Traveling is fun when everything goes right. Here we provide tips for Fully Independent Travelers (FIT) who are on a tight schedule. We have organised the secret tips into several sections.

Before going on your travels

Make sure your credit and debit cards work overseas. Check at you bank.

Tell your bank or financial institution where and when you are travelling, so they do not cancel your cards.

Learn how to take a decent photo to record your memories. Nothing worse than showing your photos and everyone is yawning. Give your friends and family a “wow” experience when you return.

Learn basics of first aid so that you can help yourself and others, if needed.

Get suitable secure bag for travel documents to reduce the risk of theft.

Buy a good pair of walking shoes so that your feet don’t get blisters. (very painful)

Manners and customs

Always learn a few words in the local language, like “hello”, “goodbye”, “thank you’, “no thank you” ‘yes’, ‘no” and “please”. It helps to try the language.

Understand laws and customs, especially relating to clothes and photography so that you do not offend the locals.

Packing

Keep a couple of spare plastic bags for dirty things for dirty clothes, shoes, smelly socks, etc.

Pack smartly and sensibly only taking what is needed. Check the expected weather conditions before travelling. Some airlines have reduced to 20 kg of checked baggage and 7 kg. cabin baggage.

Buy wrinkle free clothing to reduce the need for ironing. Do this at home too!

Pack sandals or thongs for shower to avoid the wet floor.

Take eye mask and ear plugs in case poor curtains or noisy hotel.

Washing

Take a travel pack that contains travel towel (sometimes there isn’t a towel available), baby/face wipes to wash (when there is no shower or it does not work), liquid laundry detergent to wash clothes in sink if there is no laundromat, and tissues (for all kinds of uses)

Food

Buy cheap food from grocery stores – great source for picnic lunches

Drink bottled water if the water is unsafe to reduce stomach upsets.

Eat carefully – avoid any tainted food. Go vegetarian if in doubt.

Money

Keep a stash of spare money hidden in case your wallet or purse is stolen.

Understand the exchange rate so you don’t lose.

Getting around

Always carry a map, either on your smartphone or printed when exploring.

Know the costs of taxi. Some taxi drivers will try to charge as much as they can. Carry a hotel card if you do not speak the local language so that you can return without fuss.

Learn the basic geography and understand shopping approach, especially the bargain hunters.

Enjoy your travel with a few secret tips by veteran travellers.