Tips & Tricks

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This is one of the most used and popular way nowadays to travel around the world. It has over one million places listed. Airbnb is where anyone opens up their door and welcomes guests from around the world. To find out more go to my blogs Airbnb, The Turning Point of Accommodation or if you have a space to list check out How to Become an Airbnb Host. Sign up to Airbnb now for your next trip and save $50AUD!


I have used for years and I have saved hundreds of dollars booking for myself or others. Once I got a deal for my parents to stay in a 5 star hotel in Abu Dhabi for three nights at a small price of $697AUD, altogether! Half price deals on fabulous beach view apartments like Meriton Broadbeach (Gold Coast). They have daily specials, and if you book five times you can become a Genius member. This can entitle you to early check-ins, late check-outs, welcome drinks, 10% off the hotel price (that non-genius members can’t get) and secret deals for Geniuses – I can vouch for this, I am a Genius member on Plus click on the link below and you will receive $20AUD credit from, just because! If you have any questions or want further advice on great deals, ask me here.


When I was backpacking, I was using this more than I was going on facebook. I know that some people out there reading this will be backpacking too and this app/website is a great tool (and you’d already be using it). If you need a game plan on how to choose a hostel – this is what I do – search and filter with the cheapest place first, then see if it includes bedding & towels (my sleeping bag was stolen), if the sights/CBD was in walking distance or if public transport was handy. I’d also check if it included any freebies like breakfast, happy hour, welcome drinks and lastly I would check the reviews. Some people just go straight into the reviews. But hey, we are booking hostels for a reason either because we are looking for the “cheaps” (and we get what we pay for) or we’re there to chill out, meet people or have a rowdy time. My tip is see what they have to offer before seeing what others thought on their one-off experience. Download the app to your mobile.



Do you have private health insurance? Make sure you check with your fund to see what travel insurance cover they can provide. When I went travelling for most of 2013, I took out world cover traveller’s insurance and it only cost a few hundred dollars! They generally give great discounts for fund members, so don’t forget that private insurance’s benefits are not just on dental, optical and physiotherapy!


So you have a policy or are about to purchase a policy for when you depart your country until you arrive back in your country. Below are some important notes and reminders that are hidden in all the paperwork.

  • Keep your policy number on you as much as you can, it’s there for accidents, right? If anything does go wrong it’s not going to help if you have to find access to the internet and check your emails for the details, or it’s in your bag back at the accommodation.
  • Make sure if you’re going to be an adventurous traveller that your cover is adequate. If you are going to go bungee jumping, skiing, skydiving etc – and take out basic cover, it may not include these activities. Leaving yourself paying for expensive medical bills if you have an accident.
  • If you need to make a claim overseas for a mobile phone, it can be quicker or easier to deal with your phone provider. I list this as a travel tip, as it can be more of a hassle to prove an accident etc on the travel insurance policy. Also, it seems to be the most usual item that we break/get stolen (it’s happened to me twice). Disclosure: cannot post (by air) lithium batteries.
  • If you are taking the best of the best with you – camera, laptop, jewellery, clothes, or your fabulous travel luggage with you – again check the policy details with the cover that you’re satisfied with the payout should you lose a diamond earrings or a diamond ring!
  • Ensure that the country/countries you are visiting are safe to do so. You can find that you are in a country or area that your government has advised against travelling, this could void your insurance policy. This could leave you on your own if anything happens, travel at your own risk.


Yes, please!

Many banks offer complimentary travel insurance if you tick the criteria. The general eligibility is spending a certain amount on a certain card. You will most likely have the card or can apply for the necessary one. The eligible card is usually a platinum, gold or premium credit card. Do you have a car loan or mortgage? It is also worth seeing if you have borrowing package where you may be entitled to one of these cards with no annual fee. As usually these cards with benefits do come with an annual fee. If you are eligible for the complimentary travel insurance be sure to let your bank know the dates you are away. If you use this card or other ones with your bank, and you do not tell them, it could be blocked. Banks have fraud teams set up that monitor our accounts and if you’re an Italian buying up in USA they could assume your account has been hacked. The last part with this to be aware of is that the cover does tend to be on the basic side. As mentioned above it may not cover extreme activities and the value of claims on items could be lower than you’d like. But nothing to lose to just look into this tip, go to your bank’s website and see what complimentary travel insurance they offer.


Money Saver! This website has incredible deals and low or no fees attached when booking too.

You can also earn points with Expedia through flights, packages, hotels etc.

I have used this to book flights several times and have not had any problems. If you want to know more, go tot the webpage or click here to ask me

Compare, get excited and book through the channel website! I’m sure you have heard of Skyscanner and if not, you should use it from this day forward. This is my go-to whenever I want to travel, whether domestic or international. For years I have booked through Skyscanner.

After selecting your destination and dates as normal, it will go through thousands of options and bring you the best deals from all around the world. You then need to choose which flight/s you want and through which provider to go through, such as BYOjet, Expedia or the airlines direct. A great feature this website has is when you’re on the home page when selecting dates it has a whole month option. From here if you here if you are flexible with dates you can choose the day that is the cheapest. It is what I do and you can save hundreds! I booked Brisbane to Honolulu return for $480AUD!



Waiting, waiting…

When we have those long haul flights, the time cannot come quick enough to arrive at our destination, or sadly when we touch back down after our holiday. We all know people that do not mind the 15 hour flights, but I do. From the two plus hours when we arrive at the international airport, to the passport control & customs at the other end, it is a long time. Luckily, our trending world these days has airports (and airlines) have a lot to offer – from airline lounges to free public showers at the airport. Below is advice on what can help you fill in time or give you ideas or tips during air travel.

Restrictions on liquids – drink up!

Have ever just bought a new bottle of water and lined up at security to then have to throw it away due to liquid restrictions? Me too.  Talk about wasting money. But did you know that you can actually take that bottle through security? That’s right, if you can get your drinking skills on or already come to the airport with an empty water bottle, you can just refill it when you clear security. This saves you having to find a good deal on water, which bottles are expensive at the airports. Most airports have water fountains, you could also ask cafes or restaurants if they do not mind filling your bottle with their tap or can always resort to the bathroom taps. Problem solved!

Prepare with your liquids

This is one that everyone is or should be familiar with. You are unable to get through security if you have liquids or gels of over 100mls. Then they must fit into a small sealable bag. Downsize as needed if you your checked in luggage doesn’t arrive safely at your destination. You should pack these items toothpaste, roll-on deodorant, perfume, cologne, hand sanitizer, chapstick (you can dry out on the plane) and some shower gel or hair products if you plan on having a shower at airports – all under 100ml. Bonus tip: moisture wipes, make-up wipes are not counted as a liquid/gel in most airports. These are handy to freshen up or use as a part shower.

When you need a bed

If you are ready to give up on lying on a line of chairs at an empty gate and wrapping your jacket around you or using it as a pillow, there could be other options. Yes, the comfort option means you will pay, but you won’t find a double bed lying around in the airport for free. Make sure you check the website of the airports you have a connection in and what sleep options they have. Some have sleeping pods, cubicles and some have hotels (check out Bangkok airports Louis’ Tavern dayrooms). You will be asked to provide your flight departure details to ensure you don’t miss your flight. I have used these sleeping options in São Paulo and Bangkok, which both had a layover of over six hours. These places can offer complimentary wifi, power points, showers, water and snacks or even meals.

Duty Free

Most just walk through duty free as they can be overwhelming with prices, staff or we are too exhausted to shop. But if you actually walk around and remember that you can test items out that can make you feel better! Splash on some perfume, use the water mister, ladies touch up with some foundation or moisturiser?

Free Public Showers

When travelling over a long distance (Australia to London) you may have to stop at another airport waiting for your next flight. During stopovers, the best thing in the world – is having a shower! And you can have one for free! I am always looking up airports that I have a connection flights in before I arrive to see if public showers are offered. Just take a small tea towel, or chamois (chamy) with you onboard and you’re set. Whether you jump back into the same clothes or change your entire outfit. You can then go to your next gate feeling refreshed. Just remember to take a soap or gel (under 100ml) with you, as most public showers do not provided anything.

WIFI to keep in touch

We are all guilty of walking through airports with our Wifi settings open trying to find something for free or with a password. Whether you have a long waiting time or short, you still can try these tips to gain WIFI. 1. Look for symbols – at different airports they will actually advertise WIFI zones etc. 2. If you are going to eat or sit somewhere for a cup of coffee or a beer, check and see if they cafe/restaurant offers WIFI. Ask ahead sometimes if they have WIFI (might not be working) or what the WIFI password is before ordering. You don’t want to be without it when you sat there specifically for it. 3. There are also mobile apps out there that you can use to look up WIFI spots (like airports). Make sure you always take note when you sign up or log in using WIFI as a lot have limited minutes or hours you can have complimentary access. 4. Ask other foreigners if they know where any WIFI is or staff members. 5. This last one is the least useful one but – pay for WIFI, a lot will still offer but may have to pay $5 for 30 minutes. If the signal is good and you really need it, just pay for it.

Last chance to organise currency

It should be a last resort to convert money here, as the conversion rates are usually a disadvantage to the traveller. But if you don’t have any and you plan to take public transport or a taxi and you will have to pay in cash (don’t always rely on your travel money cards), it’s best to do it here. Be prepared that the currencies may not be sold ie. El Dorado Bogota Airport did not hold Peruvian Sol at the time when I was there.  Try ask for small denominations – if you have the equivalent of $50USD and your cab ride in Peru is only $3USD the drivers may not have change for you. Don’t just rely on arriving at your destination as there can be long lines to exchange money at the other end and higher exchange rates.


Passing time in the sky can be difficult for some. I am from Australia so I am always looking at a good nine hours at minimum for the journeys to higher Asia, USA and Europe. Here are some tips to help your flight be a little more comfortable.

Use the stickers or symbols for sleeping/meals

Long haul flights and some airlines will use colour codes, or stickers to signify if you wish to be disturbed or not. For example Etihad has sleeping masks and depending on the way you put it, they will wake you for meals or let you be. So it’s worth it to pay extra attention sometimes. If you want to sleep and hopefully wake when you’re about to land then make sure you have the do not disturb red side facing outwards.

Meals, drinks and snacks on board

Stating the obvious but if you have dietary requirements hopefully you didn’t wait until your flight took off to let them know. Aside from that the bad news is if you are at the end of a serving section you will have the leftover less popular meals. So make sure you have a good look at the menu to make sure you can eat everything on the list. It can sometimes pay to say to the attendant you cannot eat a certain dish or dishes if your chosen one runs out. Although be careful as they may say something about dietary requirements needed to be given when you booked your flight etc. When it is time for snacks, this one is often missed as the cabin is dark. If you are having a good sleep that’s not a problem, but if you are asleep & hungry make sure you track an attendant down to have that snack. They aren’t always fulfilling but it’s better than nothing. Don’t be afraid to ask the attendants throughout the flight for things ie. water, coffee, another small snack etc. Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated in the air.

Stretch as much as you can

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is real, and isn’t pretty to experience. I’ve known people who have got it and it’s painful and can really ruin the start of your trip or welcome home. Compression stockings are highly advised to those who may be inclined to suffer from it. Make sure you get up every few hours and walk around the plane and move your toes, stretch you legs.

Check your entertainment

This is primarily making sure (which is sometimes after take off) that everything works. Make sure the socket USB outlet is charging for your phone, tablet etc. Check that the headphones are working or both sides of them are working. That way you can quickly get a new pair from an attendant and test them. A suggestion that really does wonders for some travellers is noise reducing headphones! As much as we adapt to the hum of the jet engines, there are options to cut that sound right down! Go on to Amazon for the best on the market with the Bose quiet comfort 35 but they will set you back $349USD (cannot ship to Australia). For Australians who want to shop on Amazon a highly rated option is the Cowin E-7 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones.

Timing is everything when landing

On your long haul flights and when you are getting closer to your destination it can get busy in the aisles. If you are one of the last to get served the last meal get ready now if you need to pack your equipment/gear/clothes etc up. If you are one of the first to receive the last meal, try as soon as you can to head to the lavatory or fix your cabin baggage up, fill in landing cards etc. The lines for the lavatory can get incredibly long building up to landing and when the light comes on to fasten you seat belt you don’t want to miss out. Make sure you utilise the complimentary travel pack that most airlines provide as you can get a small (very small) amount of toothpaste and a travel toothbrush. This is if you don’t travel with your own – buy 100ml or under toothpaste before you leave.

Keep an eye out for those empty seats!

This is a big one for travellers of any kind. We want to have space! You can do the regular of asking when you check in if the flight is full, empty seats etc – some staff will assist you greatly, others will say you’ll have to wait until you are on board. The final outcome is when you are on board and hear “boarding complete” or similar, GO, GO, GO! Everyone is on and the free seats are anyone’s! Don’t rely on an earlier conversation with a flight attendant in saying ‘could you let me know if there’s any free seats.’ This is because if they forget you or are too slow they can’t kick someone else out of a once-free-seat to accommodate you (unless extreme circumstances).


Passport control & customs

If you’re at the front of the plane of course you will have an advantage of hopping off first. This is great to make your way to passport control and beat everyone else on your flight. Especially to avoid even longer lines if you’ve flown in to a busy airport or at a time when other international flights have landed. Ensure you have everything ready before you hop off the plane, landing cards that are already filled in is a relief as you don’t have to find where they are, or a pen (always carry a pen or two) or desk space to fill your card in. Have your passport and any other travel documentation handy for your turn. The same goes for your custom card, make sure (if necessary) this is filled in while you are on your flight as well, to be able to hand this over if applicable. All this together makes for a smooth transition before you head out those doors to your destination!

Coming out of the arrival doors

This can be overwhelming for some or if they are at chaotic airports – where taxi drivers are shouting at you, family and friends looking for loved ones, hundreds of people everywhere and chauffeurs & hotels holding up poster boards with names on them – it’s a lot sometimes. Make sure sure you already have a plan in place to deal with this. Pre-order a taxi, a hotel shuttle, know which transportation sign/symbol you need to look for (trains, buses, trams etc). If you are taking public transport read up beforehand on which bus number or colour the bus is, its schedule and so on. If you have just arrived at an international destination – do you have small denominations of the local currency? Taxi or bus drivers may not have change for larger denominations. Public transportation sometimes does not have cash on buses, but a prepaid card or a ticket machine at the stop/station. Have a plan of action for airport arrival.

Have a good look at your luggage

Just to always been on the detective side, if you have TSA (recommended) locks see if they have been opened by security. If you do not have TSA locks make sure your locks have not been broken.

Freshen up before you leave

If you have to go to the bathroom before leaving the airport, try to hold on until you go through passport control. This way you skip any line up between off boarding and the line at passport control getting longer from people on your flight (100 people could go past you while you’re in the bathroom, ladies!). Once you’re through control, look for toilets as 99% of the time they will have facilities here (between passport control & carousel). Go before your carousel starts moving with the luggage, as it can be a tight squeeze with a massive 23kg bag in a toilet cubicle if you are travelling on your own. If you need to change your outfit from clothes in your suitcase, try looking and quickly using the disabled toilets for more room for your luggage.


 It is a known fact that when we travel abroad this word will always be heard. Whether it’s our family and friends, government websites, media or part of tour info or travel insurance policies. Depending on where you are in the world the safety level will differ but the main basics will always remain and should be embedded in you.
  • Instinct – a natural or intuitive process of thinking, this is like our sixth sense. Listen to your gut feeling or instinct. This can and will get you out of bad, awkward or potential threatening situations in  your travels. It can deciding to turn around on a street, saying no to hopping in certain cabs or even simply not eating food that your instinct says ‘don’t eat it!’
  • Government advice – your country will have departments (foreign) that will monitor safety across countries around the world. They will then gather all of this information and have it available for citizens. Here are Australia, USA and UK‘s government websites for travel advice.
  • Electronics – these (along with jewellery) are the most usual items to be taken from tourists. Be sure to always have these in hidden/safe places – don’t just have them in your open pocket, but have pocket zip clothing, have them in a bag that you carry with you near/at your chest, especially on crowded areas and on public transport. Have passwords set up, so easy access will not be in their favour. Make sure you have iPhone locator app set up before you leave home. I know travellers who have tracked down their phone and the police have gone and taken it off the offender.
  • Don’t be side-swiped – this can happen where it’s all a set up, someone might fall down in front of you, you bend down to help them and someone has gone and reached into your backpack/handbag/pocket and taken cash, cards, phone etc. Or at the Eiffel tower and they were throwing glow sticks up into the air so all the tourists look up while we are being pick-pocketed.
  • Bag then coat or light cardigan – more suitable for the colder climates or spring temperatures is how you layer. Wear your bag or day backpack then put your coat, or cardigan over the top as an extra protection layer. This way it can’t be easily snatched as you are walking down the street. In summer, opt for a money wallet or belt to have under your singlet.
  • Take your memory cards out – imagine if your camera got stolen and you hadn’t backed up your photos. This is the devastating truth that can happen to tourists sometimes. Why not take the memory card out when you aren’t using your camera, like walking between sights or certainly if you left it on a table while you’re eating lunch. If they take the camera that’s hard enough but at least you have your photos.
  • Be street smart at ATMs – when you need to withdraw cash think about our location. Look at your surroundings.


When you visit a country where English is not the first language, automatically you can feel intimidated. Whether it’s trying to read directions, listen to directions, read menus, listening to airport announcements or trying to tell the taxi driver where you need to go. Language barriers are hard, being lost in translation is hard. Below are some tips for you to use when you find yourself in these sticky situations.

  • Keep your accommodation details – as soon as you know the address of where you will be staying, put it in your phone, take the hotel card, write it on several bits of paper or your travel journal, anywhere! This is like your get out of jail free card. You will know that one way or another you will always be able to get back to your room at night if you have the address that you can hand over to someone to point you in the right direction or for the taxi driver to get you there
  • Book an Uber – this is a lifesaver when it comes to moving around a city (country) where they do not speak English and you need transportation. I used this a lot with my South America trip. You simply sign up (use my referral code traceyb3088ue for your first ride free). You basically set your location where you currently are and plug in the address of where you need to go, voila! They will come pick you up and drop your off at your destination, then your credit card will be charged (no payment needs to be physically given to the driver)
  • Learn the basics – where you go, make sure you learn the basics, in any culture these are hi (hello, good morning etc), yes, no, thank you, please, excuse me, sorry, goodbye or see you later. Of course there are many more that will help you get through your days and nights like left, right, do you speak English, how many, how much, where is, what is.. But the first thing you should be able to do is say hello or excuse me. Besides if you learn too much at once you could find yourself saying the wrong thing like years ago in Spain I thought I was saying excuse me when walking through crowds but I was saying ‘I’m sad!’
  • Use phone apps or tutorials – expanding on the above, download apps like Duolingo to have you saying things like “My name is..” or “I would like a white coffee, please” or “Where is central train station?” or “Do you have change for [currency value]?” You can also use YouTube accounts to hear the natives speak and teach you in English. My favourite channel for Spanish is
  • Interact with the locals – this by far is one of the most exciting parts of travelling. When you mingle with the locals and hear their stories, meet their friends or family, let them show you the sights or simply just get to know them. You do not know if they speak English or not until you start speaking. Greet them in their own language and engage. I once was at Lima airport and a lady sneezed and I said ‘salud’ and to this day we talk on Whatsapp..
  • Have confidence or a game plan – don’t be overconfident, but if you are use to being in foreign countries like I am, you can tend to go with the flow, where you don’t mind walking around a city for hours or going to beaches without knowing how to get there etc. If you don’t want to leave it to the unknown, have a travel plan or guide ready of the sights you need to see and have the information handy. At hotels and even Airbnb’s there is tourist information that you can plan your day out so if you can’t speak English you have a map or a list of sights with you and locals can literally point you in the right direction
  • Know your currency – this one is where you can easily be ripped off being a tourist and having a language barrier up. If you don’t know numbers or the money of the country (language) you’re visiting you can be emptying your pockets quick. If you hand over big notes and you don’t know how much it is and you get some or no change back and don’t question it, they won’t hesitate to keep it. Of course there are good samaritans out there who would. But if you know a hat that you shouldn’t pay anymore than 1,000 Colombian pesos don’t hand over 20,000 thinking it’s small money, you’re going to need an ATM quickly then you should have if you knew your numbers

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