We all love to travel. After all, travel broadens the mind, relaxes the body and helps build connections with the rest of the World. Some of us are daredevil travelers who don’t need travel tips, and then there are those who need travel tips. So here is our list of generic travel advice, useful for all kinds of travel & travelers.
Please remember we aren’t trying to suggest that the world is a dangerous place and you shouldn’t travel. All we are proposing is travel safe, and get back home safely after your holidaying is over.
Travel tips for first time travelers
These tips are basic common sense – no rocket science at all. If we have missed any travel advice for the person stepping out of their home for the first time, please let us know in the comments section.
1. Get vaccinated for the country of travel
Different countries require different precautions. Check with your doctor and ask for the recommended medical advice for your destination – is vaccination needed or is it not needed? If you need to vaccinate or immunize yourself, what will the vaccinations be? These vaccination requirements change from time to time, so make sure your doctor is counseling you with the most updated/recent health travel tip.
2. Get travel insurance
This is important for all travelers however short or long your travel is. This is especially important for travelers on adventure travel because the chances of they getting injured are the highest. Having said that, you needn’t be on adventure travel to need the travel insurance for you can also fall ill and need hospitalization. Hospital costs can skyrocket in a foreign land, so beware! Heed to our warning, and get travel insurance before you get onto your flight.
3. Keep your money in different places
My father inadvertently gave me this word of advice when we used to travel across the country in trains. He always kept his money in different places (and remembered where he kept how much). Half of his money used to be in his person and another half in his luggage. Even the money in his person was divided into two and kept in two places. This is an important travel tip and needs to be taken in the right earnest – imagine losing your wallet with all credit cards, ID cards etc. in a foreign land and not having a single penny to call up your friends.
4. Keep wallet in the front pocket of your jeans
This is a lesson many travelers have learned the wrong way. If you take this hint of ours, you will never part with your money. Did you know that it is easiest to pickpocket your wallet if it was in the back pocket of your jeans? If you follow our tip and keep your wallet in the front pocket you will make it very difficult for a pick-pocket to take your wallet. We would even strongly recommend buying money belts or using the inside pocket of your jacket or shorts to keep your wallet.
5. Remember to glance back
As part of our travels, we will have pit stops – short, long – where we will get into a relaxed mode. When we leave such pit stops, which may be getting up from a table you have been sitting on for an hour or checking out of your hotel room, always glance back to see if you have left something. This is an important teaching we have learned from travelers before us. Sticking to this advice may save you the trouble of losing a wallet, jacket or your favorite book.
6. Obey laws of the land
This is something I learned from one of my guides. When he was taking me around in China, he said, “Never break the Chinese laws!” Sometimes your vacations are within your country and sometimes abroad. If you are traveling in another country, try and understand the local laws and respect them. Never expect to be treated differently just because you are a traveler or a foreigner.
7. Avoid public display of affluence
This is a useful hint for a trouble-free holiday. Never display how rich you are by wearing gold necklaces, rings, bracelets or wearing costly watches or carrying expensive cameras. Public display of affluence during travel can only result in locals getting attracted to your affluence – thus leading to theft. This doesn’t mean you keep your camera inside your bag and don’t take any photos during your travel. It just means, that when you are not using your camera, you keep it inside your bag.
8. For adventure travel check quality of instructors
If you are going to do a risky activity during your travel, make sure you check how qualified the instructors are. This is very important travel input because it is about life and death. A faulty switch here, a loose wire there or an uncertified instructor can lead you to grievous injury or death, so please be careful. If you are not sure, it is better to get help from other travelers or locals.
9. Don’t leave your belongings unattended
Again, this travel tip was learned from my father. Whenever he was waiting in a public place, he used to hold his belongings or he would have the strap of the bag around his legs or the suitcase touching his legs. So that if anybody picked it up, he will be alerted. Many people don’t follow this simple suggestion and end up losing their valuables. If the bag/luggage is small enough you can also keep it in your lap for that is the safest place. Travel can be tiring but that doesn’t mean you come back home empty handed after losing your things.
10. Don’t trust strangers easily
As a traveler, you will meet a lot of locals who will want to help you. We wouldn’t want to scare you and say that all locals are out to get you, but we recommend you be on the lookout for troublemakers. For this, you should rely on your six senses. This is also an important travel tip because you don’t want to lose all your belongings and be stranded in a foreign land. Google and find out if there are popular traveler scams being reported in the land of your travel, and be aware of it. Try Lonely Planet as well, for they have a good section on this.
11. Don’t put up a fight when mugged
Here is an idea – try to stay alive so that you can get back home. When mugged, never put up a fight for it can mean the difference between life and death. We counsel you to always give up your belongings when you are mugged. As you will agree, the money and cards you are carrying are far less important than your life. Hint: If you have insurance they are replaceable as well.
12. Don’t give alms to beggars
This is a very important recommendation and not listening to this travel tip exposes your wallet or purse to a beggar. If you decide to give alms, you will end up opening your wallet (or purse) and the beggar who has nothing to lose can snatch it and run away. Being a tourist you won’t know your way around as well and won’t be able to chase them down. In short, don’t give away money to people on the street. Of course, you can help them if you want – one tip we can give you is taking the beggar to a restaurant and buying him (or her) food. You can also donate some money to a charity at your travel destination.
13. No credit cards at browsing centres/Internet cafes
In many countries, Internet cafes or browsing centers are the only way of accessing the Internet. Our travel tip is that you use your mobile for all your internet needs. In case you don’t have that option, the least you can do is NOT use your credit card in Internet cafes. Computers in Internet cafes may have software which logs the keystrokes and thus expose your credit card number for fraud. This lesson which many have learned the hard way can save you from huge financial headaches.
14. Don’t play with stray animals
It is very tempting to pat or play with stray animals such as dogs, cats or monkeys but I would strongly advise against it because they may be carriers of diseases. This travel tip may also help you save your fingers or calf muscles from angry dogs.
15. Stay in touch with family & friends
It may not look cool, but do share your itinerary with your family or friends – at least one of them so they are aware of your whereabouts. This is a key life-saving travel tip and comes in handy in situations we can’t even imagine.