10 Things NOT to Skip So You Travel Smarter

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Most often than not, when doing research for travel destinations and googling for travel inspirations, travellers are bombarded with listicles of things to do, where to stay and loads of itinerary ideas. However informative a listicle travel article is, most travellers are hungry for smart travel hacks that they can practice anywhere in the world.

To be honest, I roll my eyes if I am emailed or privately messaged by budget backpacker if she can skip buying a travel insurance for a certain destination or if she can use this or that credit card or booking too far in advance for a cheap flight.

I am like, hello!, we don’t book flights way in advance anymore, or there are better travel credit cards now that offers money-saving incentives and also doubles as a debit card so you can check if you go overboard with your expenses.

I have written some articles on mistakes that a traveller usually does when in a certain destination, but this time, this post about smart travel hacks that anyone can use or share. Something that all travellers need to know and to practice!

Don’t skip buying travel insurance

Never ever leave your house without buying one! Travel insurance is very important and I have written these many times here on my blog.

Again, your personal health insurance does not cover your travels abroad. Travel insurance are actually cost-effective if you calculate the cost on a daily basis. For one of my trips in Europe, I came down to a cost of spending only $8.00 a day. $8 for a peace of mind. $8 that covers me in any kind of emergency. $8 that covers my travel luggage and gears too!

If you need help on understanding how a travel insurance works and what you need to look for in buying one, check out my link here.

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Don’t skip the local tourism office

Although you may have diligently researched your destination, the local tourism office offers more insider tips and guide so you can make an informed decision about your itinerary changes. Local tourism offices at times offer free walking tours for half a day promoting new local tourist spots. This is a good chance to get to know your destination too. And for free!

The local tourism office can also inform you if there are events or festivities going on that you might be interested. This is a good thing so you don’t missed out on colorful festivals or new openings in your area.

Don’t skip the eco-tourism spots

Skip the main stream and instead head out to the tourist spots that support the local industry. Don’t skip hiring the local tour guide just because you feel you are fit to go spelunking or snorkeling out in the open sea. This is also for your safety and security. Remember the golden rule: Never Trek Alone (NTA)

Hiring local tour guides gives you a perfect opportunity to give to the community. Remember that these locals are dependent on the local tourism industry and your precious dollars can go a looooong way for them and their families.

Don’t skip the water bottle

Water bottle expenses do add up along the way. Say a water bottle cost only $1.00 where you are right now. If you add up all the $1 that you shell out and it totals $10.00 for the duration of your trip, that could have been spent on a train commute or added to your souvenir shopping budget.

It also important to keep in mind that bringing your own water bottle also help saves the environment.

Don’t skip packing lightly

I already lost count of how many times I’ve shared this one important tip, always, always pack light! Not only packing light lets you move freely when commuting and when moving from one destination to another, it also saves you a lot on extra baggage charges. You can save a lot when booking your flights if you exclude baggage fees.

Practice packing light, I’m sharing this video link to teach you how.

Must Read: Get Cheaper Flights: 7 Methods That Really Work!

Don’t skip the alternative accommodations

Forget about hotels and try out the local alternative accommodations. Check out local community homestays, Couchsurfing, AirBnb and local listings at the local tourism office. These options can save you a lot of money plus they offer authentic travel experiences.

Where else can you get in-depth travel guides complete with stories and anecdotes than from a local? This is what alternative accommodations can give you that you cannot get out of a hotel. Most hotel staff’s services are executed by the book and by the number.

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Don’t skip eating local

Nepal’s Dhal bat and momo, Thailand’s Pad Thai, Helsinki’s coffee culture, Singapore’s Lau Pa Sat culture, any idea what I’m talking about? These are some of the authentic food experiences that I can share with you when I travelled to these amazing destinations.

I skipped the international brands and fast food chains. Instead, I took to the local market, to the streets and ordered the local best sellers. Food tripping should be a part of your itinerary. Where else, can you smell and taste the colorful history and traditions of the destination than in a bowl of hot noodles infused with flavors of Asia on a local dining table.

Don’t skip the local public commute

Commuting your way around is not only cheap, it is also the best way to embrace the city’s characteristic. It is fun to decode bus stop maps and find your way around like local. It is also fun to make new friends on the metro train, you can learn more about the city this way.

Forget the taxis. Taxis are no fun and really an expensive way to go around. One way taxi ride can be a good thing is when you’re sharing the ride with other travellers.

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But you can skip the airport money changer

Totally skip the airport money changer. They have insanely high exorbitant rates! On cases when you don’t have the local currency on you yet, you can exchange for a small amount. Just enough to buy a ticket to get you to the city center.

My strategy in changing money is to exchange only for a small amount. I do some rough calculations in my head of how much will I need for the next 2 or 3 days and change only for what I will need within those days. Why I do this is that because I keep thinking that the rate may go higher in the few days, giving me a better deal the next time I buy the local currency.

And skip travel bank cards with high fees

Do your best to research and compare travel bank cards in your country. Subscribe to the company’s email alerts so you get first hand info on promotions.

For Filipinos still searching for that best travel bank card in The Philippines, here is a link I read. I personally own the Unionbank travel bank card. It is an auto debit card and really convenient to use for online transactions.

Knowing what to skip will help you stop wasting money and experience a more rewarding journey. Skip the popular travel trends and get off the beaten path. You can be a smart savvy traveller if you follow some of the tips here.

life begins at the end of your comfort zone. - Neale Donald Walsch Click To Tweet

Must Read: Why You Should Ditch That Travel Guidebook and Just Go

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Carolyn - last month Reply

I never skip eating local, but I do go to international chains too.. like McDonalds because each country’s McDonalds carries different items. For example, France carries pomme frites sauce and Hawaii has noodles. Happy Travels girl!

    Carla Abanes - last month Reply

    And our local McDonalds have spaghetti and chicken rice! Hope you can try out McDonalds Philippines too. That is a cool bucketlist item too. Thanks for dropping by!

Lena - last month Reply

I really like the style of this blog post.
I totally agree with you about insurance and also eating locally and staying with Couchsurfing and Airbnb.
The water bottle is totally important to me, but there are many countries where you can’t drink tap water, and you have to buy water anyway. Of course, it makes more sense to buy in larger quantity thank many 500ml bottles.

    Carla Abanes - last month Reply

    Thank you. Sometimes tap water isn’t safe, like when I visited Nepal. So I had to buy water in liters for my whole stay. I wasn’t able to use my water bottle at all. Thanks for dropping by!

Danik - last month Reply

Defo skip the airport currency exchange counters. I never known a place to rip off people so badly. They should be shot!

Katherine - last month Reply

Great list. I think the number one thing I need to do from your list is to buy a water bottle I can travel with. Although I try and reuse the bottles as much as possible so I am not adding more plastic in the bins. I totally agree with travel insurance, it saved me a fortune when I was hospitalised in Spain. You just never know what might happen to you whilst travelling.

Megan Jerrard - last month Reply

This is an excellent list – I think people underestimate the importance of each of these points, especially on the water bottle – that cost really adds up if you’re buying bottled water over and over again, and it really helps that you’re not contributing to plastic waste too – and on travel insurance – SO many people travel without it and it blows my mind – I’ve heard so many horror stories – sure it’s something you never want to understand the value of, but if you have to, you don’t want to regret having blown off it’s importance. Great list!

Travelling Dany - last month Reply

Absolutely useful tips! We also never miss a travel insurance. I know some people might think that it’s useless, but I’d never risk it, as you said, it’s for your own peace of mind: if anything happens, you know you’re on the clear!

Vanessa - last month Reply

I am the worst for skipping the local tourism office but every time I go in I’m glad that I did. They always have the best maps and there’s always brochures with coupons attached!

Suruchi - last month Reply

This is a wonderful post with great useful tips. We love using local commuting options and eating local cuisine. After reading your post only we realized that we had never visited and checked the options with the local tourist office. Will try doing that during my next trips.

Tami - last month Reply

All very good tips. And you just reminded me that I need to check with my credit cards and see what fees they will charge when I go out of the country in a few weeks!

Ron Meker - last month Reply

Great tips!
I never thought about getting local tours with tour guides. always thought they will try to scam me for some reason. I had a great experience with them in Austria, Moscow and Berlin.

Sandy N Vyjay - last month Reply

These are wonderful tips of what not to skip.Our special focus is always on not skipping water, so important to stay hydrated. The other thing is local food. It is so important and intrinsic to travel to taste the local flavours and aromas. Here we always head to where the locals are eating for a real and authentic experience.

Archana Singh - last month Reply

These are such useful tips to not skip while traveling. Travel Insurance is a must. I don’t step out without it. And eating local food and using the public transport is the best way to connect with the fabric of a place.

Natasha Haley - last month Reply

There is a lot of great travel advice in here actually. We never travel minus insurance, you never know. We love travelling and eating local but never thought to try the tourism office. We will make use of that idea on our next trip!

Sreekar - last month Reply

These simple tips are so useful yet we overlook them so many times! Timely reminder for me before I head out in a few days!

Christina Pfeiffer - last month Reply

A solid list of advice! I particularly agree with not skimping on travel insurance. You just never know when disaster might strike and if it does, it can be extremely expensive if you don’t have insurance. If you can’t afford insurance you can’t afford to travel!

J Harvey - last month Reply

All your tips are spot on! I’ve learned from experience that these are definitely accurate. The packing tip is vital! Through trial and error, I’ve realized that I don’t really need to pack very much and I will make it. We can wash clothes, of course! And the tourism office is always a must!

Guy Crotty - last month Reply

Solid list for the first time traveller. Eating locally is an absolute must for us. In fact I think we actually get a bit bummed out if we end up somewhere that doesn’t have a strong and vibrant food culture. Food isn’t just fuel people! The other tip I love is catching public transport. Yes it can be a hassle, at times cramped and uncomfortable but it’s usually cheap and you get an authentic locals experience. I always feel like I’ve kind figured a place out if I can master the local transport. Thanks for sharing!

Karla - last month Reply

I am proud to say that I don’t skip most of your reminders here except the packing LIGHTLY! I have to learn how to do this better.

Ryan - last month Reply

Nice short list of simple but useful travel tips! I agree that travel insurance is very important. I carry a lot of expensive gear while traveling so I wouldn’t go anywhere without signing up for one. Also, thanks for the Travel Bank Card tip. It’s going to come in handy next time I come back home to Manila 🙂

Jen Joslin - last month Reply

This is such useful advice for novice and experienced travelers alike! I agree that travel insurance is a must. It’s just not worth the risk of not having it when you need it! Getting a good bank card will also save you hundreds of dollars in ATM fees. I’m from the US and use a Charles Schwab bank card when I travel, which allows me to withdraw money from any ATM in the world and returns all transaction fees at the end of the month. We also carry Nalgene water bottles to try and reduce our plastic waste and save money.

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