You won’t be able to bring many items of clothing with you, so maximise the amount of outfits you can wear by checking everything goes with everything else.
Some people will want to take advantage of you, but the vast majority of people you meet when you travel are good, decent, and will want to help you. Don’t let bad experiences prevent you from trusting anyone again. As long as you have your wits about you, expect that tuk-tuk drivers or anyone who comes up to you with amazing English and wants to be your best friend for no reason at all is out to scam you, and be most wary of the people in the most touristy places, you’ll be all good.
You don’t want to offend anyone while you travel, so make sure you’re aware of any offensive gestures or behaviour before you arrive. As an example, in Thailand, women shouldn’t touch monks or hand them anything, you shouldn’t touch the local’s heads, say anything bad about the royal family, use your right hand for passing people things and paying, or point your feet at someone… Do your research!
Washing your clothes in the sink is time-consuming, a pain in the ass, and never very effective. Just pay to have your laundry done instead — it’s worth it.
If you’re looking at reviews on TripAdvisor and every five star review is from someone who has only ever left one review, they’re probably fake. Take TripAdvisor reviews with a grain of salt and look at the person who’s leaving the review before you trust them.
Dry bags are amazing for keeping your valuables safe on boat trips and for protecting any electronics you have in your daypack when it starts to rain. I even take mine to the beach when I’m travelling solo so that I can take my stuff in the ocean with me and not have to worry someone’s going to steal everything.
It’s still common to turn up to a dorm room and find you only have a couple of power sockets to share between eight laptop-toting backpackers. Bring a power strip to ensure you can charge what you need to, while allowing everyone else to charge their tech, too.
You don’t want to accidentally take someone else’s luggage or have someone run off with yours at the baggage reclaim. Stick some stickers on it, put some duct tap along one side, tie some ribbons to the handle — make sure it stands out from a sea of similar backpacks!
When I first set out, I had six months’ worth of anti-malarials that took up a ridiculous amount of space in their blister packs. I popped the pills out into a bottle and stuck my prescription onto the outside. It freed up so much room in my bag! Pro tip: stuff some cotton wool into the top so you don’t rattle while you walk.
If you need to check emails, get directions, or do anything online, you’ll find a McDonald’s or Starbucks in practically every city around the world. They’re almost guaranteed to have free usable internet.