My Top 10 Travel Tips

So rather than dive right into my journal and go guns blazing with that, i thought id start this blog off by giving you guys something to help you with any travel plans you may have.

I’m going to give you some tips and some lessons and such on what ive learned from my trips away. Kind of like a beginners guide to it all…and so you don’t repeat any of the school boy errors that i made…

Jumping straight in…
1. Don’t over plan things-
So before i went on my round the world trip i wanted to know so much about where i was going, what i would see, what there was to do there, and all the rest. But when you travel into the countries you’re always meeting new people, gathering new information and inevitably your plans will change and tweak. Im not saying to just wing it, but, come up with a hit list of places you’d like to see, but be flexible! Half the fun is in the unknown, it adds to the adventure.

2. Be bright, be seen-
This one, is all about the backpack. When you’re away what you’ll find is most people are sporting the black backpack, so they blend in and they don’t stand out. Which is great, I’m all for it and its a great idea. Except when you’re waiting at baggage claim for your back pack and they all look alike. What i did with mine was i bought a length of cord, which was luminous green, and i wrapped it tightly around an area of my bag so it was like a bright beacon. That way i could spot it and be out of the airport as quick as possible and into or onto whatever transport was at hand. Beating the cues! It also comes into its own if your bag is in luggage storage, being off loaded a bus or coach, or basically just anywhere you get separated from your prized possession.
Its become a must on every travel trip for me now!
I used a length of guyline rope designed for a tent, similar tothis but mine is green. 

3- Be Social!
If you’re not already, learn, and learn fast. Being social is the key to the ultimate experience. Yes seeing the sights and experiencing things is great, but so is the people you meet, the friends you make, the locals you’ll talk to! If you’re in it, step out of your comfort zone and talk to everybody!! Not only will you make incredible friends, you could pick up some great information about a place to visit or an activity to do. Something you’d hate to find out about once you get home. One of my greatest experiences was in Cambodia, we ended up “brown bagging” bottles of whiskey down by the river in the middle of nowhere with 4 locals who’d took us there on their motorbikes. We spent the afternoon drinking, playing in the river, wrestling in the water, and teaching each other the others language. All because we got into a quick chat with these guys.

4-Keep a journal
This is one that is always up for debate with people, but for me, its better than photographs. A short pencil is better than a long memory as the saying goes. As the months and years pass, the finer details of your travel adventure or trip will start to disappear slowly. Sure, you’ll always remember those big moments, those scary moments, and those adventurous ones, but you may forget the funny conversation you  had with the waitress in Chang Mai, or the time you almost missed the closing of a border crossing into Malaysia on the day your visa ran out. Keeping a journal just ensures you can savour those precious moments in the years to come. Some people believe they take up far too much time. Is it sometimes a nightmare?Yes! Do you sometimes just want to go to sleep?Yes. But then theres the other times when you’re on a bus or train or boat for however many hours and you’re glad of something to take your mind of the fact it feels like you’ve been on the bus since the dawn of time. It can be a welcome distraction.
Keep an eye on Paperchase UK, they always have some great pads and books in.

5. Travel light
So a lot of you will be sat thinking, well yeah of course!! But I’m just going to cover why. So when i left to travel the world, i bought a huge backpack and expected to fill it. But once i had my shorts and t-shirts and odd and ends in there, it was pretty baron. In fact the weight was 13kg at Heathrow. When i returned, it was 32kg. While you’re on the road and seeing the world you acquire so many things! Things you want to collect, keepsakes, extra clothing, all sorts. I actually carried round an oil paining(rolled up) for 6months. As you do. You can of course always send things home but i quite enjoyed having to rummage through my backpack and every now and then stumbling across something id not seen for a few months. If you travel light, you can always buy more things you forget & you’ll have room for keepsakes, if you fill that bag-you’re going to have to lose some items before you get any more.

6. Take snaps of the details
This is a big one for me. It can be very easy to go to places and just photograph the landmarks. Head to Sydney and focus on the opera house, explore Malaysia and focus on the Petronas Towers. But, don’t forget to take some snaps of the details, of menus, of signage, the food you eat, the dorms you stay in, the footpaths you take. It’s these photos you’ll look back on and be suddenly flooded with memories, these are the pictures that tell the story of your travel, not the images anyone can pull off a quick google search.

7. Budget(in brief)
Wow, keeping this brief will be a challenge as this could be a post on its own…in fact, stay tuned, ill do a blog post on this. But, to keep it brief, before you set off to travel the world, think of the big key things that you want to do or experience and work out how much they alone are going to set you back. So for example the biggest thing on my list, was the Nevis Highwire bungy in Queenstown New Zealand. This for me was a non negotiable, it had to happen. Alongside that i had things like a dive on the barrier reef and a trip to Vang Vieng in Laos. Other than this, i was fairly easy going but i knew these trips would set me back around £200. So i set that aside and budget around those. Such a good idea to as there’d be nothing worse than running low on funds when your dream adventure is around the corner.

8. Organised
By far the least exciting point, but, possibly one of the most important. Before you go make sure you have two photocopies of every travel document or proof of ID document. So things like passport, drivers license, insurance, visas. Anything like that. Keep one in your main backpack, and if you’re travelling with a buddy, give them one to. The other one, keep in your daypack or daysack, or just somewhere away from the other. It just means if the worst happens, you’re not totally down the creek without a paddle. Like i say not exciting, but very smart!

9. When is enough not enough…
…when its a memory card for your camera. No matter how much memory it has, or how all singing and all dancing it is…you’ll still need another, so while you’re here and with easy access to eBay, stock up!!

10.Get or borrow a credit card
You need a plan B, an if all else fails(or if a sweet trip pops up). Be disciplined with this and take it just incase you lose your wallet or whatever and need a put me on while your sent a fresh card. Again, just air on the side of precaution.

Hope you guys found this useful and took something from it. As i retrace through my journal and go on more trips or remember more stuff that can help, ill let you know.

Take it easy…

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