You definitely don’t want to be ‘that smelly backpacker’ when you travel, so make sure you bathe regularly, and always have clean clothes.
The thing about travel though is you rarely have time to look for a laundromat and wash your clothes, and getting your hotel to do it for you can be very expensive (it’s 2019, why do they still charge per piece??), so we recommend doing your own laundry.
For years we’ve always hand-washed our clothes (in sinks or in the shower), then hung them up using a pegless clothesline in our room
There’s a couple of reasons we do this. First of all it saves money. While some hostels and hotels charge a reasonable price of only a few dollars for laundry, or have washing machines guests can use themselves, a lot charge insane prices.
Another reason is it also guarantees we won’t lose any bits of clothing. We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve picked up laundry only to find socks, underwear and even t-shirts missing.
Third, time. We can wash our clothes at night, hang them up, go to bed and in the morning they’ll be dry.
This travel tip follows on from the laundry one above. Always travel with quick-dry clothing. The reasoning is pretty self explanatory.
Quick-dry clothing is just what it sounds like – made of material that dries quickly. This is awesome if you’re doing your laundry in a hurry or do a lot of outdoor activities where you might sweat (or end in a rain shower).
Just hang it up for an hour or two with a bit of sun or a breeze, and it’ll be fully dry. Or you can do what we do and put on a damp shirt and let your body heat dry it out for you.
Even if you’re the world’s heaviest sleeper, having ear plugs in your bag can be the single best (and cheapest) item you travel with.
From loud music on overnight buses to heavy snorers in the tent next to you, you’ll never know when you’ll find yourself trying to catch some z’s in place that is just too noisy to crash out.
You don’t need to have anything fancy. Just the standard foam ear plugs you get from a hardware will do.
If you care about the environment at all, then you should travel with a reusable aluminium water bottle.
Rather than always buying plastic bottles for drinking water as you walk around a town, carry a metal bottle with you and fill it up on the go.
You can drink the tap water in most of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, and also in some parts of South America, Asia and Africa (just ask the locals first).
If you happen to be travelling in one of the very lucky countries that have drinkable water coming straight from the tap, there’s no excuse to buy bottled water.
If you do happen to be somewhere that you can’t drink the tap water, then we recommend buying the biggest water bottle you can find (5L, 10L, etc) and refilling your metal one before going out for the day. This way you’ll minimise your plastic use.
Some places like Thailand have reverse osmosis machines on every block, or most bars and hotels will have water dispensers and will happily fill up your water bottle for a small fee.
In this day and age, having access to the internet while you travel is almost essential. From booking last-minute accommodation to checking Google Maps, to posting your best travel photos to social media, there’s a million reasons to want to have phone data at all times.
Unless your mobile phone plan has free international data roaming, chances are the moment you turn your phone on in a new country you’re going to start getting hit with crazy fees.
Even if your mobile phone provider offers a deal such as $5-10 a day for international roaming, this is going to add up quickly if you’re on a long trip.
What we personally do is pick up a prepaid SIM card with data in every country that we’re going to be in for a week or more. You might be surprised at how cheap this can be!
For example in Kyrgyzstan we got a 30-day prepaid sim card with 50gb of 4G data for $7. In Romania 10gb was about $10. In fact most countries except for Canada offer really good prepaid deals.
If you have the time we recommend going into a phone shop directly to get the best deals, rather than buying the airport SIM deals, as they’ll almost always be cheaper.
Your phone has to be unlocked for this to work. Do a little bit of Googling before buying a SIM card to make sure you find the best deal as well.