Pati's Travel Tips
Hello Traveller! Welcome to my Travel Tips Page!
This is where I will share with you everything I have learnt about long-term travel, backpacking, travelling on a budget and beyond. The tips, stories, guides and personal advice.
I don’t claim I know it all, but throughout my travels, I have learnt a lot, had my fair share of mistakes and picked up some great ideas from fellow travellers too! I want to share it with you!
This page will stay alive, and I will update it as I learn more so we can all be better and maybe a bit wiser travellers. I hope it will be of value to you!
Pati's Travel Recourses
My day to day travel resources, apps and websites I use to plan, book and manage my trips.
How do I Plan My Trips?
Sometimes I think planning the trip brings me more joy than the actual trip! Only joking, but seriously – planning is a big part of my travel experience.
Once I have chosen the destination, I do read all possible articles, guides recommended things to do and off-the-beaten-path spots. I watch endless videos on YouTube and make pages of notes and make hundreds of screenshots. To be honest, this part of planning is not the most organized, but I spend so much time doing it that I have a good idea of what to expect and what to do when I arrive in the new country or the city. It’s hardly ever as I expected, mostly better, but that’s also the beauty of travel!
I do recommend you do thorough research on the country you are travelling to. it is a very important point on my ‘travel safely’ list. Head to my travel and backpacking article where I created a whole subchapter dedicated to travel safety!
I recommend that you join the local FB groups. Central America Backpackers, Guatemala Travellers, Thailand Travellers etc. Each part of the world and each country has its own FB travel group dedicated to travel.
Local ex-pats groups are great as well. Looking for a good and affordable hairdresser? Local ex-pat girls will give you the best recommendations! Need to buy a cheap memory card drive and just arrived in a new town? Folks on those forums will know where to go! I have a rough itinerary for a longer trip, but I do not book accommodation for too long in advance. Your plans will change, and you want to remain flexible.
I personally make endless lists. Packing lists, electronics and gear lists, things to do and off the beaten path destination lists…the ‘list’ goes on 😉 But I adjust everything as I go. The truth is that in practice, a lot of things will change. It is useful to approach travel with growth and also an open mindset. Listen to warnings, make your own mind, follow good advice and don’t believe those that never travelled to a particular location.
How do I book flights?
I use Skyscanner to check available flights and prices. It is an excellent search engine and flights comparison site at the same time. The great thing about Skyscanner is that even if you don’t know where to go – you can just type “anywhere”! You also don’t need to specify the city and can easily check for multi-trip flights. How awesome is that!
Once I have found a flight I need, I only book via Skyscanner if there is a way to be redirected to the actual airline website. Do not use agents (lie Kiwi, for example) as the price will increase considerably at check-in. But if you are redirected to the airline website, you might even get a better deal. It is worth checking both.
I often book directly with an airline as soon as I know which companies operate the route I’m considering. But when I need to book multiple trips or flights with numerous changes – I use Skyscanner for its simplicity and convenience.
Important – the best time to book flights is between 2 and 3 months before your departure. If you buy too soon, the price will remain high as airlines always start at the highest price. If the flight is popular and you are closer to your departure date, the price will also be inflated. The general advice is to book two or three months before the travel. That being said – I had booked flights a week or less before my travel and got a good deal, but it’s the risk you’ll have to take.
How do I look for and book my accommodation?
For the majority of my accommodation management, I use Bookings.com and Hostel World. I am not the Airbnb kind of person, and I found that if you need to stay in one place for longer, the hostel will always be able to give you a great deal on one of their private rooms. If you think you could get a better deal in person and plan to stay for longer, book first just for a few days. You want to make sure that you actually like the hostel. Then if you decide to stay, ask at the reception for a long stay deal.
With both Bookings.com and Hostel World, you will often get a free cancellation option. You will also get the most extensive selection of all types of accommodation. I hardly ever look elsewhere. I like to choose a few rooms I like and then check additional reviews on TripAdvisor.
If you are travelling in Asia – Agoda is definitely worth checking out!
On TripAdvisor, you will also get more photographs, including those taken by travellers. I once was very ready to book the room but decided to check reviews and photos on TripAdvisor first. When I read in the most recent one that a traveller found a cockroach in the wardrobe – I cancelled straight away. I know that while travelling in tropical countries, it is inevitable. But a dead cockroach in the wardrobe means the room was not cleaned or checked.
It is worth checking few sites and getting the best deal. Be aware that Booking.com will reward you for repeated custom with discounts and offers.
Ready to Travel? Check out my Travel Tips and Resources Page!
The insurance I use
During my travels around Europe, I use my European health card. If you are a citizen of an EU country – I highly recommend obtaining one. It is free, and you will have to apply for one in the country of your residence – that is, in a place where you are employed and pay taxes.
The European Health Insurance Card allows you access to the necessary medical care provided by the State during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the exact cost (in some countries free of charge) as the persons insured in that country.
Please note – it is not an alternative to travel insurance, and is only suitable for temporary and shorter trips.
Outside Europe, the travel insurance I use is Heymondo, and their plan suits me perfectly. They have clear policies with no deductibles, the price is excellent for what they offer and the price doesn’t go up when you are over 30 years old. They have a dedicated, easy-to-use app and free assistance calls.
I can get a cover for a month or three months and I know I can travel with peace of mind and get the best product for my money. And it also covers COVID-19.
Keeping your money safe while on the road
I carry two debit cards with me. Given I don’t have a permanent country of residence, Revolut and TransferWise work fantastic. In case one gets frozen, stolen or simply lost, I have a backup. The great thing about both cards is that you can freeze them straight from your phone and transfer money between them in case you need to. This gives me a lot of peace of mind. You can also easily manage your account by changing your address, telephone number and adding saving vaults.
I definitely recommend having a backup card. And always keep them in 2 different places. I keep one in my day bag, and the other always stays in my hostel or main bag if I’m travelling.
Always inform your bank about your travel plans. It can be tricky and time-consuming to contact the bank if your funds were frozen due to overseas activity.
Change your bigger notes in big supermarkets. In many countries, cards are not widely accepted, and you don’t want to be flashing your big notes in public. Sometimes the vendor will be very reluctant to give you change. You want to avoid that. Withdraw the money in secure places, during the day and preferable in the bank.
I have recently heard a piece of great piece of advice to keep some notes in the widely accepted currency as an emergency. This could be dollars or pounds, for example. In case you run out of local cash and can’t get to the cashpoint, there is always a way to exchange dollars for local money. The rate might not be great, but this won’t matter so much in case of trouble.
I only carry my small purse around with notes I need for the day. The rest and one of my cards always stay in the hostel. If you need to carry larger amounts – use a discreet money belt.
How do I book tours?
I booked quite a few tours via Get Your Guide, and that one time, I had to cancel. I got my money back fine. I actually was cheeky and checked if booking directly would be cheaper, and it was the same price. So I stick to them now as I feel that I will find more legitimate companies, and I am more protected via this site. Highly recommended!
For cooking classes and workshops, consider checking out Eatwith.
I also often book my tours via the hostel I am staying in or a local agency. But I always ask for recommendations and use one that has been used by someone I know and recommended to me.
My recommended Travel websites and apps which I use all the time!
Google maps (plus offline maps) – what can I say? Luckily the days we had to rely on paper maps are gone (how did we manage? LOL). Before your trip make sure you download an offline map of your location. This way you will always find your way even if there is no internet connection.
Moovit -excellent and very underrated travel and journey planning app. It works great in many countries and will show you all possible routes by public transport including the times. I wouldn’t rely on the latter too much, though. But it is a great app to plan your journey from point A to B. It will provide you with a bus or train station location with the map included, journey time, and all the stops. It is fantastic!
Busbud or Omio– I use this bus booking app a lot in Europe. But Omio works perfectly fine in some Latin American countries as well. Great for getting your bus tickets and checking the timetables. Flexibus is a great option for cheap buses in Europe.
12Go — Great for tickets for trains, buses, ferries and charters in Southeast Asia! The best way to buy your ticket for overnight Bangkok train!
Rome2rio – Another great journey planning app. If your way of travel is mainly public transport – you will use this app for sure!
Blablacar – ride sharing application. Great way to travel from A to B whiles also meeting new people and maybe even making friends.
Easy Currency Exchange – I started using it in Colombia. I am normally fine converting currency in my head, but I was lost with all those thousands and millions of pesos. This app works offline, and you can check very quickly how much exactly are you being charged.
Uber/Bolt – Do I need to explain? This is the cheapest and safest way to travel by taxi. The rate is given upfront, you know who your drib[ver will be and you can take a note of number plates. This service is still one of the most revolutionary things out there 🙂
All Trails – my favourite hiking app. The free version is awesome and I like the look of the maps. Very easy to navigate around and pretty accurate. I used it all the time during my lone hikes in Madeira.
There are hundreds of travel and journey planning apps out there. The recourses mentioned above are those I regularly use, and you will find them on my phone. This list is updated regularly as I come across new gems.
This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase the product or make a booking via one of my links, I will receive a small commission. Please know that I will never recommend or promote a product I don’t believe in or haven’t used. This way, you are supporting this blog at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Enjoying the Content?
If you want to stay up do date on the latest travel tips, content I post and travel stories, follow me on Instagram Or my FB page! It would be great to stay in touch on a more personal level. I regularly add new travel tips and advice for solo budget travellers and not only!
If you found this post to be of value to you you can also buy me a coffee by clicking the blue Support Me button floating freely somewhere on the page or by clicking here. This way I will know that you found this post valuable and will allow me to keep going.
I put a lot of heart and hard work into those posts, and I promise this content will always remain free!
Stay in touch!
I can’t wait to see you there! Pati x