Tips and things we’ve learnt travelling in our first year.

My number one saying is “a plan is just a plan to get you started” it doesn’t matter if the plans change along the way it’s more important that you started.

Of course once you get started the list of tips grows the more you travel and a mistake becomes a reminder of what not to do next time the same or similar situation occurs, but these are a few that we see as being important for travelling for us as a couple.

If you’re travelling with a partner make sure you’re compatible!

Can communicate with each other, plan together and most importantly laugh together.

We’ve had some bummer moments and have really relied on each other to rally our spirits and move forward.

We’ve also had more incredible WOW moments as well that we’re thrilled to have shared.

Know your comfort zone, reach beyond it when you can safely but don’t feel you have to do everything or anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared.

I’ve done lots of things I wouldn’t normally do and am glad I have but I don’t let myself feel pressured to eat the crazy stuff that makes my stomach turn just thinking about eating, because guide books or other people say “ while you’re there”. But I do like to try new foods and experiences.

Ask for what you need to make your stay comfortable in your accommodation.

Even when we stay budget we will ask for second pillows, an extra bed covering if needed, in the Philippines we only ever were given a top sheet and we would ask for a second one as often the aircon was facing the bed and although you needed it on, it can be a little cool when directly pointed at you.

Sometimes you don’t get toiletries, as we like to travel light and on a budget, I’ve found dishwashing liquid or cheap shampoo is a good buy. I use it for body wash, shampoo and washing our clothes.

If you get a fan in your room, while you’re out keep it on and face it at your clothes drying, usually they’re hanging on coat hangers and we get several loads dry this way.

We carry a universal sink plug with us, which we’ve used several times, validating it’s place in our bag, along with a stretch clothes line and blow up coat hangers. The hangers are excellent for drying clothes with as well as for their usual purpose, we use them lots, we carry four between us.

Talk to people, initiate conversation, you learn heaps this way and make new friends.

Travellers all want the tips from where you’ve been just as you want theirs.

We’re talkers and love company so will happily chat to most people.

It’s also good for us as a couple as we’re together pretty much 24/7 to have some new conversation.

Keep in touch with your family and friends at home. Make sure you talk about what they’re doing not just what a great time you’re having.

And let’s be honest, travelling isn’t always fun. You do have bad days, things break, get lost, don’t work, aren’t available, not the same as at home, you get sick, food isn’t always great, transport isn’t always on time, accommodation can be bad, it rains, weather delays tours, transport, flights etc.

Always recheck your plans for onward travels way before you’re packing your suitcase to go, we’ve had a few misplaced bookings which have caused minor panic till the email with the information had been found.

Keep things in the same places to avoid panic. Money, passports, credit cards, keys etc all freak you out when you can’t find them in a hurry.

Buy the SIM card, get the data, it’s worth it if you’re in a place long enough with bad wifi as was the case in The Philippines.

If you can afford the time, stay longer at a place so you can relax as well as do all the day trips etc you want to do.

We have been so glad to have extra days to allow for bad weather, getting plans sorted for the next lot of travel, relax and take time to feel familiar and comfortable in a place.

When booking accommodation use the filters, how handy would a fridge be in hot climates for keeping bottled water and beer in.

What will make your stay better than just ok?

Do you want breakfast included? Some places the breakfast on offer isn’t worth the extra bucks. Other places it’s a real winner.

Read the reviews, does the internet they offer really work!

You don’t have to do everything in the guide book.

A lot of times it’s just fun wandering around and discovering cool places on your own.

Use local transport when you can.

The google maps app is brilliant for this. Put in where you are and where you want to go and it will come up with the how and when and where. We have used this all around the world.

We have used Uber in quite a few different countries as well.

But don’t be afraid to book tours to save time and get some of the touristy things ticked off, it can help decide if you want to go back and spend longer somewhere, and some times it’s just really nice to have someone else organising things. You also meet new people on tours.

Can’t iterate this enough TRAVEL LIGHT! Most times a carry on bag really is all you need. Toiletries are everywhere in the world, it’s true, believe me.

So are shops! You can always replace an item of clothing with something similar or something that works even better.

You will be glad you haven’t checked a bag over and over when you’re waiting anxiously at the baggage carousels world wide.

It’s also easier to transport a carryon size piece of luggage than bigger suitcases.

I am always amazed at what I can fit in my 46 litre Osprey Porter backpack.

I am using this for our 10 week cruise and 17 weeks in Europe/uk.

I admit I am also taking a large beach bag with me on the cruise to carry toiletries that I don’t want to spend my precious time off shore looking for, and some books. Even though I have a kindle I still like a genuine hold in your hand book occasionally and as I have a few waiting to be read, well they can come along and be left for other passengers onboard.

Keep a colour theme and add a few colour accessories or a bright top/ scarf just to liven things up.

I have started taking more dresses that I can also add some thin long pants to giving them a different look and carry me through some changes of weather. These give my wardrobe some colour too.

Take some thin thermals and use them as your long sleeve tops and leggings. Uniqlo have a great range of these.

Clothing and shoes are always packed with the locations we’re going to and their climate in mind.

We also take along with the earlier mentioned blow up coat hangers, universal plug and stretch clothes line, a small sewing kit ( I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used the safety pins for completely random uses).

Cables for all our devices and universal charger/ power point converges ( these have changed to just USB style charging ports now)

A small travel towel which used with a sarong is all you need for beach days.

Zip lock bags are fantastic and we use them all the time.

Photocopies of all our important documents eg: birth certificates, marriage certificate, passport front pages, travel insurance and any travel documents for flights etc are in a folder.

We research constantly about the places we’re going to for places of interest, transport options, accommodation and we use lots of different travel apps and read quite a few bloggers for ideas and inspiration so our I pads are a valuable and essential tool for us. We back everything up on “the cloud”.

Most importantly is enjoy what you’re doing and where you’re at. There’s a three day rule which states you can get used to most things in that time frame if after that you’re not maybe it’s time to make a change, be that accommodation or location.

We travel because it’s our passion, hobby, lifestyle choice and we hope we have a lot of years of travelling ahead of us. That means we have to keep practicing being safe and following the tips we know to keep it fun and as easy as possible and add more tips as we go along.

Happy travels friends.

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