I’m currently around 37,000 feet above the Indian Ocean on my way back to Melbourne, here’s a quick post with some of the tips I’ve picked up along my travels recently.
- Free Walking Tours
Most major cities these days have free walking tours available, you spend a couple of hours learning about the history and checking out the sights of a city. It’s a great thing to do on your first day to get some tip from a local. It’s free to join on these tours however it’s encouraged you tip at the end.
- Get a local Sim Card with Data only
It’s nice to go off the gird when you have the chance however I’ve found data really really useful when traveling around cities. I use it for maps, up to the minute public transport directions (works great in most major OS cities), restaurant reviews, social media & messaging. 3 mobile in the UK have a great sim that works across some of Europe and even Australia.
- Flights – Seat Selection
When checking in online, before you select your seat you must check seatguru, just enter your flight details & it’ll give you a detailed floorplan of the plane you’re on to help you select the best seat!
- Flights – Upgrades
If you want to upgrade to business, I’ve found you’ll get the best price if you ask on the day of your flight. If you arrive at the airport early it’s worth checking if there are any exit row seats still available, I scored exit row all the way on this 20+ hr trip home ; )
- Flight – Stopovers
If wind up with a long transit (and you can’t leave the airport) I highly recommend checking into one of the lounges. I had a 7hr stopover earlier today, for $50 AUD I had unlimited, food, drinks, comfortable chairs, power, showers & coffee!
- Travel Cards & Currency
I spent a while researching all of the travel cards before our 2 months trip to Europe last year, they are all similar, you can save a couple of percent in transaction fees but you have to lock in the exchange rate and it can be difficult to transfer funds to and from the cards. I prefer to just use my normal visa card. I do have a qantas debit master card as a backup incase my other card is lost, stolen plus it’s handy when a ticket machine in France doesn’t like my visa card.
I keep my international power adapter, 4 port usb plug & usb cables in my backpack, it’s great to arrive in a new city & have all your devices charged and ready to do. Most flights these days have a USB port at the seat and the flight I’m on at the moment even has a real power at each seat!
- Wiki Travel
It gives you a no fluff guide to a city and tips for getting in and out of town, like the best / cheapest way to get from an airport to a city plus a little hitory, tips on places to checkout etc!
Apps for traveling
- CityMaps2Go – Allows you to download maps so you can use it if you find yourself without a data connection, plus it has some tips & articles within the app which can help you find some cool places to checkout when you land.
- Google Maps – again, great for directions & comparing transport options (bus / train / tram / uber / walking) while in a new city.
- TripIt – takes care of my itinerary, I just forward my booking confirmation emails and they take care of the rest! (I especially like how it handles local time differences and has an ical feed I link to my google calendar).
- Pocket – save long form articles for offline reading, great if you have time to pass while you’re in transit.
- Rdio – must have, I sync/download a bunch of playlists for offline use.
- Viber – handy messaging app to keep in touch with friends & family.
- Instagram – not just for posting photos, but it’s good to use to research a new location, just search for a cities #hashtag and you can find all kinds of interesting events / locations.
- AirBnb – really great way to travel if you have more than a couple of nights in a city, we stayed in a bunch of cool self contained apartments in Europe last year.
- Uber – handy if you’re in a hurry or for trips to the airport if there are no public transport options & typically a little cheaper than a cab (note – it can be tricky to verify your account again while overseas)
- Carousel – by dropbox, takes care of backing up all of your photos (I leave this on overnight on wifi, overseas upload speeds are normally much faster than oz).
- Bands in Town – very cool app that I use regularly at home, it scans your music library, and then lets you know if any of the bands you like are playing in a city near you!
If you have any travel tips you think I should add, shoot me a message on twitter!