The first trip I ever took outside of the United States was to Cusco, Peru. I was psyching myself up weeks before this trip and was a bit worried about many things.
Was I ready? Prepared?
Was I going to forget something?
Will I want to come home?
So many questions were running through my mind. It took 2 days to fall in love with traveling and that became the beginning of the inspiration for many future trips. I constantly get asked many questions about traveling as well as traveling solo.
Below are a few tips that I wish I knew before I departed for my first trip! Enjoy.
1. Download apps such as Hostelworld, Rome2Rio, Skyscanner.
There are many, many great apps out there for traveling. Most if not all of the websites have apps that are available for iPhone or Android.
I highly recommend Hostelworld, Rome2Rio, Skyscanner, as well as the ones listed in this post 5 Websites That Will Help You Save Money When Traveling.
2. Use Ibotta
Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash back for making purchases on things like groceries, clothes, toiletries, and much more!
I use the app on a regular basis. Before I visit a grocery store or make any kind of purchase in-person, I check the Ibotta app to see what kind of cash back I can get. Currently, there are deals like getting up to $2 off toothpaste, up to 20% cash back from Groupon, $1.50 off pasta, and so much more.
It's silly not to use Ibotta if you're a regular grocery shopper and also have to buy things like clothes, toiletries, and pretty much anything else you'd find at a store like Walmart or Amazon.
If you sign up now, you can get $10 in your account by using my link here.
3. Before booking accommodations, check out reviews.
Reviews are crucial to saving time and money.
A review can help out with random things such as: If the hostel offers free wifi, you might come to find out in the reviews that wifi is not readily available.
If you work on the road, this can be quite troublesome. You can also find out in reviews if the rooms are usually dirty or if staff aren't friendly or helpful. I also recommend writing reviews as well.
I write reviews for Hostelworld and Tripadvisor on a regular basis
. I'm pretty upfront and honest with my reviews as well, which is absolutely necessary.
You have the chance to save someone's butt and MONEY by writing an honest review.
Here is a travel essentials kit for all of your travel needs. You save a lot of money buying these all in one, as opposed to buying them separately.
4. Bed Bug Registry.
If you've ever met or heard of someone getting bed bugs, it's time and money costly.
Bed bugs can put such a damper on your trip that it may even make you want to go home for good.
Most hostels and hotels do their absolute best to keep clean, but bed bugs can still make their way in. If the hostel/hotel shows up on the website way too many times to count, then I would choose another place to stay.
If it only shows up a couple times, you're most likely fine. Bed bugs can make their way in the cleanest places.
5. Student Discounts.
If you're a student, bring your student ID with you. Apply for an ISIC card, which pays for itself in 1 trip usually.
I get discounts on tours, special treks, restaurants, and more. The ISIC card costs $25, and I've saved at least $200 from it so far.
Related: Get up to 10% back on flights and other travel-related expenses with Ebates. Get $10 for signing up here.
6. If the internet is a no go in a certain area, take snapshots of your GPS with the route you need to go on.
Even though I have internet coverage in most countries, I always take snapshots just in case. You never know what can happen or what situation you'll be in. Better safe than sorry.
7. It doesn't hurt to pay a little extra for a place with better reviews.
There have been a couple times where I paid a little extra for a room that was extra shitty. You might save a couple dollars here and there, but certain places can put a damper on your experience.
This can cost you when it comes to sleep, happiness, and more.
8. Buy travel insurance.
This is a must. Don't think twice about it. Just don't.
I'm in many travel groups on Facebook and almost every day there is someone posting about how happy and thankful they are for having travel insurance due to different unforeseen things happening to them.
Related: 10 Budget Travel Tips
9. Don't stand out and practice safety.
I bought special travel boots on Amazon that have a secret pocket in them, which allows me to hide a copy of my passport as well as money inside.
Also, don't look at a gigantic map in front of a bunch of people in public.
You obviously look like a tourist when you do this, and you're probably lost, which makes you a pretty big target.
Here are the boots I used while I was in Europe. They are vegan, have a secret pocket to store cash, and are comfy and cute.
10. Take advantage of free tours.
Free tours are abundant in most cities, and all that's recommended at the end is a tip.
This is always much cheaper than a paid tour, as you also have to tip on those paid tours as well. All you have to do is look up the city you're in and type “free tour”. Pretty self-explanatory.
Take advantage of free things.
11. Don't let what you've seen in the media completely control your decisions.
I know of so many people in fear to go to certain countries because of what they see on television. Before I went to Peru, I was overly paranoid and worried about so many things.
To my surprise, I ended up feeling safer in Peru than I did in many parts of America. Peruvians have some of the purest souls I've ever met. They're so incredibly helpful, kind, generous, and are so keen on inviting you into their culture.
Those 2 months in Peru forever changed my outlook on how to travel.
Related: 10 Pros And Cons Of Using Airbnb
What else would you recommend for travelers? Do you have any tips or advice that you can share?
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