This is a list of highly recommended travel tips that I approve of and advise to others but I rarely utilize them myself… I’ll tell you why.
“People commonly travel the world over to see rivers and mountains, new stars, garish birds, freak fish, grotesque breeds of human; they fall into an animal stupor… They gape at existence and think they have seen something.” -Søren Kierkegaard
Avoid Tourist Traps
Jaded travelers and adventurers often pride themselves on how they’ll never be caught dead in a tourist trap. Well I’m both and I often seek out these traps. While many are wastes of time, some are just too interesting or even peculiar to pass up.
I’m all up for exploring off the beaten path but avoiding these tourist traps will make you miss out on a lot this world has to offer.
The Great Wall of China, Times Square, The Eiffel Tower, Angkor Wat, The Great Pyramids and Stonehenge are all considered monster tourist traps but also some of Earth’s greatest sights.
Any experienced backpacker or ultralight traveler will tell you to roll each article of clothing into cylinders to save space. I actually advised this in the 6 Vagabonding Travel Packing Hacks post. Doing this will indeed let you pack more clothing in a backpack than folding, not to mention the reduction of wrinkles.
I stopped doing this and started a new way of packing clothing that’s even more efficient than rolling. Stay tuned for details…
Only Eat Local Foods
I’m a huge advocate of supporting the small ma and pa eateries around the world that adhere to the local cuisines, after all, those are the world’s greatest restaurants and often are the least expensive. This way you can literally taste a culture you’re traveling in.
However, it’s a treat to find a McDonald’s, Pizza Hut or any other restaurant you’ve eaten at a million times before with an uniquely made exotic menu to match the country’s taste – you won’t find that at home.
Bring a Daypack for Sightseeing
When in a foreign country exploring a new city, most people like to carry a well equipped small backpack (daypack) for “essentials”; tourist maps, travel guide books, water bottle, towel, passport, survival kit, umbrella, etc. It’s never a bad idea to be prepared but there is such a thing as over-prepared, weighing you down and hindering mobility.
I prefer a more nimble EDC and an ultra-minimal pack like my trusty SportHolster. For treks and more physically demanding days, then I take my FAST Pack Litespeed.
Stay Out of Bad Neighborhoods
It’s risky enough to walk into a dangerous street or hood in your own city or even country. So it stands to reason it may even be more dangerous to do so in a foreign nation where you’re unfamiliar with the language, customs and people.
I’ve “worked” in some of the most volatile neighborhoods around the world for most of my adult life and lived in one growing up so I’ve got some inherent street smarts to fall back on. Besides, it’s the best way to explore the underworlds.
Don’t Check Bags For Flights
The theory of ultralight travel packing is this; if you check baggage, you’re doing it wrong. I think it should be modified to; if you have too much baggage that you have to check luggage, you’re doing it wrong. The difference being that it’s not about the act of checking the baggage but keeping it light using the airlines’ approximate carry-on limit.
Just because you don’t need to check baggage doesn’t mean you shouldn’t – if there’s no fee that is. This lets me enjoy my time at airports without being held down or having to worry about carrying my main backpack everywhere.
-See also “1000 Travel Tips”
[The featured photo was taken at The Light Infinity Pool on New Years day in Penang, Malaysia.]
Great list… I especially like the first one. I hate when “pro travelers” say how they hate tourist traps.
Your right about the Pizza Huts in other countries, they put some crazy ass toppings on them that would never be sold in the US. When I first saw one in Korea, I thought it was a fake Pizza Hut lol… But anyways, it was… interesting.
Great tips, look forward to what your new way of travel packing is.
Great and honest travel tips for the rest of us.