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Travel Tips: the Useful stuff

You may have noticed a sad lack of updates these past 2 weeks-it’s because I was traveling around Malaysia. Overall, it was pretty good but I wouldn’t recommend going there during Ramadan. Lots of places will be closed during the day and people are perhaps a wee bit less friendly than they’d otherwise be due to fasting (from all food and liquids) from sun-up to sun-down.

Anyway, the friend that I was visiting and I were talking about travel tips and how many of the lists that you see floating around on Facebook are totally useless. Things like fill up straws with toothpaste. Here are my top travel tips, with a slant towards the budget-traveler.

1. Stay with friends, if possible. They’ll have everything you need: a washing machine, cooking facilities, coffee in the morning, Internet. Of course, be a good house-guest and wash dishes, cook, clean, etc. Couch-surfing is another option.

2. Pack light. This can save a lot of money on an airline like Air Asia where you pay for each back you check. You can buy whatever you need at your destination. More socks, some t-shirts, toiletries.

3. Put the camera away. Just enjoy, and live in the moment.

4. Don’t pre-book accommodation. The exception to this is if you have a late-arriving flight or ferry or something like that. But otherwise just hit the pavement because most of the budget accommodation isn’t online. Refer to #2 if you plan to do this option!

5. Go local. You’ll have a far more authentic experience and save lots of money if you eat where the locals eat. Go to the markets or street-stalls, but make sure you look for the ones that are busy. And I’ll usually only go to restaurants where there are lots of local people eating there. Don’t worry about not having an English menu, just look around and find something that looks good, and tell the waiter than you want that.

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