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This post was originally posted by insureandgo.com.au

Let’s face it – many of us would love to quit our jobs, pack it all in, and spend a few months (or years!) travelling the world.

If you’ve got a gap year, a backpacking stint or even just a few months of exploration in mind, here are my tips:

Fly With Local (Cheaper) Airlines

I can’t describe how much this helped me save. It means you might look past popular search comparison sites, which sometimes only index larger airlines, and seek out the underdogs – and their cheap fares.

For instance, I just did a little impromptu search on a one-way flight from Paris to Munich. On the big-name sites, the cheapest fare came in at around $250. But on less prominent sites, I was able to find a flight for just $48 on smaller, local airline, a result which wasn’t included on those more popular search sites.

Be Friendly

It’s surprisingly how far a smile and a greeting in the local language goes. I met new people this way, made friends this way, and even got help when I was lost or unsure.

Make the Effort to Stay in Touch

With both friends and family back home, and with new people you meet along the way. Simple things like email and social media worked well for me.

It meant I could get the support I needed when I was feeling lonely or homesick, and that I could easily stay in touch with new friends I’d made, even organising to meet up with them again or at a different destination.

Dress Like the Locals Do

This was something I wanted to do straight off the bat (in non-westernised countries) because I wanted to feel like less of a tourist – and more at home.

It doesn’t necessarily mean buying a whole new outfit, but simple things like a scarf or a colourful skirt can help you feel like you’re connecting a little more with the culture.

Hagia Sophia Istanbul

Buy Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can be a lifesaver, particularly on long trips like these. Only a few things went wrong for me, but it was great to have someone there to help when I needed it most (especially in those non-English speaking countries).

And it also helped me save (via claims) a lot of money that I would’ve otherwise lost.

Overall, I found that backpackers travel insurance worked best for me – it meant that I could travel for as long as I liked (well, up to 1.5 years, which was plenty of time) and that I had cover for things like medical, hospital, emergencies, baggage, valuables, sports and activities, and more.

One Last Thing – Don’t Waste Time

Rest is important, but don’t get lazy. Get up early to see sunrises or stay out to attend night markets. Relax on beaches, but also go for hikes and sign up for tours and activities.

Do as much as you can. You probably will only get to travel fulltime once or twice in your life, so make the most of it!

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

    16 Comments

  1. A smile is a universal language… goes a long way to be friendly :) I’ll have to make sure to check smaller airlines when traveling, I usually just check the larger, main ones! Thanks for the helpful tips!

    • Absolutely Nicole – I’ve found that a smile the best ice breaker to language barriers, and it’s something we’re all able to do :)

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Definitely scan smaller local airlines for your next trip before you go ahead with a booking. Sometimes can save you quite a bit!

  2. Great tips. Especially for who is just about bitten by the travel bug and are on limited budget. I have travelled a lot and for quite some years but I have to travel non-stop. Travelling early in life is advantageous in many respect including Insurance as the premium is bound to be quite low.

    • Thanks Nisha :) Traveling non stop has it’s challenges just like any other experience and there’s a lot you’ll learn along, but it’s such a rewarding experience and very different to traveling to and from a base.

      I’ve found that travel insurance is quite affordable for every age range … Would definitely recommend traveling with it for everyone :)

      Happy travels!

  3. Being friendly is probably number one from my experience. A friendly smile and learning to say hello and thank you in the local dialect goes a long long way to having an amazing adventure. And flying local carriers helps too. ^^

    • Absolutely Hallie – I’ve found that a smile is a great icebreaker, and one of the best ways to overcome potential language barriers. In my experience, people tend to mirror your attitude back to you, so adopting a friendly approach will go far :)

  4. I agree with all of these tips. It’s incredible how far a smile can go across the world. Everyone understands that smiling = friendliness! I also love finding deals with local or budget airlines! There’s always a rewarding feeling after finding a deal on a flight!

    • Absolutely Megan – I’ve found that a smile is a great icebreaker, and one of the best ways to overcome potential language barriers. In my experience, people tend to mirror your attitude back to you, so adopting a friendly approach will go far :)

      And totally – finding deals with local or budget airlines is the best! Always feels like we’ve won something when we manage to snag a great deal on flights!

  5. All great tips that are also useful for those that are part-time travelers. Especially the travel insurance! It is definitely peace of mind for me to know that if anything happens while we are on the road we can get medical attention without having to worry about going broke.

    • Thansk Christina :) Yes, travel insurance is one of those things that you never want to understand the value of, but you never want to regret having brushed off its importance. Something no traveler should leave home without.

  6. Oh yes, a smile & hello work wonders all over the world! The keeping in touch part is also great advice, I’m usually terrible at that! But you never know when you might meet people travelling again – at least facebook has made this easier now!

    • Today’s technology has definitely made staying in touch easier than it ever has been before. I don’t know what I would do without apps like Facetime or video Skype!

  7. Being friendly makes such a difference. I notice that when I’m all smiles and happy that better things happen to me on my trip and so many people are willing to help me out or just say hi. On the other hand, I never get travel insurance. This is something I definitely need to do since I travel monthly. Checking out insureandgo now!

    • Absolutely Sarah – I’ve found that a smile is a great icebreaker, and one of the best ways to overcome potential language barriers. In my experience, people tend to mirror your attitude back to you, so adopting a friendly approach will go far :)

      And definitely check out insureandgo for coverage on your next trip. Travel insurance is one of those things that you never want to understand the value of, but you never want to regret having brushed off its importance.

  8. Making the effort to stay in touch is a very important one. My friends from wherever I meet them always get a random facebook message here and then whenever I think of them.

    • Thats so lovely Rebecca, I agree, staying in touch is one of the most important things! And everyone likes to know that someone is thinking of them :)

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