If you thought traveling was just for fun, think again. There is ample research that suggests traveling can impact your health physically, mentally and emotionally. Not only that, it increases your creativity and reduces your stress levels as well. Also, aside from meeting new people, making new friends, and expanding your network, you are also enriching your life with exposure to different histories, languages and cultures. It is also a very good opportunity to learn something new, like a traditional art, or to do volunteer work while you are there. What’s not to like about traveling the world? Considering all the offers currently available on travel and deal sites, traveling cheaper, safer and smarter is just a click away. Here are some important tips to help you become a savvy traveler. Following these simple reminders will save you from unnecessary hassle, behaving foolishly, or being culturally insensitive while on a holiday.
- Get the best-priced flights. Manage your travel cost by booking your flights at least 3-4 months in advance to get the most cost-effective airline tickets. Research the best way to get to where you want to go. When possible, look for flights that will get you to airports close to your final destination. From there, take a bus or train and save some bucks in the process. When researching, do it using the incognito feature to keep your browsing history hidden from travel websites, so they won’t be able to track your cookies and offer you higher prices.
- Purchase travel insurance. It is very important that you get travel insurance – it is irresponsible to travel without it. You may end up spending thousands of dollars in case something comes up during the trip. Better yet, when buying your airline tickets, check if your credit card offers complimentary travel insurance. Some, like the Qantas frequent flyer credit card, offer extensive travel protection when you book and pay online.
- Consider staying in hostels. Especially if you are open to meeting new people and making friends, book your stay at a hostel. Rooms and hostel bars are cheaper. Note that while it is exciting to make new friends, be alert and keep a safe distance from strangers and new acquaintances.
- Keep your passport and other important documents safe. Check the validity of your travel documents, prepare extra printed copies, and email digital copies to yourself so you can always access them anywhere you are in case of an emergency.
- Bring a backup bank card and credit card. It’s best to be prepared, so carry emergency cash. Having an extra card with you will give you access to additional funds in the event that you need it, and using no-fee cards will save your hard-earned money.
- Be patient and respectful. The reason you are traveling is to rest and relax. Rushing to get to your destination is not the goal. Savor the experience and journey you are taking to get there. Be patient and respectful to others and locals — especially if there is a language barrier. Read up on local culture so you don’t go around town offending locals with what may be considered rude behavior or manners.
- Buy compact, good quality luggage. Pack light but bring a towel, socks, jacket, flashlight, prescription medication, a basic first aid kit, extra batteries/charger and good shoes. Choose clothes that are wrinkle-free so you don’t need to iron them out.
Start planning your holiday but don’t overdo it. Enjoy the moment and don’t forget to put on some sunscreen!