How Tos travel hacks

Top Travel Hacks From The Top Travel Bloggers

Shu Yi
Updated May 16, 2018

Whether you are heading out on your first trip abroad or you’re an experienced globe-trotter, heading off to a new destination makes for an enlightening experience. With hundreds of trips under their belt, travel bloggers are maestros when it comes to making the most of their journeys.

We have brought together these travel experts to share with us tips and tricks that will make your journey that much smoother and more enjoyable. This write-up features a bevy of travel experts, all masters in their domain: from top food travel bloggers that have sampled the world’s finest and most exotic cuisine (from Archar to Zeppole) to the best family travel bloggers—adepts at juggling both the itinerary and their kids’ antics! Regardless of their area of expertise, one thing is for certain: we have much to learn from them.

Read on to glean the top travel hacks from the top travel bloggers.

A Little Adrift

Shannon O’Donnell

Named traveler of the year by National Geographic in 2013 for her work in responsible tourism, Shannon O’Donnell started globe-trotting a little under a decade ago in 2008. Shannon provides unbiased reviews and has a broad range of useful guides (from budgeting to tech equipment for traveling) on her blog, A Little Adrift—a great platform to find out more about travel.

A Little Adrift focuses on:

  • Slow, local-level grassroots travel
  • Connecting to other cultures through food and service
  • Practical advice for planning long-term travels
  • How to travel as a vegetarian
  • Tools and resources for living & working abroad
  • Creating a supportive community motivating others to travel

If you want to find out more about being a Volunteer Traveler, you can pick up her book, “The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook” and learn more about Grassroots Volunteering here. We’ve asked her to share some travel insights with us below:


1. What are the five things you will always have with you when you travel?

Beyond the truly necessary (like passport and clothing), I carry duck tape, a journal, a carabiner clip (to safeguard my purse/camera from snatch and run), and my Kindle.

2. How do you find the best food stalls/places/restaurants?

Always go to busy stalls with women and children, families, etc.

The ones with a long line of locals will have the best food, and if families are there, then you know the food is clean and safe to eat, because local mothers will have their eye on the same sort of things you should be watching out for (how does the vendor handle money, how are the dishes cleaned, etc).

3. What is a must-go destination and must-do activity/food to try while there?

Thailand is one of the easiest places to enjoy the food culture, and any traveler should try the Yum Kai Dao—a fried egg and tamarind salad that I absolutely love!

Do good as you explore the world

With the help of a supportive community, A Little Adrift has built up a network that not only builds on travel resources found on Shannon’s blog with real experiences, it also strives to achieve ethical tourism. As we explore and take in the beauty of the world, we should also strive to preserve its uniqueness for others who may wander through the same spot.

Follow her adventures on:

A Little Adrift

Twitter: @ShannonRTW

Instagram:@alittleadrift

Authentic Food Quest

The 2 Co-founders of Authentic Food Quest

Rosemary Kimani and Claire Rouger make up the team behind Authentic Food Quest. They subscribe to the philosophy that travelers can form deeper connections with their travel destinations and the local people by sampling local cuisine.

They are authors of the book

and the soon to be released Authentic Food Quest Peru.

In 2015, they traded in their corporate jobs to eat their way around the world. Since then, they have explored the local flavors of Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Peru in South America. In 2017, their quest continued to Southeast Asia. Here, they discovered firsthand local specialties of the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. You can head over to their blog, where they try authentic local fare and share their experiences so that you know what you are getting into before you travel to those countries yourself.

1. What are the five things you will always have with you when you travel?

We like to travel slow and immerse ourselves at a destination for at least 4 weeks or more. Keeping fit is part of our routine, so we always have our running shoes with us. As digital nomads, we work on the road, therefore our Mac laptops and cell phones are part of our essential travel gear.

Other must-have travel items are:

Rosemary: Running shoes, my journal for personal reflections, a scarf and a hat for bad hair days.

Claire: Running shoes, kindle and ear plugs. Also, my Swiss Army Knife is incredibly useful to have while traveling. It’s come in handy in a variety of situations. I’ve used it to open wine or beer cans, as scissors to cut open packages, and as a screwdriver to fix anything on the go and much more!

2. What are your travel hacks?

Google Voice Number: Before we set off for our quest in 2015, we created a Google number which allows you to receive messages as texts or voicemail on our mobile phones or computers. Having this one phone number allows us to remain accessible wherever in the world we may be.

Charles Schwab Investor Checking Account: For international travel, this is the best account to have because you get your ATM fees refunded from any ATM machine around the world. This can lead to savings of as much as 30 to 40 USD per month.

Staying with Locals: To get an authentic local experience, we like to stay with locals on our travels. We use the Airbnb platform to share a home with locals. One of the great things about staying with locals is the convenient availability of a kitchen to cook our own meals and try local and authentic dishes. House-sitting, in exchange for taking care of pets, is also another way that we get to live like a local. We use a platform called Trusted Housesitters. This has also allowed us to explore various local neighborhoods.

3. How do you find the best food stalls/places/restaurants?

Food is a big part of most people’s travel experiences. It is one of the best ways to experience local cultures. Finding the best local restaurants can be sometimes tricky. Depending on who you ask, there is a high likelihood that you will be directed to a “tourist trap” restaurant.

We recommend starting with a visit to the local farmers’ market. You’ll get a chance to try the local produce as well as enjoy the freshly-made local meals. Take the road less traveled and seek out restaurants that are beyond popular locales or tourist spots. No matter how tempting it might be to eat nearby, when you go off the beaten path, you’ll be rewarded with delicious food and amazing experiences.

Don’t be afraid to show your curiosity about the local food culture. Get out of your comfort zone and ask the locals for the best places to find the local specialties. Skip the hotel recommendations which are most likely popular tourist destinations. Instead, ask locals for their suggestions. Ask the vendors at the market, ask your Uber or local taxi driver, ask at the museum, where the staff goes to eat. Show curiosity about the local food and don’t be afraid to ASK!

4. How do you deal with stomach upsets while traveling?

Fortunately, we’ve never fallen seriously ill on our travels. However, we do travel with

, which is an essential part of our packing list.

Activated charcoal is a natural treatment and used around the world as an antidote for hundreds of poisons. It works by absorbing poisons and toxins in the digestive tract, by binding them together thereby reducing their potency.

We carry activated charcoal pills and use them preventatively before meals. Sometimes, if something is not feeling right after eating, we take two pills and things usually clear up quickly after that.

5. What are your must-go destination and must-do activity/food to try while there?

One of our favorite destinations for food is Vietnam. The central region of Vietnam such as Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue, are exceptional places to visit when it comes to food. The must-do activities here involve indulging in local food specialties. We discovered Bánh Xèo (a savory Vietnamese pancake) and stumbled upon Bo Ne (sizzling beefsteak). Their flavors are incredible and the local food is a top reason to visit Vietnam.

Japan is one country we would love to visit, and explore the local food culture. High on our list of places to visit in Japan is the Tsukiji Fish Market. This is the oldest and biggest fish market in the world. We would love to experience it and (of course) indulge in the incredibly fresh sushi and sashimi while we’re there.

Looking for authentic food?

You can find several resources on Rosemary and Claire’s blog if you are looking for some insight into authentic local fare in Southeast Asia and South America.

Their free e-book—The Five Best Ways to Find Authentic Food While Traveling is another great resource for aspiring globe-hopping foodies. Follow Rosemary and Claire on their blog, where they publish up-to-date articles such as How To Avoid Tourist Trap Food When Traveling In a Tourist Town, where they share several ways to spot the best food places.

Follow their adventures on:

AuthenticFoodQuest.com

Twitter: @afoodquest

Instagram:@authenticfoodquest

Live Less Ordinary


Styling themselves as a travel and lifestyle blog for independent travelers, Live Less Ordinary focuses on food and travel blogging. Helmed by Bangkok-based couple, Allan and FanFan Wilson, this blog provides down-to-earth articles that prove an enjoyable and insightful read.

Live Less Ordinary is not what you would call your stereotypical travel blogger. At their blog, you can find alternative takes on places and situations. This includes Allan’s views about blogging trips or a realistic look at the street food ban in Bangkok.

1. What are the five things you will always have with you when you travel?

When traveling solo, I will always travel ridiculously light, bringing no more than clothes, a point and shoot camera, and my wallet and passport. Just the obvious, and no more, and I always pack last minute, on the morning of leaving.

Otherwise, when traveling with my wife Fanfan, these would be for our more extensive and comprehensive travels. She will spend weeks organizing and pulling together itineraries. We will bring mostly gadgets for coverage on these trips, so it’s the SLR Camera, our GoPro, and a beat-up laptop, one which we can afford to lose, as it is more or less just for backing up our photos and video coverage along the way. Also, our Pad** is essential for notes and map viewing. Lastly, our most recent toy would be our DJI Spark drone, which literally fits in our pockets, and is simple for travel.

We’re making the most of this right now, as rules and regulations for drones seem to be getting stricter all over the world, every day.

2. What are your travel hacks?

A pack of napkins will always come in handy when eating street food outdoors, or at food courts and hawker stalls.

This is, in fact, a common practice in Singapore. Although it translates across Asia, where people are used to occupying a table with packets of tissue while they go grab food from food stalls nearby. But I always forget to do that myself. Instead, I use my camera case or something of less value to hold tables. I find myself constantly glancing towards the table worrying that someone might have nicked my item. A more helpful alternative is a colorful pack of tissues or napkins. They always do the trick! As a bonus, I don’t care if they go missing. This also works for reserving a spot at hotel buffet breakfasts, although the chances of theft are next to none at hotels.

3. How do you find the best food stalls/places/restaurants?

I never really follow other people’s recommendations for food, or the well-touted tourist spots, as I almost always find myself disappointed. This may be due to them being overhyped to begin with, but it is also just infinitely more exciting to stumble upon great street food finds on your own.

The overall eating experience tends to be lessened when surrounded by tourists following the same recommendations from Lonely Planet or whatnot. My love of street food comes more from finding random tasty snacks in obscure and unknown backstreets. Otherwise, I just follow my gut (or belly, I guess) as I tend to know whether I’m going to enjoy something by just looking at it.

The more you eat, the higher the chance of finding great food, so it’s best to go at it with an empty stomach. By avoiding the queues of overhyped food stalls and tourist checklist food locales, you can cover way more ground and eat way more food on your journey.

4. How do you deal with illnesses while traveling?

I find that those that get ill or upset stomachs are almost always those who worry the most about it. It feels like a hypochondriac kind of thing, I guess. It’s not something I think about often. I have been eating local and street food daily for roughly 6 years now in Asia. Illnesses while travelling is rarely a bother.

Although in 2014 I had travelers diarrhea in China from drinking their water. It’s almost always water which causes upset stomachs, and statistically, street food contamination is no higher than that of restaurant food. I even ate my way through India without once turning to international food (mostly because there was none). It wasn’t until I had left India that I actually realized that I had done so, and it was the first country I had eaten through without resorting to comfort foods.

Looking to live a less ordinary life?

You can read about Allan and FanFan’s adventures in Thailand in the book:

or subscribe to his free ebooks on their blog.

Follow their adventures on

Live Less Ordinary

Facebook: @LiveLessOrdinary

Twitter: @lessordinaryco

Instagram:@livelessordinary

Tin Box Traveller


If you are traveling with the whole family in the UK, this blog is for you! Tin Box Traveller is a UK-based, five-year-old blog that covers the adventures of Claire and her joyous household. Included are helpful tips and travel advice as well as a myriad of options for your next family adventure. At Tin Box Traveller, you can find reviews of campsites and cruises for you and your little ones. You can also find useful travel tricks and tips that will keep your travels abroad smooth and the whole family happy.

1. What are the five things you will pack for your kids when you travel?

The top five things I always pack for our girls when we are traveling are: our toddler carrier for hikes and sightseeing, drinks and snacks, their favorite cuddly toys, an iPad to keep them entertained when we are on the move and a travel potty in case we are caught short during long car journeys.

2. What are your travel hacks?

Don’t just focus on your end destination when you’re traveling with kids—make the journey part of the experience too.

Break up road trips with stops along the way to see a local attraction, and add mini-breaks to the start or end of longer holidays, so you get to appreciate more than just one place. We did this when we joined a cruise in Barcelona. We arrived 48 hours early to add a city break to our itinerary.

3. Do you have any tips on how to manage your kids in foreign places? Knowing that kids can get rowdy and are full of energy.

We’ve found most European countries really welcoming for families. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to dine at restaurants, and people don’t mind if they get a little rowdy. What works best for us when we’re traveling with our two young children is to try to stick to their routine as much as possible. We don’t eat too late and we try to make sure they get plenty of sleep. This makes everyone’s mood lighter at the end of a long day. Meltdowns happen when they’re tired or hungry.

Journeys need not be a solitary affair...

… and family trips need not be a chaotic mess. Check out The Tin Box Family and be inspired to travel and explore new places together with your family. The memories you make along the way will be priceless.

Follow their adventures on

Tin Box Traveller

Facebook: @tinboxtraveller

Twitter: @TinBoxTraveller

Instagram:@tinboxtraveller

Will Fly For Food

JB & Renée, the Traveleaters

The aptly named Will Fly For Food blog by JB and Renée caters to foodies looking for their next tasty bite on their travels. This blog not only covers their journey, Renée also serves up a series of recipes that transcends borders, from Paella to Bulgogi. Not to be missed is their National Dish Quest: a worthwhile challenge where you can attempt to try every country’s national dish(es).

1. What are the five things you will always have with you when you travel?

My DSLR, iPhone, pocket wifi device, CabinZero backpack, and money belt.

2. Do you have any (for the lack of a better term) travel hacks that you wish to share?

Buy plane tickets around 47 days prior to your departure date. Fares tend to be the cheapest around that time. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it can save you a ton of money. We once saved over 1,500 USD on a flight using that method.

3. Do you have any tips on how to spot the best places to stay when you go hunting for food? What do you look out for when you are booking a hotel online or when you walk in?

If mostly locals eat there, then that’s where we want to go. Some review websites allow you to filter reviews by language. If a place gets high marks from reviews in the local language, then we’ll definitely go there. If it gets low or average marks, then we’ll avoid it no matter what non-locals say. As far as hotels go, we look for places that are centrally located or near a subway station. Easy access to transportation is key.

4. Has there been a time where you've walked away from a food shop (be it a street stall/restaurant) that was recommended after taking a look at it? Why?

Yes, if a restaurant looks too nice, especially when it’s located in a prime area, then chances are—it’s touristy. We rarely walk into random restaurants when we travel because I like to vet everything carefully before we go. Even if a restaurant comes highly recommended, it’s important to look at where those recommendations are coming from. If they’re coming mostly from tourists, then we tend to ignore those. Local recommendations are always best.

5. What is your must-go destination and must-do activity/food to try while you're there?

That’s easy: Japan. We love Japan and try to go there at least once a year. Sushi is the obvious must-eat food, but everything in Japan is delicious.

Where would you go for food?

If you wish to eat your way around, follow these “traveleaters” and find out what’s worth sampling when you hit your next destination.

Follow their adventures on

Will Fly For Food

Facebook: @willflyforfood.net

Twitter: @flyforfoodnow

Instagram:@flyingforfoodnow

2foodtrippers

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Sharing a love of food and travel, Daryl and Mindi, the team behind 2foodtrippers has sampled food all around the globe and shares their experiences on their blog. Their depth of experience translates to a range of articles that cover everything from food markets in London, to the best Gelato in Bologna, Italy.

1. What are the five things you will always have with you when you travel?

As full-time travelers, we try to travel light. However, we always have the following items with us: Adaptors, Apple TV, Fitbit, Sonicare Toothbrush and our Canon Camera.

2. What are your travel hacks?

We travel with a cheap 6-inch GE extension cord that allows us to plug multiple devices into one adaptor.

3. How do you find the best food stalls/places/restaurants?

Although we do a copious amount of research about where to eat at a new destination, we also follow our eyes and noses when we see crowds or smell delicious aromas. This is a great way to discover under-the-radar food spots.

4. When you get stomach upsets/fall ill while traveling, how do you deal with it?

We don’t suffer a lot of stomach upsets when we travel since we’re careful about cleanliness and bottled water. When we do fall ill, we drink a lot of fluids to flush out the toxins.

Looking for the next tasty thing?

Find out more about the delicious local fare at potential travel destinations with their numerous guides. Learn how best to sate your appetite with these 2foodtrippers!

Follow their adventures on:

2foodtrippers

Facebook: @2foodtrippers

Twitter: @2foodtrippers

Instagram:@2foodtrippers

Taking the path less travelled

Source: Pixabay

Culinary pathfinders and toddler negotiators, these professionals are an invaluable resource for any traveler. From them, you can learn about how you can best find and experience authentic fare instead of tourist rip-offs, or practice simple habits that will make your trip much more enjoyable. Everything is just a click away.

I would like to thank these travel bloggers for taking the time and effort out to answer our queries posed to them, and thank them for sharing their knowledge as well!

This article was originally published on Dec 07, 2017

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Shuyi spends a millennial's housing fund on coffee, whisky, and gaming peripherals. When not staring at numbers or goats, Shuyi can be found doodling away on his latest project while sipping on a...Read more

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