69 Timeless Travel Tips and Tricks | After 4+ Years On the Road

Oyyeee!

Today, we’re talking timeless travel tips and tricks designed to make life on the road so much easier.

Hell, just better.

After traveling around Latin American for 4+ years, I’ve learned a thing or three about life on the road and living good while abroad.

You won’t find any stories here.

No tall tales.

No hype.

Just tips and tricks to make sure your adventures are sailing smoothly from the jump.

69 Timeless Travel Tips and Tricks

But enough of my fluff, let’s dive into the meat and potatoes of this post.

The rice and beans.

Ya tu sabes.

Here are some timeless travel tips and tricks:

#1.

Just. Walk. More.

Walking is the absolute best way to learn about the city, people, and more.

If you’re new to a city, just walk anywhere that’s under 30 minutes away by foot.

Even though this is basic as hell…

It’s my number one travel tip for a damn good reason.

#2.

Along the same lines…

Smile more.

You’re a foreigner in someone else’s country.

Be friendly. Be polite.

And make sure to smile, especially when dealing with a language barrier.

Doesn’t mean be a pushover. Doesn’t mean take shit from people.

It just means be friendly while visiting a foreign country.

#3.

Oh, and open your mouth more.

Play the dumb, lost tourist card.

Ask questions when you’re lost or confused.

Get your nose out of the phone & communicate with the humans around you.

Seriously.

Just use your words. You don’t need an app for everything.

People all around the world are friendly and willing to help a confused traveler.

You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help you out.

#4.

Make local friends.

This is HUGE.

Don’t just hang out with the foreigners you meet at the hostel.

You didn’t travel all the way around the world to hang out with the same cookie cutter people you did back home.

Hell no!

So meet some locals, too.

Not only will you enjoy hanging with these people, but they have a unique perspective and can show you places around the city where no guidebook or hostel will take you.

Checking out Lake Chapala – near Guadalajara, Mexico.

#5.

How to travel more? How to hit the road ASAP?

You need two things…

  • Time
  • Money

That’s it.

Punto. Blanco. Periodo.

Don’t overcomplicate traveling the world.

But, how do you get more of both?

Well, that’s fairly simple…

Build a scalable online business that allows you to work while you travel.

P.S: Luckily, that’s easier than ever before. I can teach you how to do just that. Just click here!

#6.

DON’T be afraid of traveling alone every now and then.

Hell, that’s often how you expand your comfort zone, make new friends, and create memories that last a lifetime.

If you’ve never traveled alone, you owe it to yourself to hit the road solo dolo one time.

Seriously, some of my best memories were from traveling around alone and making connections out of thin air.

I cherish those memories just as much as I cherish the ones made when traveling around with buddies.

#7.

Get out of the Airbnb, hotel, hostel, or whatever.

As much as possible.

It’s one of the more basic travel tips, but don’t waste your day in a new city or country sitting in a room.

If you’re sleeping off a hangover until noon, moping around the hostel all afternoon – then traveling won’t exactly be a fulfilling experience.

#8.

Focus on things you can’t do back home.

If you’re from the mountains, spend time at the beach.

And vice versa.

For example, I get one hell of a kick driving ATVs on the beach and cruising jet skis in the ocean.

I can’t do that back home, as I’m from Kansas.

So I prioritize doing these things when traveling around and living near the beach.

#9.

STOP Overplanning shit.

Just chill.

Let the adventure unwind naturally.

Travel shouldn’t be scheduled down to the minute.

There should be a flow to things.

Pick a couple activities you MUST do in each city. Then let the rest of your plans just happen.

They will.

Te lo juro.

Digital nomad life in Mazatlan, Mexico.

#10.

Stop City Hopping.

Noob travelers all tend to make the same mistake…

Trying to cram too much into a couple weeks vacation.

Here’s the tip:

You’ll have more fun spending two weeks in one city or one week in two cities than you will squeezing 5+ cities in a short trip.

#11.

Get off the beaten path.

And this is coming from a guy who got jumped by a dude with a knife on crystal meth…

Just a few weeks ago!

But here’s the thing:

None of my best travel memories were made on group tours I bought from the hotel staff.

Hell No!

The best times I had were when I got off the beaten path and had a real adventure.

#12.

Always keep a photocopy of your passport in your wallet or purse at all times.

Cops in foreign countries can be real dicks at times.

Seriously.

If you don’t have a copy of your passport, they might hassle you more than they should.

And by hassle, I mean try to get a bribe out of you.

#13.

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it, again.

Pack less.

For real. You’re packing too much shit.

Just trust me.

Travel is so much easier the less stuff you have.

Especially on a short trip.

#14.

Carry-on ONLY.

Especially for short trips.

Along the same lines…

Only pack what you can carry on – unless you’re staying for more than one month.

If you’re staying for over a month in one city, then bringing a small suitcase is acceptable, as well.

Surprisingly, some people really struggle with this.

If this is hard for you, buy a small suitcase.

And only bring it. Nothing else.

This will force you to only pack the essentials.

#15.

Pack less, but pack nice.

You don’t want to be that slob in the club with cargo pants and hiking boots on.

Trust me…

Nobody likes that bro.

Always bring at least one nice pair of jeans, a dress shirt, and some dress shoes.

If you don’t have any space in your luggage, simply wear your one nice outfit on the place.

Los Broskis en Mexico!

#16.

Speaking of packing…

Buy merino wool socks.

This is the easiest way to save space in your luggage.

Instead of 7-12+ pairs of socks for a couple week trip, you only need 2-3 pairs.

Click here to learn about my favorite pairs of merino wool socks.

#17.

Merino wool shirts are dope, too.

Some hate em’ – others love them.

I think they’re fantastic and only travel with 2-3 merino shirts at any given time.

They look dope and allow me to travel lighter than ever before.

Here’s my favorite merino wool shirt for day-to-day wear.

#18.

A simple travel tip here…

Always buy TSA-approved travel locks for any and all of your luggage.

Checked luggage should always be locked.

You’ll also want to lock away any electronics and valuables you can in hostels and low-end hotels.

#19.

Never check electronics.

Keep your computer, camera, etc. on you while traveling. In a backpack or carrying case that you always have access to.

Whether you’re on a bus, train, or airplane…

Never let your electronics out of your sight.

#20.

It’s cheaper to buy a few small items than pack them.

This makes it easy to pack light, too.

For example…

-> Buy a few tank tops for the gym or beach when you arrive.
-> Buy a blender bottle for the gym when you arrive.

Instead of paying for another checked bag, you’re far better off spending $10-20 bucks on items like these when you arrive.

This is especially true if you’ll be somewhere for a couple months or more.

#21.

Organization is king!

Especially when traveling with electronics, chargers, and the like.

I keep all my cables, chargers, cords organized in a carrying case & it makes life 10X easier when moving around.

Something like this is insanely useful:

#22.

Fellas…

Stop packing all your shaving shit. It’s a huge waste of space while traveling around.

You can either buy it when you arrive.

Or…

Go to the barber a couple times a week for a shave.

It’s $4 USD w/ tip for a quick bread trim in my village by the sea.

#23.

Stop bringing so much damn cash with you.

Seriously, I don’t get why y’all do this. Packing thousands of dollars while traveling around is what people used to do in the 90s, fam.

Just. Don’t. Do. It.

Unless you’re going to Haiti or some “fourth-world” country, you won’t have an issue getting cash from an ATM.

They’re everywhere these days…

And they always have English language options.

#24.

Oh…

Just make sure you enter a travel warning for whatever credit/debit cards you plan to use on the road.

I can’t tell you how many issues me and others have had because of a traveling warning issue with a card.

This. Is. Important.

Backpacker lifestyle in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

#25.

To avoid ATM fees worldwide…

Get a Charles Schwab Checking Account.

Seriously.

No foreign transaction fees and they refund all ATM fees, too.

This is the best debit card for travelers.

If you can get one, just do it.

#26.

Start traveling “Hacking” ASAP.

If you’re from the United States, have decent credit, and an income source…

You should never pay full-price for flights in 2018!

Personally, I’ve found this card to be IDEAL.

Massive sign up bonus and great flexibility for world travelers:

Click here to check it out.

Highly recommended as an intro to travel hacking.

#27.

If you’re traveling to and fro from the ole’ USA often, then joining the Global Entry Program is an absolute MUST.

Check it out.

It’s not expensive and will save you tons of time.

TONS.

A no-brainer for people staying around the Americas.

#28.

Download an offline Google Map of the city you’re visiting and/or the neighborhood you’re living in.

This is huge, especially when walking around the city all day.

Instead of burning through data, you already have the map download and don’t have to waste the money.

This is huge in places like Mexico City, where the streets are often in circles and diagonals, and places like Cuba that lack Internet access.

#29.

Always have proof of return ticket or onward travel.

Many airlines and countries will make you buy one if you don’t.

Especially bullshit budget airlines like Spirit.

If your travel is more open-ended, check out Nomad Proof for free “fake” tickets.

Don’t let these scam airlines force you to buy a ticket you don’t want.

Caribbean living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

#30.

Download the FLIO APP.

This app makes airport travel easier than ever before.

The thing has Wi-Fi codes, lounge access information, flight schedules, and more.

If you’re hopping around a lot, this thing can be a lifesaver – especially when you’ve got a long layover.

#31.

Airbnb > Hotels >Hostels

Always stay in an “entire apartment” on Airbnb when your budget permits it.

Personally, the only time I don’t is when I go to a resort.

Otherwise, Airbnb is better than hotels and hostels damn near 100% of the time!

Click here to get $40 off your first Airbnb rental!

#32.

One caveat…

Stay in hostels if you’re 25 years old and solely want to party, meet people, and get laid.

You’ll hate yourself after 5-7 days of said lifestyle, but it can be fun as hell for a few nights here and there when you’re a young buck.

Keywords…

When you’re young.

#33.

Oh and…

But don’t believe the hype.

Hostels aren’t the best places to meet good-looking members of the opposite sex.

That’s horseshit.

No one likes banging their head on the bunk bed while switching positions.

Seriously.

#34.

Airbnb Tip…

Confirm all rules and regulations.

Some Airbnb treat guests like children – not adults.

So, always confirm rules with your host. You’re not paying good money for a private apartment to be told what you can and can’t do.

And NO!

This doesn’t mean you can live a “hookers and cocaine” lifestyle out of your Airbnb – even if there are no rules.

That’s generally frowned upon – no matter the lodging type.

It just means you’ll be able to live like an adult without issues.

#35.

Location over everything.

When booking an Airbnb or hotel, always stay in the best neighborhood you can.

An average apartment in the best neighborhood is better than a luxury apartment in the suburbs.

Te prometo!

Lima, Peru living.

#36.

If you don’t know which neighborhoods are best in the city you’re going, get online and search for these things in the city:

  • Starbucks
  • Yoga Studios
  • Coworking Spaces

If a neighborhood has those three things, then it’s posh and fairly safe.

I typically pick a neighborhood by how many yoga studios I can find in it. The more the merrier.

#37.

Quick apartment and Airbnb tip for all the digital nomads out there…

Always ask for an Internet speed test screenshot to confirm wifi speeds if you work online.

Just send any host this link. 

If a host can’t provide this, then he or she is probably not someone you want to rent from in the first place.

#38.

Always negotiate long stays on Airbnb.

It’s baffling how many people just accept prices on Airbnb.

Don’t. Do. That.

When you do that, you’re getting ripped off and paying inflated tourist prices.

If you’re staying for more than a week, a 10-20% discount is normal.

If you’re staying more than a month, a 20-50% discount is normal.

For stays of 3+ months, you’re better off renting something when you arrive.

#39.

How to rent apartments when arriving in a city?

Walk around and call signs in windows.

I’ve yet to be in a city in Latin America that didn’t have many places available for rent – simply by calling signs in windows.

Usually, a stay of 3+ months is required.

#40.

Balcony views make life better.

If you’re booking an Airbnb/hotel, try and find something with a big balcony.

There’s nothing like looking out on a new city with a fresh cup of coffee.

…It’s like looking at land you’re about to conquer.

Errrrr, at least explore a bit.

#41.

Always check the weather before booking a flight.

If you visit a city in rainy season, your whole trip could be ruined.

Just get on Wikipedia and look at climate data for a city.

Skip rainy season and any months where you don’t get 100+ hours of sunshine in said city.

I screwed this up in both San Jose, Costa Rica and Lima, Peru. 

Damn near ruined both trips.

Hiking in Ibague, Colombia.

#42.

I can’t read much while on the move.

My stomach starts churning and I’ll end up feeling sick after awhile.

Luckily, audiobooks make moving around so much more enjoyable these days.

Audible audiobooks are a lifesaver while on planes, trains, and in automobiles.

Seriously…

If you’re going to be traveling around a bit, download an audiobook or three:

#43.

Generally, one week should be the minimum in a city.

For digital nomads and remote workers, 2-3+ months tends to be a sweet spot…

Where you can still get shit done work-wise, but are able to explore and get to know a city.

Find a rhythm.

Everyone is different. Just don’t try to move too much.

#44.

Always take official taxis from the airport.

This is less of a problem than it used to be, but far better to be safe when traveling w/ all your things and electronics.

Just head to the taxi stand in airport with words “official” on it.

They cost more…

But they’re safe.

#45.

Taxis are damn near worthless these days.

Take Uber instead of street taxis.

While you should be walking as much as possible, you’ll still end up taking a lot of Ubers.

Uber is safer than a street taxi and often, 30% cheaper.

#46.

Don’t be afraid of public transportation, either.

A bus or metro trip isn’t going to hurt you.

And it gives you a unique perspective on how locals move around their city, too.

Oh yeah, and it’ll be damn cheap.

#47.

I’ve already said make some local friends, but…

Don’t be afraid to meet up with people from the Internet, either.

And I’m not talking Tinder dates, ladies and gentlemen.

Some of my best friends I’ve met online.

We travel together, book luxury apartments, and engage in abject degeneracy from time to time.

Highly recommended.

Plus, you’ll easily be able to tell if you vibe with someone by how they talk online.

#48.

Prioritize your sleep while traveling.

This is essential, as a trip could be ruined by bad sleep due to unforeseen circumstances.

Here’s how:

  • Bring multiple pairs of ear plugs
  • Download a white noise app on phone
  • Read reviews to make sure apartment you’re renting isn’t loud

Oh, and my best sleep tip for travelers?

Pack some of this stuff. 

Seriously.

CBD oil is God’s gift to a great night sleep while on the road.

The best CBD oil I’ve found.

#49.

If you’re traveling to an exotic locale where you don’t speak the language, make sure you pick up a few words before you arrive.

Begin able to communicate just a little bit with the locals will make traveling 10X less stressful.

Plus, a little language learning is sure to keep you safer, too.

#50.

Oh, and studying a language is incredibly rewarding.

There’s nothing like being able to communicate, talk shit, and even flirt in a foreign language.

It’s a damn good time once you start getting the hang of it.

I learned Spanish through a program called BaseLang and couldn’t recommend it enough:

Click here to start learning at a discount!

#51:

Speaking of flirting in a foreign language…

Dating is often the best teacher.

And there’s a couple reasons for that:

-> You get a private tutor for hours on end – for free!
-> And you have “incentive” to communicate – if ya know what I’m saying

Combine studying a foreign language with dating someone who only speaks said language and you’ll be conversational in no time.

#52.

Speaking of dating…

Meeting and flirting with someone from a far-off land is certainly an enjoyable part of travel.

Hell, there’s a reason many bros head to Colombia & never leave.

And it’s certainly not the bandeja paisa, fam.

#53.

But don’t let it consume all of your trips.

Don’t become a Tinder swiping zombie who tries to go on multiple dates per day and does absolutely nothing else his/her whole time in the city.

I’ve been there.

Done that.

Would. Not. Recommend.

#54.

In fact…

I can’t recommend deleting dating apps enough.

Get rid of Tinder.

Get rid of Bumble.

And actually get to know the city you’re in by interacting with people in person.

Walk around. Get wasted at the bar midday. Just be yourself.

It’s far more rewarding, and here’s the secret…

You’ll meet far better people off dating apps.

Better humans.

NIghtlife in Bogota, Colombia.

#55.

Many people go on vacation for a week or two…

And let their health go to shit.

Then they get back to the “real world” and talk about how hard it is to stay in shape while traveling.

No.

It’s not.

You just got drunk every day and ate pancakes every morning. The conveniently forgot to get an ounce of exercise your whole trip.

Don’t be this guy.

#56.

If you’re only on the road for a few days, sure…

Let loose for a bit.

But don’t be a sloth for a week or two straight.

You don’t need a gym to stay in shape while traveling.

No excuses these days, y’all!

While traveling, you can easily:

  • Go for a run
  • Do a couple hundred pushups in your room
  • Hit abs for 10 minutes at the beach
  • Swim for 30 minutes in the ocean
  • A few pull-ups off a tree branch

It’s not hard to get a little exercise in each day while on the road. If it is, you’re just making excuses.

#57.

You’re likely to drink more while traveling.

And that’s perfectly fine.

But pounding 15+ beers a day isn’t healthy for anyone.

Instead…

-> Drink hard liquor mixed with soda water and fresh squeezed limes

This is the healthiest way to be a functional alcoholic.

Red wine is a solid substitute, too. Just make sure you’re getting a quality bottle and not some cheap shit.

#58.

Back to the gym.

If you’re on the road for more than a week or two, every single city in the world had a gym these days.

Almost every one of em.

I’ve been to sleepy beachside village of fewer than 1,000 people and there was a gym.

Hell, some beachside villages have great gyms.

Overall…

It’s a great idea to join a gym if you plan to stay in a city for a bit.

#59.

On that note…

Never pack protein powder.

It’s simply a waste of space in your luggage.

You don’t need it, as you can get ample protein from food.

And you can always buy it.

Protein powder is available everywhere in the world these days. Often from the same brands you buy back home.

Seeing the sights in Parque Central, Havana.

#60.

The easiest way to save money while on the road?

Cook your own meals.

Seriously, you can easily save $20 USD a day by cooking out of your apartment instead of eating out a couple times a day.

#61.

…But what’s the fun in that?!

Personally, I find cooking breakfast and then eating out 1-2X per day is best – depending if I gym or not.

It takes a few minutes to cook some eggs and oatmeal. Or some greek yogurt.

Plus, it’s healthy.

And you’ll save $5-8 bucks or so a day by doing so.

#62.

Eat your biggest meal at lunch.

If you want to save money and still go out to eat, do it at lunchtime.

You’ll find lunch specials are often half the price of dinner – for the exact same meal.

Sometimes you even get soups, salad, and dessert included with lunch for one cheap price.

#63.

Coworking spaces are a digital nomad’s best friend.

They help you get out of the apartment, guarantee fast wifi, & offer social interactions and opportunities galore.

Every single time I’ve been to a coworking space, I was glad I did.

If working remotely, check em’ out.

#64.

If you’re building a business online, don’t let traveling interfere with that.

Get your work done first thing in the morning.

Then head out to explore.

This is the more important of travel tips for online hustlers.

This is far better than doing things the other way around, as your work will always be in the back of your head.

Personally, I can never relax for the day until I’ve accomplished my work. Doesn’t matter if I’m on the road or not.

#65.

Document your travels.

No, you don’t want to be the guy that’s glued to his phone or camera at all times.

But you don’t want to be the dude who got NO photos from his whole trip, either.

Grab a few photos for Instagram.

Maybe take some video.

Just. Document. It.

#66.

Travel insurance is always a good idea.

As much as I hate to say it, having insurance helps in shitty situations.

For example, if I would have had insurance, I’d be getting a replacement iPhone sent down to Mexico right now – as I was robbed the other day.

This is the best company I’ve found:

#67.

Be a “Yes” man while on the road.

Embrace adventure.

If people invite you somewhere and they seem semi-normal, say “Yes” and embrace your adventurous spirit.

Hell, that’s the whole point of traveling.

Going on an adventure.

Don’t travel halfway across the globe to do the exact same shit with the same type people.

#68.

But don’t get too comfortable.

While the vast majority of people you’ll meet on the road will be good-natured, one bad apple can spoil the whole trip.

The easiest way to avoid these folks?

Don’t get too comfortable as a foreigner in a far-off land.

#69.

And last but certainly not least:

DO NOT…

Go into an old, abandoned home with the best views of the city – if it’s also a trap house that crystal meth addicts like to frequent.

That’s a bad life choice.

You might get robbed ;(

Like I did!

Ridin’ dirty in Cuba.

Timeless Travel Tips and Tricks From an Addict!

Ayyyeee!

Over 4K words crafted to make your next trip smoother than ever before.

If you’ve got any tips I missed, sound off in the comments.

As ya boy is always looking to learn new travel tips and tricks.

But for now…

These timeless travel tips and tricks should suffice.

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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Kenneth Mueller - October 6, 2018

Dang Jake,

Were you burning mod when you wrote this? I’m giving the GorillaMind a try. Thanks for the referral. I think that’s more my style of nootropic than the mod. Yeah. I’d say the stuff works just by judging the content on this post. Thanks for lifting…

Reply
    Jake D - October 7, 2018

    Hah nah man! Just fresh coffee and a whole hell of a lot of energy.

    But there’s no doubt both Mod and Gorilla Mind do work.

    Reply
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