Best Travel Tips From 20 Years Traveling the World

Written By: The Planet D

It all started with a five-week trip to Thailand in 2000. We fell in love with travel, but we’ve had our fair share of mishaps over the years. From being airlifted from the Amazon to getting lost on Swiss Rail, we made a lot of travel mistakes. So we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of our best travel tips from the things we learned over the past 20 years of traveling the world.

We’ve done everything from cycling the continent of Africa to driving a car from England to Mongolia. By traveling both independently, with groups, and for business to 110 countries over the past two decades, we learned a lot.

Our Best Travel Tips

Our Best Travel Tips

Table of Contents

So are you ready to make the most of your travels when we can all hit the road again? Let’s get started with these top tips for traveling the world in 2021!

Money Travel Tips

Money Making Travel Tips from Professional Travelers
Travel Tip #1 – Don’t Go Into Debt

1. Don’t Go Into Debt

This is one of the most important tips for traveling we can give you. Don’t spend beyond your means. You’ll regret every moment of your travels if you come back home from a trip of a lifetime only to face a mountain of debt.

If you can’t afford to travel internationally yet, do some adventures in your own backyard. When Dave and I were dreaming of traveling the world, we explored a lot of our home province of Ontario, Canada. Being in nature weekends got us out of our rut and inspired us to try new things.

As you explore your backyard, home, you can save money and a plan to travel the world. For us, we put away a lot of money by doing adventures close to home and within a year we were on a trip around the world.

  • Read how you can save money for travel here.

2. Always Get Travel Insurance

Travel Tips for a great vacation
Get Travel Insurance

This is seriously one of the best travel tips we can offer. Get travel insurance before you leave home. A lot of people say, “I only need travel insurance if I am going off the beaten path” but they are wrong. Accidents can happen anywhere. Dave and I were on a luxury cruise a few years ago and he slipped on a set of stairs and broke his back. If we didn’t have travel insurance, we would have been stuck paying nearly $100,000 dollars for the air ambulance and hospital bills. We can say with certainty to purchase travel insurance.

3. Hire Local Guides

Top Travel Tips from years of Traveleing
Hire a Local Guide

By hiring local guides, you are directly supporting the local economy. It cuts out the middle man and helps local families. Plus, hiring locals will help you save money. When you book tours overseas or online, you are paying the middle man, the tour operator, and the rent for an expensive office. When you book locally, the money is going directly into that person’s pocket. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends and immerse in local culture. They have often invited us to their homes and given us a more meaningful travel experience.

4. Apply for a Rewards Travel Credit Card

Best Travelling tips for cheap flights
Save money and get upgrades with rewards

I know we said do not go into debt, but we still feel that credit cards are key to traveling in style and boosting your travel budget. Using a good rewards credit card will help you save money for travel. Rewards add up quickly and offer a lot of perks like free travel, free upgrades, and late checkout. Plus, a lot of cards offer huge signing bonuses that you can put towards your flight to help you travel the world.

But note – We always make sure to pay off our credit card monthly and never carry a high limit. To decide on the rewards credit card that works fo you, check out this list of all the best travel credit cards in one place.

5. Debit Card and Credit Cards

Before you travel, let your bank and credit card companies know of your travel plans. If they suddenly notice a purchase overseas, they may lock your credit cards. Plus, be sure to carry a few different cards. We’ve had our debit card blocked in Cuba, eaten at an ATM in Istanbul, and our blocked in Sudan even after informing our banks about our travel plans. In Sri Lanka, we tried 3 different bank and credit cards before we could finally get money out of the ATM. It’s good to have a few different cards from different banks on hand to be prepared for all the reasons above.

6. Cash in Small Bills

We’re Canadian, but we always have a couple of hundred US dollars in small bills for tipping when we arrive at our hotel or for the ride from the airport. Whether you are traveling in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, or Europe, US dollars work everywhere. Also, it’s good to have some cash on hand at all times in case of an emergency – USD is the most widely accepted around the world.

Tours and Travel Style

Best Travel Tips for Free tours
Take advantage of free walking tours

7. Take Advantage of Free Walking Tours

Whenever we get to a new city, we join a free walking tour. It’s a great way to get your bearings around town. This is one of the best travel tips that we didn’t even know until we’d been traveling around the world for a few years. But these free walking tours are awesome! Usually the free walking tours are better than the tours you book ahead of time online. They are led by locals and you only pay what you feel is comfortable at the end of the tour. We usually suggest $10 per person.

8. Get a City Pass

Travel tips to save you money

When visiting any city, we recommend getting a city pass. We use them to save money by bundling attractions. If you are spending a few days in a city and want to see all the major tourist attractions, we highly recommend getting a City Pass. It gives you access to public transit and it allows you to skip the lines at major tourist sites. Our Favourite City Pass Bundles are CityPass for USA and Canada, and Leisure Pass for Europe.

9. Choose Tours Wisely

Tips for choosing the right tour company

We made a lot of these mistakes in our early years of travel and that is why we really wanted to share this very important travel tip. When choosing tours, make sure you go with a responsible company. Ask questions.

Don’t swim with dolphins in captivity, don’t ride elephants, and don’t chase wildlife. In Chiang Mai we looked for elephant sanctuaries and everyone claimed that they were one. When we asked questions we found out that they let tourists ride elephants and they weren’t really a sanctuary at all.

If you do find yourself on a tour where your guide is being unethical or having a negative impact on the environment, wildlife or culture, speak up and tell them you are not happy. Guides often think they need to pick up the turtle or chase the dolphins to make the tourists happy or get a tip.

10. Respect Local Culture

Local Travel Tips

When visiting a new destination one of the best travel tips we can give is to learn about the culture and customs. Before you travel, do a bit of research to look into the way the culture dresses and what the accepted behavior is in public. You’ll feel more comfortable as you blend in and you save yourself some embarassement by doing something wrong.

11. Give Back

International travel tips for your next vacation
Visiting a project in Africa

Be it through volunteering, raising money, or visiting a project. You can make a difference when traveling. It can be as simple as staying at a local family-run guest house, hiring a private local guide, or shopping locally. Our favorite travel tip is to tell people to get involved. It truly adds more meaning to your trips and makes you feel better about yourself. We once taught English for a day in Cambodia. It wasn’t planned, but a local teacher asked us if we wanted to visit their class so the kids could practice. We’ll never forget what an uplifting experience what was.

Insider Travel Tips

12. Take Lots of Photos of Yourself

Dave and I were always embarrassed to ask others to take photos of us. And now we have very few of us together. Ask other tourists to take photos of yourself in front of those iconic sites around the world. And make sure it is more than just a selfie! We started doing selfies and find that they all end up looking the same. Get those epic shots and start making memories. And then print some of them out. Don’t just leave them on your phone or computer, make prints to display when you get back home to remind you of those amazing travel memories.

13. Splurge Every Once in a While

Travel Planning tips
Splurge a little.

Even if you are on the tightest of budgets, it’s important to splurge on the finer things in life when traveling the world. We’ve done a lot of backpacking on a very small budget, but every few weeks we take a break from cheap hotels. Sometimes when we arrive in a city after a grueling adventure, we book a luxury hotel to recharge and keep the fun, excitement and romance alive. In particular, if you are traveling in Southeast Asia, a luxury hotel can be quite cheap!

14. Step out of your Comfort Zone

Travel Tips for getting out of your comfort zone
Step out of your comfort zone

Travel is your time to do something spontaneous that you’d never dream of doing at home. Whenever we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone, new and exciting things happened in our lives too. It just takes a small step to make a great change. Travel that can inspire you to take on new hobbies and see your life through different eyes. So go for it! Read: How to Face Your Fears to get started.

15. Don’t Compete with Other Travellers

You know who they are. The travel snobs who have to brag about where they’ve been, what they’ve done, and who they did it with. Who cares? Travel is for you! Don’t let anyone pressure you into trying something you don’t want to, or making you feel bad about where you’ve been or what you’ve done. To those who try to one-up your experiences, forget about them. The great thing about traveling the world, is you don’t have to see them ever again if you don’t want to.

16. A Smile Goes a Long Way

Travelling tips for Meeting People
A smile goes a long way

A smile breaks the ice when you first meet people and it helps a lot in tough situations. Smiling can ease an uncomfortable moment and it breaks the tension with the people you meet along the way. When you get off off the beaten path, a smile is often the only thing you will have in common when communicating.

Even when negotiating at the market, we smile. We find we can get a better deal if we smile. We find that locals approach us more if we smile. We get better service if we smile, and we make new friends when we smile.

17. You Don’t have to Be Fluent in a Second Language

Tips for Traveling in a foreign country

A lot of people ask us if we speak other languages. We really don’t! So don’t let the fact that you don’t speak thr language stop you from traveling the world. In today’s world with Google Translate and countless other language apps, you can get by with ease. But we do recommend learning a few keywords and phrases of the local language. If you can say “hello”, “thank you”, “how are you”, and other simple phrases, people will respect you for trying to learn their language and making the effort. A little bit goes a long way!

18. Sunrise is Better than Sunset (Most of the Time) 

Travel Photography Tips
Sunrise is better than sunset

Getting out early for sunrise is a chore, I know. But most of our best photographs and memorable quiet travel moments have happened at sunrise. If there is one travel tip we can offer, it is to set the alarm and get up before dawn. When you go to an iconic view or landmark at sunset it is often overrun with tourists. But at sunrise, you usually have the place to yourself. In the morning, nobody is around. We love walking on the beach or through city streets while having it all to ourselves.

19. Make a Plan – But Don’t Over Plan

Travel tips for a great trip

Travel costs a lot of money, so it’s good to have a plan before you fly. But don’t over plan. We usually make a plan for the first two or three nights of our travels and then play it by ear from there. We book a hotel for the first two nights which gives us time to decide if we like where we are or if we want to move on. We also make a point of joining a tour to see the top tourist attractions at our destination but after seeing the bucket list items our plans can go right out the window. Some of our most exciting travel moments have been when we got a hot tip and changed our plans.

20. Be Flexible

This brings us to, be open to changing plans. It’s good to plan your route around the world but it is also important to stay open to new possibilities. We’ve changed plans after travellers recommended we join them and fly to Borneo to climb Mount Kinabalu. It was the best decision we ever made. Once while sitting on an island in Malaysia and met people heading to KL to see Thaipusam. We didn’t even know what Thaipusam was, but we went with them and experienced the most amazing and shocking festival on earth.

If we decided to stick to our plans and keep a rigid schedule, we never would have had those amazing moments that we have never forgotten.

21. Buy Souvenirs and Use the Post Office

Travel tips for first time travellers

We know a lot of people who say they don’t buy anything from anywhere when they travel because they don’t have space in their luggage. But we love going to local markets and buying souvenirs. We just send it home! We can still pack light and buy a lot. Plus going to post offices in other countries can be an adventure. I’ll never forget having to use the correct color of yarn when sending a package home from a post office in Malaysia. And now that we are home, we have memories. Every time I look at my drum from Bali or Digeridoo from Australia, I am reminded of my travels.

20. Don’t Be Afraid of Street Food

Tips for travellers who love food

Don’t be afraid of eating street food. It is often the freshest and most authentic. Here’s a hot travel tip: If food is cooked over a flame, deep-fried or boiled, it is safe to eat. Just make sure the person behind the counter, doesn’t touch it with their bare hands after cooking. When looking for local food, we just walk around looking for vendors surrounded by locals. We avoid the overpriced tourist traps and instead join the regular patrons at their local hot spot.

Travel Safety Tips

Travel Safety tips

21. Follow Your Instincts

If that rickshaw or taxi ride seems so cheap that it is too good to be true, it probably is! An important travel tip to remember is to follow your gut. We have visited many local families during our travels. We’ve been invited to dinner and inside tea at many houses and almost always accept the invitations. Usually people are wonderful and welcoming.

But we’ve turned down a lot of invitations too. The invitations that feel shady probably are. If we have second thoughts, we listen to that gut feeling. Whenever we have gone against our gut feelings, things have gone wrong.

22. Don’t Let Your Guard Down

When we have been scammed out of our money, experienced a dicey situation, or when we’ve been robbed, we can look back and see the mistakes we made by not following our instincts. A lot of travel mistakes happen when people let their guards down. You have to be as smart when traveling the world as you are at home. Don’t party until the wee hours of the morning and go home alone, don’t walk down dark deserted alleyways alone, and don’t get into cars with strangers.

23. Don’t Put Yourself at Risk – Be Smart

Dave and I have taken on a lot of epic adventures in our lives and more importantly, we hired professionals to help us out when we needed it. WE see a lot of people doing stupid things for the “gram” or to share on social. Don’t climb towers just to show off and don’t do adventures that your qualified to handle. We weren’t qualified to do a lot of our epic adventures independently. If we hiked the Arctic Watershed alone, we definitely would have died. But with expert guides, were learned new skills and accomplished life-changing challenges around the world in a safe and fun way.

24. Cover Up and Wear Sunscreen

Best Travel Safety tips

I’m not saying you have to slather yourself in sunscreen all day every day but I do suggest that you wear sunscreen. Skin cancer is a very real thing. However, I find that wearing lightweight long-sleeved clothing and a hat works really well. I cover up most of my body and then wear sunscreen on my nose, ears and neck. Trust me, your older self will thank me.

25. Vaccinations and Disease

Before leaving to travel the world, go to a travel doctor or travel clinic to learn what vaccinations you need for each specific destination. Do this at least 6 months in advance as some vaccinations require more than one shot. The doctor will also fill some travel specific prescriptions like Malaria and antibiotics.

Mosquitoes carry many diseases like Malaria and Zika. So just like we said above about covering up, wearing breathable, long-sleeved clothing will protect you from insect bites. Insects hate light colours, so wear light coloured clothes. You can even buy insect repellent clothing to help reduce the risk of mosquito bites.

Packing Tips for Traveling Around the World

Travel Packing tips

26. Pack Light

The best travel tip we can possibly give you is to pack light. We know what it’s like to overpack and it’s awful. We once carried dive gear through Central America and it ruined our travels. You don’t need a new outfit for every day of the week. You aren’t going to see the same people all the time and nobody is going to notice if you have the same T-shirt on as the other day. Pack lightweight clothing that is easy to wash.

27. Choose the Right Backpack

So when packing for your travels around the world, buy a backpack that is easy to lug around. Don’t make the mistake we made up buying the biggest and best. If you choose a smaller backpack, you won’t be able to carry more than you need. Trust me, if you have the space, you will fill it.

28. Carryon Care Package for the Plane

If you have to check a bag, it is important to have important items with you in case your luggage is lost. We check our bags because we carry computers and cameras in our carryon and don’t have a lot of space for clothing. But we do put in essentials for flying and to last a couple of days if we need it.

We pack a change of clothes and underwear, plus carryon size toiletries and personal items. Our airplane care package includes

  • noise-canceling earbuds (Deb) headphones (Dave) – personal preference
  • eye mask and ear plugs
  • lip balm
  • Gravol, Advil Cold and Sinus (I get stuffy on the plane)
  • Tiger balm – to mask bad odors, but not too overpowering for others around us
  • Shawl or sweater
  • Read: Air Travel Made Easy

29. Always Pack a Sarong

Packing tips for women
Pack a Sarong

Make sure to always pack a sarong I never leave on my travels without one . A sarong can be used as a headscarf in the Middle East and used it to cover up when entering temples in Asia. It works as a beach blanket, a towel when snorkeling, and a sunshade on a boat ride and to keep warm on an overly air-conditioned bus ride or flight. I’ve even dressed up an outfit for dinner by wrapping a decorative sarong around my waist.

30. Pack a Water Bottle and a SteriPen

Travel tips for backpacking

Save the world don’t buy bottled water! We have really cut down on buying bottled water over the years and instead carry a water bottle that we refill daily. When going to places where water isn’t potable, we use our SteriPen to purify it.

We purify water anywhere in the world – we’ve even used it in the rivers of Kazakhstan! It purifies water using ultraviolet light in 30 seconds and it’s lightweight too! We also prefer to pack a collapsible water bottle for optimal space.

31. Carry Portable Chargers

Always pack a portable charger. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been in the middle of a great day and our batteries went dead. There is no excuse anymore. Most of our Sony products charge by USB and our portable charger has 4 USB charges in it. Now we never miss a shot! The VPower 23000mAH power charger is a good choice.

32. Do an Idiot Check

Dave and I used the term “idiot check” whenever we leave our hotel room or restaurant. Even if we think we have everything packed up, we usually find something we left behind. That’s why before leaving a hotel, we always do a final sweep. And we call that an idiot check. We check the beds, outlets, under chairs, and behind doors.

33. Always Make the Bed

This may seem like a weird travel tip, especially under the subheading “packing tips” But before leaving a hotel, I always make the bed. It sounds ridiculous, but I cannot tell you how many items I have found in the covers. I never would have noticed had I not made the bed. It is amazing how many things slip under the sheets when we unpack in our hotel room. So before I leave any hotel room, I make the bed.

Traveling with Couples or Groups

34. A Fight Doesn’t Mean the End of Your Relationship (or friendship)

Travel Tips for Couples
A Fight Doesn’t Mean the End of Your Relationship (or friendship)

Traveling with your best friend or the one you love can be a very intense experience. You are stuck with each other 24 hours a day. Emotions run high and you are definitely not in your usual comfortable environment. This situation causes stress on people. Dave and I have had some doozy arguments. I’m talking yelling matches with each other. But we understand that sometimes you just have to let off a little steam. Don’t be too proud to apologize and don’t hold a grudge. Arguments happen, but it doesn’ have to ruin a friendship.

35. Don’t Get Hangry

Some of our biggest arguments happen while trying to find a place to eat when we are “HANGRy”. (angry + hungry). We have talked to so many people who have travelled the world who agree, that Hanger is usually their biggest cause of fights. Start planning for lunch or dinner before you are hungry. Or carry some snacks with your for your day out sightseeing so you don’t get to the point of being Hangry.

36. Tell your Companion How Much You Appreciate Them

Couples travel tips
Tell your Partner/Husband/Friend How Much You Appreciate Them

Travel can be all-consuming. It’s easy to forget about the person you are traveling with and become self-absorbed. Be it your spouse or friend, it’s important to let them know how much they mean to you. You chose to travel with them because you love them or enjoy their company. We never take that for granted and let each other know how much we appreciate their support. Even the little things.

37. Compromise

As a travel couple, this is our number one travel tip. Travel can’t be about one person dictating where to go and what to do. Dave and I like spending time together but we don’t necessarily like the same things. But we do compromise. We give a little, and we each try things that the other person likes. And you know what? We often find out that we like it! Everyone is different, so we try to respect each other’s opinions and boundaries. If you are a morning person and the person you are traveling isn’t, give them their space until they are ready to chat. Don’t expect everyone to conform to the way ou live your life.

Budget Travel Tips

38. Skip Hotels if on a Budget

We found the best way to save money was to rent an apartment with a kitchen. Even if it is a bit more money than a hotel, we save so much on food. Eating out is one of the biggest expenses of travel. So if you can eat a few meals at home, it’s worth it. What we like about staying in apartments as opposed to hotels is that we can cook at home and save on eating out.


VRBO 
is an excellent way to save on accommodation. It’s an alternative to hotels allowing you to save money and to experience your travels like a local.Trip Advisor and Booking.com now offer apartment rental choices.

39. Don’t Eat Out Every Meal

Budget travel tips for meals

When traveling, meals can add up quickly, so if you can eat breakfast and cook a few gourmet dinners in your apartment rental, you can save a lot of money. It’s also a lot of fun shopping at the local markets. We often have breakfast in our flat and then have a picnic for lunch. We then make a huge and cheap meal in our kitchen, complete with wine and appetizers. We can then go out at night for snacks and cocktails in a local restaurant or bar without breaking the bank.

  • Check out VRBO for accommodation

40. Try the Local Food

Budget Food Travel Tips

Trying the local food is one of the greatest travel experiences when in a foreign country. We love eating with our hands in India and Morocco. We love spooning our food in Thailand and picking up rice with chopsticks in Asia. Plus when you eat local, you save money. Restaurant hotels and eateries in tourist zones are more expensive. When you go to a local eatery, you’ll save a lot of money on a more authentic meal.

Some of our best experiences have been trying local food like a Sichuan Hot Pot in China that made our tongues go numb, or a three-hour meal in Japan serving 20 courses of beautifully designed dishes. Look for places filled with locals and head inside. Don’t be afraid to ask for help for what is good on the menu.

41. Get off the Beaten Path

It is amazing to see the top sites like the Eiffel Tower of Paris or the Taj Mahal of India, but some of the most memorable experiences we’ve ever had are when we are in remote destinations. Plus when you travel off the beaten path, it is less expensive.

When you go away from the tourist traps, you not only leave the crowds behind, you also leave the tourist prices behind. Going to places like Kyrgystan or Mongolia is much cheaper than a popular tourist destination because they haven’t inflated their prices yet!

42. Feel Free to Wander

Make it a priority to immerse in the local culture. Don’t take a tour that simply drives through a neighborhood and keeps you behind the glass as you gawk at the people on the street. Get outside, go for a walk and get lost in the markets. Talk to people and ask them about their lives. We’ve made lasting friendships this way. 

The best travel tip I can give you is if you are visiting popular tourist destinations, let yourself wander and get lost in the back streets of Venice or wander through the streets of Paris at night. Even the most popular tourist destinations have quiet places to visit. But don’t get lost to the point of putting yourself in danger.

Airport Travel Tips

43. Get Priority Pass

Most Travel Rewards Credit Cards come with lounge access at your home airport, but they don’t cover other airports. Priority Pass has been a savior for us. With Priority Pass, we have access to more than 600 lounges around the world and it makes flying so much more fun. Lounges have free food and drinks, free wifi and quiet places to relax. We can sleep during layovers and have a shower after a long flight.

We use American Express Platinum and Priority Pass Comes with it, but if you don’t have a credit card with Priority Pass, you can also purchase it separately. Check out Priority Pass for details.

43. Get a Credit Card that Let’s you Skip the Security Line

In our home airport of Toronto Pearson, anyone with a specific American Express Card can skip the security lines and go into priority boarding. Look into your local airport and see what they offer. We have been in airports around the world and see that certain cards like Visa, En Route or American Express get priority security access.

44. Look for Business travelers at the security line

When lining up at security, never get behind families, they are always slow. Instead, go to the line filled with business travelers. Even if it’s a bit longer, it will move faster because everyone knows what they are doing and get through quickly.

45. Pack Liquids in clear ziplock bags

Keep everything simple while in line and have all your liquids prepacked and easy to access in a ziplock bag. I put it at the top of my carryon and pull out my computer, and bag of liquids in one swoop. If you can start your travel off on the right foot, it sets the tone for a relaxing and fun vacation

46. How to Book Cheap Flights

There are many travel websites for booking flights and accommodation. We like Skyscanner for finding the best deals on cheap flights. It offers price comparison and you can maximize searches by having flexible flying dates. 

If you search a few days before and after your preferred flying dates, you may save hundreds of dollars. Having flexible dates is a great way to save money on flights.

For day tours and city tours we use Get Your Guide or Viator. These companies offer affordable day tours and city guides around the world that can be easily canceled with 24 hours notice. They can also be booked last minute.

Final Thoughts – More Top Travel Tips

Tips for travelers

47. Put Down the Cell Phone

It may seem easy, but this is one of those travel tips that people need to be reminded of. A photo is nice to have, but it’s how you feel in the moment that you will remember forever. Today’s world is noisy. Travel gives you the opportunity to block out the noise, so put down your smartphone and be present instead. When Dave and I look back on the past 20 years, we don’t remember how many likes a photo got on Instagram or how many views on TikTok, we remember the experiences we had.

48. Have an Open Mind

Culture travel tips
Have an open mind

Many people have preconceived notions about a place before they go. Especially when traveling internationally. The beauty of travel is that you learn and understand different cultures and religions. People are often the same as you and me. They laugh, they cry, they care about their families. You’ll find that you have more in common with people around the world than you thought.

49. Back up your Photos

We’ve seen more than one person lose all their photos on a trip by never downloading them onto a hard drive or into the cloud. One mistake, and all your memories are erased. Back photos up even while you are still traveling. Don’t just keep using the same memory card, YOu are taking a huge chance. You can carry a portable hard drive, upload them to the cloud, or other online storage, put them on your computer or store them on Smugmug.

50. Relax – Things Will Go Wrong

Tips for traveling and having fun
Travel Tip #27: Relax

And finally, relax and take a breath. Things will inevitably go wrong but we’ve seen way too many people fly off the handle. We seen people complain while on tours, or argue at check-in, and grumble over meals for absolutely no reason. Instead, be in the moment and take it all in.

Travel can be frustrating and overwhelming, but we’ve learned (over time) to take a breath and step back for a moment.

51. Remember Travel is a Privilege

Travel is a privilege and oftentimes the people we end up complaining to or shouting at have very little authority. They also usually have very little at home. You are lucky to be able to travel. Not everyone in the world is so lucky. The people serving you on your travels are working hard to get by and feed their families. As they are being yelled at they are probably wondering, “Why on earth are we so upset about something so small?” As travelers, we are the lucky ones and the more we remember that, the easier our travels become.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is a list of our best travel tips from 20 years on the road. Nobody is perfect at traveling and the only way to get better is to keep doing it. After 20 years, we’re still learning new tricks!

We’d love to hear your words of wisdom too. Got some tips on travel to share? Tell us below.

Read more Travel Tips

There are some affiliate programs in the post above, but these are all products we highly recommend. We make a commission should you click on any of the affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

157 thoughts on “Best Travel Tips From 20 Years Traveling the World”

  1. This article is probably the best travel advice I’ve ever read. You have mentioned all the necessary things comprehensively. This is so impressive. Keep it up, and thank you so much for sharing this informative article with us.

    Reply
  2. As have not travel yet, but ultimately is planning. The tips posted here is very informative. It help to no experience traveler to have an insight of what is to experience and the preparation as well as expectation in the travel world. To the contributor, continue the wisdom of writing and sharing your experiences in traveling. This is a legacy you can share with all us for us to make ourself be ready and prepare the journey.

    Maraming Salamat means thank you very much from the philippines.
    .

    Reply
  3. wow nice site, and u guys been to 115 countries.. wow!! wish i had such an opportunity. anyways
    best of luck guys

    Reply
  4. Being new to travelling I found each and every tip to be very useful and, these guys shared some of the most genuine and helpful tips that should be kept in mind before planning any trip.
    Kudos, for the nice work guys.

    Reply
  5. Carrying a portable charger is such a goodie! The amount of times a portable charger has saved me at busy airports with no free charging ports is worth every penny. Great article

    Reply
  6. Hello,
    Thanks for providing such nice tips for traveling. I love traveling in hilly areas. Mostly, there can be unexpected situations during travel, so, these tips are very useful and I endorse them. Everyone who is planning to travel should read these tips. Thanks again 🙂

    Reply
  7. Congrats Dave and Debra! Lucky you guys got an opportunity to travel to 115 Countries. Wow! that’s amazing I am feeling so jealous of you guys. This is my dream and I am just waiting for that time to come when I can do the same as you guys are doing 🙂 I really loved and enjoyed going through your article. Thanks for the great article with your audience

    Reply
  8. this is the site I was looking for. It helps me to find the best travel tips. For a beginner who wants to travel but don’t have the knowledge, for them this is the best site ever.

    Reply
  9. Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  10. Useful travel tips. Really great to know that you have more then 4/5 years traveling experience. I learned so much from your article. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  11. I want to visit the whole world with friends…and want to do lot of adventure activities there. Thanks for your tips it’s motivate me .

    Reply
  12. The best tip that I could relate to was that if it doesn’t feel okay it isn’t. Gut instinct plays a very important role especially when you are traveling solo. I personally have experienced it when I tried to give somebody the benefit of the doubt and it didn’t work out well. The first instinct is always always right. The other thing I’m learning is to not do an activity too many in a very short span of time. Because of this fear of missing out, I tend to go from one thing to another with such accuracy that it scares me sometimes. But then it also feels good to have seen many things. Still fighting that urge and learning to just relax in a place.

    Reply
  13. I find it so interesting that you guys have been able to travel the world for over 20 years now. Some of these tips are useful and my boyfriend and I will be using them.

    We are set to start traveling full-time June 5th.

    Reply
  14. Amazing tips !! I love traveling and I travel thrice a year. This blog post is really helpful for travelers like me. Traveling is the best way to explore yourself. I have added this post to my bookmark list as it is quite impressive. Thank you for sharing such an incredible & informative post.

    Reply
  15. Hi, Dave and Deb when I am thinking about traveling the world relented tips at the 1st I was thing about your blog. This blog is so informative and helpful for us. Once again thanks for the great tips.

    Reply
  16. What a great list and tips! Thanks a lot!
    You guys are definitely a big inspiration for us! Will make sure to re-read this article again and again!

    Reply
  17. Really comprehensive tips for any traveler. I’ve made use of some of them in my travels too. Thanks!

    Reply
  18. Love how it was simple to understand, and comprehend I was looking for travelling options I found this website that offers great services, maybe you can see them and tell me what’s the best option.

    Reply
  19. Thank you for all the wonderful information, this may be the most information for us novice travel bloggers that I’ve come across to in one place!

    Reply
  20. Very good blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for
    a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
    Any recommendations? Thanks!

    Reply
  21. ‘Do An Idiot Check’ this is the most useful tips for any traveler. Even a single minor thing has a huge importance while you travel in wild. I always prepare the list of things I need to pack and mark them while I put them in bag.

    Reply
  22. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking the time and actual effort
    to make a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

    Reply
  23. I love traveling especially with my family and I would like to say thank you for giving such a piece of incredible information.

    Reply
  24. Dave, Deb this is amazing. Backing up photos is crucial!

    I am a big fan of traveling. Trekking, hiking, and reading books about traveling really give me a great time. I am especially interested in cultures and customs of ethnic minority groups in China.

    I love taking photos while embarking on adventurous journeys so this is why you should backup your photos. I used to be backpacker and explorer of the world and loosing precious pictures before writing a blog about where you have been was very bad. Its like you have never been there.

    Now i currently work as a Travel Adviser.

    Keep up with the good work!

    Reply
  25. Dave and Deb, my girlfriend and i we love your life style. You guys really inspire us. Thanks to you we have been traveling asia for 6 months. To be honest i was thinking its really bad idea to travel with your GF but after all experiences, this is the best way for traveling. Thanks for the whole site and this valuable tips.

    Reply
  26. A brilliant list of very useful travel tips, thank you for sharing guys they’ll definitely come in handy!

    Reply
  27. Wow thanks for the share. All of the tips derive to make it about the trip, don’t get destructed or even lose focus, just enjoy any time.However, if you really need to enjoy your trip, to me ensure you prepare right and ensure there’s nothing left behind such that you don’t get disorganized.

    Reply
  28. I love love love this! I have been traveling for 4 years and am now trying to turn travel into a business. I fully agree that people need first to enjoy traveling for the experience versus trying to become the next influencer. Your first bullet point about putting down your phone is spot on. I have lost my phone twice while traveling, and I appreciate these times. Instead of being reliant on Google Maps I have to walk up to strangers and ask for directions. Instead of being busy trying to take a photo, I’m fully living in the moment. I also love your point about smiling! Good vibes and energy go a long way.

    Reply
  29. Great tips! I especially like tips 5 and 6. We often do the mistake of travel insurance and a local guide is very important while traveling a new country. I hope all traveler like us should follow these amazing tips while traveling a new country.

    Reply
  30. I look forward to being in Florida and Santa Barbara, California in the near future when I start traveling again. The “side hustle millionaire” mindset has me so focused right now that I can’t do any traveling for the moment. One thing I do love about traveling to different places is expanding my mind and seeing the beauty of unfamiliar environments. 🙂

    Reply
  31. I love travelling and I make 2 family overseas trips a year.
    I thank you for giving incredible advise on every single details of travelling.
    Despite my own travel experience I have learned so much from your article. The most useful is first one (to make travelling top priority ) . I have 2 kids, and my next trip will be very much different with your great tips.

    Reply
  32. Thank you for sharing your experiences, my point of view leaving our comfort zone can bring us an amazing trip without a doubt.

    Reply
  33. Hey,

    These are really awesome and pics are also helpful for me. Even there are many things which are missed by me and other i think. Many tips are helpful for me and honestly I like your ways.

    Thanks & Regards
    Ritika Kumari

    Reply
  34. This is all such great advice — thanks for sharing! My partner and I have been traveling full time for the past couple years, and we’ve found ourselves falling into these mistakes every now and again. We always take the time to reflect on each trip to pick out ways we can make our experience better (and the experience of people around us). You’re right about traveling with someone requiring compromise, and your advice to just relax every now and then couldn’t be better! Always being “on” can so easily prevent you from truly experiencing something. Thanks for this great post!

    Reply
  35. All your tips are great!
    I would add to the “battery discharging” tips – Buy a solar power bank charger. It recharges itself by daylight. I found it VERY helpful on several occasions. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply
  36. Cheers, Dave and Deb. You got really lucky in traveling for years. I really like your tips as I love traveling and exploring new destinations. I am aiming to travel a lot more and share also my experience in my blog. Take care the both of you.

    Reply
  37. Helpful travel tips. Really excellent to know that you have more then 16 years traveling experience. I learned so much from your article. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  38. At this time it looks like BlogEngine is the best
    blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read)
    Is that what you are using on your blog?

    Reply
  39. I love traveling with my friends and while traveling I always take care of health and take an travel insurance policy with me so that if in future something could happen with me there is no loss to my saving as treatment expenses are lot as they will lose your all savings too.

    Reply
  40. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your
    blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any points for newbie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    Reply
  41. I love to travel alone and my family always worries about me and in order not to make them worry in every time I travel to somewhere I let them know and track me using a GPS Tracking device so that they will know that I’m always safe.

    Reply
  42. If this is your first time Traveling abroad, Look up the monetary conversion before you go, pack your bag, Bring a charger, Check-in with your doctor and many more things you need to take care before going on travel.

    Reply
  43. Wonderful and interesting resource. Thank you so much for all your effort on this blog. I really appreciate it. While searching on travel I found your site.

    Reply
  44. All these tips are great, but I truly appreciate the perspective about Sunrise is better than Sunset. I know I am probably in the minority here, but the freshness of morning is a rebirth for me. And a dazzling sunrise does more for lifting my spirits than almost anything else. Whatever problems I had yesterday, now, with this new sunrise, I have a chance at a fresh start. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a romantic sunset too!)

    Reply
  45. I am a frequent traveler and hence after trying and testing various hacks to make my travel easier, I have consolidated a list of travel tips that have always come handy!

    Reply
  46. What a fantastic experience! 4 years traveling with family. Congratulations on sharing this story with everyone! I loved the site. Thank you

    Reply
  47. The first tip is a great tip and invaluable not just for traveling but for life in general. We spend more time on devices than enjoying and making memories. Well made post!

    Reply
  48. If we spent some time on internet before traveling then we could save our time and money while traveling. for example, if we know the right place to say then it might save money and if we know some airline tips which can save both our time and money. These tips can help a lot while traveling. Few good examples are given below

    Using offline dictionary (Google Translator)
    Doing Web Check-in (online)
    Pre-Booked hotels (Advance booking saves money)

    These are just few examples we can do a lot. So I prefer to invest some time on internet 🙂

    Reply
  49. Great post guys, it was my bed time story last night 😀 Really sums up travelling at its best!

    We’ve done some travelling separately before the blog and a couple of trips together to Cuba and Hawaii and it’s so nice to remember those times when we didn’t have to worry about updating our social media or getting together a guide 🙂 Which we did do eventually ha ha…

    Splurging once in a while is so important, otherwise what’s the point in visiting amazing places if you don’t treat yourself!

    Reply
  50. Hits the nail on the head on so many points. This brings back many memories of our travels, like when we packed too much and wanted to kill each other since we were both so miserable with our heavy bags. And the time we had to give up on the hostel in Morocco and paid for a pool day pass at the Sofitel. We felt like we were cheating, but in the end, we needed the rejuvenation. Always love your posts, thanks for the inspiration and congrats on all the years of traveling together!

    Reply
    • I totally know that feeling. Having too much luggage just makes me miserable. When I go lighter, I enjoy myself more. And no you weren’t cheating, we all need a break from the road and that day at Sofitel must have made you feel amazing and ready to get back on the road again. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

      Reply
  51. Dave and Deb – Beautiful post! My husband and I are so inspired by the two of you! We are starting our travel lifestyle tomorrow (eek!) so this post really hits home. There is so much mentoring in this post 🙂 Congrats on 16 years! What an accomplishment!

    Reply
  52. Such great advice – I really appreciate all the tips that you have to share. Beautiful photos as well, it is clear you both love what you do and that’s what it really comes down to! – Elizabeth elizabethnubel.com

    Reply
  53. First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if
    you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your
    head before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out
    there. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or tips? Many thanks!

    Reply
  54. Very good article, my dream is to travel the whole world, for now I only know 3 countries. I want to know Europe, Asia and the Middle East is fantastic! Thank you for the content!

    Reply
  55. Belo Post was what I was looking for, I’ve been following some posts from this site and I’m really enjoying reading them.

    Reply
  56. Amazing article and tips guys. I’ve read it with such a big pleasure and I felt it each of them. I’ve traveled also a bit, just 14 countries till now but I can say you have an amazing list of tips. keep up with the good work

    Reply
  57. If you are going to be in a country for 10 days or more, it may be worth purchasing a SIM card. This can be a lot cheaper than paying for an international plan on your own local network. BTW, nice tips here. Very informative indeed!

    Reply
  58. Amazing best travel tips ever !!!. You should publish your own book for the benefit of all travelers in the world.

    Reply
  59. Best out of best, thanks for sharing your view on travelling. Well tips revealed before planning for international trips, especially pertaining the security i.e. Travel Insurance.

    Reply
  60. Awesome blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices
    out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  61. So positive, thank you for the amazing tips. We’re just starting out and ‘packing light’ really helped us stay away from those heavy airline baggage charges!

    Reply
  62. WOW !! Excellent article post with perfect photography no words for this great journey. I love this article thank you so much for sharing with us.

    Reply
  63. I was looking for one tip that I would try on my next trip, but I could not find one as they all are great tips!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  64. What great tips! I’ve been traveling for years and there is a learning curve for sure. I had a sharp learning curve when the kids arrived because boy are traveling things different when you take the littles! One tip that never changes no matter the group or your changing situation is your #25 “Tell your traveling partner how much you appreciate them. That is SO true. Being appreciative of your family makes all things better – good times, bad times and everything in between.

    We always travel with the kids and what an education they get! Not only the obvious like new cultures and experiences, but the day to day interactions between valued family members – most especially when you express that appreciation as you suggest! Travel helps you raise global children. 🙂

    Reply
  65. Bringing a sarong is small but smart thing to do. I also carry a small umbrella with me to keep the sun off during the mid-day tropical heat. Great tips!

    Reply
  66. Yes, Before I had a habit was to mostly focus on camera to capture the nice photos and expected “likes” at social media while traveling instead of watching what was in front of me. Now I change, and one of my keys to get a successful trip is not to hesitate to ask and talk to locals. They will give you some good tips

    Reply
    • Excellent advice about talking to locals. When you get to know the people who live there, it really makes for a wonderful experience. And you are so right, they have the best insider tips! We’re guilty of focusing only on photos at one point as well. When we started blogging as a career, we nearly lost ourselves in the work. We now always have to remind ourselves to have balance. It’s amazing to be able to capture a moment at our fingertips, but we feel it’s just as important to stop and take it all in. It’s easy to miss the moment when you’re looking through the lens. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  67. As I was reading your 27 Best Travel Tips For Travel it occurred to me that your article could just as easily be titled 27 Best Travel Tips For Life.

    Carl Kruse

    Reply
  68. It is a great truth, to travel we have to be with a certain amount of time in the budget to be able to make the most of all the wonders. Congratulations!!!

    Reply
  69. Agree with some of these, especially the bit about not waiting to travel if you don’t know the language. Don’t agree about the cell phones-technology has changed how people actually process information. It’s not just that they’re phone is a distraction, it’s also that it’s part of how they experience the world.

    Reply
  70. Pretty pictures! Was lucky to have visited 5 towns in Alsace (including Riquewihr, Colmar and Strasbourg) 2 years ago!

    Reply
  71. Article with sensational travel tips. That’s why I follow your blog and recommend it to several friends, congratulations.

    Reply
  72. Such a great post, such great wisdom not just on travel but on life in general. Thanks for sharing with us. I love to think You can create a life you dont need a vacation from, and you guys seem to have done just that. 🙂 As newbie blogger son our Travels, f which we have done some, I hope I will be as inspiring years from now!

    Julie Syl

    Reply
  73. Great list of travel tips Dave and Deb. I would like to recommend to fellow travelers to book in very last minute, ideally on the day when you travel, to get the best rates. Most hotels and hostels are willing to give you half rate or even better price just to not have a free room (which does bring them exactly 0). I booked couple of rooms for just $1 with this method on my trip to Japan!

    Reply
  74. Really awesome photos as always. Dave and Deb, my girlfriend and i we love your life style. You guys really inspire us. Thanks to you we have been traveling asia for 6 months. To be honest i was thinking its really bad idea to travel with your GF but after all experiences, this is the best way for traveling. Thanks for the whole site and this valuable tips.
    Cheers, Enes % Emma

    Reply
    • I am so happy to hear that you are loving travel with your girlfriend. I couldn’t imagine traveling another way. It’s wonderful to be able to share experiences with the one you love.

      Reply
  75. Good tips dear! There are many of them that we observe already and I hope all traveler like us should follow this amazing tips while travel a new country.

    Reply
  76. aww!!!!! I loved the part “Tell your Partner/Husband/Friend How Much You Appreciate them”. This is an awesome article i have seen ever. The person who loves you heartily will appreciate your company. 🙂

    Reply
  77. Great advise and Guide. I have started traveling as a couple and its been 6 months now. Your above tips will surely help us complete our goals in long term.

    Cheers!!

    Reply
  78. Thanks for the tips, I just found your blog yesterday and have been working my way through a few of your posts – love how down to earth you are. The airlifted out of the Amazon post made me renew my travel insurance immediately, yikes!! Hope you’ve made a full recovery.

    Reply
    • Thanks Helen and welcome to our blog! I am so happy that you stopped by and stuck around for a bit. I’m also doubly happy that you renewed your travel insurance. It is so important.

      Reply
  79. Thanks Dave !
    As a traveler and photographer amateur, I find your recommendations very useful. Many of them I try to put into practice always (but not always is possible) Cheers!

    Reply
  80. Hi. We are just entering our 4th year on the road and I think I agree with just about everything above. It’s always changing, we find new, better ways, or what we want from this lifestyle changes, so for a few months we’ll be regular backpackers, then we’ll chill and rest for a while in a city apartment rental. Whatever, we love this life. Your picture of that little stove on the Everest trail brought back happy memories, we took the kids up there a few months ago, great times. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hi Alyson, congratulations on four years on the road. That must have been an amazing experience for your kids to go to Everest. You are giving them the best education. Good luck with the rest of your travels! Cheers

      Reply