Everyone likes to travel. It is the planning part that majority of people don’t like. But it can be hassle-free if you do it right.
Here are some smart travel hacks that can make your next trip more enjoyable!
1. Picking up a destination:
Research thoroughly about the place, taking your interests into consideration. For instance, for a person with little religious inclination, Ajmer and Pushkar would be a disappointment.
Sunderbans is known for the royal Bengal tiger, but the area is so vast, that you hardly get to see any tiger. Don’t go to Sam/Khuri sand dunes in Jaisalmer expecting them to be like this:
2. Time of travelling:
Plan your trip in such a way that your journey from one destination to another falls at night. It has two advantages:
- You save your valuable day time for exploring the place.
- You save on accommodation costs. Sometimes, a longer journey (8 hours) is better than a shorter one (4 hours). Four hour journeys during night are not very feasible. You get stuck in the awkward hours of the night.
- With unreliable transport options and not much people around, safety is a major concern along with the difficulty in finding accommodation.
If possible, book your hotels and flights well in advance to get the best price and also to avoid last minute hustle. Look for the bookings which are refundable. Also keep an eye for promotions and offers. I have booked hotels for as much as 90% discount, twice for free as well.
4. Plan on your own:
There’s a joy in planning a trip. Don’t rely on travel agents. Research about the place from online forums and read reviews on platforms like tripadvisor. This way, you would get to learn a lot about the place. If you are stuck anywhere, ask from the locals. Often, they will happily help you out.
Make sure you have quality equipment (backpack, shoes, sleeping bag, etc.) that will last the trip as well as keep you comfortable.
Try to limit what you take to the essentials, keeping in mind the number of days of your trip and the climate of the place. Keep the heavier items at the bottom of the backpack.
Place the item according to priority, keeping the frequently used items on top or in side pockets. Place the clothes in a roll to save space and lessening creases. Keep separate pouches for medicine and toiletries.
There is a nice Wikihow article about packing:How to Pack a Rucksack?
3. Smart use of technology:
- Save the map of your destination in Google maps to use in case of unreliable network. There is an option in Google Maps in your Android phone to download an area.
- Create an excel file of your itinerary along with details like the activities, booking IDs of hotels, train/flight/bus tickets, addresses and boarding points, phone numbers of hotels/bus operators/customer care, etc.
- Keeping the details of each activity at one place will be a backup and also save you from the last minute hustle. Create something like this:
- Install Tripadvisor app on your phone to access the reviews of world’s largest community of travellers.
- There are many other platforms like EzRoadTrips, Google Translate, Metro/Bus route Map which may help you in organising your trips efficiently.
During the trip
1. Two bag rule:
Always keep a small bag to keep valuables like Camera, phone, wallet, cash, credit cards, and passport and always keep it with yourself. When I travel, I carry this bag even to public bathrooms and sleep with it in hostels without lockers.
Move a few streets away from the main tourist place to buy something, especially food. Most of the restaurants in touristy areas know that you will probably never return to that restaurant again.
So, they may offer you substandard food at a high price. Also, always carry some extra packaged food and water.
3. Ask the locals:
When someone advises you about something even though you didn’t ask for an advice, verify it. Ask the locals for restaurants, direction, fares and fees, and attractions.
Most of the times, they would be pleased to help you. They will be the ones who would give you the best travel hacks.
4. Use public transport:
Apart from minimising expenditure, using public transport can open a vista into the lives of common local people.
Don’t just stay in hotels, move around in taxis, tick off the destinations in your bucket list and return. Explore the place a bit. Interact with the locals. Know about their culture, language, and food. Let yourself soak into the place.