Three Random Travel Tips For Your Next Trip

Three Random Travel Tips For Your Next Trip

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In 10 days, I’ll be heading on a short trip to Vancouver. That got me to thinking about some of random tips I’ve learned. Of course I’ve offered travel tips before, but not these tip below. They might not apply for every trip or for every person, so I can’t make guarantees these will always work, but I’ve found them helpful. I’ve listed these in no particular order.

Spraying Outwear With Water Repellent Spray

My first random tip is to spray outerwear, as well as purses/bags/luggage with a water repellent spray to keep them from getting wet. This is especially helpful if you know you’re visiting a place that’s likely to get rain (like Vancouver). A few days before I leave for my I’ll spray my shoes ad purse with water repellent spray. The jacket I have is already waterproof, and I have a hard suitcase, so I won’t worry about those. Water repellent sprays usually cost under $20 a bottle, and you can find these in outdoor/sports store, or from Amazon.

A couple of things to note before you start spraying. Be sure to read and follow any instructions on the bottle. Check to make the fabric you’ll be spraying is suitable for the product. If that checks out, spray a small (and ideally hidden) area of your item to check if it stains/discolours the fabric. Give it a few hours to dry to make sure it’s okay. You’ll also want to make sure the item you spray is clean. Once you spray something, anything that might be there (like dirt or stains) will be set in. If it’s made from a thick material, spray one coat, let it dry, and then do a second coat.

One place I could have used water repellent sprayed on my items was in New York City. On my last trip there it rained quite a bit. The one night it stormed bad enough my umbrella broke. In those cases water repellent gear can only go so far.

Finally, this is a water repellent spray and not a miracle for extreme rain or storms. If you’re outside in a torrential downpour, your items may still get wet. Should you be worried about this, or if you know you’ll be spending lots of time outdoors (say hiking) in the rainy season, you could buy waterproof gear. I don’t want to buy a bunch of expensive waterproof gear for a 3-day trip to Vancouver. Spraying items with water repellent spray is a good alternative to buying new waterproof items, especially if I’m only using them a few times.

Get A Local Shopping Bag

Story time. The last few months I lived in Dublin, I worked in an office in the city centre. I had to walk down a busy street to get to my job. On this street, I’d passed an Irish pub that played trad music. They always had someone outside with a menu to entice you to come in for a pint and some food. Now, I know these people were just doing their job, but I was on my way to work or trying to get home after a long day of work. So I’d say no thanks and keep walking.

One day on my way to work, I stopped at a Supervalu, an Irish grocery store. I bought a reusable bag for the few items I bought, and this bag had the store name on it. Walking home that evening, I noticed the worker outside the pub did not approach me. The next day I brought the bag with me and put my scarf inside. Same thing, they didn’t ask me about coming into the pub. I realized they likely weren’t stopping me because they saw I had a grocery store bag and figured I was a local. There were always lots of people walking in this area, so I doubt it’s because they had my face memorized.

Not far from where I used to work in Dublin, although this wasn’t the same street the grocery store was on. Quick note about that pub I walked by going to/from work. A few months later I went there with some friends who were visiting from Canada. We had some pints (obviously) and a grand time.

My second random tip is to find a local grocery store (one in that’s only in that country is best). Buy a few items, and get a store grocery bag to put everything in. Make sure the bag has the store name or logo on it. It won’t be as effective if it’s a nondescript plastic bag. Not only can this help you from getting accosted by sales people in touristy areas. Bonus going into a local grocery store can be fun, and you can use it as an excuse to buy a try some new-to-you snacks and/drinks.

A couple of things to note for this tip. Don’t put any valuables in this bag (no wallet, no keys, no passport, etc); nothing you’d fret losing. If you’ve brought the original items you purchased back to your hotel/hostel/airbnb then throw in a water bottle or cheap scarf (something that’s handy to have). This trick might not work everywhere you go. I used it with success in Ireland, but haven’t had the chance to try it elsewhere. If this doesn’t work, then you can think of this cost for the bag (which probably won’t be too much) as a souvenir. Plus as I said earlier it’s a good excuse to buy a few a few snacks you might not have back home.

Plan Nothing But Travel On A Travel Day

My last in random travel tip is not to plan anything except travel on a travel day. I consider a travel day to be any day where you travel more than 200km one way and/or will spend over 2 hours on a plane/train/bus/ferry/boat. Road trips are different, for those I’d consider more than 300km and 3 hours of driving a travel day. This is my guidelines, but in general if you’ll be in transit for several hours throughout the day then consider it a travel day.

If it is a travel day don’t plan to do anything that day other than travel. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else that day, but you don’t want to buy tickets for something, book a tour, etc on that day. Why? Well, shit happens. You might come across an accident on your road trip and have to take an alternate route, which could take longer. Your flight/train/bus/ferry might get delayed to weather, strikes, short staff, or for many reasons. Plus, if you’re travelling for several hours, or crossing several time zones, you might be too tired to do anything when you arrive. Think of travel days as being just for travel, and anything extra you can do those days is a bonus. You don’t want the stress of thinking, “I have to get into the city by 12pm because the tour I booked starts at 1pm and why aren’t they calling boarding for this flight, it was supposed to start 2 minutes ago!!!!?” That’s not a fun way to begin a trip.

When I arrived in Helsinki from Madrid I was exhausted (mostly because of an 8 hour layover where I attempted to sleep in the terminal at Zurich airport). I scheduled my walking tour for my second day, but still got out on day one to walk around and take some photos.

You might arrive at your destination with the entire day ahead of you. I’m not saying you need to go straight to your hotel and stay inside the rest of the day (unless that’s what you want to do). If you arrive with lots of time in the day then you could check out a museum, grab a bite to eat, wander around a park, etc. If it’s early enough, you could look at getting tickets for something later in the afternoon or evening. Just don’t add to the stress of travelling because you have something you’ve prepaid that you need to do at a certain time on a travel day.

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Have you tried any of these travel tips? What tips have you learned from your travels?

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