Photo source: Flicker - Jakub T. Jankiewicz
There are many travel tips you hear all the time: eat street food to save money, hostels can help you make friends on the road, vacuum bags can help you pack more in less space and so on. While helpful, it's always nice to learn something new that can help us travel better. To help, here are five travel tips you may not know.
While many people talk about tactics for saving money on food, there is one easy way to enjoy a completely free meal with very little effort. If you're traveling in a country where English isn't the first language, find a restaurant that claims to have an English menu. Many times, it will be littered with spelling and grammar mistakes. Tell the manager/owner you'll be happy to proofread the menu and make edits in exchange for a free meal. Usually, business owners are happy to do this exchange as it's very little cost to them and helps them look more professional.
In destinations where you don't speak the local language, it can be difficult to communicate with locals. This becomes especially frustrating when you need to get somewhere or are asking for directions. When you're in need of an answer, carrying a piece of paper and pen allows you to communicate by drawing and writing words and symbols. For example, if you're trying to get to Quito and you're in Banos, write the words Banos and Quito on a paper and draw and arrow pointing from one to the other, giving a shrugging gesture to indicate you're asking a question. This is a much better way to communicate then speaking louder or trying to understand fast-speaking locals.
I'm an avid believer in traveling with just a carryon (I use a small rolling suitcase and a laptop tote as my personal item). One way to pack light is to master the art of layering. Instead of packing 14 different outfits for a 7-day trip, choose a color scheme for a few tops, bottoms and accessories, so you can mix and match, changing from day to night by adding a piece or switching seasons by taking one off. Also keep in mind that it's okay to re-wear an outfit you only wore to dinner or to see a show, as you are really the only one who will notice.
There's a trick to getting a rental car upgrade that not many people know. First off, keep in mind it's always best to dress the part, as the more polished you look the more people will treat you like a VIP. Next, book the lowest rate sub-compact. Many times, rental companies will be out of this car and you'll automatically get an upgrade, free of charge. Also make sure to call your credit card company and ask if they cover you at all for rental cars. They often do to some extent, which can help you avoid paying for insurance you already have. If you need the insurance, it's available as an upgrade to several RoamRight plans.
While many people are aware booking flights in advance can save them money, not many know there are certain days that are better for booking. Tuesdays and Wednesday are typically when airlines release their fares, and also when you're most likely to find a great deal. These days - along with Saturdays - are also often the best on which to fly to save money. And if you're traveling during a holiday, opt to fly on the day of the holiday rather than right before or after to get a better fare.
What are some of your best travel tips?
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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