Disclaimer: The tips here are my personal recommendations. It’s a short list that I swear by. The information here has helped make my travel easier. I’m not partnered with anybody I’ve listed, but I’ve included some referral links of my own. They pay peanuts.
In a Nutshell: If you travel, you need a VPN. Full stop.
If there’s one thing to take from this page, it’s that you need a VPN. A VPN allows you to bypass governmental or local (hotel) censors and restrictions and provides a secure gateway to the internet.
- It’s not just for China or Iran with well-documented governmental internet censorship. Your hotel may also restrict access. A VPN will circumvent it.
- Friends and family are relying on your social media updates for proof of life. You need a VPN.
- Download it BEFORE you leave home. Most networks with restrictions make it difficult to attain a VPN.
- Public networks SHOULD NOT be trusted. Eavesdropping is real. A good VPN service ensures your data is encrypted, always.
- Some websites set prices or restrictions based on your location. A VPN allows you to change your location.
- Get a VPN subscription you can share across your laptop and mobile devices. Always use it.
In a Nutshell: There is no silver bullet to cheap flights.
- Research saves money. Always use flight aggregation websites to discover your desired flight
- Book this flight directly with the airline
- Inconveniently timed departures or arrivals are usually cheaper
- Leave departure dates flexible by a week to avoid peak periods
- Research flight carriers and transit hubs that facilitate your destination
- Why? Separate one-way flights may be VASTLY cheaper. I do this regularly.
- If possible, carry-on makes life easier; saving time and crowds.
- Fly budget airlines. Be wary of drip feed pricing.
- Morally questionable, research Hidden City Ticketing. I don’t condone it.
- You won’t beat airline pricing schemes, by waiting or otherwise. If you are happy with the flight and the price; book it.
In a Nutshell: Cheaper accommodation can do the job!
- First rule: Before you book a hotel, always check Trip Advisor!
- Money saved from accommodation is spent on having fun. Don’t blow your budget on a luxury room you barely use.
- Decided on a hotel and found a price online? Call the hotel. They may do better, or a free upgrade may be available.
- Prices are correlated to dates, or day of the week. If you are travelling for an event for example, book accommodation early.
- When booking online, ask nicely for complimentaries or luxuries such as better views in the ‘additional notes’.
- Consider location; and transport options. Instead of staying center to tourist meccas, stay in a cheaper area. Think Jersey City instead of Manhatten, New York, you can save big dollars.
- ‘Boutique’ accommodation is sometimes not widely known by taxi drivers, making late arrivals frustrating.
- Most accommodation will hold your luggage for free before/after check in/out.
- Be nice to reception. Locals give great advice!
- Overnight buses or trains can double as accommodation savings.
In a Nutshell: Seek and discover the alternative modes of transport.
- Research transit options before your arrival. Airport shuttle buses or monorails may be cheap alternatives to a taxi.
- Always use the Airport official taxi rank. This doubles when travelling alone. That lovely Thai man may want more than just to give you a lift, even if not – his ‘taxi’ is illegal.
- Ask your accommodation if they offer free airport transfers.
- If it isn’t obvious, ask a local the best way to get around.
- Always take a hotel card with you. Especially if drinking.
- Local transport is always cheaper. But there is also always a trade-off. It could be slower, unreliable, frustrating, uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Always negotiate prices to unofficial transport (eg. Tuk Tuks) before getting in.
- An unpopular opinion, but negotiating with official taxi’s labels you a tourist. Rigged meters are primarily a myth.
- Hiring drivers (Mainly Asia) for an entire day is a great option for a tight schedule.
- Share transport costs with fellow tourists visiting the same places, don’t be shy.
- Some attractions are very difficult to reach at a reasonable price. If times short; consider a coach tour so you don’t miss out.
- Research distances, know the approximate price.
- The road is a great vantage point to local life, don’t just sleep.
- Remember, you’re travelling – not transiting. Embrace delays and detours – plan accordingly, and bottle the story.
In a Nutshell: Photos are your best souvenirs.
A suitable camera is a small price to pay for the memories you capture during travelling. I didn’t even own a camera before I travelled – I now never adventure without it. Blog or not, it’s important, I promise that looking back on them will bring you joy.
- To take great photos, you absolutely don’t need to spend a fortune.
- If you can, it certainly helps! But in general, it’s not the size – it’s how you use it.
- For most travellers, buying a large bulky DSLR is a terrible decision. I know you’ve seen most tourists use them, but unless photography is the forefront to your travel – forget it.
- Determine what kind of traveller you are, and buy a suitable camera to match.
- Understand that photography is heavily influenced by how bright the day (or room) is, or if you, or the subject are currently in motion and of course the distance from the subject.
- Getting out of ‘auto’ mode is the single most important concept you should learn. Even just the basics of Shutter Priority, and Aperture Priority. They are quite simple, and make your cheap compact camera a versatile powerhouse!
- Getting out of auto allows you to adjust for these aforementioned conditions!
- Never forget a backup plan as you travel. My worst nightmares are made up of lost photographs.
In a Nutshell: Anyone can build a blog with WordPress.
- Anyone can create their own blog like this one, it just depends on your requirements!
- Hobby blog? Not tech savvy? WordPress.com (Hosted)
- Professional blog? Tech savvy? WordPress.org (Self-Hosted)
- Self-hosted is vastly superior and flexible, you can purchase or design your own theme and extend functionality through plugins. You have full control.
- Shared Hosting and Cloud Hosting are two great self-hosting options.
If you’re a newbie, you should begin with Shared Hosting. They will setup WordPress for you, and it’s very cheap. Most will even handle your domain name; email and offer 24/7 livechat for troubleshooting as you get stuck. Really useful, and you’ll learn a lot.
If you know the basics, move onto Cloud Hosting. It’s the future in hosting web applications such as WordPress. It offers flexible performance, providing more bandwidth and scalability to accommodate sudden popularity spikes or increased traffic. You aren’t sharing resources either!