Travel tips

Don’t put anything in your back pockets

You’re basically asking to be pickpocketed.

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights

I book all of my flights through Skyscanner, because it consistently finds cheapest deals. The key here is to keep things flexible: I look at flights to an entire country (or search for “everywhere” if I’m not sure where to head next) and look at prices over a whole month. I don’t collect points and miles, but I still rarely spend more than $500 on a long-haul flight.

Pack a Vapur water bottle

Vapur water bottles collapse down so they take up barely any room in your bag, making them perfect for travel.

Make the most of your layovers

I love getting to explore a new place during a layover, and will almost always extend my travel day so that I can spend three or four days in a new city. Some of my layover highlights from the past five years include 48 hours exploring the Golden Circle in Iceland, spending a few days getting lost in Muscat, and when I spent 24 hours in Abu Dhabi just so I could take photos of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

Try turning up without having anything booked

This is the best way to build your travel confidence and is especially easy in Southeast Asia. There are many benefits to it, too: you’ll get to discover cool places that aren’t listed online or in the guidebooks, you’ll be able to look at the rooms before you commit to staying, you can negotiate on price, and you’re not tied to a specific schedule where you need to be somewhere because you’ve booked your accommodation already.

Travel slow to save money

The slower you travel, the more money you’ll save. You can negotiate long-term stays at your accommodation to save money, you won’t have any transportation costs, and if you have a kitchen, you can buy food from the supermarket and cook.

Be polite and smile often

You’ll be more approachable, you’ll find it easier to make travel friends, and the locals will warm to you. Being rude and looking grumpy will bring nothing good your way.

Say yes to random invitations

I’ve never regretted saying yes to an unexpected invitation, because it’s always led to something fun happening! Make the most of your travel experience by saying yes to more things than you would at home — you’ll discover new things about yourself, meet new people, and build wonderful memories!

Don’t forget about your friends back home

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your travels and forget about the friends you have back home. It happened to me and took a lot of work to repair my friendships. Let people know you’re thinking of them: arrange Skype dates, send postcards, chat on Facebook, and buy them gifts from the places you visit.

Visit the local markets

Local markets are my favourite way to get to know a place better. I love checking out the strange foods, seeing how the locals shop, and discovering what’s popular in a particular country. Night markets in Asia are especially fun!