Friday, 25 March 2016

Travel Tips for Happy Traveling











Traveling is an expensive hobby but an activity worth every penny that you spend on it! Traveling changes you in ways that you cannot imagine. I learned adaptability at a young age since my dad was in armed forces and we moved from one city to another quite frequently. Those travels were compulsory for me, however, now I travel voluntarily -  for the love of traveling. My travel experiences now, I believe, have made me tolerant and appreciative of differences. In my pursuit to understand different cultures, traditions and attitudes, I realize how issues in my mind are so insignificant in the vastness of this world. Exposure to the world outside your own teaches you things, you’d never learn in a classroom. Traveling is not something I would have quoted as my hobby a few years ago. It is something that I started liking when I got married to someone who loved to travel more than I do. 

So, if you think you don’t like it without trying, I’d say give it a try. 



 Balochistan, Pakistan                                        PC: www.ahsanqureshi.com
I save all year to be able to go to a new place. Be it a short domestic trip or a long extravagant holiday. But I do try to do at least one trip every year. It does not need to be a perfectly planned luxury trip. I am happy with a weekend get away too. But whether a short trip or long, traveling is a luxury. It requires discipline, planning and effort to maximize the money, energy and time spent.

Based on my travel experiences, I have come up with some tips I religiously follow that makes traveling experiences a bit more fulfilling and fun! 

Make a budget:

One reason why people do not travel is, of course, financial constraints. If traveling is something you want to do, you need to handle your finances really well. Consider flying in budget airlines and staying at budget hotels. There are numerous services nowadays like Airbnb, for example, that you must explore. Carefully plan where you will stay. My tip is to stay in a central place so that you don’t spend on taxis and public transport as sometimes the money you spend on traveling is more than what you save on accommodation. If you make a budget, it will be easy for you to see whether a cheap place in suburbs is better or a slightly expensive place in the city center. I make budgets not just for the traveling necessities and plans but also for shopping. I only spend on souvenirs (fridge magnets to be specific) and things that the country is really famous for and would be useful for me. I know it is difficult to control but I have thrown away so many things that I just bought impulsively and never used. Spend on experiences rather than things so that you can travel more often. 

Become a Researcher:

Read blogs and reviews before visiting a new place to know what to expect. Information is just a click away now. You can check prices online to understand what kind of things to buy and how much you need to spend on leisure activities. Charges of recreational places such as zoos, museums etc are all available online. You can also estimate how much each lunch and dinner will cost to be able to manage your finances. This is not just about saving money. It is about not wasting money and time. 

To do List:

Make a list of the top things you want to do. You don’t have to follow the list from top to bottom but it will just organize you better and you will be able to do maximum in the time you have in any foreign land. Ask people about their experiences. While making the list, see online how to get to the places you want to visit so that you can wander around independently. You will find other interesting things if you wander yourself and usually the best and most enjoyable are the things that you discover randomly


China House, Penang
Travel Kits:

Invest in travel kits of whatever skin care, shampoos or make up products you use. Never experiment with skin or hair by trying new products in a new place. I always avail promotions where you get travel kits with purchase of something as such kits come really handy during traveling. If you don’t have a travel kit, make your own. You can buy small sized jars from pharmacies and fill them yourself. I also keep the extra toiletries I get from hotels (shamelessly). The consumables provided in hotels are yours and will not be used by the next guest. You have already paid for them. It is only wise to utilize them. I replenish my toiletry pouch every trip when I stay in a fancy hotel and use them when staying at a budget hotel :) 

Medical Box:

Please never forget to keep your medicines and prescriptions. Like a toiletry travel kit, you must also have a medical kit which contains all your medications. If you don’t take any regular medication, keep pain killers, anti-allergy, Band-Aid and something for cold, flu & fever. I also keep anti diarrhea drugs (Sorry TMI, but it is very important). It saves a lot of time and worries during an unwanted situation. Yeah, I am like a walking pharmacy but that is better than running around looking for a pharmacy.

Gadgets & Wires:  

Find out the plug type in the country that you are visiting and check if you have the converter or adapter. Buy one universal adapter that you can use just everywhere. Make sure you keep all kinds of wires and chargers, plus buy a good quality power bank that you must charge every night before going to bed during your travel. Though more than taking photographs, it is the experience that matters, but you will not be at peace if you have a camera or phone that is not charged when it should have been.

I have one dedicated drawer in my house where I put all my travel related things, chargers, wires, travel pouches, kits, (stolen) toiletries so that I don't have to buy new or waste time looking for things when I am packing. 


Plan Your Food:

If you are a selective eater due to any reason like health, religion or personal preferences, find out where you will be able to find the food of your choice before flying. And see if all those places are easily accessible. For example, in some countries, halal food is available only in Muslim dominated areas and suburbs and going there might not be that easy. In such situations you will be mentally prepared that you need to settle on alternatives like fruits, salads etc and you will not waste time and effort in trying to find food. I always buy fruits, chips, biscuits and other snacks and keep them in my bag for snacking just in case I don’t get proper food.

But do try local food if there are no issues other than the fear of trying something new. I think the best meals that hubby and I have had are the risks we took with local food. Once in Sri Lanka, we asked our Tuk Tuk (Trishaw or Rickshaw) driver to take us to a place of his choice… and trust me, it was one of the most satisfying meals we have had on that trip. 


Not just food, have all possible kind of local experiences! Join festivals if any, go to their place of worship if possible and learn about the culture! 



Thaipusam Festival, Kuala Lumpur

Travel Light: 

Muslim Bagh, Pakistan
I know for some it is a very difficult thing to do but when I am packing, I plan what I will wear each day and keep one set extra.  If I am traveling to places where weather is cold, I literally keep only a few Tees and spice up my wardrobe with different scarves. Jackets and warm clothes already take most of the space in suit case. Scarves are useful and plus do not occupy much space. I usually just carry one bag with me, a pair of slippers and comfortable walking/running shoes. Unless of course you have other plans for which you require additional stuff, you should keep as less as possible. I also took a while to get this right. I started with buying only a medium sized bag for myself. I don’t have space to stuff extra things, so, I automatically travel light.


Buy Internet Package:

I know that the purpose of a trip is to relax and you don’t need Facebook or to stay connected but an internet package will help you with other things in a new country. Use maps and other apps to be able to independently travel without having to worry about getting lost. A lot of local people on the roads mostly cannot help you with your queries. Sometimes due to language issue and not everyone knows everything. Apps like 'Grab or Uber' in Malaysia will help you call a taxi and will also show you estimate of how much a taxi should charge from one point to another. You can read reviews immediately or google other information for hotels, restaurants and any other recreation. And anyways, it is so cheap and easy now to have internet that you should not have second thoughts about it. 

Just Chill:

Chill about everything. Don’t stress while traveling. Take photographs and selfies even if people stare at you. Explore, try new food, do new things, dress up as you please – laugh and let go. Don't go wild. Or may be go wild too!  If you have forgotten any of things from the list above, even then…. chill and enjoy your vacation. You have spent money on this trip, try to make the most of it and enjoy to the maximum.

Siem Reap Cambodia                                      PC: www.ahsanqureshi.com
I would love to hear if you have any tips to add to this list :)

Happy traveling!


All photographs courtesy www.ahsanqureshi.com 


14 comments:

  1. Another useful tip would be to check websites like Skyscanner.com before buying flight tickets, especially for far off destinations for people with budget constraints. It helps you find the cheapest overall cost of getting to your destination (by mixing up airlines, flights, stopovers, etc to ensure you reach your final destination in the cheapest possible way). So you might need to change airlines and stop over a couple of times but rest assured that it's going to be as economical as possible.

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    1. Thank you! great tip :)

      and a big hug for reading my blog <3

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  2. Great tips! Another useful one is to perhaps research on cheaper ways to travel once you get to the country. Usually busses/car share (blablacar in Europe) are the cheapest way to travel. Avoid the trains/flights (unless they're dirt cheap) whenever possible :)

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  3. Amalina... Thanks .. great tip indeed. I would like to spend more money on experiences rather than traveling !

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  4. Great tips! As someone who travels a lot I definitely do all of these things and the one I agree the most with is probably traveling light. I almost never check a bag (with the exception of one time when we bought a huge thing of sunscreen for a longer trip) and I think it's the best way to get around.

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  5. We love using Airbnb when we travel! And research ahead of time helps so much. I really like to pack light, and as much as possible, to not even bother taking electronics like phones and laptops with us--they just add weight, and for me, they'll always be there when I come home! :P

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  6. These are wonderful tips! I've got two trips coming up this year (yay!) and will be utilizing these tips in my own way. Also, I've learned to try to travel as light as possible. Last trip to England, we were only allowed to use backpacks. Now I don't want to travel using anything else!

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  7. Great tips! I plan on traveling to Cuba sometime next year and these will come in handy when I'm close to planning my trip!

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  8. This is a great list! I find that just having hotel wifi at night is enough for me, don't want to be staring at my phone during the day.

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  9. I love to travel. Husband and I believe in the gift of experiences and often skimp on things to be able to travel through out the year. As our boys are older, we are hoping to instill that same desire in them. Budgeting is #1 on my travel tips. It can easily get away from you and cause some heartache.

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  10. Great tips, and I am absolutely obsessed with travel..I want to do it full time, hoping my blog leads to that someday and an online job of some sort! Thanks for sharing your great tips!1

    Valerie
    Fashion and Travel

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  11. These are such great tips! Making a budget & not trying new products are tips I'll be using for my summer trip.

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  12. Thank you everyone! I am glad you all enjoyed the post!

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  13. These are such great tips! I've never used Airbnb before, but I've heard a lot of great stuff about it! I think 'Just Chill' is my favorite tip though...enjoy the moment

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