1. Plan your trip before coming. Read travel blogs, Wikitravel, Tripadvisor etc. and create your plan based on what you would like to do the most. Do not over-plan and leave some room for potential delays or hiccups & unexpected secret gems.
2. The most important things are credit cards, passports and boarding passes. Keep them always with you in a safe place in your handbag / backpack. In locations where pickpocketing may be common, use a little bag hanged on your chest, under your shirt, to keep your money and passport. Check with your bank before leaving home if you can use your debit and credit cards overseas.
3. If possible, do online check-in to not lose time in the airport.
4. Choose/note the address of at least one proper traditional restaurant and café/pub to each day; you may not discover a nice place to dine/drink by chance.
5. Language booklets with basic phrases are very helpful. Buy one to make your life easier. If you have wi-fi you can use online dictionary.
6. Before your departure, set your watch to the destination’s time zone and start living accordingly. Let’s say your flight is from Singapore to San Francisco and it will be night time when you land in SF, do not sleep during the flight. Watch movies or series that you could not find any time to watch before or chat with your partner. If it is already night time at the destination at the time of your take off, drink some beer/wine and do your best to sleep immediately. This really helps to prevent jetlag.
7. Do not wear makeup when you are in flight; this will dry your skin. Instead use moisturiser and drink a lot of water. Keep your empty plastic bottle with you and fill it up after security.
8. Traveling light will make you more mobile. So, you can enjoy more.
9. You can decide outfit combinations before packing. You may choose three tops and three short/skirt/pants that you can use with each other. If possible, do laundry at the hotel or wash them in your hostel if the weather is hot enough to dry them overnight.
10. Most important things are the shoes and backpack. Select your most comfy shoes that fit your clothing and enjoy your travel without any problem. Buy a light back bag with lots of sections. It should be comfortable to your back and big enough to carry all your belongings.
11. Carry a shawl or sarong in your bag. It will keep you warm or protect from the sun.
12. You can find hot water and kettle in your hotel. So, if you would like to take 5-6 teabags (your favourite tea) with you, you will not have to drink only what’s made available.
13. Carry your creams and shampoo in small containers. You can also use dry shampoo if you do not have chance to wash your hair every day. It definitely works and volumizes your hair.
14. Do not forget to pack your sunglasses, sun protection cream or wool scarf, gloves and beret, depending on the weather of your destination.
15. Layer your cloths instead of wearing bulky items. You can buy some heat tech garments for travelling to somewhere cold and cotton for the hot locations.
16. Take some passport size photos for visa issues and copies of your passport and credit cards (in a different bag than the originals) in case of theft or loss.
17. You can put some colourful stickers/markers on your suitcases so you can easily collect.
18. Do not exchange your money at the airport. Exchange rates usually are not good. Use your ATM card to get cash in local currency. If you still have to exchange money, do before you leave or in the city centre of your destination.
19. You can buy unlimited wi-fi simcards upon arrival or use your own phone’s wifi if it is not very expensive.
20. Go to tourist information centres when in the airport/station and collect English maps/guides. Plan your trip accordingly but leave some room for discovery.
21. If you have a credit card which collects miles/rewards, use it whenever and wherever possible to collect rewards or miles. These points can be converted into each other and be quite handy when you need them the most.
22. Go to markets and buy fresh fruits/vegetables as snacks. They are better and healthier than processed food. The strawberries and tomatoes we had in Korea were very tasty.
23. If you are not sure that the food is safe enough, drink coke or any acid rich drink with it. This is likely to help avoiding some of the health problems.
24. In your last night, you can decide to upgrade your hotel, preferably at a location near or easily accessible to the airport & pamper yourself by slowing down and having a good bath / massage etc.
25. Think twice when you buy a souvenir. Try to buy something light, unique or useful instead of buying something heavy to carry and you won’t probably have any use.