There is a lot I wish I knew before embarking on this travel life. When it all started it was just about spending a few days here and there, what I did not know is how far I could have taken my travelling had I known what I know now – maximising my travel experience. With many travel deals and other ways of travelling for free one would have been a seasoned traveller by now.
Allow me to share with you some of the tips I have learned from other travellers and from my own experiences:
They come in very handy when booking accomodation and flights all over the country and abroad. The trick is to join the voyager miles offered by operations like star alliance, kulula.com as they open up a lot of platforms where you can save/spend your miles.
Join a Travel Community
Being part of a travel community like ‘Mzantsi Travel Movement’, Travel Noire, Nomadness Tribe and many others help in keeping in contact with other travellers all over the world. This come in very handy especially to solo travellers because through these communities it is easy for you to organise a meet up/ get useful information about your intended destination. A lot of useful information is shared in these communities such as cheap flights, exciting destinations and accommodation deals that can save you a huge amount of money that can be used to extend your trip/ be saved for your next trip.
It will save you a lot of money and create room for your daily essentials if you make your language as light as possible. It will save you a great deal of space if you would rather pack only light clothes like shorts, scarfs and sweaters that can be used more than once. Excess baggage can cost you a fortune and can hinder your spontaneity along the way so it is better to carry less. I am even tempted to say pack only what you are going to need for survival, no luxuries.
Have a Travel Plan
For all your travels it is advisable to always have a travel plan. It might not be a very detailed one but you need to have one just to ensure that you do not confuse things/ make costly mistakes that could have been avoided. Your itinerary must clearly stipulate all your destinations and leave a copy of your plan with your friend/relative so that they can know where you are at what time even if you do not communicate regularly. I must confess though that I never stick to travel plans, in most cases half the stuff never happens. I just go with the flow.
Print copies of all your documents
Anything can happen when travelling, luggage become delayed/ worse gets lost on the way. However, if you have all the copies of all your travel documents the ordeal will be manageable because all you need to do is have them sent to you/ your mobile device if you don’t have them saved there already; or if anything happens to your mobile device.
Mind your alcohol consumption
I know sometimes when you are having a good time it is not easy to count your glasses or shots but when travelling it is always a good idea to do so for your own safety. You need to be in a position to give concise count of events should anything happen.
Make Local Friends
For you to really know a place and learn the culture of the community you are visiting, you need to mix with the locals. This also helps in making you feel at home and not feel like you are in foreign land. When you are comfortable with your surroundings, you tend to enjoy your stay even more. When we travel as a group we always let other friends who are where we are headed know that we will be in their vicinity, share dates and ask them to join us if they can. This makes the trip more fun and they always come in handy because they have knowledge of the place and can point us to nice hangout spots or hidden gems not on the tourists routes.
Leave valuables in the safe
The best option would be to leave all your valuables at home to avoid any inconvenience along the way but if you really have to take them with you please make sure to leave them in a safe. Most hotels will have safes in the rooms, if not ask the reception desk to assist with your valuables safe keeping.
Use social media to update your family and friends of your movements
Social media through out the years have become a very powerful communication tool with a variety of channels to chose from. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to update you loved ones of your daily whereabouts as this information will come in handy if you come across any misfortune. Also just to let them know that you are having the time of your life and that they should worry less about your safety and well being.
Carry a business card of the hotel
At the help desk there is always business cards or information about the hotel you will be staying at, make sure to always keep that with you so that if you by any chance get lost, you can call the hotel and ask for directions back instead of asking strangers.
Hopefully these will give you a great start, enjoy and be safe out there.