Tip 0060 Be realistic
It is highly unlikely that you will travel a 5 star hotel life on the smell of an oily rag. Every now and again you will find a bargain of a life time and if you rely on this you won't be travelling much. Be grateful for the bargains you get but don't let it spoil you in the reality stakes and don't expect to travel cheap in luxury.
Expectations are always dashed if you are simply unrealistic.
Having said all this, there is a certain amount of expectation and if you have purchased something no matter how inexpensive, if it says it on the box, it is reasonable to get what you have paid for.
You do however need to "check" very carefully what it is exactly and what you are purchasing.
By this we mean, if say for example you pay for a two hour sunset cruise with a free drink and nibbles on a yacht. It is then reasonable to be on a water craft of a yacht description for around two hours, with at least one drink and a couple of choices of food laid on.
This doesn't mean that there will be no clouds, the drink you get is more than one orange juice and the food you get is any more than a bowl of chips and a slice of apple.
Top tip here is, check what you are getting for the money.
Just because you are paying what you might think is a substantial amount, it doesn't mean that yacht is the Banjo Patterson, the drink is unlimited Champagne or even spirits at all and the food is gourmet canapés to a five course degustation.
The amount you pay is another question. You could pay AUD$200 or $20 and get the same trip. Just because you paid the $200, doesn't mean you are going to get any more than someone who has paid $20 or visa versa.
Be realistic. It is also all relative to where you are. Ratings worldwide are so different and so many of us expect what we know as 5 star status in one country to be the same as that in say a third world area. This despite what you believe is not so.
Tip 0059 Learn to swim.
Another random tip and in this day and age most people should be able to swim but you'd be surprised how many don't!
"Where in travel, is this a must?" we hear you say. Are you kidding us!
Not being able to swim is not only a major safety issue but can restrict a lot of travel and or activities that we hear so many people saying, "Oh we wished we learnt how to swim when we were younger!"
Now it's not an essential and there are ways of getting around most situations without being able to swim but, if you can't swim, seriously think about taking just a few lessons.
You are never too old to learn anything and if the thought of learning sends shivers down your spine, trust us it is one of the easiest things to learn and most learning classes are so chilled and relaxed nowadays.
Swimming is all about being confident in water. You don't have to be a good swimmer at all, basically being able to float is mostly all you need to learn for your fears to subside.
Believe it or not, this is one skill that actually is easier to learn when your older, because you understand and can rationalize basic principles as an adult.
Top swimming tip. In the comfort of a nice shallow pool somewhere, far away from the madding crowds, sit or lay as if reading a newspaper until your just there totally relaxed. See how long you can hold your breath totally relaxed. Could be 2 seconds, 5 seconds or even 10 seconds. Now when you have your breath back and totally relaxed again, do the same a slowly relax into the water. you will feel your whole body begin to start to rise and float.
Basically swimming is all about being relaxed in the water. With air in your lungs, it's virtually impossible to sink. the best way of practicing this is in less than one to two feet of water. ideal on a calm beach or side creek with warm water gently lapping around you.
Remember most people's fear of cruising, boating and water travel, is what if it sinks and you'd be surprised at the amount of people that decide not to take an excursion or trip because they can't swim. We know this to be true, as we have a few friends that have put themselves in very dangerous situations because they felt left out and wanted to join in the fun.
Tip 0058 Be flexible
We are not talking being double jointed here. We mean be flexible in your travel.
Always be prepared for change. No matter how much you plan, you can be sure something will happen to make you change your plans. This is not unusual and happens quite a lot whilst travelling, so if you expect things can change it's not such a shock when invariably it does.
This is all part of the fun in travelling and becomes a talking point when you return home. People tend to remember more of the things that went wrong than the things that go to plan. So even if it's not a pleasurable experience at the time, mostly you will have great stories to tell on your return.
Embrace change, think positively, be flexible and your travel experiences will be more fun than you ever could imagine.
Tip 0057 Pack for longer just in case
Okay, this one is serious. and we cover this in detail within this website... follow the link
We are not just talking of survival here, this tip will put you in good stead in plenty of situations. Circumstances change very quickly
In a nutshell, you need to allow for every eventuality which in itself is impossible to do but you can greatly reduce the risk of being improperly prepared by thinking about the bigger picture.
Essentials that people forget constantly are the basics.
Always take more water than needed, even if you're only going for a quick walk. If you don't need it yourself, you could be helping someone or saving a life.
Hydration packs are an excellent medium for carrying fluids and double as a handy light luggage holdall. Electrolyte drink tablets are great to keep on you and are light weight.
Have in your possession a compass, a watch and try to remember that all electronic gadgets need a power source and are totally useless in some circumstances.
Tip 0056 What's around the corner
Be inquisitive. there is so much more out there if you just take your time and look.
Remember it's not a race from A to B. So many of you are too busy looking for the pot of gold to see the rainbow above you.
Take a wrong turn, make mistakes, step out of the box, find out what's over that hill and don't be afraid to ask. Go that little bit further "carpe diem" and see or experience what maybe no one else has.
Tip 0055 Local knowledge
Local knowledge is most definitely the key here. There are of course many benefits from getting local knowledge. Striking up a rapport with the locals will not only get you much needed information but begin to build a mini social network which can lead to and open up, a whole different travel experience.
Check out story 10
Tip 0054 Get an Itinerary
If you haven't already pre travel, get an itinerary from a local place once you've arrived at your destination.
Timing is of the essence when you're travelling and short on time.
Tip 0053 What's on and when.
Research people! We can't emphasise enough. Pre travel and when you first rock up. This should be first on your list. Work out all there is to know about where you are going, what and when if anything may be happening and get actual dates and times.
Tip 0052 Do it now (top tip)
Do it now and don't save the best to last. So many times we've heard "The shop or restaurant was shut on the last day" or "Run out of time, we should have done that a couple of days ago!" A classic one is "I was planning on topping up my tan on the last week!" only to fine that the weather changed to cloudy.
Check out story 9
Tip 0051 Drop your bags and go.
When you arrive at your destination.
Top tip here is, dump your bags when you get where ever and go on a reconnaissance.
Find out all the local knowledge especially what's on and when whilst you are in town. You could find out that the only time to do or see something on your travels is today!
Tip 0050 When you get there.
Let's face it, most people travel to other places for weather, culture and change. So get out there and experience it!
Try to fully immerse yourselves in the whole process. Imagine what it was like just to get there, is this place remote and cut off from the world or a cosmopolitan area. This will give you an understanding of the local cultures, customs and why the terrain is what it is. Maybe an idea of why it is or isn't a sustainable community or location.
Tip 0049 Only one chance.
Unless you're a traveller that repeatedly goes back to exactly the same place year after year, this tip is for you. The fact is with so many places to visit in the world, the chances of going back to exactly the same place more than twice are extremely unlikely.
So our tip to you is make the most of it, as you probably only have one chance.
You can quite easily get into wind down mode and just chill out, relax and do nothing. This too is fine by us but most people when travelling want bang for their buck.
Remember, you worked hard for this travel and hopefully want to get the most out of it. You can always relax and chill at home but when you're travelling, do you really want to come back thinking, we wished we done this, gone there or done the other.
So many times we've met people that regret not doing more when they have travelled.
Tip 0048 Keep cool at night
Here is a throw in tip again. When travelling to warmer climates, there is nothing worse than travelling and finding the accommodation you are in, has either no air conditioning, breeze coming through or no mosquito nets and you swelter under the sheets trying not to look like someone with measles the next morning.
Try to get accommodation with some relief from the sometimes blistering heat of the night. Again research here is the key but if for whatever reason you find yourselves so hot you can't sleep through the night, a great little tip is (and this is if you have a bath in the accommodation,) fill the bath with cold water before you go to bed. When you find it's just too unbearable to sleep. Get up and submerge yourself in the cool water. This will rapidly bring down your own body temperature enough to cool down sufficiently to be able to get some much needed sleep.
Portable travel fans are also a great way of getting some much needed relief.
Running cold water over your wrists or feet also brings down your body temperature.
Always have a rubbish bag in your case for multiple reasons but also to fill up with ice as a cold pack. Remember not to place same directly on the skin.
Tip 0047 What not to take.
This is closely linked to tip 0046 and should be read in conjunction.
Most importantly, the more you travel the more experienced you become in what not to pack.
On the other hand, if you're going on a travel experience where you're not having to carry your luggage far if at all, then as long as you are allowed to take the weight, pretty much take what you want. Basically if you feel happier taking the kitchen sink, then we wouldn't discourage this. The only down side to this is, if you want to bring more back with you from your travels, you may go over the limit and have to consider other means of getting the extra back home.
Commonsense here is sometimes hard to have if you haven't had a lot of experience travelling. For years when I was younger I would always take a pair of dress shoes and a set of dinner clothes, in case I bumped into any royalty that may invite me to dinner. Now you may laugh at this but if you go to our story section you may understand why.
But the main tip here would be, unless you're only going away for under a week, there usually is no reason to have more than a weeks' worth of clothes in your luggage. Of course for the ladies, if you're going on an around the world cruise and want a different dress every day, then you may be able to convince your man otherwise.
Mix and match is the best way to go and bare in mind, mostly whilst travelling it is highly unlikely that you will meet the same people as you travel more than a few days at a time, so to everyone else, you are wearing a different outfit every day, even if it's the same outfit. Of course as long as you have time to launder the same.
Remember most people are in the same boat when travelling and not being at your best every day is not a real problem.
Tip 0046 Luggage and weight
As mentioned previously in the planning section of this website, luggage and weight bare heavily in travel and go hand in hand excuse the double pun.
It is important to consider both in travel for many reasons. Obviously you don't want to be carrying too much weight if for example your hiking in the humidity of say a jungle. Too much weight in a vehicle has added disadvantages too for fuel economy, also combined luggage and weight is a concern whilst travelling in many stages.
There are too many variants to fully list all our tips here and we go into this in more detail in the "processes" section on this website.
Tip 0045 Inventory
Write an inventory whenever you decide on a travel experience. This has many benefits not only to make sure you have everything you need but peace of mind whilst travelling. You can also use the same inventory for the return trip also, to make sure you leave nothing behind.
This is not a waste of time! It clarifies what you need before you set off and avoids problems when on the road so to speak. Some parts of the world are quite remote and it could be dangerous to chance your arm with a guess, hope and a prayer.
Aside from this important factor there are many other advantages to making sure you are fully kitted out for your travel experience.
We are currently put together an inventory download for as many travel experiences you could wish for, and will be available shortly.
Tip 0044 What to take
These tips of course are dependent on a variety of possibilities and again there will be lots of tips in other sections of "Processes" on this website but we highlight a couple of tips to get you going.
Obviously most people no matter where and how long they travel for will need a bag of some description.
Our top tip is to make sure you acquire a "light weight" and "robust bag". Don't scrimp on this one. you will save more than the cost of it in the long run.
A good bag will last you for a start and a light weight one will help in carrying and more importantly more of your "stuff!"
So many people go out and buy a wacky sacky piece of luggage that weighs 3,4 or even 5 kilos. Remember you may be able to pay for extra weight on planes but some of your other transfers will only let you take sometimes only 7-10 kilos.
We know so many people that have got stiffed from having too much weight and half of it has been just the bag alone.
Also try and remember an expensive, posh, leather and or shiny new piece of luggage means one thing. There's valuables inside or whoever is holding it might just be affluent. Go figure!
Tip 0043 Visas
Again we cover this in much detail in the link to Visas
Visa's are or can be quite complex and need a larger area to go into and we will expand this later.
Top tip here is for some visa's you need to send your passport off and as we have linked here from the planning section on this website, it's best we mention this tip here for obvious reasons.
Visas and the need for visa's change a lot depending on where your citizen base is. Make sure you check thoroughly on if, what, how long and when you need a visa.
Tip 0042 Passport
Now although we cover passports in more detail at the link here
We must mention a couple of most important tips.
This is what most people are aware of but you'd be surprised at how many either forget or don't know. Make sure your passport is current and has at least 6 months of validation left on it. You will not be allowed access into various countries if you have less than 6 months.
Make sure you visibly check where your passport is. There are two main reasons for mislaid or lost passports at home.
First the frequent traveller, who uses their passport so much it's never in the same place and the amount of last minute panics we've heard of from friends saying, where did I put it last trip, and i'm sure it was in this pocket last week.
Second the infrequent traveller, who may be hasn't seen their passport since they first applied for it, or has moved house once or twice and has put it somewhere safe and can't remember where it is, or worse still, thinks it's in the bedside draw but when they go there to get it, it really isn't!
We cover this and loads more but another great tip is to copy it and email it to yourself.
Tip 0041 Pre, Post travel
Now without stating the obvious, there are things you need to do before you travel and again we go into this in more detail in the processes link....
We give a few tips here to give you an idea of the kind of things you really need to think about just on your level of fitness pre and post travel.
Try and keep a level of fitness to allow you to enjoy all aspects of travel. Now we're not saying to travel you need to be a fitness fanatic but the better you look after yourselves pre travel the more enjoyable your travel will be.
For example, are you fit and well enough for say a long haul trip, being able to do things whilst travelling or out on the road, able to hike up a mountain, feel comfortable in a seated position for a period of time, be able to get up on a camel/elephant, the list is endless.
Will you need to train or get fit for your trip, i.e. Are you going to be kayaking in Canada, running the London marathon, doing the Kokoda trail or even climbing Mount Everest.
When you arrive home from an exhausting travel experience, will you need time to recover before going back to work.