10 TRAVEL TIPS YOU WANTED TO KNOW BEFORE
Travel, it’s not rocket science. Especially if you travel regularly or for a long time, you become more and more handy at it. And yet we are still discovering tricks that we would have liked to know much earlier. Simply because these travel tips make your life as a traveler just that little bit easier. From making the most of your apps to handy holiday tips on location, we share a few smart facts with you. We are curious, which travel tip is the discovery of the year for you?
- LOCATION TRACKING DURING A BUS OR TAXI RIDE
If you are traveling in a country where you cannot make sense of the script, such as China, South Korea or Japan, it can sometimes be quite difficult to get off at the right stop during a bus ride. Or are you in the taxi and are you unsure whether it is going in the right direction? In situations like this, you can make optimal use of apps such as Google Maps or Maps.me. These show you exactly on the map where you are and which direction you are heading in. Mark your end point on the map and you will know exactly where to get off. This travel tip can give you that extra bit of confidence on the road, especially if you travel solo.
SAVE LOCATIONS IN GOOGLE MAPS
Another travel tip in the same category: while reading your travel guide, blogs or when talking to other travelers, save the locations of interest to you in Google maps. From restaurants to places of interest mark them all on your map. This way you can see at a glance which things you can combine with each other, or if you happen to be in the area, you can just take a look at that one restaurant.
OFFLINE MAPS APPS
No internet on the go? If, when you are still online, you load the area where you are on your phone, you can also use it offline in Google maps. You can also download maps in the maps.me app. And if you want an even more detailed app for outdoor sports such as hiking, skiing and cycling, then MapOut is an incredibly good app with detailed route maps, certainly worth the investment of € 4.99 for the outdoor enthusiast.
- CONVENIENT STORES HAVE EVERYTHING AND MORE
The most well-known convenient store is the 7-eleven, which can be found on every street corner, especially in Asia. But there are many more such chains. That convenient stores provide for all basic needs goes beyond just the products they sell. For example, did you know that there is almost standard a toilet and ATM in the 7-eleven? On the signboard of the 7-eleven in question it is often indicated with icons what is present inside. And did you know that sandwiches, microwave meals or instant soups can also be prepared for you on the spot? Every convenient store has a microwave behind the till, where they can heat up your meal for you. And in many countries you can even have the famous grilled sandwiches prepared in the toaster behind the till. You can also top up SIM cards and, for example, public transport passes. In many cases you can even pay with your metro pass at the 7-eleven. In short, although it varies by country, convenient stores are really useful! Even more than you think.
- RANKING IN TRIPADVISOR
From hotel to attraction or tour, we know we can find everything in TripAdvisor with corresponding reviews. But are you looking for the best restaurant in the area? Then also check the ranking. For example, if a restaurant is in place 3 of the 350, you can assume that it is just a bit better than the restaurant in place 60. Don’t be blind to this and look at what you are actually looking for. Because a Starbucks is also high in the ranking, but of course it is not that unique. Yet in this way I have discovered many small-scale, unique restaurants and cafes. I also use filters and often look for a place “now nearby” if I want to have lunch, coffee or dinner somewhere at that moment. When I have found a gem, I save it in Google maps, so that I can also find it again later (or can recommend it here on ikwilmeerreizen.nl of course).
- INSTAGRAM AS A RESEARCH TOOL IN YOUR TRAVEL PREPARATION
We also often use Instagram to stay in the travel tips category “searching for hidden gems”. Search by location and browse the photos that come up or click through to interesting hashtags for the destination in question. This will give you an idea of what to do or what to eat. Read the description of photos that appeal to you and discover what a destination has to offer. This can apply to an entire country if you are busy with travel preparation, but also, for example, a specific district in the city if you are already there. Did you know that you can also save the image with the icon at the bottom right of the photo? You can even organize all your saved photos in folders. This way you keep all those spotted travel tips together, for example per country and you can read them again later.
- USE LOCAL OV-APPS
Almost every country has its own 9292OV or NS app. But how do you find out which app is being used locally? You will find a tourist office in the country at virtually every airport. They can often help you with useful apps. If not, ask the locals what they use or inquire at your hostel. Of course there is not always something available, but as a rule, if you think it should be possible to do it more conveniently, then it is and it pays to investigate. You can often find these kinds of tips on (international) blogs of expats. And of course we also share our favorite apps per destination if we have them. With Google Maps you can also get a long way with public transport, but the local apps are often just a bit cleaner.
- GET ON THE PLANE LAST
I have never understood the concept of “queue up as soon as you can board”. I prefer to sit as long as possible (with a good book) and only go boarding once the queue is resolved (unless I am traveling with hand luggage only and want to keep it with me). In many cases it happens that the plane is not full. When you are (almost) the last to board the plane, you can see this immediately. Do you see empty rows? Then you can ask the flight attendant whether the plane is full or not. If not, you can always pick a spot for yourself after the doors are closed and you have a whole line to yourself. They can always only say something about this when everyone is seated, which is why I get on the plane as late as possible (besides the fact that I don’t like it
- LEAVE YOUR WORLD PLUG AT HOME
Many travelers tend to travel with giant world plugs, so they are prepared for all types of power points. My experience is that such world plugs are unmanageable and above all heavy. And certainly not always necessary. I prefer to purchase a USB charger or converter on location. For example, you will find the same type of sockets in most countries in Asia and South America, so you can purchase a suitable charger once on site. You can buy such a charger for a few euros (as opposed to a world plug that costs you 30 euros) and they are often super compact. Usually also available with multiple USB ports. I do need a converter for my MacBook charger. I also bought one locally for no less than 50 cents. This has been around for years now and is much more compact than a clumsy world plug. And in Malaysia I bought three super handy plastic plates for 30 cents that you plug into the socket, after which the normal European plugs fit into the sockets. You can also purchase an extension cord with universal sockets (at the 7-eleven). But that takes up a little more space than a USB charger or plug converter. This does not mean that a world plug is not convenient, because with a world plug you can be sure that you always have a suitable connection with you, but it can be cheaper and more compact.
- USE YOUR PANORAMA FUNCTION AS A WIDE ANGLE LENS
Do you photograph a lot with your smartphone, but do you sometimes find it difficult to photograph high buildings or, for example, a hotel room? A smart travel tip that not everyone knows: use your panorama function. If you hold your phone vertically and only use the panorama function for about two-thirds (so not 180 degrees or further around), it functions as a wide-angle lens and you take a landscape format photo that features that building or room completely. You can also keep your phone horizontal and slowly move it upwards to get a high building or mountain completely in the picture. Read more tips for shooting with your panorama function and for shooting with your smartphone.
- SHOWER AT THE AIRPORT
Long transfer? Did you know that you can shower at many airports? Nice to continue your way completely clean, or, when you are almost home, to arrive at your destination completely fresh and fruity. Also ideal as a pastime by the way. You often pay a few euros for it and then you get a towel, shower gel and shampoo. In Dubai there is even a swimming pool at the airport. How good is that? So it certainly pays to explore your airport during a long transfer, because there is much more at the larger airports than you think.
- SCAN A TEXT WITH GOOGLE TRANSLATE
We all know that we can translate texts with Google Translate. But did you know that you can also scan a text with your smartphone camera to get it translated in one go? Handy with a menu, packaging or, for example, a medicine box! You do need internet on your phone, by the way.