Travel Tips


We’re not pretending to be pros by any means, but we definitely have some tips that we have learned along the way. Hopefully they work for you as well as they’ve worked for us!

  1. Don’t expect that everyone will understand you. Make the effort to learn key phrases (e.g. Hello, Thank you, How much, etc.). Locals appreciate the effort. Note – Download a language translator app on your phone. We used Google Translate.
  2. Know local etiquette. What may be normal for us, can be weird to someone else (e.g. public affection, hand-shakes, spitting, eye contact, etc.).
  3. Bargain when appropriate (street merchants, cabs/tuk tuk services). The rule of thumb we were told was offer 50% of their initial price. At the end of the day though, if you want something and feel like you paid a fair price then you’re gold.
  4. Credit cards are great for traveling but watch out for stores charging you 3-5% extra as well as foreign transaction fees. Also, in developing countries the credit card machines are unreliable and very often do not work.
  5. In most developing countries you cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet.
  6. Always carry toilet paper with you. Many washrooms won’t have it.
  7. If you’re on a long haul or overnight bus take extra clothes with you. Sometimes they crank the AC and it can be freezing.
  8. Finding the right accommodation can be difficult, but reading reviews can be very useful…and annoying. We used the following websites to facilitate this arduous task. Note – Also, we found hidden gems from reading travel blogs from other amateur writers.
  9. It’s hard not to believe the old woman who is telling you she carved the sculpture herself, but very (VERY) rarely is something ‘one of a kind’ or unique. Don’t fall for it.
  10. Don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Read what other travelers recommend from their experiences on their blogs. Here are a few we used.
  11. Get yourself a Microbiological UV Water Purifier, like the one made by Camelback. We used ours all the time and saved tons of money on not having to purchase bottled water, as well as doing our part to decrease the use of plastic.
  12. You’re bound to get sick on your travels, but don’t let it stop you from eating street food. Some of the best meals we’ve encountered have been from street vendors. Your best bet are the ones that are busy so you know the food is moving and not just sitting out. Also, you want to make sure your food is served piping hot or at least being kept cold. The thing we most avoid are raw vegetables.
  13. We’re not sure how people traveled before the internet and mobile phones? Here are some very helpful apps that have made our traveling so much easier.
    • (Pre-download the maps for a specific region and have access to them even off-line)
    • Currency Exchange (Another life savior)
    • Whats App (It’s remarkable how many people use this as their primary source of online chatting)
    • Uber (pre-Donald Trump) or Lift (post-Donald Trump)
    • Google Translate
  14. Don’t panic too much about bedbugs, but be vigilant. We keep our backpacks off beds and furniture and take a cursory glance at the seam along the mattress as soon as we check into a room. We have never had any (cross your fingers) but have met tons of travelers who have.
  15. Generally the easiest (and most popular) hostels to find online are party hostels. We don’t often stay at these but they tend to offer the best information regarding shuttles, tours, and most often have English speaking desk clerks.
  16. In some countries you can withdraw money directly from a bank rather than an ATM to avoid extra charges. Note – you’ll need your passport.
  17. Quite often, if you step off the tourist strip by even a block, restaurant prices will be lower and the food more authentic. Note – Look for the Menu Del Dia (Menu of the day) in Central and South America to save you some money.
  18. Many hotels/hostels will offer a free breakfast. It’s definitely nice to have a meal already taken care of.
  19. Bring sunscreen from home. It’s so expensive abroad!
  20. Walking tours! We have found that the best way to get acquainted with a new city is with walking tours. Many are even offered for free (tip your guide!).