Travel tips 101 for safe and happy holidays

We’ve all been there – staring at our unpacked suitcases, wondering which clothes to pack, losing an item while overseas, or realising you’ve exceeded your budget for the week.

Well, worry no more because these top travel tips have got you covered.

1. Pack light, and pack early: Brooke Saward from

Admit it, many of us procrastinate, including when it comes to packing for vacations. But even if you love the rush of working under pressure, you need to quit this bad habit, or you’ll find yourself fumbling in your luggage or even forgetting something in the laundry.

Also, do all your laundry beforehand so only squeaky clean clothes get packed. And remember – always pack light.

A good strategy would be to remove half of everything you want to pack. To save space, avoid clothes that wrinkle easily, and if you really need to, roll it. For hats, pack the headspace with small clothing items (T-shirts, undies, etc.) Also, consider buying a hard suitcase. No broken items, no worries!

2. Enjoy yourself: Anna from

Many times while on holiday, we forget why we took time off in the first place – it was to reduce stress. So stop stressing about which tourist spot to visit next, your holiday budget, or how many calories that extra snack contained.

Take a few deep breaths, slow down and relax. Take pictures of the scenery, laugh with friends and try out as many new things as you can while you’re at it. You can go back to work after this, but for now, learn to enjoy yourself.

Treat yourself to the local cuisine; you never know when you’ll next get to enjoy it again. A quick tip – bring along baby wipes in case there are delays and you can’t take a shower, so you’ll never feel sticky all over. Remember to charge up all your devices the night before, because nothing is more frustrating than watching your camera battery die. If you’re prone to falling sick, consider packing a few on-the-go medicines as well.

3. Save whenever you can: The Blonde Abroad from

Whether you’re a student or working, you tend to give up on your dream vacation because of budget constraints. While travel does involve costs, there are many alternative ways to save money. One is by being patient. Research which plane tickets are the cheapest at any time of the year.

Switch to a hostel, or look for hotels located a little farther from the city centre as these are usually cheaper. Use public transport or bike rentals whenever possible as taxis fares can be expensive. Of course, walking is also ideal to take in the scenery and local culture. Be brave and skip pricey tours, too.

Download audiobooks or guides, or consider hop-on/hop-off buses that’ll take you everywhere. Remember to research free activities, check online for special deals and look for special rates for students, seniors, kids or groups, whatever might apply to you.

Don’t buy every souvenir you see; buy one special thing that really represents your trip and opt for stores unique to the country for truly special items. Lastly, remember to keep your receipts because you can often get tax refunds at the airport at the end of your trip.

4. Safety First: Kristin from

Maybe your inner-voice is holding you back with visions of worst-case scenarios, or family and friends are filling your mind with pictures of a big, scary world for girls.

Whatever the case, there are many easy ways to stay safe. Firstly, cut down on alcohol. It’s ok to have a couple of drinks but getting drunk in a foreign and unknown place could put you in danger.

Don’t flaunt your valuables or you might attract unwanted attention. Don’t listen to music with earbuds on while on foot as you are less aware of your surroundings. Dressing appropriately can save you a lot of trouble, as well as having connections in your destination country, so don’t hesitate to call up a local friend.

If you’re traveling solo after dark, stick close to a nearby couple or a family, and flash them a smile to show you mean no harm.

If you ever suspect you’re being followed, pop into the nearest restaurant or hotel. There will usually be someone there who speaks English and can help.

Lastly, when you’re traveling in a group, let others know of your travel plans and itinerary, so they’ll know something is wrong if you’re not where you should be.

5. Last-minute admin checklist: From

1. Make sure to get travel insurance. If you can’t afford it, you’re probably not ready to travel.

2. Look up visa and passport information for countries you’re visiting through your country’s consulate and contact your banks to inform them where you’re going so you can prepare beforehand.

3. Consider getting a temporary phone card from the country you’re visiting. Alternatively, you can also stick to Wifi and keep your phone on Airplane Mode.

4. Figure out which once-in-a-lifetime events are worth revolving your trip around. For example, when traveling to Thailand, be sure to make it to the Full Moon Party and local sporting events which are sure to raise your spirits.

5. Learn as many photography and Instagram skills as you can, and read up on all your equipment functions.

If you want to enjoy your vacation to the fullest, you can’t afford to be lazy, so best get to it.

This article first appeared in

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