My best travel tips for an awesome trip

New friends met in Tokyo
New friends met in Tokyo

Whenever my friends plan a trip, they ask me the same questions. Do you have any travel tips? Where should I stay? What should I eat? How can I save money? I always help them with tips I have learned through years of traveling and experience.

Here are a few of the best travel tips that I have learned from my travels.

Avoid hotel restaurants

No hotel on earth can compare with the quality of sushi at Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market
No hotel on earth can compare with the quality of sushi at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market

I’m not saying that hotel restaurants are bad, but they are often overpriced for the value of the food offered. Instead of staying in your hotel, get out into the city and explore.

When I look back at my best restaurant experiences while traveling, the first ones that come to mind are those I randomly found, like something was telling me to pick that place.

I remember this one time in Ollantaytambo, Peru, where I randomly walked into a small local restaurant with the most amazing trout ceviche. Another time in Prague, I stumbled into a bar serving amazing pasta. Can I remember a time when I was eating in a hotel? Nope. One of the best parts about traveling is eating the food locals eat while immersing yourself in their culture.

If you are nervous about random restaurants, do a little research online and pick a place based on reviews using sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.

Eat like the locals

Tapas and drinks at a market in Madrid? Sign me up
Tapas and drinks at a market in Madrid? Sign me up

Similar to the above section about hotel food, when you are traveling, try to eat the local food. Of all my travel tips, this might be the most important one.

Do you want to visit Tokyo and eat a hamburger every day?

Another important thing to realize is that the local food in your home country is different from the actual country. For example, Thai food in California is entirely different from Thai food in Thailand. Be adventurous and get out of your comfort zone. You will be surprised.

That said, you don’t have to eat Thai food every day in Thailand. Every time I travel to Asia, I try to eat Mexican food one time. I have no idea why, but I find it interesting. It may end up being horrible, but this is what makes traveling great.

Use public transportation

Public transportation in Thailand
Public transportation in Thailand

Renting a vehicle in a foreign country is just asking for trouble. Parking in a large foreign city like London or Rome is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Many travelers are surprised to learn how efficient, safe, and cheap public transportation is in other countries. In some cities, millions of people rely on public transportation daily.

Feel free to get lost and explore a new city. Most public transportation features maps and signs in English, so if you need help or get lost, you can find your way back to your destination or hotel.

On the other hand, renting a car and exploring the countryside is a great experience but that is a whole different topic.

A cheap hotel doesn’t equal a bad hotel

Scored this hotel for $40 in Seoul
Scored this hotel for $40 in Seoul

If you do your research, you can find amazing hotels for hostel prices. Just because you book a cheap hotel does not necessarily mean that the hotel is horrible. Similarly, spending $500 a night does not necessarily mean getting 5-star service.

One of my favorite things is to use TripAdvisor to find the nicest hotel that meets my needs at the cheapest price. You will be amazed at the quality of some of these places.

I remember one time in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I paid $12 for a hotel per night. This hotel included a clean private room with a balcony, bathroom, air conditioner, taxi transportation to and from the airport, breakfast each morning, and a small pool. You can’t beat that.

Visiting multiple cities on one trip? Book an open-jaw ticket

Booking open jaw tickets will save you time and money
Booking open jaw tickets will save you time and money

What is an open-jaw ticket? An open-jaw ticket is one in which a traveler arrives in one city and departs from another city. Purchasing an open-jaw ticket will save you time and money.

For example, those who fly into Europe usually have multiple cities on their itinerary. A traveler may fly into London for a few days, take the train to Paris for a few days, and then fly home from Paris.

If you booked a round-trip ticket to London, you would need to either fly or take the train back to London, which costs you time and money.

Learn a few words of the local language

Learning a few words while traveling goes a long way
Learning a few words while traveling goes a long way

If you are in a foreign country, try to learn a few words of the local language.

When you make a purchase at a restaurant or convenience store, say thank you in their language. You probably will get a big smile in return. People appreciate the effort even if you screw up the words, which you probably will.

A few words you should learn are thank you, hello, and goodbye. I also make sure I know what the word for beer is. It has helped me in many situations.

Travel as light as possible

This small carry on bag goes almost everywhere with me
This small carry on bag goes almost everywhere with me

When I talk to first-time travelers after their vacation, I ask them about their biggest mistake. Almost all of them wish they had packed lighter.

Those who travel a lot know that a smaller suitcase, less or lighter luggage, is the way to go.

You may be fine checking your luggage for your flight, but things change once you pick it up from baggage claim. Using public transportation such as trains, subways, buses, or even taxis is exponentially more difficult for every extra pound you carry in your suitcase or each piece of luggage you may have.

Another reason to pack lightly is to avoid airline baggage fees that are becoming more and more common.

Leave the fancy face wash and ten pairs of shoes at home.

Slow down

Slow down and relax
Slow down and relax

I have been to Rome three times, yet I genuinely do not feel like I have been there. I moved too fast and wished I had slowed down and realized what was around me.

Many people pack as much stuff as possible into one itinerary. I have done it multiple times, and I even still do. But one of the best parts about traveling is slowing down.

Next time I go to Rome, I will see some of the major sites, but this time, I will limit my daily plans. I will enjoy the food a little longer. Instead of rushing to the next sight, I will open my eyes and see what’s around me. I will sit on the Spanish Steps at night and drink wine or cold beer.

It may be counterintuitive, but slowing down allows you to see more. Of all my travel tips, this is the hardest one to follow.

Leave your large cameras at home

Trust me, pocket cameras are much better for traveling.

I’ve taken my large SLR camera with me on multiple trips, and numerous times, I have never even used it. It’s too big and takes up too much room in my luggage, and I have no interest in carrying it around the city all day.

Leave the big camera at home unless you are a professional photographer.

Don’t believe all the horror stories you read or hear

Common sense goes a long way.  Don't believe everywhere is dangerous.
Common sense goes a long way. Don’t believe everywhere is dangerous.

When people have a great experience in a country, they may tell a few of their friends. People who have a terrible experience will tell everybody they know. And they will post about their experiences on forums such as TripAdvisor.

When I traveled to Thailand, I heard that the people were mean, many places were dangerous, I would get ripped off, and it would rain and flood because it was the wet season. You know what? None of that happened.

Use common sense instead of believing everything you read online or whatever your friends say.


I may only follow some of these travel tips when I go on trips, but that happens when you travel. Only some things will always go according to plan, which is OK.

Traveling is a learning experience that involves trial and error. Despite what you see on social media, it can be challenging. There will be good and bad times, but this makes travel worthwhile.

The more you travel, the more you learn what works and what doesn’t. As you gain experience, these travel tips will become second nature.

Last Updated on April 11, 2024

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My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.