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Uncommon Travel Tips You Likely Haven't Heard Before

As the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 continues globally, the closer we are to that vacation we’ve put on hold for more than a year. We all deserve a long overseas holiday after spending most of the pandemic cooped up inside our homes!


On a positive note, though, our collective effort to stay home and observe social distancing over the past year and a half didn’t go to waste as we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


As of October 6, there are more than 4.5 million people fully vaccinated in Singapore, which equates to more than 80% of its population. Even though there’s been a recent surge in cases due to relaxed restrictions, 98.1% of these new cases reported mild symptoms.


As we learn to live with COVID-19, I know some people are already getting in touch with travel agencies and starting to draft their itineraries.


But you might have “forgotten” how to travel or feel unsure of what to prepare for your holiday due to the pandemic.


Fret not, though, because I’ll share some less known travel tips that’ll come in handy. They may seem slightly unusual, but they are just as useful in helping you have a memorable and safe vacation! I’ve picked up some of these myself over the years, and others I learned from locals and fellow tourists.


1. Don’t be afraid to load up on sunscreen


Unless you want to end your vacation with sunburns and sunspots, don’t forget to carry a bottle of sunscreen everywhere you go.


Your skin will thank you later, especially after months of staying home and social distancing.


I’m certain that you’ll spend most of your vacation outdoors, walking from one place to another, so it’s better to protect your skin with some sunscreen.


Even if your destination isn’t a tropical country, wearing sunscreen is always a good choice to prevent skin damage caused by sun exposure. It’s a lifesaver even during colder seasons!


2. Bring more than 1 debit and credit card


Most people prefer travelling with cash as it’s more efficient for small purchases, but debit and credit cards are helpful if you’re in the mood to splurge a bit more.


If possible, try to bring more than 1 card because banks tend to flag overseas transactions, even if you’ve informed them before going out of the country.


Another benefit of multiple cards is travel perks and rewards for overseas spending. And you never know, you may even be entitled to a free seat upgrade on your flight home.

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Photo credit: Unsplash/ Stephen Phillips

3. Get rid of your money belt


Let’s set the record straight: money belts are simply uncomfortable when doing lots of walking, no matter how many tourists are wearing them. I’d strongly recommend ditching those if you’re thinking of getting one.


It’s extremely awkward to use, too. Every time you need to pay for something, it looks like you’re going through your underwear, which only exposes where you’re keeping your money.


Personally, I’d say the best way to keep your wallet when travelling is the old-fashioned way: putting it inside your front pocket or the inside pockets of your bag.


4. Know how Google Maps’s offline feature works


Did you know that it’s possible to access Google Maps overseas without an international data plan? It comes with an offline feature that only a few people know about - which is extremely helpful when you’re on the road in a foreign country!


Before leaving your Airbnb or hostel, connect to the Wi-Fi and type “OK maps” into the search bar. There will be a pop-up box that says “download map?” Clicking that should make the entire map available even when you’re not connected to the Internet!


It’s an amazing hack that will save you from spending money on expensive international data plans!

travel-tips-google-maps
Photo credit: Unsplash/Tamas Tuzes-Katai

5. Scan important documents and send a copy to your email


Regardless of your destination, there will be pickpockets preying on unsuspecting tourists. Nowadays, thieves aren’t just after your money but your documents as well.


Before hopping on your flight, scan a copy of your passport, debit and credit cards, plane ticket, and hotel booking, and then send them to your email. You can even password protect these documents so that no other person can access them.


So in case your valuables get stolen, you can present these copies to the embassy as proof of identification to get replacement documents.


6. Pick up on useful hand gestures


It’s never easy communicating with locals when you don’t know the language, but hand gestures are an international language and will always come in handy for tourists!


A simple hand gesture can not only help us find places to eat, but also available beds in hostels and the nearest train station should we get lost.


You’ll be surprised to discover people who don’t share the same language can understand each other through simple hand gestures!


7. Download Google Translate


Google Translate can do more than translating texts. It also comes with a camera feature that translates signs, menus, posters, and anything else we can’t read in a foreign language!


If you’re visiting a country where locals don’t speak English, using Google Translate can make communicating with them a bit easier. You won’t be relaying an accurate translation, but locals will at least know what you’re talking about!


Google Translate will also definitely save you some embarrassing moments at restaurants when you don’t know what to order because you can’t understand anything - which happens to all of us!

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Google Translate App

8. Use incognito mode or VPN when browsing


Here’s a travel hack: plane ticket prices and hotel rates tend to change depending on your location.

For example, the price of an overseas hotel you’re trying to book while in Singapore is sometimes higher than when you’re booking it from a different country. This is where the incognito mode and VPNs are useful!


I’ve tried checking flight and hotel rates on a normal window, only to see the prices go down when I browse on incognito mode.


The reason behind this is that the algorithm knows how badly you want to visit these places, so you’re presented with higher rates hoping you’ll bite them out of desperation.


9. Put a mark on your luggage


Do you want to know what every tourist’s worst nightmare is? It’s when someone at the airport mistakenly takes their luggage. You don’t want to know how stressful it is to deal with this type of situation.


So one of the best travel tips I can give is to place an obvious marker (like a large luggage tag) on your bags or even stick on some bright-coloured stickers.


Not only will this make identifying your luggage easier from a mile away, but it’ll make it stand out from rows of similar bags!

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Photo credit: Unsplash/Jed Owen

10. Bring a pack of baby wipes


Something that can help with the exhaustion after a long-haul or red-eye flight are baby wipes!


Wiping your face and neck with baby wipes after a long flight can make you feel refreshed and energised to start exploring right away! They’ll even come in handy when you have no time to shower for the day.


You have nothing to worry about possible skin effects as baby wipes are generally gentle on the skin and hypoallergenic!


Preparing for your future travels


That sums up my list of uncommon travel tips that every tourist should know! Do you have your own way of traveling smart? Feel free to let me know in the comments!


By the way, are you already planning for your travels next year? I’d love to help you out! Send me a message and I’ll see what I can do to make your first pandemic travel more memorable.


Together, let’s help our local hospitality and tourism industry recover! Support us by checking out our tours!


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