How I’ve become smarter at this travelling stuff…
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Happy Tuesday you (or whatever day it is today)! This post is all about providing some personal tips on how I’ve become smarter at this travelling thing by avoiding popular bad travel habits. Now that I’ve seen the light (keep reading, you will too) I’m super sure that I’ve become wiser with my cash during my travels and I get to experience a given location in its finest form!
This is of course my experience as a primarily solo, adventurous (to an extent), thrifty and street-wise traveller but, as always, I do hope you enjoy the read & take a note or 2!
So here’s some of what I try to avoid on my travels:
- TRAVELLING ON A WEEKEND
There are numerous articles stating that travelling on a TUESDAY is the cheapest. Unable to confirm that as I am still a part-time unpaid travel agent for my friends and family lol, but I am certain that travelling between Friday and Sunday is more expensive! Try to avoid this!
- STAYING IN AN EXPENSIVE HOTEL
I try to be as economical as I can in regards to accommodation (as I’m hardly there) but hey that does not mean downgrading to a dingy underground hostel! My first choice of stay is always an AirBnB… relatively waaay cheaper than a ‘fancy’ hotel, you get more of a local home feel and the first hand guidance from your local host is invaluable!
With AirBnB you can literally rent out an ENTIRE HOME from as little as £15 ($18) a night! Or if you are more of a solo traveller like me you can rent out just a room for even less! I’ve stayed in over 10 AirBnB’s in the past year & I’ll take it over a 5* Hotel most days. 😉
Also, don’t underestimate the power of networking (i.e., friends of friends)… connecting with them could mean staying in a HOME abroad for FREE! (One of my best trips was spent at a friend of a friends place in San Diego for 2 weeks! ..yes, it was free).
- PAYING FOR LUGGAGE
I’m Nigerian by blood and I have a story to tell you about Nigerian’s and Luggage!! Lol… I’ll save this for another day but in short, EXTRA luggage is a necessity for most Nigerian females! This trait most certainly rubbed off on me in the early days of my travels but I’ve definitely tweaked some stuff in this area!
I can’t tell you what to pack (especially if you are a female Nigerian lol) but I can say utilise the free hand luggage allowance to the fullest! – & don’t forget you can always carry a carry-on bag (the bigger the better!) 😉
If you really have to, pay for extra luggage while purchasing your flight ticket or during check-in. NOT at the airport! I was charged a painful £70 by WOW-Air at the Airport because of a tiny suitcase!
- GETTING CABS EVERYWHERE
Cab who!? ..UBER is everywhere!
We all know Uber is not 5* quality service at times but it’s relatively CHEAP! Most main/tourist cities now have UBER so if you feel safe go for it. & hey when UBER is new in a city it is crazy cheap! I took UBER around San Juan, Puerto Rico for as little as $3 per trip. Plus you never know who YOU might meet in the driver’s seat. 😉
Have some faith in public transport while abroad also! We are spoilt in London with relatively good public transport so I still have trust issues with public transport abroad but I’m working on it. I even got the bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai instead of flying & it was such a good experience! …I got to see the Chinese countryside and it was considerably cheaper than flying!
- EATING BURGER KING ABROAD
We are all guilty of being home sick, not being able to find food we like or simply being on a tight budget. But eating at global franchises is kinda boring!! ..& it can actually be expensive at times. I know we want to head to Red Lobster when Stateside because of it’s Beyoncé references but hey when in Philly grab a Philly Cheesesteak, when in Cape Town eat some authentic biltong and when in Oslo devour that street herring!
Get some local recommendations for street food and 99% of the time you won’t be disappointed!
I’m definitely working on this one personally… while living in China for 3 months I literally had a Subway sandwich 3 times a week! *cover’s face*
- BOOKING FLIGHTS WAAAAY IN ADVANCE
The airlines capitalise on you eager beavers! They know you are super keen so they inflate the price initially before you‘ll pay for it right!?
You are probably wondering what is waaaay in advance Doyin? …I actually do not know lol. But I tend to book my long haul international flights around 2-3 months in advance rather than 8 months in advance. & if you are super last minute (as I was with my Milan trip last Nov) you can get the last minute seat filling deals.
- BEING CLOSED MINDED
Just don’t do it! You won’t enjoy your trip to its full extent!
Be open to local practices and this does not mean compromising your personal or religious morals. For me this has included watching a Phillies Baseball game (probably my first and last Baseball game lol), attending a weekly mandarin class while living in Shanghai for 3 months and eating some very very different cuisine with the locals in Hangzhou!
- BOOKING EXCURSIONS/ACTIVITIES WAAAAY IN ADVANCE
This one is dependent on the excursions but do research in advance and don’t book anything before you get to your destination unless you have to. For example, before heading to Reykjavik, Iceland in December I read multiple reviews that emphasised purchasing a ticket to the Blue Lagoon beforehand in order to guarantee entry.
In San Juan, Puerto Rico however, I did not book anything beforehand because I knew I could negotiate once I got there. I managed to go on an unbeaten path trek of the only tropical rain forest in the US with my AirBnB hosts best mate… it was personalised, affordable and we basically had the rainforest to ourselves!
- WALKING FAST
Guilty Londoner who despises sluggish walkers but I’m working on this one especially when abroad. I’m trying to take in the ambiance, the flair, the air (you get the point lol) of each moment while on my travels. I’d advice my fellow fast-paced city folks to try this too!
- FORGETTING WHO YOU ARE ON YOUR TRAVELS
This is definitely one which I remind myself of daily while on my travels. I’m a Christian by faith and church is an important aspect for me in terms of being part of a community. When abroad I try my best to check out the local church and connect with the locals. Even though language was a barrier while at church in San Juan it was all about being part of something bigger and building perspective on how they do church in San Juan.
Whatever this may look like for you, try not to leave yourself at home! 😉
- GETTING SUCKED IN BY TOURIST TRAPS
No brainer but when in a market/market type environment HAGGLE.
Don’t take the first price as the final offer. Be smart, tell the shop keeper you are going to the other store (which is probably her brothers store lol), speak some of their lingo, make them laugh and I guarantee you will be paying less!
While in Shanghai, we made frequent visits to the ‘Fake Market’ (self-explanatory kinda market lol)… I was known for haggling the life out of the vendors. From 400 Yuan to 20 Yuan for some headphones… & of course I was known for taking it too far but hey it worked!
Hope you enjoyed the read & took a note or 2!
As always… comment, let me know your thoughts below and share! Thank you 😉