How to be a better traveller

 

Some people are naturally organised in every area of their lives.

You know, the kind of people who never lose their passport 30 seconds before they board a plane. They always wear matching socks, they know exactly what they’re doing next week and their lives seem to run like clockwork.

I am not one of those people.

But I REALLY want to be.

I can lose my passport 8 times between leaving the house and getting to the airport. I’m the kind of person who will only pack one shoe and will book a taxi to pick me up from the wrong airport. I once got so lost in a train station that I actually missed my train.

I don’t blog about this very often because I’m meant to be a ‘travel expert’ (whatever that is!?) and I try not to shout about what a shit traveller I naturally am.

After years of practice I’m starting to get better. I’ve picked up tips and tricks from naturally organised people and I’ve applied their tricks to travelling.

I feel like I’m faking this organisation because it doesn’t come easily, but I’m getting there. Each trip gets slightly more organised and I’ve only lost my passport 5 times this month…

 

Here are my tips to be a better traveller:

#1 Have a brightly coloured passport and ticket wallet

Great for: Anyone who panics they’ve lost their passport

I have a fluorescent orange passport and ticket holder from Flight 001. They don’t stock them anymore but this is a really good one that will help keep all of your documents super organised.

The bright colour means it’s easy to find in the depths of my bag (and we all know hand luggage can get messy).

I print out my tickets and confirmation emails for everything, even when an app ticket is available, just in case my battery dies before I check-in – yep, that’s happened.

I also write down the details for any activities I’ve booked and I print out my travel insurance details.

 

#2 Pack light

Great for: Anyone prone to losing stuff

This is a simple one; the less stuff you have, the less you have to lose. Also, when you have a small bag you’re more likely to notice when something is missing.

Check out my secret to packing light if you’re an over-packer.

 

#3 Have clear directions to your accommodation

Great for: Anyone prone to getting lost

This is especially important in countries where you don’t speak the language. Plan how you’ll get to your accommodation before you arrive because it might not be simple to figure it out when you get there. You can’t always rely on Google maps and some countries have overly complicated public transport systems.

How to be an organized traveler

Lost?

#4 Always carry your accommodation address

Great for: Everyone

This is habit everyone should get into, whether you’re trying to be a better traveller or someone who never gets lost. You never know where a quick walk will lead and if you get hopelessly lost you can ask for directions or hand the address to a taxi driver. This is especially important if you’re staying in an apartment rather than a well-known hotel.

 

#5 Have a rough itinerary in mind

Great for: Everyone, even spontaneous travellers

I love the idea of turning up to a new city and just seeing what happens. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 nothing will happen because you have no idea what to do, where to go or how to get there. There’s nothing worse than getting home and realise you didn’t go to see the biggest attraction in the area.

Research your destination before you arrive and you’ll have a much better time when you get there.

If you’re feeling super organised you might even want to write down addresses and opening times too. If you’re ridiculously organised, plot the places you want to visit on a map.

 

#6 Carry local currency for when you arrive

Great for: Everyone, even people who rely on credit cards

Make sure you’ve got at least a little bit of local currency in cash before you arrive.

I never used to do this until it almost landed me in trouble. I arrived in Oslo close to midnight with no cash at all. The cash machine in the airport was out of order but after 20 minutes I eventually found one that worked. When I tried to use it I realised my bank had frozen my account so it took me well over an hour to get some cash. By this point I almost missed the last bus out of the airport.

Moral of the story, always have some cash!

 

#7 Know your banking log on details and have backups

Great for: Forgetful types

While we’re on the topic of banks, make sure you know your logins for telephone banking and internet banking. It makes things much faster if you need to call your bank in an emergency. You should also have a backup way to access money in case your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.

 

#8 Empty camera memory cards as soon as you get home

Best for: Snappy happy travellers

We’ve all had that moment when you’re about to take the best photo of your life and a message pops up telling you your memory card is full. Arggghh!

In my quest to be a better traveller, I now clear my memory card and backup my photos on an external hard-drive. (Feeling very smug about this level of organisation)

How to be an organised traveller

 

#9 Always carry drinks and snacks

Best for: Anyone who suffers from hanger

There’s nothing worse than feeling tired, hungry and dehydrated while you’re travelling and being unable to find ANYTHING to eat or drink. I’ve arrived in new destinations late at night and been devastated to find all shops and restaurants closed. Nothing can ruin your day like hanger.

 

#10 Download and update

Best for: Smartphone users

Download new books, magazines, music and apps to your phone before you leave. Hotel wifi is often too slow for large downloads like this.

Also, make sure your phone and all your apps are updated. An outdated phone is slow and a nightmare to use. You don’t want it freezing when you need it most.

#11 Write a list

Best for: If you’re still horrendously disorganised

If you’re still struggling to be organised, write lists for everything such as:

  • Things to do before you leave
  • Packing list
  • Leaving the house checklist
  • Important addresses

How to be an organised traveller - travel tips from The Travel Hack

I do love a fresh note pad waiting for a list

#12 You only really need 4 things

Best for: If you’re still a disorganised mess

Better travellers know that you really only need 4 things to travel:

  1. Passport
  2. Credit Card
  3. Phone
  4. Phone charger

Not a lot can go wrong when you have these 4 things. I try to remind myself of this when I’ve, once again, forgotten to pack something vitally important . If I’m leaving the house in a flustered panic, I just do the 4-item check and I know I’ll be OK.

This post is sponsored by Barclaycard. As always, all thoughts, opinions and lack of organisation are all my own.

If you enjoyed this you may also like to read…

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5 Travel Hacks For Choosing the Best Restaurants while Travelling

The Travel Drawer Travel Packing Hack

The Ultimate Carry-On Hacks for Beauty Junkies

Better Traveller

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (11)
  1. Empty your memory card after each trip? Goodness, you must have a large memory card! I have to empty my card every evening! (maybe I need a bigger card…)
    Also, lists. LOVE lists! 🙂

    1. I think I have a 32G memory card so it is pretty big.
      I think it is a good idea to empty it daily too – just in case you lost your camera or your files corrupt or something. I’m just not quite that organised yet!

  2. I think these tips are very useful. Especially “Always carry your accommodation address” & “Carry local currency for when you arrive”. I just found your blog a couple days ago, and I love it. I can find here almost everything that I need to know before travelling somewhere new. 🙂

    1. That’s good to know. When you’re travelling in a country with a different writing system, it’s probably a good idea to print out your address written in Chinese too. just in case!

  3. Hanger is definitely a thing. My boyfriend and I both suffer from it so when we travelled together for three months in south america last year I tried to make sure that we always had something to snack on. THe one time I didn’t remember it wasn’t pretty…

    Great tips Mon!

    That Adventurer

  4. After many months of meaning to write some travel lists, I’ve just done it! Putting it all down in one document (especially the ‘things to do before leaving the house’ list) made me realise how much stuff I’m usually holding in my head while I’m preparing for a trip. Hopefully this will make getting away less stressful and hectic.

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.