The best travel advice you'll ever get

You've heard all the cliches. Pack, then take out half. If you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford travel. Now real travellers are revealing their secrets

Your next holiday will be a breeze with our totally amazing advice. Photo / 123RF
Your next holiday will be a breeze with our totally amazing advice. Photo / 123RF

The first time you go overseas, you're bombarded with advice from well-meaning family and friends.

Pack, then take out half. Roll, don't fold. If you can't afford insurance, you can't afford travel. Never leave your wallet in your back pocket.

But are the cliches all they're cracked up to be? Travellers are taking to Reddit to put common travel tips to the test.

TRAVEL DEEP, NOT FAR

If a place is worth going to it's worth spending at least a night or two.

"Give yourself time to wander and get lost in a city," wrote RSilent, adding if you see a line of people who look like locals waiting to get into a place, ask what it is.

"It's better to have an additional three or four hours than to rush for a connection," said Apalvaldr.

"You don't have to see everything, just enjoy the place you stay in."

Several Redditers noted the difference between being a "tourist" and a "traveller".

"I'm not sure if others make this distinction, but I do," said RSilent.

"Travellers are respectful or people and places, recognise that they're just visiting where other live, and want to immerse themselves in a new place.

"Tourists are inappropriately loud and obnoxious, live entirely within their comfort zones, are close minded, and want to merely check the box for places."

LEARN TO SAY 'G'DAY'

Even if your accent butchers the local language, get to know a few phrases.

"Whenever I asked Parisians in French if they spoke English, they immediately started speaking English to me and were very nice," wrote sandrine999.

Parisians are much more likely to help if you try to speak French. Photo / 123RF
Parisians are much more likely to help if you try to speak French. Photo / 123RF

"Contrast this to a scene I watched outside Gare du Nord: big group of American tourists shouting 'Do you speak English?' at every random person on the sidewalk. Not a single person helped them."

"And even if you're worried you're saying it wrong, just try. I've been to many countries and seen people attempt to greet locals in the locals dialect and get it wrong, but the locals laugh appreciatively and then commence to help them," said IAM_trying_my_best.

It's also important to show respect for the local people, and respect the differences.

"Don't start every sentence with 'Well at home we ...', and then not-so-subtly imply wherever you come from is somehow vastly superior," said RSilent.

TAKE SECURITY PRECAUTIONS

Always keep your wallet and in your front pocket, or in a secure bag.

"I go a step further and put it in my coat's inner pocket, the one on my chest," said HeisenbergDK. "Then I zip up that pocket, and then I zip my coat/jacket."

"Don't give your passport to anyone," advises littlepurplepanda.

Keep your valuables secure, and don't take anything you're not prepared to lose. Photo / 123RF
Keep your valuables secure, and don't take anything you're not prepared to lose. Photo / 123RF

"Once, walking around a foreign country, a 'policeman' stopped me and in the street asked me to give him my passport so he could 'check it'. I had it secured on my body underneath clothing, but no way was I handing over my passport to someone on the street. I said 'of course, my hotel is just over there, they have my passport at reception'.

He hesitated, and said 'OK, move on'," said IAM_trying_my_best.

It's also worth emailing yourself a copy of all your important travel documents.

"As long as you have an internet connection you should be able to get to them should you need to," wrote Kruzada.

"Also take a photo of things like your laptop (if you travel with it) or expensive items, and email those photos to yourself too," advised IAM_trying_my_best.

"Don't bring anything that cannot be replaced," added kim - fatassian.

TO PLAN OR NOT TO PLAN

This comes down to personal preference: some like a concrete itinerary, others like to wing it.

"Not planning before you go is a sure way to miss stuff you're going to regret, and end up spending more and having more hassle getting accommodation and ground transportation," said blueeyes_austin.

Research, but don't plan everything. You never know who you'll meet. Photo / 123RF
Research, but don't plan everything. You never know who you'll meet. Photo / 123RF

"I'll research all that in advance so I've got ideas when I'm there. However, more often than not there'll be places I'll only find about when I'm already there. Not having anything booked means it's easier for me to fit those in, rather than having a fixed plan to modify," wrote CantLookUp.

"The best trips are those when you let things happen to you," said myrealnameisntluca.

"Meeting random people, deciding the morning what you'll do and where you'll end up in the afternoon, and feeling completely free."

DEALING WITH JETLAG

"Do not add or subtract time from your home time zone. It will only make you feel tired," advises Colorancher. "Just change your watch and live in the new time zone."

"Change it at the beginning of your flight," added Squindig.

Redditers generally agree the best way to adjust to a new time zone it to set a goal.

"Go to bed at the time you should be. Don't take a nap," said travel64.

PACKING ESSENTIALS

Packing obviously depends on the trip you're planning to take, however, Redditers generally agree that less is more.

"Pack light and necessary," advises Cubbstock. "Leave room in the bag."

"Never, ever check luggage," advises superduperly1, saying the last thing they want to do on holiday is wait around a luggage carousel.

"Do everything humanly possible to do all your packing into one carry-on," agreed Dosflores64. "You will be so freaking happy."

Bring your bathers. You never know when you'll find a lake or hot springs. Photo / 123RF
Bring your bathers. You never know when you'll find a lake or hot springs. Photo / 123RF

However, there are a few basic essentials no-one should travel without.

"Always bring a bathing suit. Even in cold countries. Even in winter," wrote ArcadiaRhodes.

"I think most of the swimsuits I own were purchased because I was travelling and unexpectedly encountered a pool/beach/hot tub. You'd think I'd have learned by now," agreed SherpaLali.

"Don't forget to bring a towel," added ImMrMeeseeksLookAtMe.

NAVIGATING THE MENU

"I always ask the waiter to just bring me their favourite. Very occasionally you will end up with the most expensive item on the list but usually you get a great meal that your friends envy," advised Synthetic_Allergy.

"Order something you have never seen in another restaurant," said IBVn.

Don't be scared to try the local food. Chances are it's delicious. Photo / 123RF
Don't be scared to try the local food. Chances are it's delicious. Photo / 123RF

And while eating a familiar meal can combat homesickness, it's generally discouraged.

"When I was in Florence, Italy, a girl in my hostel ate at the Hard Rock Cafe two out of three nights, this drove me crazy considering we are in a city and country known for its food and wine," commented qahwa123.

"I saw tourists lining up for the Olive Garden in Times Square, and just shook my head with disbelief. NYC has some of the best Italian food," said Xyston - ulex.

And while food one of the best parts of travel, be prepared in case it goes awry.

"Always bring anti-diarrhoeal medication. ALWAYS," wrote 704t.

TRAVELLING ON A BUDGET

Saving money was one of the most contentious parts of the thread.

"Airline quality matters, even in economy," said samstown23. "Unless you've got an ultra low fare, low cost carriers aren't worth bothering with, especially on long hauls."

"Rubbish ... Save yourself the cash and be a bit uncomfortable for a while," argued c_dawg7.

Trains and buses take you straight to the action, unlike planes. Photo / 123RF
Trains and buses take you straight to the action, unlike planes. Photo / 123RF

Where possible, many Redditers suggest taking alternate forms of transport.

"Overnight buses and trains save money on accommodation. I always take this option if it's available," said babywizard.

"If you're in a place that has a good train system (like most of Europe) take trains from city to city. Trains tend to be cheap and fairly efficient," wrote RSilent.

"Consider travelling in a shoulder season. Prices will usually be better and places won't be as crowded."

Comments have been edited for clarity and style.

- news.com.au

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