Travelling the world: Interesting ideas and useful travel tips
Travelling goes hand in hand with curiosity, passion, spontaneity and constant striving to get to know different cultures, meeting new friends and trying exciting things. But travelling, especially travelling the world for an extended time, requires some preparation in advance. Your great vacations should be well-planned but still leave you enough room to be spontaneous. Travellers face fantastic vacation areas to explore and numerous ways to travel the world. Whether organizing your overseas travel or just a longer getaway vacation, always do the basic planning and packing, get to know the main details for the countries you plan to visit and then stay open for new people, countries, cultures, scenes and tastes.
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You will find Couchsurfing tempting if you’re into getting to know the locals. Couchsurfing is a guarantee for many fond memories. Couchsurfing is the very reason, why I became a travel blogger. I met someone, who was blogging already, in Taipei while couchsurfing. Plus all the nice Taiwanese locals I met, so many fond memories. But you need to be in the mood. Sometimes I just need a hotel for a few days to be on my own. As an introvert I sometimes like to spend time just with myself, recharge batteries and then come out again to meet people, experience new stuff, and so on.
When travelling the world solo, there will be moments when you will be tired and in need of an en-suite room in a hotel for a few days just to be on your own. There is nothing wrong with that. Travellers have many days of extensive sightseeing, adventures and encounters with new people. Recharging the batteries by spending a quiet evening reading a book and getting good night sleep is part of the trip.
Never stop dreaming! Never stop being curious!
Travel advice with my personal touch 🙂
If your head is bigger than average like mine, the buff headband is the perfect solution for you. You can mainly use it as a headscarf to protect you against the sun. It is also perfect for driving a motorbike when dusty or cold. The buff headband is big enough to protect your neck when driving and you can also use it as a scarf or headband.
Small handy things to keep nearby when on the road
There are several other small but very handy things that you should always keep nearby when travelling the world. Among them are the ear plugs to protect your ears, a whistle that you can use to alarm people or to scare aggressive animals away and a special dog whistle to keep away aggressive dogs.
Travelling Equals Happiness
Travelling makes you more happy than getting the newest, stupid smartphone. Travelling the world makes you rich with memories, emotions, and new friends. Thus, if you want a luxury life: Travel, just travel. And soon you will realise that you have a similar lifestyle as rich people. It is an open secret that you don’t need plenty of money to travel the world. Just a little fantasy is required to reduce your expenses for flights and accommodation, which are the two biggest cost drivers.
With proper planning in advance and reasonable spending, worldwide travel can be your most rewarding experience ever. You will enrich your life by interacting with diverse cultures, historic landmarks, cultural sites and secluded scenery from all over the world. Forget about the souvenirs, as it will be the rich emotions and the experience that you will take home to remember for the years to come.
Best time for photos
When travelling around the world, remember to get a good camera which is not too heavy but still perfectly equipped for your needs, a battery charger and a memory card with enough storage capacity. Whether you travel the world’s cities or find yourself in secluded nature spots, remember – the best time and light to take a photo is the hour after sunrise and again the hour just before sunset. Thus take pictures of sunsets and wake up early for sunrise pictures and keep going for more pictures of the attractions you like most, so you will have pictures of them in the best light possible.
These photos will be your most valued souvenirs, thus take your time to find the best location to make shots that will bring you happy travel memories for a lifetime.
Buy a good travel adapter
A travel adapter is very crucial thing when you travel the world. You can buy a good travel adapter anywhere in Asia, like for example from Bangkok Pantip Plaza or better from Fortune Tower. Look for a universal adapter that covers all four major plug types. The plug adapter is compact, light and quite cheap, thus get the best on the market and it will last you for many years of travelling the world.
Good to know before you go on the road
Learn how to pack and unpack quickly
While preparing to travel the world, remember that the more you travel, the more it becomes a routine. So I can’t really teach you here. I just recently noted, that my average packing time has gone down from two hours to 20 minutes over the years. If you are wondering what to pack for a vacation, know that you will need only the bare essentials. To start, make a good road trip packing list. Leave the fancy clothes and accessories behind, forget about the unnecessary devices as they will make you a target for pickpockets. Note that some budget airlines require the hand luggage to be also weighed.
The best way to pack a suitcase is to follow a few smart travel tips – get a travel adapter that covers all your devices, an e-book reader instead of books, a pair of earplugs, comfortable clothes and shoes, plus a small rucksack to carry a lightweight daypack for your daily needs. When packing, let the comfort and not vanity guide you.
How to best handle travel visa issues
If you plan to travel the world, know that many countries require travel visas but not every embassy is efficient in giving out visas. Make a good research where is the best place to get hold of a visa for your desired travel destination. Useful travel tips:
- You can usually apply for a tourist visa in any country except the one to which you want to travel. (There are more and more exceptions to this rule unfortunately.)
- Some countries grant visas upon arrival.
- Other countries ask for financial proof that you can afford the trip.
- In some countries the authorities demand travellers to have proof of return flight or onward journey as part of their immigration formalities. In such cases, booking a cheap flight to a nearby country is a good solution if you don’t want to book a return ticket yet.
- Other countries demand proof of travel itinerary. In such cases you can book a trip with a local travel agency or make hotel reservations. After you get your visa you can keep or cancel these reservations.
- In mostly Asian countries the authorities require your passport to be valid for at least six months beyond the scheduled return travel date.
- Last but not least, always be polite with border authorities, even if they are not, as they usually have the right to deny entry to anyone with no specific reasons given.
How to be prepared in case you lose documents
Losing documents or getting them stolen can happen to anyone. Be prepared and that unpleasant situation will be less stressful.
First, understand how pickpocketing works to avoid being stolen from in the first place.
Second, follow these 3 steps.
Step 1: Scan your documents
The personal details page of your passport and the visa pages.
The front and the backside of your credit and debit cards.
The both sides of your driving license and national ID card.
The medical and the vaccination passes with your blood type, etc.
The insurance papers that cover the travel emergencies.
Step 2: Print your documents and carry one set in your hand luggage and another one in your travel luggage while you travel the world. If something gets stolen the prints will allow you to act fast and block your cards.
Step 3: Store all your documents as PDF files in your Cloud storage space (or on a USB stick, on your mobile phone or in an email sent to yourself as attachment and leave that email stored online obviously).
Very important: Learn how to access that data without using your laptop or smart-phone as those might have been stolen too. Always use a secure password to get access.
Travel advice 1
Be extra careful around airports, bus and train stations as they are the targets of those who know how to pickpocket. If you are wondering what to keep in your purse, put there just a small amount of cash. Keep your documents and credit cards somewhere else.
Travel advice 2
Give a power of attorney to a trusted person and enable them to withdraw money from your account and send it to you with Western Union or a similar service, if needed.
Act smart when you are travelling around the world. Roaming is expensive, so always buy a local SIM card designed for tourists right at the arrival at the airport. It usually comes with mobile internet and a little bit of credit to make phone calls and send messages. It will be a bit more expensive, but keep in mind, that later you might go through more trouble finding a store selling those SIM cards, so just pay a bit more at the airport and be organised quicker. 🙂
Public holidays and opening hours
Think you can get something to eat in Sydney – except fast food – after 9 pm?
Or think you can get dinner in Spain before 7pm?
Think you can get something done during Easter holidays in Switzerland?
Before you head on your worldwide travel check the public holidays and usual opening hours of the specific countries you are planning to visit. Every country is different, in some places nothing functions during the public holidays, while in others shops and restaurants make their best profit during those special days. This has to do with the local culture, traditions and even religion, so travel prepared.
Trying new foods is part of getting to know the local culture and the country you are travelling at. However, be careful, as the hot dishes and the specific foreign food, your stomach is not used to, have spoiled many travel plans. That is why I try new dishes only if I don’t have a long bus ride, train journey or flight scheduled for the night or for the following day. You should do it the same way. Travel with emergency medication to be prepared for food poisoning, especially if you are heading towards developing countries in Africa or Asia.
Street food in Thailand
Outdoors for a long time
There are numerous wonderful reasons for a traveller to spend time outdoors. The long periods outside boost the focus and the creativity, improve the mood, increase the levels of vitamin D and make us feel happy. While travelling the world, ride a bike, go for a walk, do some jogging. Yet remember to take your sun-protection cream, sunglasses or your hat and scarf with you depending on the weather conditions.
Connect with locals
A crucial part of travelling around the world is the connection you make with the locals. Going on a tour by locals is among the smartest things you can do as they will show you places you will never find out about otherwise. Learning a few words in the local language, getting to know the cultural differences, interacting with the local way of life is priceless. Make friends and you will be rewarded with wonderful memories.
Trip planner apps
Today travellers benefit from numerous vacation planning sites and can use one of the best travel planning apps. Some travellers find the usage of a trip planning app useful, others say that even the best itinerary app is not for them.
The vacation planner apps for Android and IPhone to consider include Trip It, Google Translate, CityMaps2Go, Wi-Fi Finder by Jiwire Inc., Google Maps. The best trip planner apps and websites to check include 360cities, Peek, Wikitravel, Road Trippers, Wheretraveler, Extra Pack of Peanuts, and also Gadling.
The innovative travel websites that help travellers include Tripadvisor, Trippy, Geckogo, Vayable, and Indagare. The reputable travel forums that you can get useful travel advice are Virtual Tourist, Thorn Three travel forum, Travel forum and Frommer’s.
Define Your Travel Philosophy
Travelling the world is freedom. It is among the last great adventures that you can have. Thus, look beyond the main landmarks and avoid the tourist traps. Find the local beauties, take the side roads, go off the beaten path and explore the place you are visiting to a greater depth. Take time to watch the locals in their everyday routine and you will witness special things, then follow them to the coffee shops, restaurants and food markets they prefer to go to. Enjoy the beauty of a butterfly, study the monkeys in the trees, take time to contemplate the ornaments of a temple wall.
Just sit down somewhere and watch people. I still remember sitting down in Phnom Penh and just watching, what was going on. There was an older lady with a portable scale, that offered people to weigh them for a small fee. You will witness special things, that will baffle you, too or at least bring a smile to your face.
While travelling the world, stay as close to the ground as possible, understand and appreciate the different cultures, communicate and make friends with the locals, book for interesting classes they organize. Remember, worldwide travelling is about you being taken out of your comfort zone, learning many new things, getting new skills and growing from the experience you get and the people you meet. Do not be mistaken, slow travel will bring you intensified living and you will love every moment of it.
Travel longer than others
Some people travel the world as they want to learn about the local culture and history, others want to try the local food, be inspired or have an adventure. Still others are looking for to get closer to their travel partner, to heal or to relax. Worldwide travel is about learning new things, exploring new landscapes and interacting with the locals. It is all about you becoming a citizen of the world.
Travelling the world in my opinion is also associated with reaching places that are off the beaten path, just sparsely described in any travel guide book. These are special areas where the lazy tourists don’t go, since it is too much trouble for them. A good example for this is the Sipalay area in the Philippines, which is 6 hours by bus, featuring beautiful secluded beaches, with not many tourists around. The choices are endless and you can immerse yourself in the local culture.
Here a beautiful picture from Sipalay
Organized tour: Yes or no?
When travellers are pressed in time, the best option for them is booking a tour organized by local travel agencies. They know the market and the area and have experienced guides. The lucky travellers, that have enough time to stay longer at a certain place and even rent a bike or a car, should better take the open road and see where it leads them to. They will have the chance to talk with the locals about landmarks to see and places to visit.
Have an adventure
While travelling the world you can get distracted by various average activities, but try to focus on the meaningful adventures. Every place you visit has its challenges, so go skiing or climbing, hop on small ferries and spend time at isolated islands, interact with the residents, take part in festivals or learn how to cook a local meal.
Stay open minded
Try to remain open minded when you are travelling the world and when people approach you, engage in a conversation. Whatever you do while travelling, always apply common sense and don’t be afraid. Naturally, avoid travelling to places for which too many travel warnings were issued. Stay informed, be open to new emotions and follow your instincts.
Walk for hours through a foreign city
That is among the best gifts you can give yourself! Be absolutely sure – you will love that experience! Just walk through a foreign city, stop here and there to take photos, dine at a local restaurant with no tourists around, enjoy a cup of hot coffee in a nice café and feel the magic. Occasionally someone will start a nice conversation with you, sharing interesting stories about the city that you could have never learned otherwise.
Travel planning and preparation in advance
Flight booking & around the world ticket price
Spending money on around the world airline tickets is not a smart idea for two reasons: First, you will be forced to stick to a schedule and second, plans change and things happen so you should stay flexible. However, with no around the world plane ticket in your pocket, you still need travel plans. The destination you are heading to will determine the type of your insurance, the need for visas and vaccinations, etc. The travel planning will also outline your around the world ticket cost. When flight booking:
- Always check the homepage of the airlines and ask for the around the world ticket price;
- Choose the cheaper flights available from Tuesday to Thursday every week;
- Get help from websites like Orbitz and Momondo;
- Book international flights on the main routes that have highest competition and lowest prices;
- Book flights with the low-cost carriers for the local routes.
Get rid of unnecessary stuff all your life
While travelling the world, the less possessions you have, the better. Learn how to get rid of the unnecessary staff and travel light. As you cross oceans and continents, experiencing different cultures, you will realize that possessions slow you down. Give your personal belongings an objective view and sell the things you don’t need.
Solid travel planning
When you travel the world and pick your next destination, make a solid travel planning. Add every attraction you come across to one of the following categories:
Would be nice to see
Don’t mind missing out on
Make sure there’s balance and remember it’s simply more fun to visit different types of sights. Make a rough travel plan for every spot, you plan to stay a while, research the travel time to nearby sites and the time necessary for visiting each attraction. Make notes about opening hours, local and national public holidays during which the attractions could be either closed or very busy.
And if you need in depth information about all this, register for my newsletter and one of the extras, you will get, is my free travel planning e-book.
Proper travel insurance
The overseas travel insurance and the travel insurance for trips in Europe is a must for each traveller. Those that are heading on a worldwide travel adventure and those planning to travel several times during the year, should better get a travel insurance policy that covers them the whole year.
When travel planning, spend time researching the daily living costs in your focus destination and use a vacation calculator to estimate your travel expenses. Inform your bank and credit card company of the trip and that purchases are likely to be made from abroad. Update them whenever you change the continent to make sure your cards are not blocked in the new area.
Remember that cash is still king in many parts of the world. Besides, banks charge more and more fees if you withdraw from an ATM. Make sure you always have cash with you and several credit and debit cards to use when needed. A good idea is to make a travel budget template for each country you plan to visit.
Before heading on your worldwide travel experience, find out the important phrases in the countries you are to visit. Then save these expressions on your smartphone or print them out to use in case of emergency. Note that “thank you”, “please”, “good morning” in the local language will always bring out a smile and good attitude.
When planning your travelling about the world, always refer to the World Health Organization website and consult your doctor well before your departure. Make sure you get the right vaccinations against cholera, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis, polio and typhoid, hepatitis A and B. For the high-risk areas, do malaria prophylaxis as well. Repeat these vaccinations every five or ten years.
Medical and dental checks
Always make regular medical and dental checks and be even more serious before longer trips like travelling around the world. Make sure an avoidable sickness won’t ruin your travel experience as nothing can spoil your trip more than going through a dental or medical emergency. Make a thorough check before departure and save yourself the stress of dealing with medical matters in a foreign country.
Make a habit to check the validity of your passport as you start planning your worldwide travel. Renewing a passport can take one or two months in some countries so act accordingly. Most Asian countries require your passport to be valid for another six months beyond the date of entry otherwise entry might be denied.
Hi Charles, as a elderly solo traveler I find your post very rewarding, have used much that you have talked about, but it is always good to be reminded as to the finer points. I hav always taken photos of my passport ,but only the inner pages, same with my drivers lisence only one side, never thought about the reverse side or outter cover.