I get asked so many questions about how I travel – from how I afford it, to where I stay, to what camera I use – I thought it’s about time I share it all with you. And what better way to do so than in an entire page devoted to my prized travel tips and resources: tips and tricks I’ve learnt since I started my travels almost three years ago.
Here I’m sharing absolutely everything I can about how I travel. This post will be added to with time, as I discover more new tips and habits that I think you’ll find helpful. Let me know if I have missed anything in the comments below!
PLANNING A TRIP
I love guidebooks and I’m slowly starting a Lonely Planet collection on my bookshelf at home. Rough Guides and Nat Geo are also favourites. I buy my guidebooks from Amazon as they are almost always cheaper there than directly through the websites.
I’m a visual person so I almost always map out my trip either on Google Maps (you can create your own maps and save them) or on a paper map. Often I use the mini maps in my guidebook too.
Reading other people’s blogs is my favourite way to plan as I get an insight into what places are like from the eyes of someone else. I mostly find blogs through searching on Google – just type in something like “India one month blog” and you get heaps of results.
To be honest, I follow so many travel related accounts across all my social media channels, it’s a surprise that anything other than travel appears in my feeds!
I love Instagram for visual inspiration (and I’m gutted they got rid of the maps feature). Pinterest is a great way to find useful articles and blogs (as well as pretty photos) for specific locations. I’m in loads of travel related Facebook groups and tend to post in them with any queries or if I need advice (search for things like “New Zealand Backpackers” or “India Travel”)
BOOKING FLIGHTS AND TRANSPORT
I almost always search for cheap flights through Skyscanner, however I often book flights within Europe directly with Easyjet or Ryanair. I also search Kiwi.com and google.com/flights to see if I can find better deals there. I generally book my flights around a couple of months before departure, though I booked flights to Menorca for just £10 each way only a few weeks before we flew.
I prefer to travel on public transport such as buses and trains when I’m abroad, as you save money, get to see the way locals travel, and help the environment. Read more about that in this post.
Generally, I don’t book my transport in advance until a couple of days before – it’s the sort of thing I do when I get to my destination rather than from home. Doing it when I get there gives my itinerary a lot of flexibility too.
I usually book the first few nights’ accommodation in advance and book the next place when I get there, and so on. This way, I only ever book my accommodation a few days in advance, but it gives me the flexibility I like to have with my itinerary. I rarely turn up without a reservation in case there’s nothing left.
The websites below are those I use when booking accommodation:
- AirBnB (often so much better than a hotel or hostel!)
If anyone ever tells you you don’t need insurance, please don’t take their word for it.
After getting robbed in Cambodia and my insurance company initially refusing to cover the lost costs, I vowed never to use that company again and for my next trip, swapped to World Nomads.
The three main reasons I love World Nomads are:
- you can take out a policy when you’re already abroad
- you can extend your policy while overseas
- you can insure individual valuable items such as your gadgets
For comparison, other companies usually won’t let you take out a policy if you have already left your home country and won’t extend your cover. Normally they have a combined amount that you can insure all your gadgets up to (and it’s usually something like £500 which would only cover my iPhone never mind my camera and MacBook.)
MONEY / FOREIGN CURRENCY
Cards and cash
I travel with a credit card (Halifax Clarity), a Travel Money Card (Cash Passport by MasterCard), as well as my debit card and enough cash for a few days. I withdraw cash little and often while travelling, as my credit card does not charge for cash withdrawals.
I always keep my money on my person (I never put it into my checked/hold luggage). If there is a locker in my accommodation I will use it for my valuables, except my passport, after that time I got robbed.
When I’m transferring money overseas, I use TransferWise. It’s a great service which is really quick and easy to use – and is often cheaper than doing an international bank transfer. I used it to transfer over $10,000 NZD from my New Zealand bank account to my UK one and it only cost me about £70!
These are the items I always take with me when I travel.
My choice of luggage differs dependent on the type of trip I’m taking, but generally:
- For longer trips, I travel with an Osprey Ariel 65L Rucksack and a small Kathmandu daypack (mine is purple)
- For short/weekend trips, I take a wheeled case
- I always have a handbag or across body bag with me for evenings
Clothes and Shoes
If I’m travelling to cheap places like Asia, I tend to buy clothes there as I love getting souvenirs from my travels and can’t resist! Aside from a handful of clothes, the main items I always take with me are my Torpedo 7 Hiking Boots (this is a similar pair as mine have been discontinued), my Teva Walking Sandals, a bikini and a comfy pair of leggings for long-haul flights. Other items vary dependent on where I’m travelling to!
- Canon 80D DSLR with 18-135mm lens
- Sony HX60 Digital Camera– this one took all my New Zealand photos
- Apple iPhone 6S– I have a 64GB one as I have so much stored on it
- GoPro HERO5 – for cool videos (I’ll make them one day I swear)
- Apple MacBook Pro – an essential for me as I blog almost every evening
- Transcend 1TB Portable Hard Drive
- Travel Towel
- Passport Holder
- Journal – I tend to pick these up on my travels so they double up as souvenirs
- UE Ultimate Ears ROLL 2 Bluetooth Speaker
- Lock for lockers etc
- Lush solid shampoo and conditioner – these are perfect for hand-luggage-only trips as they don’t count as liquids! One shampoo bar usually lasts me 2-3 months (I have long, thick hair) and they contain no horrible chemicals so they’re much better for your hair too.
I have an iPhone 6S and use the following apps on a regular basis while I’m travelling:
- Here Maps – offline maps. Download the destination when you have data/wifi, then use the app offline throughout your trip.
- Skyscanner – for booking flights on the go.
- Booking.com – for hotels and hostels.
- AirBnB – if I’m staying somewhere a little longer.
- CamperMate (for campsites, points of interest, petrol stations, supermarkets etc in Australia and New Zealand)
- Canon App – to transfer photos between my camera and iPhone.
- Google Drive – for backing up my photos on my iPhone while on the road. Like DropBox, it’s accessible as a mobile app and on your desktop and saves everything to the Cloud.
- XE – to check exchange rates (I have to check almost daily as I have a habit of thinking foreign money is Monopoly money and overspending).
Is there anything I’ve missed, or anything you want to add?
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