There’s always something exciting about looking into your next holiday. But you need to make your travel research useful – here are six things to bear in mind when planning your next travel adventure.  Don’t book that next flight until you’ve looked into everything on this list!

Travel Research – Look Into Exchange rates

blonde girl in blue lagoon at sunset with purple sky. travel blogger explores blue lagoon iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland is one of the most incredible travel experiences you will have in your lifetime

You may not realise it, but there are massive differences in exchange rates depending on how and where you change up your money. Rates are very competitive but also differ greatly depending on the value of each currency.  Expect fluctuations at various places if you hold out on changing cash. Do your travel research online to see when and where you’ll score the best bang for your buck. Card is always a great option but, some places in the world still don’t use card.  If they do, opt to pay in the national currency instead of converting to your home currency when purchasing an item. Typically, this will give you a much better rate.

I find the best way to navigate cash only countries is hitting up the ATM.  Take out as much money at the ATM each time you go so you aren’t berated with a ton of fees.  If you can find a bank that doesn’t charge you a conversion fee, like Charles Schwab, you will only have to pay that ATM’s fees.  Awesome!

Travel Research – What are the must-see sights?

It’s likely you’ll already know the biggest and best places to go when choosing a destination, but do some more in-depth travel research to discover those hidden treasures you may not be aware of. Sites such as the Great Wall of India – yes, India – are rapidly becoming frequented tourist destinations, so seek them out before they become overpopulated. Check out The Secret Traveller’s list of eight destinations no one knows about for inspiration.

travel research machu picchu beatiful clear day

Machu Pichu is a modern wonder of the world and another lifetime experience.

Consider looking at areas away from the central cities and big beaches for a more authentic experience. But that isn’t to say you should shy away from the renowned sights – from the majesty of Thailand’s Grand Palace to the ancient awe of Peru’s Machu Picchu, they’re popular for a reason.

Research the Cultural Customs

To avoid unintentional offense or harm to locals once you’ve arrived at your destination, make sure you brush up on the norms in their culture. Did you know, for example, that in Thailand you’re expected to take your shoes off before entering many buildings, as feet are where they perceive bad energy to lie? There are many ways Italias will know if you’re American.  Again, it’s important to do your research before heading out to your destination. Tourists aren’t expected to follow cultural norms in a lot of instances, but it helps in general interactions – in Japan, for example, you’ll be warmly welcomed if you greet locals with a traditional bow.

Research Travel Areas- No-Go & No-Fly Zones

Be warned that in certain countries, there are areas you won’t be able to visit due to the dangers that lie there. Steer clear of certain parts of the Philippines, for example– there’s a risk of kidnapping and crime in many places. Not only are some places in the world a no-go for safety, but parts of the world have been so overrun by environmentally unconscious tourists, they have had to close them to preserve the area for future generations.  Traveling responsibly is a must. One really great thing you can do is bring your own filtering water bottle when you travel.  I personally use a Grayl – it’s only $60 and can make any non-salt water drinkable.  Priceless in countries where tap water is undrinkable, or if you are an avid hiker.

Furthermore, as far as no-go zones, if you are a blogger you might want to fly your drone in certain parts of the world,to really capture its beauty.  Unfortunately, a few irresponsible people have ruined the chance for us out there, and certain countries won’t let you even bring a drone into the country.  When I went to Morocco, I really wanted to be able to fly my drone in the Sahara Desert. If I hadn’t done my travel research my drone would have been confiscated from me at customs. Some drone friendly countries I have recently traveled to are Iceland and Scotland.

 

Travel Research – The risk of terror or conflict

There are bad people in the world, and this could affect your travels. Don’t be frightened or put off – nothing should deter you from travelling and exploring. You just need to travel smart.  Do your travel research, and make sure the country you are visiting is generally safe.  The risks of anything happening to you whilst travelling in this instance are extremely low.  Remember, there is often just as much crime, if not more, at home.  You can check the US government travel warnings for certain countries to see what the risk will be.  There are also tons of online forums, one of my favorite being the Girls Love Travel Facebook Group where you can ask other women where they have traveled and if they felt safe.

While terror and conflict risks are extremely low, make sure you protect yourself from petty crime, such as pickpockets.  Always zip up your purse, and never carry anything in your back pockets. Travel research on specific destinations will show you what sort of crime to look out for.

Blonde girl looking out over Florence Italy. Beautiful Italian cityscape. travel research on pickpockets will help you survive italy

Italy is a haven for pickpockets – be very careful when exploring this beautiful country.

Research About Potential Activities and excursions

On the brighter side, it’s important to make sure you plan what you want to do before you head out. Going to Bali? Consider exploring Kuta. Its big and beautiful beach and bustling town will sweep you away into a tropical paradise. Or, if you want to explore an Asian city like no other, Tokyo is the place to go. And make sure you fill your time up with things to do. Although you likely won’t become bored when travelling the world look at the activities on offer. White water rafting, surfing, sailing, and hiking will get you motivated to explore your destination.

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