Wouldn't it be nice, before every trip, to call up an expert and get their advice on what to pack or how to upgrade to first class? Well, we can't promise a phone chat, but we can give you those tips right here and now...
If you're addicted to travel like we are, then follow these tips!
Your Carry-On Can Save You
"In your carry-on: water, snack, clean undies. No matter what form of transportation you are using to go from point A to B, you'll get thirsty and hungry. I was on a short flight once and didn't take my advice; we ended up getting diverted to another airport, sat around for three hours, and flew back — man, was I hungry and thirsty! And the clean undies . . . bring them and thank me later."
— JD Andrews, earthXplorer
Getting off the ground - how to book cheap flights
Every Aussie tourist knows the pain of long, expensive flights - it seems to be part and parcel of living in the land downunder. But there are some tricks to keep up your sleeve when searching for a cheap plane ticket.
One thing all the experts agree on is that you should try to fly when noone else wants to. That means mid-week instead of weekend, and tear-inducing boarding times like 0500. It might hurt at the time, but these small inconveniences will be worth it for the extra dollars in your pocket.
But where do you find the cheapest flights out of Oz? Globetrotter Emma Lovell tells us Scott’s Cheap Flights is her newest go to for great deals. “My friend always goes to exotic and random places and that's how she gets it… As long as you're flexible with your dates, you can get any deal.”
And here’s a tip for anyone booking flights with a credit card in order to snag rewards points or activate free travel insurance - if a third party website charges a fee for using your credit card, head over to Flight Centre, Spending Hacker advises. “They will waive any credit card fees as part of their own price beat guarantee where they beat your best price by a dollar.”
Another quick tip for those who like to pack everything but the kitchen sink: weigh your luggage before you leave home, especially considering some airlines have even started weighing handbags!
Please don’t try to cram 6 countries into 6 weeks of travel. All the good stuff happens when you really take the time to explore. You’ll learn about activities that aren’t in your guidebook and meet people who are eager to show you around.
I can honestly say that NONE of my best travel experiences happened within the first few days of arriving somewhere. Spend more time in fewer places for maximum enjoyment.
Pack and Unpack
"Once you're done packing, unpack one third of your loot. You'll have a hard time leaving what you thought was essential stuff behind, but it'll be worth it — just think of how much more shopping you can do! But make room for some duct tape and a few binder clips. You never know when you'll need a makeshift clothesline, shampoo lid, purse handle, sandal strap, curtain rod, lint brush, hemming solution … "
— Emily Wolman, editor at large of Lonely Planet
Eat Like a Local
Avoid pricey tourist traps by eating at neighborhood restaurants where the locals eat, says Pauline Frommer of the Frommer's travel guides. Go up to someone on the street and ask where they would eat. If you're in a country that speaks another language, avoid places with menus in English. And never ask a hotel for recommendations: They're often paid to drive customers to certain restaurants.
Don't Book Your Flight Too Far in Advance
The early bird certainly catches the worm, but not always the best airfare. Self-proclaimed "travel detective" Peter Greenberg has sleuthed out the prime time to book your flight.
The best time to start comparison shopping for flights 45 to 60 days before you'd like to travel. Airline computers are intentionally set up not to give you a deal outside that time frame because they are looking at the law of supply and demand, Peter says.
Learn how to say "no thank you"
Most travel advice columns will tell you to learn how to say "hello", "yes please", "thank you" and "do you speak English?". But in some countries you really want to be able to say "no thank you, please leave me alone". Think about the crowded market places in Asia. Knowing how to say "no thank you" in their language is going to give you a lot more peace.
Keep an emergency stash of money
If you lose your wallet you will still need to eat. An empty Chapstick is a fantastic secret hiding spot.
Learn how to take a decent photo
Don’t come home with a bunch of Instagram selfies. Memories fade and you'll want something to remember the scenery by.
Register your details with DFAT.
OK, this one is obvious but surprisingly so many of us don’t actually do it. In cases like Boston or London, DFAT will be the place your family will turn to. Make sure they know where you are.
Research the airports you are travelling through...
So you can a) find the fastest way through and b) use the facilities. Don't just sit at the boarding gate.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the past 6 years, it’s that many people back home love to tell me how lucky I am while making excuses why they can’t travel. It’s too expensive. They can’t get time off work.
Who will feed their pets?
When I suggest solutions to these “problems”, they still don’t take action. Why? Because they’re often hiding behind the true reason: they’re scared.
Unfortunately most people who wait to travel the world never do.
You don’t need to sell all your worldly possessions and become a homeless vagabond like me. Just get out there more than you do now. Start with a weekend in a different state. Then maybe try a week in the country next door.
The new car, remodeling project, and iPhone can wait. If you truly want to travel more, you can make it happen. Career breaks are possible. You have friends who would love to watch your pets.
It’s a big, beautiful, exciting, and fascinating world out there.