Travelling is not about just booking flights and sorting accommodation, the biggest part is still to be done yet. Exploring and enjoying a city! To make every trip memorable you want to travel light, make friends and explore the place like a local and with all this technology around and the good old social skills of the past you can turn every trip into the trip of life time.
Airbnb Experiences & Hosts
Airbnb has introduced the experiences which you can enjoy when travelling or even within your own city. Now these are far from cheap at the moment but if you are travelling on your own it is a fun way to meet locals and do things.
If that is not up your alley, your Airbnb host is a big asset. They can guide you about the cheap stuff around, what to do, which apps touse and their favourite restaurants where you can meet locals. Isn’t that much better than going around finding stuff on TripAdvisor?
My absolute favourite! I love reading blogs before travelling to capture the essence of what a place is like. They give you a personal account in varied circumstances and that’s what makes them relatable. You will get good tips and suggestions that you just won’t be able to find in guide books.
I love exploring cities on foot and what better way to do that than Free Walking Tours. Almost every big city in the world has Free Walking Tours in English and you can google them. You join the group at a particular time at a particular place and at the end of tour you decide how much you want to pay as tip to the guide, handy, convenient and based entirely on YOUR budget!
Tip: Some tour groups want you to book tours in advance, make sure you drop them an email before you get there to avoid disappointment.
Translator apps are far from perfect but they have saved my life on so many occasions that I’ll forgive the bad translations that cracked the locals up and made me look like a buffoon. I even had a fight with hotel staff in Canary Islands on Good Translate and won. (It was about clean towels..)
The best app is Google Translate but it doesn’t work very well with Far Easten Languages like Korean or Japanese. Use WayGo for that.
I find Google maps to be more detailed than any other map provider and you can preplan your trips and download the maps for offline version when you don’t have internet or don’t have reception. You can make the plan beforehand and send it to your mobile and use it when on the location.
Sweat Coin and Charity Miles
How would it sound if I tell you that you can get a free gym shirt and also donate a few pounds to charity just by walking around when travelling? Thanks to technology you can now convert your steps into something tangible for you and also for Charity.
Download Sweat Coin app, it counts your steps and converts them into Sweat Coins which you can use to purchase stuff from their store which has quite a few quirky stuff. I absolutely love this app. I purchased a box of Cricket protein bars with my trip to Romania. 😉
You can use the same steps to donate to charity by downloading Charity Miles app. All your steps will accumulate and you can donate them to the charity of your choice.
Ever thought you walking around could be so rewarding?
Need some motivation to hit the gym when on Holiday? Download Pact App. Make a Pact for the week, if you hit it you get cash and if you don’t, you pay up. That definitely reduces some of the pain I feel in the gym on a holiday..
Probably the most useful thing I ever bought was a battery pack that charges my phone when I am not suing it and with the number of picture that I take, my phone is usually gone in 4 to 5 hours. I’d recommend Anker or Charmast Powerbanks which are cheap and good and last long enough.
I have spent some late nights looking for travel adapters when I arrived in a city with a dead battery and from then onwards, I keep this in my travel bag. Travel adapters are absolutely essential and I’d recommend this Kinden one. I love how small and yet functional it is and remember it is a onetime investment.
You need a tote or a draw string bag especially in summer. I love these simple bags or you have the option to buy them from each city with their symbol on it. You can throw everything in including beach towels, flip flops, sunscreen and water, battery pack and some snacks and you’re good to go…
I normally buy them from Amazon (links below) or from the city and keep them as souvenirs later.
Never underestimate the importance of a good but compact umbrella. It saves you both from rain and sun and you will need it more often than you can think especially in Europe.
Courtesy, Smile and Manners
No matter where you go and who you meet, the tools that make your travelling pleasant are a smile, an open mind and courtesy. Arriving in a city or country and considering its people beneath you, looters, robbers and opportunists will only make your experience negative.
I always learn how to exchange greeting, excuse myself, say Sorry and Thank You and trust me I have never been treated with hostility in general circumstances.