The Ultimate Travel tips from 4 months on the road

What are the best travel tips? What are the best travel hacks? How do I start to travel? What every traveler needs?

These are some of the questions I hear so often. The truth is, the answer differs for every body. However, the more tips you hear the more prepared you will be for your trip.

When planning a trip, whether it be short or long, you picture all of the epic things you are going to see, the memories you are going to make and the all round great times that are going to be had. We don’t necessarily think about the “day to day” life of travelling.

Travel tips I wish I knew before I left for my four month trip

Pack half of what you think you will need

Okay, so you have probably heard this travel tip before but I wish I had taken it more literally. I travelled around Europe during winter the constant thought in my mind was but I will need two pairs of thermals, I only wore one pair a handful of times.

As a general rule of thumb, pack enough clothes for one week. Many places you will stay will have a washing machine, if not, laundromats are relatively easy to find.

Worse case scenario? I’ve heard once or twice that there will shops in your destination. Unless, of course, you are in some remote location.

Bring more underwear than you think you will need

In contrast to the last travel tips, the only item of clothing I wish I took more of was, underwear. Clothes you can usually wear at least twice before they will need washing and therefore, a weeks worth of clothes may last you 10 days. However, there were a few times on the trip where I thought “I either need to find a washing machine ASAP or buy some more underwear!”

Stay for more than one night

Before we left we booked five weeks around the UK and this included a lot of one night stops and through out our train trip round Europe we also had a few one night stops that were unavoidable but we dreaded these stops.

Stay more than one night

When you stay in a destination for one night, you typically don’t arrive until late in the afternoon and need to check out again by 10 am. You don’t get the feel of a place or get a chance to find the good places to eat or visit. It is also very tiring travelling every day.

You may arrive in a place with the intention of not unpacking but no matter how well planned you are, you end up unpacking a least a few things, and for us, packing our bags every day got very frustrating!!!

Two nights does not mean two days

Following on from the tip above, we learnt very quickly that booking two nights did not mean that we had two days in our destination.

When you stay in a place two nights you end up with one full day. If you have travelled from some where near by or your next destination is not far away you may end up with two half days and one full day, but in most cases you will have one whole day in that place

Do some research

In general, we would research a place on the train on the way. In some cases, especially when we were driving around the UK, we did not always do any research on the cities we were in.

Do some research - top travel tips

In one particular case this ended up with an argument in the middle of a dark and rainy Dublin street because we couldn’t make a decision and we didn’t really know where to go.

Now, this is not say that you should plan every last detail, but it is always a good idea to have a rough plan of what there is to see or do in the city or town you are in.

Stay near the train station

One of the best travel tips I have is, if you are travelling by train we found that staying near the train station was the best place to stay. In most cases, train stations are very central. If they are a little walk from the town center we found it was easier to stay closer to the train station so that you are not carrying your luggage whilst trying to find our accommodation.

It was much easier to walk a little further into town without bags!

Cheapest is not always best

You will not be loving that you paid $47 for accommodation when you are stuck in a nightmare. Paying a little extra for some where clean and safe is a much better deal than choosing the cheapest option when there are holes in the walls, live electrical wires and shady characters hanging around the place.

ALWAYS pack a sleep sheet and a pillow case for those gross rooms

We found in a couple of instances, we would have been much better off spending an extra $40 a sleeping a whole lot better

Question things that do not seem right to you

If something doesn’t seem right or you are being charged extra money for something, ask questions!

We rented a car from Europcar and when we returned the car they went straight for the left hand rear wheel and pointed out the TINIEST tear in the tyre. We were then sent a bill for £150!! I emailed them several times asking for an original photo of the tyre. When I finally got an email back they said that the had reviewed the case and we were not required to pay anything!

Travel Tips - White car in a car park

It always pays to question, worst case scenario they will say no.

Read ALL of the rules and policies

When booking online for care hire, flights, activities, hotels etc make sure you read all of their rules and policies. Especially when it comes to checking-in, cancellations, added fees and charges.

We did not fully read all of the emails from Ryanair for our flight to Dublin and we did not check-in online, we were charged £55 per person to check in at the airport! This was a silly error that could have easily been avoided. I would much rather have had that £110 to spend on Guinness!!

Travel how YOU want to travel

If you want to go to Paris but you don’t want to climb the Eiffel Tower, then don’t! Don’t spend all of your time doing things that you “should” be doing or that everyone else has done if they don’t interest you. A lot of travel tips seem to encourage you to do certain things, but your travels are not about lists, they are about you.

The Eiffel Tower in Autumn

At the end of the day, this is your trip, your memories and your money! Spend your time doing the things that make you happy and that you will remember. Instagram and blogs (including this one!) are great to give you some ideas on where to go or recommendations but if they don’t align with your idea of fun, then do your own thing!!

Plan rest days

We travelled for 117 days (to be exact!) I can recall maybe five or six days that were “rest” days. Travelling is exhausting, especially if you are fast travelling.

Take time to listen to your body and have a sleep in here and there, or go to the cinema, or sit in a cute little cafe and watch the world go by.

If you take time to rest and soak in the epic adventure you are on, you will have a much better time overall.

Don’t be afraid to take food with you

Imagine, looking out onto the beautiful snowy Swiss Alps, bright blue skies, views as far as the eye can see. Well these were the views we had while were eating lunch when we visited Jungfraujoch, “The Top of Europe”.

Except, we weren’t sitting in a restaurant eating a sandwich for a crazy price. We weren’t salads and lemon tarts that we bought from the supermarket for about $10. There will be times when you want to treat yourself to a nice but for us, we weren’t at “The Top of Europe” for the food.

Yes, we did take our own salads up to the

 

We were there for the experience and the views. Food at places like that can be super expensive and the food isn’t always fantastic. We were slightly worried what other people would think of our picnic, but no one even seemed to bat an eyelid!

We took food with us to a few places that we knew would be very expensive and it was great! It was also a great option for those long travel days to make up a picnic so we were buying food on the train!

Not every day is going to be a good

When you picture your holiday or your trip, you imagine how great everything is going to be, how many good times you’re going to have and, you will have plenty of those.

However, in among all of the amazing days you will have, there will be some not so great days. Your travel day may not always work out as planned, we didn’t plan on sitting on a bench in the middle of train station for a few hours some where in the middle of the Czech Republic because our train stopped for some reason.

Travel tips - Not every day is going to be a good day

This is especially rings true when you are travelling for a long time, I don’t think I could have taken enough tissues on the Jacobite Express (aka the Harry Potter train) as I couldn’t shake my cold I had had for three weeks. When a not so good day strikes, remember that these days pass and that it is okay to take a break! The number of goods will out weigh the number of bad days!

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Things will go wrong, this is just part of travelling. Don’t let the small things upset you! If you have found the perfect restaurant and you arrive and it is booked out, don’t get upset, go and find some where else to eat.

If you have someone checking you in who is not being their most polite self, don’t let it ruin your stay. When you are travelling things will not be the same as they are at home – this is the joy of travelling but it also can be frustrating.

You need to remind yourself that you are on holidays and you do not want to spend all of your time getting upset or frustrated over the smaller things. Try your best to go with the flow and enjoy the small moments.

Put the phone away – don’t live for the “gram”

We spent four months of our trip being pushed out of the way by people who wanted to get the perfect photo, not just one perfect photo but 20! After four months this got pretty frustrating when you’re just trying to enjoy the monument, town square or the vibe of a city.

One the best travel Tips - Put the phone away, live in the moment, not for the gram

We also saw plenty of people ignoring their loved ones to spend so much time trying to get the best photo possible. Don’t get so caught up in trying to get so many photos that you see your trip through your phone.

Take the time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy being with your loved ones, or travelling on your own and put the phone away! Even if you just decide for part of the day to leave your phone in your bag or hotel room, you will thank yourself later.

You are going to lose some money at some point

My biggest tip is to over budget. This will give you some extra money for some more “luxury” items or experiences but it will also give you a buffer if you happen to lose some money.

When I say lose, I don’t just mean dropping money (I spent ages trying to find 30 euro in my purse when I knew deep down I had dropped it after a beer too many at Oktoberfest).

However, there are many places that are rife with scams, there are policies that you won’t properly read, there are trains or planes that you will miss. As long as you are safe and okay, losing a little bit of money is not the end of the world.

Mistakes happen by they’re easily fixed

Just when you think you are super comfortable and prepared for your train trip, you will be told that you are on the wrong train heading in the wrong direction!

Or when you think you are all organised for your flight you will realise you have booked the wrong flight or on the wrong bus to the airport.

Mistakes are bound to happen but they can usually be easily fixed by speaking with someone. At the end of the day, travel mistakes turn into great travel stories and memories when you get home.

Things will happen back home while you are gone

When you are travelling, especially for a long time, things will happen back home. We sat in hotel rooms watching news in foreign languages about our beautiful country burning uncontrollably.

It was devastating seeing all the images of Australia’s east coast burning and feeling completely useless. The only thing we could do to help was donate some money but we still felt usual and so far away.

You need to be able to make the decision whether you can still enjoy your time travelling and do what you can from a distance or whether you want to go home. Most travel insurance companies will allow you compassionate travel home or at least will do what they can to help you get home in an emergency.

Remember, if you decide that you need to go home, you can always resume your trip at a later date!

Take the time to appreciate the amazing adventure you are on

You have spent months, maybe even years, planning for this adventure. You need to make sure that you remember to appreciate the adventure you are on. Don’t sweat the small things, don’t spend your time being frustrated at the things out of your control. Take an extra two minutes to appreciate where you are and what you are doing!

Travel trip #20 - Enjoy yourself

Enjoy yourself

No matter what happens, you are on holidays! Enjoy the time you have and the places you are seeing. You are creating memories that will last you a life time. Spend this time doing what makes YOU happy!!!

I hope these travel tips from four months on the road has helped you! Don’t get too overwhelmed with all of the travel tips out there, just enjoy your time and come up with some of your travel tips! At the end of the day if it doesn’t kill you, you will end up with one hell of a story!!

What are some of your best travel tips? Do you have any international travel tips? Share them below

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1 thought on “The Ultimate Travel tips from 4 months on the road”

  1. These are such candid and practical tips – especially love the ones about time (one night or two nights is not adequate and taking rest days are sooooo important). Great post from someone who’s been there.

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