Travel Tips

30 Things I wish I knew before travelling

Every time I travel I learn something new. I’ve included some of my hard won travel tips for you below. Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section


  1. Always buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip – even if your travel insurance starts from the day you depart for your trip, your flights etc. are covered from the time you purchase your insurance. Unexpected things happen, people get sick, there’s nothing worse than losing your flights or holiday as well!
  2. Leggings are the solution to climate control. On the plane or when travelling from day to night, warm to cool, being able to slip on a pair of tights under your skirt or pants is the easy way to stay warm.
  3. Take a rain poncho – yes I know they look stupid but so do the garbage bag substitutes. They are so compact and cheap, really its a no brainer.
  4. Don’t pack anything you couldn’t bear to lose.
  5. Don’t overschedule your trip, leave some down time just to be and enjoy, otherwise you need a holiday to recover form your holiday. Set a maximum of travel time you are prepared to travel each day i.e. 4 hours and stick to it!
  6. Budget for your trip and then add 10% for incidentals. Also try and get a grip on the local currency and exchange rate. It can be difficult and on my retreats I spend a lot of time at the markets with people saying “that’s two red ones and a green one” 😉
  7. Categorise your friends according to travel compatibility. If you want to attend a retreat in Phuket and your friend wants to attend a lady boy bar you may be at cross purposes. Have party travel friends, peaceful travel friends who like to lay by the pool, adventure travel friends who will trek to the top of the volcano, foodie travel friends etc. If all this fails travel by yourself, or join us on one of our inspirational journeys!!
  8. Stay away from meat dishes in places that look like they might not have refrigeration, or that transportation in that country may not have ice or refrigeration i.e. don’t order fish if you are 4 hours from the coast and no one has any ice.
  9. In countries where it is required to drink only bottled water also brush your teeth with only bottled water. If you are attending a ceremony at a local temple and the drinking of water is involved do like me and just pretend. Yes the front of your shirt gets very wet but its better than the alternative. Also don’t drink ice in these countries unless you know they have used bottled water. I’m paranoid so I also use bottled water in the kettle.
  10. If you are a teaaholic like me, take a portable immersion hot water element. you just pop it in the cup. Great for cheaper accommodation where there may not be a kettle in the room, or if you want to make a cup of tea quietly without waking your roommate.
  11. Buy a universal travel adapter, a must have!!
  12. Start packing 2 weeks before you travel. I have a packing chair in my room and I slowly add things as I think of them, camera, torch, batteries, pashminas, tights and then cull a couple of days before.
  13. Weigh your bag on your bathroom scale before going to the airport and if you are over purchase extra luggage online before you get to the airport. If you are fine to carry it, put heavier items in your carry on, as long as it fits the required dimensions they don’t usually weigh it.
  14. Download maps to your phone before you go. Even without Wi-Fi you will still be able to use these maps once downloaded.
  15. Buy a document wallet for all of your travel documents. Print copies of your passport etc. and place in a separate place in your luggage.
  16. If you haven’t ridden a bike for 10 years don’t decide to ride down a mountain. Same goes with other physical activities. If you know this is an option start practicing before your trip or tell your friends you will meet them at the coffee shop at the bottom.
  17. Keep up a regular meditation and yoga routine. Yoga gripping sock and gloves are ideal for travel, save carrying your mat around.
  18. Practice using your phone or camera before you holiday. Make sure you know how to use the video and how to download or store your images so you don’t use up all your space.
  19. Notify your bank of where you are travelling to this is so they don’t suspend your account when they notice ATM withdrawals in Guatemala. Also check if you need to raise your limit, if you are going to be paying a large accommodation bill it could exceed your daily limit.
  20. Take earplugs, always, always, always, nuf said! And noise cancelling headphones for the plane are also a good option. You might also like to take an eye mask, great for planes and jetlag.
  21. Take a sarong/scarf this can be used for just about everything, a skirt, a scarf for visiting temples, ties up like a bag to carry things in, the ultimate multi purpose accessory.
  22. Take a torch that you can read with, some places never give you enough light at night to read by, or better still take a kindle.
  23. Put sunscreen on every morning after you shower, arms and feet included if wearing sandals.
  24. Put all of your liquid products in a sealable bag, you know why 🙂
  25. Pack one fabulous dress up outfit, and a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
  26. If travelling to countries where you might need to carry toilet paper, a few months before your trip when you notice the loo paper getting low just save that roll and bring a few rolls with you with just a bit of paper on them, can be a godsend in India.
  27. Take a mini first aid kit that has scissors, a good  natural insect repellent, sewing kit, and laundry soap for washing your nickers.
  28. Practices compassion. Being in a different culture can be frustrating, the language barrier, the fluidity of time in some countries, delayed flights etc. it can be stressful, remember to breathe and remind yourself of how lucky you are to be taking this adventure and that sometimes frustration is a part of travel.
  29. Create memories and take risks, you may never get to this place again so if you think something is safe to do but just a bit outside of your comfort zone, dive in, even if it goes pear shaped you’ll have a great story to tell.
  30. Give back everywhere you go, a smile, a gesture, a tip, your small contribution can make a big difference to the world.

    Tammie Day is the founder of Vibrant Women and a mad travel enthusiast.


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  1. Along with earplugs, an eye mask as well. Invaluable when you want to sleep when the lights are on.

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