This blog post was updated on December 27, 2021.
Looking back at 2018, you might be brooding over the fact that you just didn’t travel enough. While your unticked bucket list might be a somber reminder that you need to plan ahead to explore this amazing world of ours, there’s always the opportunity to change in 2019. But if you’re fairly new to snagging cheap flights and traveling frequently throughout the year, then you might also not be aware of the tips that make other Instagram travel celebs jet set the world easily and efficiently. Never fear: this is where we can help you! Follow our list of the 19 travel tips you should follow to make you a pro on the road in 2019.
1. Book flights at least 3 months in advance
Last-minute offers that can give you cheap flights may make you wait till the very last moment to book, but planning early and wisely can, in fact, save you money. You can also land yourself the perfect flight with seats to your liking as well as practical connection times — a total win.
2. Be flexible about your plans
Flying redeye the most economical? Shifting your travel dates to the shoulder season the best option? When you’re on the road frequently it helps to be a little flexible. Doing so can help you stop draining your travel budget at the end of the day.
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3. Get some travel insurance
You may have been lucky on the road so far, but since you’re planning on traveling farther in 2019, there’s no point in taking any risks, right? Travel insurance can be a lifesaver when there’s an unexpected injury or illness on the road. Just be safe; get yourself a practical insurance package that fits your budget and your traveling style.
4. Learn some of the lingo
Just a few words that will help you order food or bargain in a busy market could be immensely helpful in a totally new environment. Plus, you’ll definitely earn some brownie points with the locals! There are endless online resources and apps that can help.
5. Read up about the country you’re visiting, before you get there
Which side of the road do you they drive in Australia? What currency do you use in Prague? Are high-tech toilets in Tokyo hard to use? Doing your research beforehand can help eliminate any misconceptions you may have. Don’t just restrict yourself to some quick Internet research; try also reading about the country’s or city’s history and customs as well, so that you will be a polite, well-informed visitor.
6. Make copies of your passport
Making sure you have photocopies of your passport can be crucial in case your actual travel document is lost or stolen. Make sure to store them in a place that’s not on your person. Also, make sure to carry some extra passport-size pictures with you — they can come in handy in some countries where you may need a picture to even get a SIM card for your phone.
7. Bring earplugs and a sleep mask
Find it hard to sleep on planes? Well wearing earplugs and a sleep mask can somewhat help you block out outside interferences and help you get some much-deserved rest. This is a major advantage as you don’t want to arrive at your destination jetlagged and grumpy!
8. Pack a little first aid kit
You don’t want a pesky tummy bug preventing you from digging into all that amazing street food in Bangkok, or depriving you of a tasty curry in India. Pack yourself a little kit with some medication for headaches, stomach bugs, and motion sickness, along with the usual Band-Aids and bandages. You can purchase mini first aid kits at most pharmacies or grocery stores.
RELATED: Traveling as a family and stressed about packing? Check out these handy-dandy 6 Packing Hacks for Traveling Families!
9. Take a few debit and credit cards along with you
Ideally, you would have them stored in different places, like on your person, and one in a backpack, etc., so that in case there is an emergency you always have a card at hand. But before you go, make sure to inform all your banks and card providers of your travel plans — you don’t want your card to geting blocked when you need to buy an essential item!
10. Always carry some cash with you
In many parts of the world, cash rules. So it’s only practical that you carry a substantial amount with you when you travel. However, make sure to split up your money so that you’re never carrying a whole lot on you when walking around and exploring a new, unknown location. In the worst case that you get robbed, you’ll still have some money stashed away somewhere to help you out.
11. Always carry a lock (or a couple)
Keeping your stuff safe or storing things away will surely be a lot easier if you carry some locks with you. Always go with combination locks — you don’t have to worry about keeping track of the keys!
12. Use technology…but sparingly
Sure — you’ll be tempted to just tap your way through the reviews of thousands of other travelers to find the best pizza in Chicago or the best shepherd’s pie in London. BUT make sure you put your phone down and go old school sometimes; try asking a local for directions or get lost in a central market area until you discover some real hidden gems.
13. Eat the local food
What’s Jakarta without its yummy satays? What’s Hanoi without a warm bowl of pho? The best way to really get to know a place is through its unique cuisine, so whatever restrictions you may usually have, put them aside and let your palate create some unforgettable memories. Plus, you’ll find that you save yourself a lot of money by mainly eating wallet-friendly local delicacies.
14. Do the touristy stuff
When time is limited there’s no shame in hitting up the popular things to do and see. Who wants to go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, or go to Egypt and not see the Pyramids of Giza? There’s no need to be a travel snob — you can tick off these famous sights guilt-free.
15. Take the free walking tours
Hey, it’s free — what more can we say? These free walking tours are available in most major cities. Guides are often noted for their humorous insight into the history and culture of their hometowns, and only expect a tip for their services. Another motivating factor to join the tour would be a chance to meet other travelers just like you.
16. Check about prices BEFORE you hop on public transportation
Tempted to jump that jeepney in Manila? Wanna hop that tuk-tuk in Mumbai? Well, think twice. If there are no meters used on the public transport you’re trying to use, then the price needs to be negotiated before you set foot in the vehicle. Some modes of transport will knowingly charge double or triple to take advantage of travelers’ unfamiliarity with their new environs.
17. Keep a journal of some sort
Yes, we’re all about being lost in the moment when you’re traveling, but at the end of a long day of amazing experiences, take some time to jot down what you did and what you saw. Make sure to caption special images you may have taken. Years from now, you won’t remember much, and if all those memories are lost in the fog of time, you won’t be able to recall or recount them to others.
18. Talk to the locals
While ambling through a new location, make sure to take time to speak to the locals. While the language might be a barrier, you’ll find that hand signs and even drawn out images can bridge the gap. So, when you’re tempted to look at your travel app for where to find the best ceviche in coastal Peru, just try asking a local, “Where do you and your friends like to go?” You’ll find the answers open up a whole new world of experiences.
19. Respect local customs
Finally, it’s important to always respect your hosts and the host country. Some cultural practices may be strange to you. Handshakes and hugs may not be appropriate when greeting, while eating and drinking may or may/may not require utensils. It doesn’t hurt to even read up on what’s accepted etiquette and what’s frowned upon. Doing so will make you a well-behaved traveler who only leaves behind smiles and new friends.
Ready to adventure more this year? Start looking out for cheap flights, pack your bags, and hit the road!