Being a savvy traveler is being aware of the things going on around you; being smart and resourceful, and having a tight grip on what’s laid out in front of you.
Whether you’re going into small jazz clubs in New Orleans, famous museums like the Louvre in Paris, or tourist favorites such as the Taj Mahal in Agra, you always need to remember some pointers on how to remain smart, and how to avoid the hassles that come along.
Here are some tips on how to be a savvy and confident traveler when going around the world, as well as tricks on how to make the most out of your trip abroad.
When you have the following in order, you’ll be saved from so much hassle that will most probably come your way: photocopies of your itinerary, passport, visa; a list of phone numbers of family/friends from home (on PAPER—technology can’t always be trusted); list of hotel email addresses, phone numbers, actual addresses (so you could ask for directions anytime); a map; and a power converter.
Teach yourself a new language
Yes, lots of people can speak in English in most parts of the world, but isn’t it better to learn a few expressions before you go? Lots of guidebooks are available out there, and the internet is also your best friend when it comes to translations. Knowing how to say basic greetings and questions will do wonders. Also, learning some translations of “I’m drunk, where’s the nearest bathroom” could definitely save you during nights of irresponsible drinking.
Cash or credit?
In most cases, you’d be better off bringing more cash in developing countries, since credit cards may not be always accepted. If you’re going to places such as the United States or Australia, however, you need not worry as long as you have your card with you (you can use it for taxis, nearly all restaurants, and practically anywhere). Check tips online on whether the place is better with nationwide credit cards or cash.
This is one of the things that you must take good care of, because—well—you need money for just about anything. There are many money changers in all countries you’ll be traveling to, like tourist favorites such as India (you won’t run out of money changers in India!), Egypt, or Vienna (the list could go on, but you get the idea).
You’ll get great deals in money changers in town, but it’s best if you exchange a day or two’s budget at the airport. They might charge a bit more, but this is so much better than having money problems on your first day. Let’s say you arrive at 2 in the morning in Ho Chi Minh or Kathmandu—you’d be sure to have no one exchange money for you at that time. Exchanging money in the airport at this time will not only give you convenience for a cab at 2 am, it will also not give you a hard time paying for breakfast early in the morning.
Of course you’ll be traveling with gadgets, and since you’ve most likely spent an unbelievable amount of money for them, make sure that you protect them—keep them always attached to you, and put them in bags that should always be IN FRONT of you when you’re walking down unfamiliar streets. Don’t always keep them around your neck or on your shoulder, these are two carrying methods that usually attract attention.
Always be alert
To be the savvy traveler that you need to be, you must always be aware of your surroundings and make sure you know what’s going on. The new sights you’ll be seeing might leave you gaping, but always remember to always be alert. Don’t be paranoid, but always be cautious. With all these basic suggestions in hand, you will be on your way to having an amazing vacation ahead.