What travel tips can I offer? What information do I wish I had before I traveled?
What do I wish I knew before I left on my trip?
1. Work in hostels for a free room as much as possible.
I didn’t realize many people come and work for just a couple of weeks then leave. I would have done this more, and saved more money, but really – I was only going to Medellin and Quito for a week each. Not 6 weeks in Quito, and over 6 months in Medellin. (I did work at a hostel when I returned to Medellin in December, and immediately wished I had done that my whole trip)
2. Research the continent you actually end up going to.
I did 5 1/2 months of research for a trip to SE Asia, then 3 weeks before I left, found $200 tickets to Caracas and threw all my plans out the window. So see, I am great at researching and planning. I am also great at throwing all that research and planning out the window on a whim. (It makes life much more interesting that way).
Actually, that’s pretty much all I wished I knew ahead of time.
There’s other things I did know, but didn’t follow, like:
BUYING A ROUND-TRIP TICKET IS USUALLY CHEAPER THAN A ONE WAY
I definitely didn’t abide by this, but at the same time, I had no idea when I was going to do what. That, and I planned on leaving and not returning until I ran out of money.
BUSES ARE USUALLY CHEAPER THAN PLANES.
…but after that 50 hour bus ride from hell, I have been pretty much avoiding long-distance buses at all costs.
I don’t care what everyone says about jeans being impractical when traveling. Unless you are specifically back country hiking or jungle trekking, jeans are great. They fit into any culture, they are comfortable, and it will likely be a pain in the ass to find more on the road. Especially if you are like me and HATE SKINNY JEANS!
And a few things I did remember to do, like:
BRING SAFETY PINS.
I wrote about this on Traveldudes.org. But safety pins can keep your money safe. they can also fix tears, ripped clothes, keep zippers shut, remove splinters and other weird plant spiky things you got in your leg in Manta, Ecuador. They are just useful.
BRING A SEWING KIT.
I’m the daughter of a seamstress. I don’t go anywhere without a spool of carpet thread and a hand needle. (I picked brown carpet thread because most of my clothes are dark or brownish, and because carpet thread is heavier and stronger than regular thread). Not only have I used them multiple times to fix my clothes, I have also made friends fixing other people’s clothes. And it saves you money not having to buy new stuff.
BRING A KNIFE.
I always have knives on me. I always accidentally try to bring them through airport security. Somehow I haven’t gotten arrested yet. But small pocket knives are great. You will end up using them a lot more than you realize. And they can cut that thread.
The last important tip is something you should do when you arrive in a new country on your trip.
If you are from a country, or need medicines that are unlikely to be abroad – by all means, get them before you leave. But…
Many times it is cheaper and easier to get some of the basic medicines abroad.
If you are in a country where you don’t need a prescription for things like antibiotics, low-dose pain killers, etc..BUY IT THERE. Each country is different.
Being from the USA and having no health insurance, I purposely did not stock up on these basics. I waited and bought what I needed in Ecuador and Colombia.
Because I constantly am getting bronchitis or hurting myself (I’m not very girly)… and these things were much cheaper than paying to go to a doctor and buying them in the USA. Anything I don’t need, I can bring back to the USA with me, and now have them cheaper than I would pay at home.
So these are some of my tips for people going out to travel. If you have some of your own tips, I’d love to hear them. You can never have enough information.