A few essentials
1- Bring a pen. It will be very useful when you’ll need to fill out customs/immigration forms during your flight.
2- Pack light, you don’t really need more than carry-on luggage. Most people bring way too much stuff. Keep it to a minimum. If you’re gone for more than a week, you can always find a place to do laundry.
3- Don’t leave your stuff unattended in the airport at any time. If you book a nice hotel room, they usually have a safe where you can store passport and other valuables. If you book in a hostel, make sure to bring a padlock to secure your belongings.
4- Use common sense at all times and be very wary of scammers when arriving at an airport, especially taxi drivers.
5- If you need to exchange currency, the best exchange rates will be found in banks. The exchange counters in airports don’t really offer great deals on currency exchange.
6- If you book on a budget airline, it’s usually a good idea to print the boarding passes on your smartphone. Read the fine print; it will save you money.
7- Bring a few snacks such as nuts and chocolate, even a sandwich when flying. Food on planes is usually not very good and can cost a lot of money.
8- Bring an empty water bottle that you can fill after passing security. It will save you money because water bottles in airports are very expensive.
9- If you need a SIM card, try not to take it at the airport. They are usually cheaper in the city located near the airport. Recently in Panama: $35 at the airport versus $5 in town, so great savings.
10- Travel insurance is usually cheap and sometimes can come in handy, especially on a long trip overseas.
11- If you travel on a budget, prepare your own food. Your money will stretch for much longer.
12- In some instances, travel can be cheaper than staying at home. Some countries in Asia are ridiculously cheap. Living on $10/day is not uncommon.
13- Before booking a flight, verify the visa requirements for the country you’re going to. A good site to verify this is https://passportindex.org
14- Some countries like Panama will electronically take your fingerprints before you enter the country. A sign of times…
15- Try to learn the basics of the language for the country of destination. The locals usually appreciate the effort you will put into it, although English is often universal (not always) in most countries. A good free app to learn languages is called Duolingo.
16- When booking a flight on a budget, multiple stops and long layovers are usually the norm, so sleeping in an airport might be a solution to improve your experience. A good site to check this is https://www.sleepinginairports.net/
17- When filling out customs/immigration forms, it is often asked where you will be staying. Try to book ahead of time at least one night somewhere at your destination and then you can shop around for better prices, especially if you travel on a budget.
18- Notify your financial institution that you will be using your bank card in foreign countries. You will save yourself a lot of problems.
19- Don’t blindly trust Google Maps. The app often tries to calculate the fastest route but this can lead to unforeseen situations.
20- Research the voltage for the country of destination. You might have to purchase a power adapter.
21- Before your trip, find out where the Embassy or Consulate of your own country is located in the country of destination.
22- If you rent a car, make sure to shop around. Try to use well known companies and not some shady company that will rob you blind.
23- Public transport is usually the best way to get around. In large cities, you can often get a weekly pass that is unlimited.
24- If you travel to a country that requires a visa, make sure your passport is valid for more than 6 months or you might not be granted entry.