30 Travel Tips That Don’t Suck

Greetings lovely ladies and distinguished gentlemen,

Today I will share with you 30 travel tips that don’t suck and which aren’t boring. So you want to travel the world? Awesome, it’s a great time and for the most part people are people, they are nice. After 3 months of solo travel, I know a thing or two. Read this, you will be glad you did.

1) Don’t flash cash: Don’t look rich, leave your gold, rings, diamonds, fancy shirts and other expensive items that scream “I have money” at home or leave them in your bag for when visiting expensive places such as Monaco.

2) Don’t leave your drink places: This is obvious, you hear horror stories, this goes 5X for women.

3) Money Changing: Go for the best rate in a SAFE place. If you can get a slightly better rate but it’s down a dark seedy alley, forget it. Also, always count the money then before you leave count once more. Never take your eyes off the money. I know of people who have counted the stacks, turned away to someone who says something, grabbed stack and left to find a fist full of fiat currency missing when they later see how much they have.

4) Change the Sheets once a week: If you stay long term somewhere, make sure they change the sheets, especially in warm climates where you sweat like a morbidly obese man on his way to MacDonald’s each night. If not you will most likely get an infection. A friend of mine has it now, the hairs on your legs get infected from rubbing against sweaty and dirty sheets and swell in big puss bubbles, not cool.

5) Check for Bed Bugs: ALWAYS check for bed bugs anywhere you go before you take a room, lift the sheets and look for black dots at the seams, black dots? Forget it, regardless of price.

6) Drink LOTS of Water: Buy a 1.5L and kill it, everyday. If you can, drink more. If not eventually you’ll feel very tired, headaches ensue and you are very likely to pull / get muscle cramps. This goes 10X in very hot climates.

7) Budget: Make a budget and stick to it, only bring what you need on you and leave the rest somewhere safe. Perhaps put a “safety stash” in another pocket for “emergencies”. Also if you want to save money, try and get to bed before 11pm. From experience and those I talk with 70% of expenditures come after that time if you are “out and about”.

8 ) Strange Street People: If people come to you on the street and want to help you, bring you somewhere for nothing… Chances are they want something. Exceptions are other travelers if they see you walking with packs and suggest a cheap hotel, they just may be nice.

9) When Lost: Ask business men in busy districts. What do they want with a scruffy traveler? They also probably know the way around and 90% of the time have no reason to try and steer you wrong.

10) Never carry a guide book on the street: You look like a loser and become an easy “I’m not from around here” mark.

11) When Lost at Night: Always walk with authority like you know where you’re going and don’t give people an opportunity to approach / accost you. Never look sketchy people in the eyes but let them see your eyes so they know you know that they are there. Stay on busy / main streets and if you need directions, go to a classy hotel and ask at the front desk.

12) Exchange rates: Have an idea of exchange rates BEFORE you go so you know how much you are spending.

13) Strangers Asking Where you Live: Tell them “Not sure of name” somewhere near wherever if you must. People always ask this and it’s none of their business.

14) Pay Cash: For 90% of things, don’t be giving out your credit card to sketchy merchants.

15) Pick Pockets: If you smoke or not, always have a pack in the same pocket as your wallet (side pocket) and have the wallet underneath the pack. If someone pulls a quick snatch, they get the smokes, not your wallet.

16) Multiple Money Sources: DO NOT just bring a bank card, bring a credit card and other institutions as well. Sometimes banks freeze accounts for weird transactions in strange countries if they don’t know you are going. Sometimes the ATM just rejects your card, sometimes your card just doesn’t work. What would you do with no money? Yeah, thought so.

17) Be Proactive: Best defense against sketchy situations is to avoid them, be aware of places you should not go and don’t go. The best reactive practices have NOTHING on a decent proactive strategy.

18) Avoid Stray Dogs: Never pet them, nothing. They may have rabies and definitely have fleas. It’s simply not worth it. If one chases you or a pack does, grab stones and throw them. Most have been hit before and just going to pick up stones may sketch them. If you do get a stone and they are coming for you, forget about your pet back home, this isn’t it. Aim for the head. A good stone to the face will make them go elsewhere.

19) Cockroaches: Don’t kill them in your room. Dead cockroaches attract others, just catch and throw or flush them or just accept the fact that they are there and get on with your life.

21) Never login to bank accounts and whatnot via cafe’s. IF YOU MUST you can download Microsoft virtual keyboard where you click letter with mouse OR if you must, enter part of the username then mash the keys in notepad, then enter 1 letter of password, mash keys etc. This will make your password one long gibber jabber and they will take someone else.

22) Laptop Lock: Got a laptop? Buy a laptop lock.

23) Separate Money Sources: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, if your wallet gets stolen, you’ll be glad your credit card is in another pocket etc…

24) Be the bigger person: Never get in arguments with local people or travelers, it is never worth it. Be the bigger person and walk away. This goes 5X for local people. Why would you want a local person with a grudge over something small?

25) Buses: Lock your luggage and carry it with you, none of this leave it underneath if you can. If your pack is too big, you should have a smaller one.

26) Etiquette: Before going to any strange country, learn local etiquette and stick to it. It’s more important then some bs list of places to go in a guidebook.

27) Pick Company Wisely: Pick who you associate with, you are often guilty by association. Lay down with dogs you get fleas. If you must “ditch some people”, do it.

28) Hope for best, plan for worse: Plans never go according to plan, accept it and embrace the fact that crazy things happen all the time. Be a “Teflon Don”, never let problems stick, roll with the punches. Further more, handle all problems like John Travolta from “Be Cool”, just be cool.

29) Motor Vehicles: You are more likely to die in a car crash or some motor vehicle related accident over anything else. Often times the most dangerous part of your day is crossing the street, seriously.

30) Don’t be an idiot: If something seems “too good to be true” it probably is.

I could go on but will make one another day called “10 Travel tips that aren’t boring and don’t suck part deux”.

Good day,

11 Comments

  1. Markus @loimp

    December 18, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Nice tips. Sigh. I guess I’ll have to leave my diamonds and fancy shirts at home. Double sigh.

    Also, seems like a lot of effort to carry a pack of smokes just as a wallet decoy, but hey, you’d probably look cooler that way (I don’t care what the anti-tobacco people say)

  2. Shawn

    December 18, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Great advice. I hope people give this a serious read before they set out in the world. People blow a lot of this stuff off as unlikely, but so much of this should be part of your daily common sense. Thanks!

  3. Jill

    December 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Good to know…now to find the time to travel…

  4. Rob

    December 19, 2009 at 5:03 am

    Indeed, everything “works until it doesn’t work”.

    Also the smokes, most applicable for busy nightclubs or outdoor beach parties where it’s super tight and crowded.

  5. flip

    December 21, 2009 at 3:51 am

    nice advice…

    i found this one so funny… “Dead cockroaches attract others, just catch and throw or flush them or just accept the fact that they are there and get on with your life.”

  6. Rob

    December 21, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Thank you sir, yeah after a while if you see one you just realize it’s “part of doing business” in many parts of the world.

  7. Reid Klos

    December 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Rob,
    do you have any bloggeries on traveling for beginners. You know, good places, good times, good length to go along with the “30 tips?” This list was rather interesting. It helps put reality into traveling not just the glamerous stuff we see on movies and commercials.

  8. Legal Nomads

    February 28, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I cannot believe I missed this. Great list, and having travelled with you a bit, I can safely report that you abide by your rules. Have fun in S’ville.
    -Jodi

  9. Manuela

    May 9, 2013 at 8:30 am

    i just stopped reading when i got to the part where you tell people to throw stones at abbandoned street dogs on their face (!!!).

    seriously, what the fuck?

    • Rob

      May 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Yes, you do that when a pack is messing with you. Clearly you’ve never been alone in an alley with dogs swarming you?

      Have you ever been bit by a rabid street dog? I have.

      It makes them take off, have a better suggestion?!

      • Rositsa

        May 20, 2015 at 6:08 am

        I agree with Rob.
        Also, if animals attack you I think it’s perfectly normal to defend yourself. Btw, I love dogs but I don’t think I’ll like it if they bite me without me provoking them in any way.

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