Travel Lessons from the dealcheckers

There’s a few things you get to lay claim to when you work at dealchecker. 1.) Weight gain. Rarely a day passes without some sort of highly unhealthy, sugar-based confection darkening our (cardiovascular) doors. 2.) A constant, burning desire to pack everything in and run away to the nearest beach – writing about the Maldives all day will do that to a gal. 3.) A vast and over-enthusiastic encyclopedia of travel knowledge.

Yes, unsurprisingly, as a group of travel-mad nomads, we’ve learned a few things about the beautiful art of travel over the years. Here’s our top 10 travel lessons…Bon Voyage!

Image by camerakarrie

1. Repeat after me: Mr Internet is my friend. From Trip Advisor’s searingly honest reviews to a virtual basket of recommendations and suggestions on websites like Virtual Tourist or Lonely Planet’s Thorntree forun, the internet is a sometimes confusing but mainly wonderful platform from which to dive into a dreamboat of a holiday. Switch on and connect with your fellow travellers; you have an army of brutally honest, discerning best friends you’ve never met at your disposal – use them.

2. For all that is great and good, do not over pack. Pack everything you think you’ll need, and then remove half of it. Be realistic about  what the holiday is going to entail. Trekking through the desert? Re-evaluate the need for five inch sparkly Louboutins. Chilling on a beach? You don’t need three evening gowns. You just don’t.

Image by fotologic

3. Travel doesn’t always need to be expensive. Destinations like Asia or South America have an incredibly cheap cost of living – choose destinations that have a stronger currency and you’ll always emerge a fiscal winner. Getting a great deal beforehand (I wonder where) is an obvious way to cut costs, too!

If you’re going away for a while – travelling for three months or longer – consider ways you can keep money trickling in whilst you’re spending. Whether it’s getting a work permit in the country you’re going to, arranging freelance work that you can do on the road, there are things you can do to make sure you’re not literally bleeding money.

Image by Drew Coffman

4. At least try to learn a little of the language. Just because ‘everyone speaks English, anyway’, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make the effort. It’s polite, will probably give you some sort of sense of achievement and the response you’ll get will generally be one of overwhelming positivity. Promise.

5. Put the guide books down. We’ve all been guilty of over-reliance upon the old Time Out guide, and with good reason – guide books are often a hugely helpful source of advice, tips and ideas, and and provide you with the reassurance that you’re completing a trip in the ‘right way’, somehow. Don’t abandon them completely, but don’t underestimate the value of getting completely, mind-bendingly, slightly panickingly lost in a new city at least once. I can almost guarantee you’ll find something amazing, and truly off-the-beaten-track.

Image by tristanf

6. Not everyone is out to get you. Trust us. There are scam artists and shady types in every part of the world – maintain the same level of caution that – we hope – you exercise at home. No more, no less!

7. Take a good camera with you. Not so good that you’ll be paranoid about losing it every few seconds, but good enough so that you come back with pictures you’re proud of.

Image by Annafur

8. HOWEVER: Don’t spend your entire trip hidden behind a lens. In our snap-happy world there can be a tendency to document every little moment (pigeon eating an ice cream, anyone?) , but try to live in the moment rather than worrying about your post-trip show-off session. On a recent trip to Rome, I saw someone gazing upon the iconic walls of the Sistene Chapel. Through the screen of an iPad lens. For a full ten minutes. Don’t be that person.

What are your top travel tips?