8 Travel Tips To Help You Get More Enjoyment From Your Trip
Stop Over Packing
Many travel with too many items. It's great to be prepared (see our travel checklist) but too many items is not only a literal pain in the neck to carry, it's more to keep track of when you're out.
Leave Expectations at Home
We all want a memorable trip, but you need to travel with realistic expectations that nothing will ever go perfectly. Keep an open mind and try to accept things as they come – you could be pleasantly surprised.
Don't Try to Do Everything
If you're new to an area, try to keep your daily schedule light. Missing appointments will leave you feeling like you're missing out and will lead you to rush from activity to activity instead of enjoying yourself as you go.
Stop Being Flashy
If you stand out like a tourist and flash how different you are, you will attract attention. Use common sense and don't advertise your valuables. In fact, if you don't need them, don't wear them.
Be Reasonably Adventurous
Everyone wants a unique travel experience, but that doesn't mean you should take risks for the sake of. If locals seem to be avoiding a restaurant or activity, there's probably a reason.
Don't Trust Every Local
We're not talking about thefts or scams. Chances are you need to look up directions in your hometown, so don't blindly trust the first direction or bit of advice you get. Seek a consensus from a few locals first.
Put Down the Guidebook
Particularly in rapidly developing countries, guidebooks can be outdated as soon as they're printed. Be bold enough to enjoy the city as you want to. Not how someone else says you should.
For an extra few dollars you can add in an extra layer of security for in case something happens on your trip (lost baggage, delay or cancelation, medical emergency, etc.).
7 Common Scams to Avoid
1. Fake police
Commonly someone posing as the police (and real police in some countries) will suddenly demand to see your passport, find a problem and immediately offer to solve your troubles if you pay a fine. Ask to go with them to the station and usually they'll back down.
2. Let's visit my friend's shop
If you've been dropped of anywhere by an enthusiastic tuk tuk or rickshaw driver, beware. Why does the shop need to pay local transport to lure people to the store? Chances are any deals that are too good to be true, are scams.
3. Airport taxis
Unfortunately it can be hard to watch out for taxi scams until it's too late when the driver suddenly stops on the side of the road and demands extra money or he'll kick you out of the cab. Generally try to ensure look out for official taxi stands where you can and get a destination receipt before taking off. If you can't pay in advance, agree on a fee before starting out and don't pay until you arrive.
4. 'This is closed'
When asking about everything from sites to hotels to restaurants, a common scam is for a local taxi driver, street vendor or other to tell you that your chosen destination is closed. But then they'll offer you an alternative that's better. If it's not featured in a guide by this point, chances are it's worth passing on.
5. Motorbike scam
Living out your dream of riding a scooter for a day around the countryside quickly turns into a nightmare when the bike you're riding breaks down suddenly. The owner of the bike is quick to escort you and your damaged bike to their friend's repair shop, where the mechanic makes a grossly overinflated estimate of the damage costs. The owner of the motorbike insists you cover the costs, with threats of violence or police action if you refuse. Take photos of the bike before you leave and always seek second opinions on repairs.
6. Stolen Motorbike
You hire a motorbike to ride around the city. You go out riding, park the scooter and explore an area. Someone working for the rental company arrives and 'steals' your scooter, thus later requesting you pay a large sum of money to replace the 'stolen' scooter. As you handed them your passport and you signed a contract, you're obligated to pay for it. Carry your own lock and key and an old passport to avoid getting sucked into this scam.
7. Let me clean that
A surprising splat hits you from above, followed by a sudden, helpful stranger who helps you clean up. They'll use the confusion to list valuables from you before you even notice. Other variations include spilling drinks, bumping into you or generally finding ways to suddenly distract you with an event that allows for close contact.