When it comes to travel, there is of course no right and wrong. Everybody has their own way of experiencing the world. They set their own pace and are interested in a variety of different things. By better I therefore don’t mean to say that one way to travel is better than the other. By better I simply mean ways to be more organised but also flexible; conscious of the environment and the local culture; more efficient and more relaxed at the same time. There are many little things you can do to improve your travel experience and the figurative footprint that you leave in the country that you visit or on the people that you meet. They are habits, hacks and behaviours that not only make your way to travel smoother, but also have great potential to make other travelers like you even more! Here are 100 little habits that make you a better traveler in many different ways.
1) If possible, apply for visas before you book your flights or accommodation.
2) Arrive at the airport or train station well in advance.
3) Do yourself and literally everyone around you a favour and have your laptop & liquids ready when it comes to airport security checks.
4) Travel with a reusable water bottle.
5) Fill up your water bottle and go to the loo before securing a chair at the gate.
6) Go paperless and use mobile boarding passes & tickets.
7) Vocalise where you put your passport and boarding pass – no more ‘I just had it’- moments!
8) Always carry a pen with you.
9) Keep a digital copy of your passport in your emails.
10) Have a folder with all your reservations, pre-booked tickets, addresses and emergency contact numbers – either a physical folder, or in your emails.
11) Travel with a power distributor – others will thank you, especially at airports and in coffee shops.
12) Get your phone ready for travel with some apps.
13) Don’t recline your seat on a short duration flight.
14) Book your first few nights of accommodation in advance.
15) Look up reliable and safe taxi companies at your destination.
16) Find out the best way to get from the airport to your hotel/AirBnB/hostel etc. in advance.
17) Give yourself a day to settle into your new environment – particularly for a long-distance and/or a long-term trip.
18) Carry a business card of your hotel with you, to show a taxi driver in case you can’t remember (or pronounce) the address correctly.
19) Sign up for city bike rental schemes or use public transport.
20) Ask locals to explain the local transport system to you if you’re not entirely sure.
21) Read up about your destination and leave your prejudices at home.
22) Prepare ideas for your itinerary, but stay flexible.
23) Turn into an early bird. The morning hours are usually the best time to visit attractions, to people watch, or to take photos.
24) Don’t follow the crowds blindly. Make a list of your priorities and plan accordingly.
25) Allow yourself some down-time.
26) Travel like a child – always be excited about what’s up next!
27) Try something new – something you wouldn’t normally do – every day (or at least on every trip).
28) Go to destinations you had never considered before.
29) Learn a few bits of the local language and make the effort to use them.
30) Ask locals mundane questions about their lives to learn about your cultural differences & similarities.
31) Stay local, eat local, buy local.
32) If you stay local, bring your host a gift from your home country.
33) Ask locals for their favourite places and restaurants, and make it clear that you mean their personal favourites, not what they consider to be the best touristy places.
34) Choose local activities over tourist attractions (e.g. visiting a local pool in Reykjavik instead of overspending on the Blue Lagoon.)
35) Go to a local market!
36) Connect with locals or other travelers through online platforms, such as CouchSurfing or our FB group for travelettes.
37) Approach other solo travelers and ask them about their journey.
38) Be aware of unethical forms of tourism and consider your impact and responsibilities.
39) Research local taboos, no-go’s and laws before your trip!
40) Make some time to get lost in a city and ditch the guide books.
41) Download maps and know which areas to avoid!
42) Bring a camera, but don’t hog the best photo spots for too long.
43) Make sure your batteries are charged.
44) Invest in a battery pack to charge your phone on the road.
45) Write down memories and thoughts in your travel diary every night.
46) Send post cards instead of buying (plastic) souvenirs.
47) Roll your clothes to save space.
48) Plan outfits and pack like a minimalist.
49) Pack with a strategy and think about which items you’ll need when.
50) Dress with respect for the local culture.
51) Bring at least one dressy outfit – something you can go to a (semi-)fancy restaurant with and not feel out of place. Don’t forget a purse or handbag!
52) Travel with hand luggage only! It saves money at the airline desk and trouble when exploring a city.
53) Use solid shampoo, soap, deodorant, perfume, tooth paste and body lotion to save on liquids. Lush has great options for all of these!
54) Try to bring a piece of make-up that will give you an instant-boost of sophistication – for me that’s lipstick & nail polish.
55) Fill some detergent in a little bottle, so you can always wash your clothes on the go.
56) Always have a scarf or sarong handy – use it as a pillow, to cover up, as sun protection, to wrap your camera, as beach bag, as towel etc.
57) If you’re travelling long-term and stay in camps/AirBnB/hostels/anything with a kitchen – bring a bag of condiments, if you’re not travelling by plane maybe even oil. It will make your life a lot easier (and tastier).
58) Face wipes are your versatile best friend!
59) Adapt your luggage to your destination – (don’t take a suitcase if you are going on an active mountain holiday; carefully choose the suitcase if you’re staying in luxury hotels etc.)
60) Invest in versatile pieces of luggage that work for a multitude of trips.
61) Bring a small sewing kit to stitch up holes and buttons.
62) Don’t travel without a reusable shopping bag!
63) Wrap your gadgets in secure and stylish sleeves. Only a safe laptop is a good laptop.
64) Always pack one set of fresh underwear and your most necessary toiletries in your hand luggage.
65) Pack something to occupy yourself with on a quiet evening – a book, card games or even films.
66) Slow down if you feel overwhelmed.
67) Know (or learn to know) your limits.
68) Learn some yoga breathing techniques to get through rough patches of stress.
69) Let it happen, when you’re sad or lonely. It will pass.
70) Step outside your own comfort zone.
71) Be adventurous when ordering local food.
72) However, remain cautious with street food.
73) Ask for local recipes and write them down – maybe even join a cooking class.
74) Instead of souvenirs, buy a bottle of local booze or a particular cooking ingredient, so you can recreate the taste of your holiday at home.
75) Do it like the locals to and pick up some local habits (like ordering espresso in Italy or spending hours in a coffee house in Vienna).
76) Assemble a neat first aid kit & travel pharmacy.
77) Partake in book exchanges at hostels – leave one, take one.
78) Don’t have sex in a shared dorm!
79) Always share your sweeties.
80) Don’t flood the bathroom floor, if you stay at a hostel. And do the dishes!
81) Book accommodation close to public transport and a supermarket.
82) If you stay at a hotel, reuse your towels.
83) Remember to ask for the WiFi password right when you check in. (Not after getting to your room and into your jammies; especially if there is no phone.)
84) Reduce your waste as much as possible. Don’t litter, recycle and clean up your own mess!
85) Keep your family or friends updated about your whereabouts.
86) Don’t be afraid to disconnect for a few days.
87) Post about your exact location on social media with a few days delay.
88) Trust yourself! Also trust others.
89) On a road trip drive with confidence, but on the defensive side.
90) Know what to do in an emergency or when you have an accident.
91) But first, get travel insurance!
92) Keep an eye on your spendings to remain within your budget.
93) Let your bank know that you’re abroad, so they won’t block your cards.
94) Research whether you will need loads of cash, or whether you can use your card anywhere.
95) Tip appropriately, even if the amounts sound extortionate to you.
96) Always have a little bit of cash on you.
97) An activity is quite expensive? Think about whether you’d regret not doing it in 20 years – if your answer is yes, make it happen.
98) Cheaper rarely means better (or as good as).
99) Respect people with other ways to travel.
100) At least once travel with someone who has a completely different travel style.
101) Have fun! Do things you enjoy and keep a smile on your face.