When it comes to travelling, people LOVE to give their Top Travel Tips. And I have some of my own for you.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” – Saint Augustine
For those of you that know me, you know that I love to travel overseas and always have my next trip in the works. Egypt & Jordan 2024, here I come! So, if you also suffer from Wanderlust (a strong desire to wander and explore the world), you too would have found the last few years difficult. Trips that were planned for 2020 and beyond had to be cancelled or postponed. Instead, we all sat around impatiently waiting for the day the international borders would reopen. Now that things are almost back to normal, I thought it would be a good time to share my Top 5 Travel Tips.
Top Travel Tip 1
First in my top travel tips is GST. Did you know that you may be able to claim a GST refund at the airport prior to travelling overseas? It’s just like getting a 10% discount on your item purchases!! I have done this before when I purchased my noise cancelling headphones and camera gear. As always, there are some rules. You have to spend at least $300 and the item has to include GST. Make sure you have the tax invoice and the purchase needs to be within 60 days of departure. You also need to be prepared to take all your goods on board as carry-on luggage. Sorry, it won’t work for that new flat-screen TV. For full details – click here.
Top Travel Tip 2
In a world where smart phones rule, we all need access to mobile data. How else will we post our holiday snaps on Facebook or Instagram while we are away? Even if you’re not ‘social’ in that sense, you might still want emails or mobile banking options. Using “free Wifi” at the local McDonalds is not safe.
I always check first with my mobile carrier what deals they have for travel data when planning ahead. However, most of the time it’s cheaper to grab yourself a local sim card when you arrive. Just replace the one in your phone or for the more tech savvy, use a mobile dongle. This way, if you are traveling as a couple or in a group, you can all “hotspot” to that dongle for data use and share the cost and convenience. This will guarantee no nasty phone bills upon your return.
Top Travel Tip 3
Once upon a time, the only way to book your accommodation was via a travel agent or directly with the hotel. These days, I tend to use websites like booking.com or Airbnb.
Airbnb is great if you are travelling with a group of people. Back in 2018, we took a trip to Venice with family (6 adults and 2 children). We got a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom apartment in the main part of town for a LOT less than it would have cost for 3 separate hotel rooms. It also came with a kitchen so we were able to eat in more often and save on restaurants.
When it’s just my husband and I, we use booking.com as most of the hotels allow you book now, pay later with the option to cancel without penalty up to 72 hours before the date of stay. This means we can lock in our accommodation early and continue to look for better deals as we get closer to our trip. I like having the security of knowing I definitely have a bed for the night but can snag some last-minute deals and cancel the original booking before the cutoff date.
Top Travel Tip 4
While travelers’ cheques still exist, the post-covid world has moved further in the direction of paying for things digitally. While having a small amount of local currency is important, you don’t want to carry too much cash. This leaves you with the option of using your credit card, VISA debit card or a travel money card. Before you head off, check with your bank to see if they will charge “foreign transaction/currency conversion fees”. Not all banks charge a fee and I was caught out when I changed banks and didn’t realise my new card had a 3% foreign transaction fee…ouch! If your bank does charge fees, look into the option of a travel money card which allows you to preload Australian dollars and then convert them to the currency you need. Anything you don’t use can be cashed out when you get home – or saved for the next trip.
Top Travel Tip 5
Frequent Flyer Points
And lastly in my top travel tips, while we aren’t in the business of recommending credit cards, the reality is they’re out there! Many of which come with a Frequent Flyers program. Problem is, lots of people tend to forget they exist or fail to check the points balance. Even if you can’t get across the globe, perhaps you can pop to a new city here in Australia and explore off the back of some forgotten points! Every dollar saved is a dollar you can spend elsewhere OR use in a convincing argument to the family why this trip is a GREAT idea as it just got cheaper!
Follow my footsteps
While I am not one to put my face in FRONT of the camera, I quite love putting it behind. Being able to capture the beautiful scenery, architecture and landscapes of the places I visit brings me joy. Feel free to follow my travel journeys via Instagram here.
Thanks for reading! Oh and a quick bonus tip, don’t forget to back up your digital photos! Nobody wants that heartbreak. At least 2 places, if not 3. Hardware is always changing and doesn’t last forever. And print out your favourites – you’ll enjoy them more this way.