Fifteen essential travel tips you need to know

So, you've decided an overseas holiday is in order. You've picked the destination but now what? We've got you covered with handy tips and tricks and with an Optus nbn™ connection, you'll be prepared without leaving your couch.

Be flexible and patient

You're on holidays, so chill out. Stuff goes wrong, delays happen and things don't always go according to plan. Try not to get too upset, be patient and stay calm. Things have a way of sorting themselves out. Take a deep breath and remember that it could be worse.

Bring a sarong or scarf

Both are versatile and can be used as a wrap when you are cold, beach towel, curtain in your room or a cute dress.

Make sure you have travel insurance

You don't want to leave things to chance. A medical emergency overseas can potentially cost thousands and wipe out your funds. Better to be safe than sorry and find a comprehensive travel health insurance policy. Travel insurance may also cover you for flight delays, lost luggage, flight delays and more. Check the fine print and chat to your provider.

Keep photocopies of important documents

Make a few copies of your passport, credit and travel cards. Leave a copy at home with your next of kin, on your hard drive and pack one in a safe part of your luggage. This will make your life a whole lot easier if you need to replace the originals.

Put together a travel first aid kit

Pack a first aid kit containing pain relief, cold meds, activated charcoal pills (these are a life saver for traveller's diarrhoea), oral rehydration salts, anti-nausea tablets, antibiotic ointment, sunburnt relief and anything else you may not have access to while travelling.

Keep a secret stash of emergency cash

Prepare for an emergency and stash a few hundred dollars in places such as socks, in a toiletry bag or even inside an empty lipgloss stick.

Mingle with the locals

The only way you will discover the best places to visit in any city or town is by chatting with the locals. Avoid tourist hot spots and find out where they like to go. You may just end up with a story or two to take home with you. Pack ear plugs, neck pillow and an eye mask.

With these three, you'll be able to sleep anywhere, anytime comfortably. You're welcome.

Use an offline travel and train maps

You're not going to have internet or mobile reception so be prepared. Various apps can be used offline and contain handy subway and city maps.

Shop around online for the best flight deals

You may be able to grab a bargain if you book three to four months in advance. Another trick? It may be cheaper to fly into airports close to your destination and then take a bus or train for the remainder of the journey.

Don't eat at tourist traps

Avoid restaurants that are popular with tourists, they can be pricey. Eat like a local; enjoy eating out but try going grocery shopping. You'll stumble on some surprises and learn about their diet and delicacies.

Get yours shots before you leave

The Australian Government has a handy guide on smarttraveller.gov.au. If it is advised, get vaccinated. Getting sick overseas is not fun or cheap, so don't take a gamble with your health.

Bargain

The art of haggling in some countries is a cultural tradition. Be assertive, smile and ask for a cheaper price. Negotiate until you and the vendor agree and always pay in small bills, do not use credit cards.

Use your frequent flyer points

Don't forget to plan your trip well in advance. You may be able to use saved points for deals or upgrades. You could land discounted Business and First Class tickets without forking out for the hefty price tag.

Packing hacks will save you space

Want to save space and limit creases? Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It's a good idea to invest in packing cubes. These fabric containers have a zip and help organise and compact all your clothes, shoes and other items. You can also use one as a makeshift pillow if you need one.

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