The Confused Traveler

I’ve been inspired to post this because people have been checking into the hostel and seem to have no idea how to travel.  They make the same mistakes over and over again.

Packing

I use this website to make sure I have everything I need. http://upl.codeq.info/ So helpful!

So less is more.  First off, there is no reason, what so ever to have more than a carry on suitcase, personal item and ONE item to check (under 40 lbs or 20 kg).  I saw a lady from India try to go to the airport with a suitcase literally labeled, “Extra Large.”  Then she was shocked when she went to check her bag. They were going to charge her for each kilogram after 20 kilograms.  What was she thinking?

If you are trying to figure out clothes check this website out. http://www.puttingmetogether.com/search?updated-max=2013-11-27T09:00:00-08:00&max-results=4

Buy insoles to cushion your feet for two reasons 1. makes it more comfortable 2.  if you shoes get smelly just wash the insoles instead of the whole shoe.

Make sure you bring good walking shoes.  Ballet flats will die on a trip, heels are pointless.  I just have boots for winter, sneakers for walking/ running and filp flops for shower, beach and warm days.

Use spacebags to cut down on space and pack light.  If I move back to Spain next year, I think I’m just going to bring my backpack and a small dufflebag. You don’t need much.  Get over the whole, “I can’t wear the same outfit twice.”  It’s wasteful, it is vain and will cost you a lot in baggage fees.  You look like a rooky traveler with your huge suitcase for only a month.  You’ll regret having to lug all the crap everywhere. The less stuff, the more mobile, the less pain.

Also don’t pack anything that needs to be ironed.  I made that mistake, you think it’ll be fine but it’s practically unwearable.

 

Money:

  • Always have more than one card, one or two credit cards and a debit card.  (ATM cards do not work abroad) Research, credit cards that give you points when you travel.  It can save you a lot of money.  I NEVER have both cards on me at once.
  • The make sure to withdraw a good amount of money from your local bank and hide it in several places. Always leave some at the hostel or hotel in case your wallet gets stolen.  Also, always have a couple bucks in your shoe or anywhere that is on your person but not in your purse or pocket.  In case you get robbed, you will have enough money for a bus or cab fare.
  • Call you bank before you go abroad or buy a ticket abroad.   I bought a ticket for a concert in Florida and the bank shut my card because of suspicious activity.

Basic Tips:

  • Always bring a student ID and always ask for student discounts. Even if you graduated if your ID is still valid, take it.  Or even if it isn’t, just show it and they might not even check.
  • Make sure you have a cellphone.  So if you are staying somewhere longer than a week just get a pay as you go sim card with only data.  Calling and text is a waste.  Just download WhatsApp and Viber.   One thing though, if you are American get your phone locked about a month ahead of time.  People forget to do that and then they have to buy a brand new phone for a couple hundred dollars.
  • If you are going to country where they don’t know English, for longer than a week, invest in a phrase book.  It will help you navigate better.  Or you can download an app with the local language but beware of exhausting your battery.
  • Don’t forget to grab a local map or get a guidebook.  I have a European guidebook and it has been so nice to look stuff up without wifi.  I just find what I want on the map and I have all the attractions neatly listed.
  • When you pack your carry-on make sure you have some clothes and basic necessities there.  If the airline loses your luggage you don’t want to be completely stuck. Don’t forget snacks too!
  • While you should always bring money with you, using a ATM is better for exchange rates.  Avoid the kiosks.
  • Save all your boarding passes because you can use it for taxes, security sometimes ask for it and in case there is an issue with your credit card getting charged too much.
  • Mark your bags with anything to make them distinguishable so it’s easier to spot on the line.
  • Keep a copy of your passport just in case you lose it or someone ask for your information.  Some countries require an identification at all times.   Police may stop you and if you have no identification you can get fined or in trouble.

Things to Invest In:

  • Pack towels: I bought one because hostels might charge for them.  Also, I don’t like using public towels.  They are compact so you don’t have to worry about space.
  • A day backpack, purses can only hold so much and strain your back.  It’s much better for you to have a small backpack for water bottles, wallet, towel etc…
  • Sleeping bag:  You can use it for couch surfing, if the hostel charges for sheets or if they run low on blankets.  I allows for more flexibility.
  • A water bottle, preferably a water bladder because they are compact. You need to drink water and you shouldn’t be wasteful by buying water bottles over and over again.
  • A small computer or ipad, it’s more compact and makes it easier to book flights and get information than a phone. My bulky computer takes too much room and it’s a pain.
  • Kindle, I wasted a lot of space by carrying books.  It’s fun to exchange books but ultimately you have to think of space.  Kindle is great for downsizing your packing.
  • Canvas bag, it’s nice to have it for a personal item, beach time and shopping at the grocery store.
  • Pack jacket, the problem with winter is that jackets take up a lot of space but these are portable and make it a lot easier to keep warm and travel.
  • Journal and pens, it’s good to have something to write on especially in a country where they don’t speak the language.  They can write prices, directions and such.  It’s good to write down phrases if you are trying to learn the language too.  Also, make sure to write down your hostel’s name and address just in case.
  • Buy locks!  I have like 3 locks to protect my items.

There’s plenty more tips for travelers out there.  I just wanted to cover the mistakes I’ve seen the most fro travelers.

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