50 things we've learned after exploring 50+ countries
Looking for travel tips? You've found the right spot! Here, you will find our top 50 travel tips from our time traveling the world. We've been to over 50 countries combined and have picked up a new trick at each destination we've been.
When we both first started traveling, we had no idea what we were doing. We just wanted to explore the globe and discover new things. Have new experiences. While that's still our goal after years of travel, we now do it a little smarter than we did on our first trips. We take the local cultures and economies into consideration. We plan our trips better so we experience all we can when we're abroad. We have the best travel apps pre-downloaded on our phones. We take better photos than we used to. Overall, we now have better travel experiences because we use our own travel tips all the time!
Whether you want to know how to travel on a budget, how to travel light, how to travel sustainably, etc. we've got all the travel tips covered here for you. Just select your category of interest below to get started. There's always more to learn, so this list is constantly being updated after we have new experiences on the road. We hope these travel tips help make your next adventure a memorable, safe, and rewarding one!
Travel Tip Categories
Get Inspired To Travel
One of the best travel tips we've learned over the years is how to get inspired to travel. The world is big and it can be hard to decide where you want to go sometimes. You can get lost in the options or you could get scared by the fact that certain cultures are so different from your own. Whatever the reason, we are here to tell you "it's ok"! We've got a few tips that will help you narrow down where you want to go and help you get inspired to travel.
1. Get a scratch map and mark off where you've been
One of our favorite things to do is scratch off the destinations we've been to on our scratch map. When we are sitting around the dinner table, we'll look up at the map above us and remember all the beautiful places we've been. We also use it as motivation to go to new countries so that we can come back and fill in some new memories!
2. Create a travel bucket list
A travel bucket list will serve you well to stay motivated for your next trips. We've both got our own individual bucket lists of our own (and many of them overlap). We save them as notes on our phone and add to them whenever we see someplace cool we want to go to on the internet, social media, or in magazines.
3. Watch travel movies or documentaries
Travel movies have a great ability to motivate and inspire your next adventures. We like to scan Netflix and add movies to our favorites list that have to do with adventures in other countries. We also recommend watching YouTube videos of destinations you are interested in traveling to. Make a playlist called "bucket list destinations" and watch the videos a few times. Whichever ones impact you the most should move to the top of your bucket list!
4. Read inspirational stories from other travelers
People all over the world have had great experiences traveling. If you're nervous at all about traveling, volunteering, or studying abroad, then read some traveler stories to see how other people have enjoyed their moments abroad. We've curated a whole list of these traveler stories for you to get the confidence you need to go for it yourself!
5. Read travel blogs or books
There are so many travel blogs out there. World Wild Hearts is one of them! Blog quality varies from site to site, but do a bit of scanning and you will find what you need from a quick google search. Travel bloggers have some great stories to tell. Use these blogs to help inspire your own trips. Or pick up a great book about traveling or living life on the road. Diving into a book will help fuel your wanderlust!
How To Plan Your Trip
Planning your trip can be a tough task. It's something that a lot of people dread doing. It takes time and a lot of the time can be overlooked as an essential part of your journey. We've found that great planning can set your trip up for success. Not planning in the sense of slotting every activity into a time slot. Rather, we recommend planning to set yourself up for the general experience you want from your trip so that you can get the most out of your adventure! Check out our top tips on how to plan your trip.
6. Figure out your budget
The first thing you need to figure out is your budget. How much do you have to spend on your trip? This is the basis of your entire planning since it's impossible to go to some destinations in this world without a fair bit of money. Your budget will decide if you want to go to a more luxurious destination or a more budget destination. One of more relaxation or adventure. The choice is up to you!
7. Consider your time frame
How much time do you want to allocate to your trip? Once you know this, plus how much you want to spend, then the rest is easy. If you've got two weeks available, then you may want to opt for only one country and do activities that are closer to each other. If you've got two months, then you have the ability to hop a few different countries and have a much different experience.
8. Decide which destination best suits your personality
Once you've got budget and time frame locked in, now comes the fun part! It's time to pick your destination. Again, since there are so many countries, this can be a big task. We've done some of the work for you and built a free travel quiz for you to download. This quiz matches your personality type to the exact country that would fit your style. If you don't take the quiz, you can still do some quick googe research for "best two-week destinations", "best budget destinations", etc. Make sure to check that the destination fits your travel style. ie. is it good for adventures or luxury or city-tripping?
9. Research the things that interest you most in that region
Now that you've picked your destination, it's time to see what interests you most. Do you want to understand the culture better? Are you interested in trying new food or hiking a new trail or seeing a new stunning view? See what the country has to offer by searching things like "top things to do in...". You can also scan our destinations page in case we've already written about the top things to do in your country of choice.
10. Lay out the main attractions you want to see
Once you've done some research, make sure you keep a list of your top places to visit within the country you're going to. See where they are in relation to each other on a map. You can use the app Maps.Me to keep all of your locations of interest saved for offline use on your trip and see what kind of transportation you will need to see everything. We don't recommend making a strict timeline, but rather a loose idea of when you want to go so you have time to fit in all your top attractions.
How To Travel On A Budget
If you're like us, you don't always have a ton of extra cash floating around. So it's important to know how to budget on your trip. We've found that saving money really adds to our experience abroad because it means we get to see everything we wanted. Since we generally set out our budget prior to leaving, we know exactly how much we're able to spend in order to do the activities that are on the top of our list. Lets check out some of our top tips for how to travel on a budget below!
11. Choose a budget-friendly destination
This is probably the most important thing when saving money on traveling. If you are visiting an expensive country (like Switzerland for instance), it's nearly impossible to do it on a small budget. However, if you're visiting a place (Thailand, Indonesia, India, Bolivia, etc.) your dollars or euros will go a lot further. The main reason for this is because the currency is evaluated lower in these budget-friendly destinations and the cost of living for locals is lower.
12. Be flexible with time
Another key factor for staying within a small budget is to stay flexible with your departure time and time traveling within the country. If you don't have to stick to a tight schedule, then you can reap the benefits of last-minute deals wherever you are. Just ask the locals, they'll be able to guide you to the best deals that day.
13. Set price alerts for deals on flights
If you are flexible with your departure and return times, then you can set up price alerts for your flight. On Skyscanner for instance, you can set which destination you are planning to go to as well as where you're leaving from. If the price is too high at the time of your booking, just set a price alert to be sent to your email as soon as it drops.
14. Go for cheap (or free) accommodation options
Cheap accommodation is key for saving cash on your adventure. In general, hostels are your best option for finding cheap rates as they usually offer group rooms. It's also a great way to meet new friends while traveling. Alternatively, you could try couchsurfing and stay for free.
15. Opt for local markets or street food
Another great tip to save money while traveling is to not eat at expensive restaurants. You can still get the taste of the local cuisine by trying out street food. In fact, it is sometimes more authentic as it's what the locals really eat. You could also try purchasing ingredients from a local market and cooking for yourself.
Staying Healthy On Your Trip
If you want to have a great trip, then you must stay healthy! This is one of our top travel tips: Don't get sick! There's nothing worse than having your vacation ruined by getting a cold, flu, or other sickness. If you take a few basic precautions, you should be able to avoid getting sick while abroad. Let's check out the top travel tips for staying healthy while traveling below!
16. Walk as much as possible
Walk, walk, walk! It sounds so simple, but it really works. Walking helps keep your body feeling great and gives you the exercise you need to fight off most smaller sicknesses. It also allows you to see the area you're in with a new appreciation since you're going at a slower pace than in a car or bus.
17. Include strenuous activities in your itinerary
In addition to walking, we recommend adding hiking, surfing, mountain biking, kayaking, or other adventurous activities to your agenda. Not only do they keep your heart rate high, but they also allow you to create great memories of the landscapes around you. We love getting outside and enjoying the landscapes in new countries.
18. Bring your healthcare essentials in small portions
It's extremely important to bring any essential items on the road with you that you use daily at home. If you need to change your contacts daily, bring as many contact lenses as you need for the duration of the trip. Same goes for things like routine pills, deodorant, shampoo, and other essential items. We also recommend bringing headache pills and toilet paper in case of emergencies.
19. Stay hydrated
One of the most common sicknesses that travelers fall victim to is dehydration. It's far too easy to foget to drink water when you're enjoying so many new experiences all around you in the countries you visit. It's happened to us a few times. We will be out for a hike or exploring a new city and all of a sudden will get a headache or worse. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times to stay hydrated!
20. Catch up on sleep when you can
Sleep is another thing that travelers take for granted too often. It can be easy to go days without getting a proper rest. This can have negative effects on your attitude and lead to sickness if you're not careful. Make sure to sleep on the bus, train, or plane if you can. Also make a note to get a full nights rest every few days at least.
How To Travel Light
Traveling light is one of the most important things we've learned over the years. It has allowed us to explore some more off-the-beaten-path locations and has also saved our back from pain during our long trips. There's nothing worse than lugging a giant suitcase around with you the whole trip, only to realize that you only needed half of what you brought. We've got a few essential travel tips for how to travel light that will solve most of those problems for you below.
21. Invest in one backpack for ALL occasions
We've learned this one the hard way. Our closet is riddled with old backpacks and suitcases of various sizes. What we've found is that no matter what trip you're going on, it's easiest to have one backpack that fits all occasions. One that is big enough for a 1-month trip with all your clothes but also light enough to carry with you on a weekend trip. Check out our favorite options for backpacks in this guide.
22. Pack a few lightweight layers rather than one heavy layer
To save space in your pack, it's important not to bring too many big things. A big coat or large, heavy pants will weigh you down. To solve this issue, bring lots of small and light jackets or pants that can be layered on top of each other. That way, you can layer up or layer down depending on the temperature of the day.
23. Bring clothes that mix and match well
If you have a few tops and bottoms that match with each other, then bring those. Sometimes your pants or shirts will get dirty, but if you have the ability to match the next clean shirt with your same pair of clean pants, then you will have no travels packing light.
24. Invest in a quality organizer for your toiletries / electronics
One of the best ways to stay organized and only pack what you need is to toss it into an organizer. Electronics and toiletries seemed to always take up a large chunk of space in our bags, but when we got an organizer, we magically had a ton of free space for clothes and shoes. That's because the small stuff was tucked away in their own little compartments.
25. Ask yourself: "Is this item really essential for the trip?"
This is the most important question you will ever ask before you leave: "Is this essential?" If it's not essential for what you need on this particular adventure, then leave it behind. It will be there when you get back. If you're deciding between a few different shirts, just bring one. If you have the option to bring just one pair of shoes instead of two, just bring the one pair. You will remember the experiences you had when traveling anyways, not the things you brought with you.
Outdoor Travel Tips
Travel and being in the great outdoors go hand in hand. When exploring a new country, you are bound to find yourself staring out across a new landscape, hiking a new path, or camping in a new region at some point. For us, we spend the majority of our time abroad outdoors. Enjoying the scenery around us. Let's break down our top 5 outdoor travel tips together!
26. Pack a lightweight tent
When you're exploring the great outdoors abroad, it's important to have a lightweight tent! Not only will it save your back, but it will also save your budget. Not having to pay for hotels while in more remote areas of the world is definitely a plus. Invest in a good lightweight tent so you can use it for backpacking trips anywhere in the world.
27. Bring quick-drying clothing
Quick-dry clothing is absolutely essential for any trip where you will be spending time outdoors. If the weather changes and starts raining, your clothes may get wet for that moment but you will be able to dry them quickly on a hanger once the sun comes out again. We've had many instances in the mountains where it started raining out of the blue. We were thankful we had lightweight and quick drying shirts in those moments!
28. Always pack enough water
One of the most dangerous things about being in remote outdoor locations is the limited access to water at times. Depending on where you are adventuring, you may not be able to fill up your water bottle whenever you want. This can lead to dehydration and other health problems in the wild. Be sure to bring as much water as you can fit into your pack just in case!
29. Bring lightweight snacks with lots of calories
When you're out for a day hike or backpacking trip, it's important to bring enough fuel to keep your energy high. Things like nuts, granola bars, crackers, and peanut butter are great sources of energy while outside. You never know how long you'll be out on a hike sometimes, so bring enough for a full day of adventuring.
30. Take your first aid kit
Make sure to pack a first aid kit wherever you go. No matter if it's outdoors or indoors. You can never be too careful when abroad. You may run into situations where you don't have immediate access to a doctor like you do at home. Pack small things like bandaids, a knife, anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, and wrap for cuts.
Slow Travel Tips
One of our top travel tips is to simply "take it slow"! We've found over the years that slow travel is the best way to go if you want to enjoy everything that a new destination has to offer. Slow travel means staying in one place or one region for an extended period of time. Longer than a standard 1-2 week vacation. Staying longer gives you the chance to dive deep into the food, culture, and landscapes around you. Here are our top slow travel tips for when you're abroad.
31. Pick a location for your "home base" and do day trips from there
When traveling, it can be easy to want to hop from one city to the next. But going from one destination to the other means you have to skip some things. We recommend choosing one spot to base yourself out of and then do adventures from that spot. We did this last summer in the Canadian Rockies and had the time of our lives doing day hikes from Canmore.The comfort of having the same shower and bed each night was such a luxury!
32. Decide on only 1 or 2 activities per day
If you're staying an extended time in one location, try to do only a few things per day. You don't have to pack in a thousand activities because you have enough time to fully enjoy the ones that you choose to do. This will also help you save energy and really take in each experience for what it is. Enjoy the moments.
33. Volunteer in the community you're staying in
A great way to immerse yourself in the local culture where you're staying is to volunteer for a cause that you are passionate about. If you give back to the community, you will get connected to people who have similar passions to yourself and unlock new understandings of the community and region where you are staying. Plus, the community benefits from your help!
34. Ask locals for their favorite recommendations in the area
One of the best things to do when traveling is to ask questions. Ask the locals what their favorite place to eat is or what their favorite things to do in the area are. Since you will be staying in one location for a little while, they will be more inclined to help you out.
35. Work in a hostel to cover your room / board fees
Working at a hostel is a great option if you are staying in one place for a while. It allows you to have one place to come back to each night while saving costs on accommodation While you may have to work a bit, hostel work is generally not too taxing. Sometimes you will even get free food included!
How To Travel Sustainably
Sustainable travel is becoming a serious trend around the world. And we love that! We couldn't be happier that people are finally starting to see the importance of traveling sustainably. We only have one planet and it's so important to do everything we can to protect it while also respecting the cultures that we visit. Traveling sustainably means giving back to the communities you travel to, keeping your environmental impact low, and minimizing your carbon footprint as much as possible. Let's dive into our top tips on how to travel sustainably!
36. Purchase carbon offsets for your flights
Did you know you can purchase carbon offsets with most major airlines now? When you're booking your ticket, look for the "carbon offsets" button upon checkout. If you can afford it, this is a great option as it means you will eliminate the same amount of carbon that your flight put into the atmosphere to get to your destination. Carbon emissions from flights are a huge reason for climate change, so it's important to do everything you can to minimize your impact. You can read this article about carbon offsets for more details.
37. Bring your own reusable travel mug
Being sustainable means using as little one-time-use items as possible. Think about how many coffee cups you've thrown away in your life. This waste adds up over time, especially if you're abroad and there are not proper disposal systems in the country you're visiting. Help minimize your impact on the communities you visit by simply refilling your own travel mug wherever you go.
38. Support eco-friendly tour companies
We know there are tons of tour companies to choose from when you go abroad. Next time you're picking between the best ones, we recommend not just going with the cheap option. Rather, take a look at the policies and practices of the company and go with the one that makes the least impact on the world. Do they minimize their global footprint somehow? Do they work with local companies to spur the economy? These things matter to keep the cities you visit thriving.
39. Support the local economy
Supporting the local economy is extremely important when traveling. Many touristic companies rely on travelers for their annual income. This means they rely on the business and money of tourists to keep sustaining their way of life. Buying souvenirs from local shops, eating at local restaurants or markets, and supporting local crafts are great ways to contribute to the economy.
40. Don't use more than you need
There's an old saying that goes "take only memories, leave only footprints". We subscribe to this saying whenever we travel. It means that we only take what we need to get by and nothing more. We only use what we need to experience the destination for what it is. Having this mentality will ensure that the region can sustain tourism for years to come.
Travel Photography Tips
Travel photography skills are something that we've developed over time. We have learned the ins and the outs of how to shoot the best landscapes and city pics. The thing that we've learned is that it's better to try something and see if it works rather than being scared not to try a new shot at all. If you mess up, you can always learn from it and try again! We've put together a few of our favorite travel photography tips here to help you get started shooting some great pics on your next trip that you will remember forever.
41. Research the spots you want to capture
The first thing you will want to do is search for the main spots you want to take pictures of. A simple google search online will help you decide which areas you want to take photos of. Once you find the spot, you can use the maps.me app to save your locations for offline maps use. This will help you save time when you get there, which is important if your lighting is only good for a small timeframe.
42. Use the "rule of thirds"
This little trick instantly took our travel pictures to another level. And it's so easy. All you have to do is think of your frame in a 3x3 grid. Line up your subject (ie. a person, tree, building) in one-third of the frame. Either the right or left side. Try it, your friends will think you're a pro!
43. Try to use a "natural frame" or find a subject for the foreground in your landscape shots
Sometimes it's hard to capture the real depth and feeling of a landscape shot. One way to fix this is frame your shot with something in the foreground. If there is a bush or tree near you, use that to frame up your photo in the foreground with the beautiful landscape in the background. You can also try using a person in the foreground to showcase how large the landscape is behind them. Remember to use the rule of thirds!
44. Go early in the morning or at sunset to capture the golden hour lighting
Golden hour is that magical moment when the lighting is just perfect. During sunrise or sunset, the sky can turn a light shade of gold, then red, then orange, then pink. These are the moments that will light up your shots. They provide the perfect natural light to fill in the shadows of your shot. These are the moments we love to shoot!
45. Use a photo editing software or app
Once you've taken your photos, make sure you edit them. The raw photo almost never looks exactly like it did when you were there in real life. Using an editing software will help make your pictures stand out and bring the colours into reality. Our favourite app for desktop is Lightroom and our favorite for mobile is Snapseed. You can also use the "auto enhance" feature on your iPhone once you import your photos there.
Best Travel Apps & Websites To Use
There are so many travel apps and websites nowadays that make your life easier while on the road. After years of traveling, we've got many sites saved as bookmarks on our browser for quick access. We've also got folders on our phones full of apps that help us travel smarter and cheaper. We've broken down the top 5 apps below but also have a list of dozens more in this article about the best travel apps.
Skyscanner is the top app for booking cheap flights. That's because it compiles all the best flight deals on the internet into one place. You can even set up price alerts to let you know when the price drops for the destination you're flying to. That way, if you're flexible with time, you can save big bucks for your trip!
Splitwise is a great app for tracking your expenses while on the road. You can easily enter the amount you spent, set up group expenditures with your friends, and mark when someone has paid for something. The app will then automatically split up the bills based on who paid for what. You can also set up the currency you want to enter your amount spent in. It's a great way to keep track of all your spending as a group and easily pay each other back.
48. Google Translate
One of the best travel tips was can give fellow adventurers is to download google translate! No matter which country you go to, you'll be able to communicate with people from that culture. Just choose which language you want to communicate in and then type or talk in your own language. The person you're talking to will then be able to see or hear what you were trying to say. Easy as that.
TripAdvisor is our fav travel app for finding things to do locally. We always use it to search for "best things to do" in an area or top restaurants in a new city. The app allows comments from other travelers who have rated the same activity or food venue. As a bonus, it gives restaurants a price rating so you can decide if you want to go for a budget meal or luxury night out.
Maps.me is the best offline maps app around. You can download entire countries or regions where you are visiting so that even if you don't have data, you can still find your way around. We like to drop pins in the areas that we're planning to visit and then use the directions feature to guide us there. The fact that it's offline saves us so much money when traveling! We even use it for hiking when we're outside of reception. IT comes pre-loaded with thousands of trails around the world.