November 16, 2017
Hey! I’m are not saying this could be you… But just in case, check it out:
1. CHECK YOUR PASSPORT – Valid at least 6 months and with blank pages for visa stamps.
Plus: Protect it against humidity
Your passport is literally your LIFE when you’re traveling abroad. The best thing you can do is to be sure that your passport is not going to expire in the next six months, also, if you’re going to different countries you will need space in your passports for the stamps (entrance and exit), be sure that you have at least 6 pages free.
Trick: Use a Ziploc bag to keep all your important belongings safe: Money, cards, passports.
2. BRING YOUR ELECTRONIC GADGETS – Universal converters, chargers, camera, lens, cables and extra cables.
Plus: Power Banks and an extension cord
All the countries have different voltage system and it’s necessary you be ready, you don’t want to blow up your phone by mistake. If you can, bring your own extension cord, this will help you a lot when you’re in hostel with a lot of people and not too many plugs, or when the plug is far from your bed (for example, top bunk)
Trick: If your cable is broken or you missed it, check with the front desk, usually they have spare cables, you can borrow one from them.
3. AVOID TO EXCHANGE ALL YOUR MONEY IN THE AIRPORT – Just exchange the minimum.
Plus: Talk with your bank to know which ones are the rates and fees per withdrawal, they tend to have deals with certain banks where the fee is really low.
The airport has one of the lowest exchange rates and sometimes they charge you an extra fee just for the “exchange” itself. Try to exchange your money in a bank (for security) or ask for recommendations in the front desk of your hostel, usually, they have a good exchange rate in USD if you are too lazy to look around.
Trick: Exchange your money during the weekdays, it will be higher the rate. You can download an app in your phone to convert USD or EUROS in PEN (by example: XE Currency for Android)
4. TALK WITH OTHER TRAVELERS AND ASK ANYTHING AT THE FRONT DESK – The front desk is there for a reason, use it.
Plus: Check information online and take notes!
Talk to the receptionists. They have good information about deals, events, activities, and prices. They can recommend you places to visit and give you tips on the area. Anything that you require they will solve it (or try to). Stop being shy and ask them. Talk to another’s travelers in the hostel, it will help you with your own doubts, nothing is better than ask people who already did the activities that you want to do.
Trick: Check for reviews online, make your own reviews objectively (detailed if you can).
5. BOOK YOUR PLACE IN ADVANCE – check online like Hostelworld or Booking
Plus: Book directly with the hostel (their website) probably will be cheaper.
You’re going to be traveling minimum 6 hours by bus or plain, YOUR BODY WILL WANT TO REST. Book in advance at least 1 week before to check the availability of the place that you choose, in this way you know that you will be received without any problem any time of the day. Being jumping around to one hostel to another with a bag pack or luggage will be worse for your body and also your humor.
Trick: If you’re arriving in the early morning, ask for an Early Check-in if is possible. In that way, you can arrive directly to rest in your bed.
6. DO YOUR HOMEWORK – Research
Plus: Join in a few communities in Facebook about backpacks, expats or frequent travelers, you will know more about where you’re going to, from people who are living there or already traveled there.
Is easy to say “I will go to the Machu Picchu by foot” and you are not used to walking or don’t know the conditions of the area. Create a list of activities that you can do and be flexible with it. If you have a specific time to travel, check the weather conditions and pack clothing that suits it, book activities and flight tickets in advance. Also, be aware of the schedules, local holidays or limitations about the site that you’re going to. Sometimes this can have these results: 1. The place you want to go is closed because is not the season or have different aperture and closing hours. 2. Lack of transportation or no transportation at all 3. Inflated prices.
Trick: Check the books other travelers left at hostels, often you can take them or drop off them there when you’re done. Also check online for
7. ALLERGIES OR SPECIAL CONDITIONS – Take the medicines that you know or are necessary for you, before you travel.
Plus: Have everything on a card, wristband or pinned in your phone, try to find the translation of it in the language of the country that you’re visiting.
If you have allergies to food or medications, always let the people know. In the restaurant, at your hostel, with the people you’re traveling with, always speak up. Also, check your life insurance before you leave your own country.
8. MAPS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND – Explore the area via Google Maps.
Plus: Download an offline map of the area on your phone.
If you need a physical map ask at the front desk of your hostel for it. In this new era of technology, using your phone as a guide is more efficient.
Trick: Join Free Walking Tours, they are natives from that area and you can ask them anything that you need. Just remember to tip.
9. BE SAFE, YOU AND YOUR STUFF – If you’re not secure about something DON’T DO IT.
Plus: Be in groups. If you think something stupid to do, probably another person will stop you before you do.
Read the signs, don’t try anything risky without protection, if you’re going out, just take cash that you will need for that moment and only carry the copy of your passport (a photo in your phone works too). Hostels have safe box or lockers where you can keep all your valuables. Be aware of your stuff when you’re going to restaurants, taking taxis, even going to the bathroom, pickpockets exist any all the cities, you never know who.
Trick: Use the inside part of your phone case to attach bills or the copy of your document. Carry all your valuables in your front pockets. If you’re using a purse or small bag where is a lot of traffic of people, use it in the front.
10. HAVE FUN – Stop with the cranky face while you’re exploring other cities.
Plus: Don’t compare the country that you’re in with your own country. Each culture is different and you will have to adapt to it and follow the rules.
From personal opinion: Some people tend to be scared of their trip and never leave the hostel (only with booked tours), some other people are always mad with the whole world and don’t matter what they are doing, never are polite or friendly. And some other people tend to feel more than the others just because is a tourist. Please, open your minds and step out of your comfort zone. Experiences good or bad, still are experiences, and once you have one, you will not forget it.
Tricks: Add anyone that you meet on Facebook and Instagram. Is amazing to check once in a while where are they now. You never know, but is a chance that you meet them again in future.