Finding that flight
Tuesdays (after 4pm) and Sundays have been demonstrated to be the best days for booking cheap airfares in a given week.
Clear your cookies, cache & history before and after searching for a flight or use Private Browsing when looking for flights – often your time on airline sites is tracked and the price increased or maintained should it have otherwise fallen, on your return. This is why sometimes the same flight appears at different prices on the same site on different computers.
Flying within the U.S.? Check out skiplagged.com for “hidden city ticketing” here.
Roll instead of folding clothes
Ok, this one is pretty well known, but it's none the less clever. Rolling your clothes does save space in your backpack, especially if you roll socks and underwear into t-shirts. Although this never occurs to us at 6am, stuffing all our belongings into that shrinking backpack while trying ever so hard to not puke or wake dorm-mates from their drunken slumber.
Save on costly data
Type “OK Maps” into Google Maps and it will save the visible area to be used offline when you like.
Hosteling in Ireland or the U.K.? Well, when washing your face and hands at the hand basin you may well have to choose between blood-stopping cold water or burning your skin off as there seems to be a general tradition of having two separate taps, hot and cold, in bathrooms rather than a mixer tap. So until you've mastered the local 'water shuffle technique', that is rapidly mixing both hot and cold water in the well of your hands with precision timing (always cold first), simply use an old water bottle to do the mixing for you.
Avoid currency converters
It's usually better to withdraw local currency from an ATM using your credit/debit card as cash converters tend to have a higher conversion rate and add on their own fees for being a human rather than human-built machine.
Handle the Heat
Those of you with long hair and have a preference for straight hair - use an oven glove / pot holder to pack away that hair straightener while it's still hot so you don't have to wait around for it to cool or leave it out for any ill-willed dorm 'borrowers'.
Mr. T's favourite
Pity da fool who gets their bling all tangled in their backpack. Ex-straw-rdinary. Sorry.
Keep some emergency money in a lip-balm or chap-stick or some kind of unremarkable cylindrical tube thingy.
Tour for Free
Do a Free Walking Tour! And what are the chances that we offer free walking tours daily? What a pleasant coincidence. There's no fee, you can simply tip the guide what you feel it was worth, or what you can afford if you wish, but this is not obligatory. The power is yours so it's perfect for travelling on a budget. You don't need to miss out on anything because you feel you can't afford it and Free doesn't mean worthless, on the contrary, in fact. It's a unique way to really feel the heartbeat of a city, on the ground with authentic local guides who take you off the beaten track to discover their home city and it's quirky oddities as well as the must-sees.
There's special discounted lunch in local eateries if you would like and you'll meet other backpacker's who may well become your new travel buddies. We meet hundreds of backpackers every single day across our 6 cities who really love and enjoy it so even if we weren't HostelCulture I'd have to say this is a no-brainer. And you can also discover the real, local night-life of many cities while saving a shitload of money by doing a Pub Crawl which can include free welcome beer, free shots, free entry to all venues & nightclubs and exclusive drink discounts & specials. Ours is the Original Backpacker Pub Crawl which has been in existence since 2001 and has even been voted best in the world....not too shabby.
Always ask your lovely hostel reception folk where's good to eat or if you're out and about looking for somewhere to dine go down side streets and explore areas which are not so conveniently 'touristy' to find where the locals are eating, rather than where's busy with tourists. Generally establishments in close proximity to main attractions and sights often capitalise on big visitor numbers and charge above the odds rather than catering for repeat local business.
And if you're taking advantage of the hostel kitchen use a wooden spoon to keep water from boiling over...it works.
Ok, not exclusively a travel tip but I'm so happy to know this I thought I'd share.
And the most important tip....
Don't take it for granted. These tips are just suggestions to make things a little easier – they won't stop you from losing your money or passport, or if your phone decides to give up suddenly or if you miss that bus to Budapest and your carefully planned travel agenda is thrown into disarray but often the experience is about the struggle, the lack of luxuries and the building of character. You're super lucky to be able to travel and if you're not enjoying it to the full, regardless, then you probably shouldn't be travelling so make the best of it, dive in and regret nothing.
Hugs'n'Kisses to you all, Mike Wrach