These travel tips are a bit unconventional, but are guaranteed to help make your trip a little bit better!
1. Fill a zip-lock bag with balloons, bobby pins, and temporary tattoos representing your country.
Rather than giving out money, the balloons and bobby pins are great little gifts for young children that you will inevitably come across in the course of your travels.
The tattoos are great to give as gifts too, but can also come in handy in countries where people knowing where you are from (instead of making incorrect assumptions) will keep you safe. It’s a nice alternative to having a huge flag sewn onto your backpack.
2. Bring a pillow case, not a pillow
A pillow case can easily be stuffed with clothing to create a make-shift pillow in emergencies and also makes a perfect laundry bag.
3. Even if you aren’t a journal writing kinda person, pack a small journal and a glue stick
It is the perfect place to keep the names and contact info for people you meet and to jot down hotel/hostel names and prices of things to pass on to friends and family.
The glue stick will keep you from losing ticket stubs, postcards or other bits that make perfect souvenirs.
4. BYOWB — Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Preferably a one liter nalgene-style one with a wide opening. You could easily drop hundreds of dollars buying water while touring around all day, so having your own bottle will save you money.
And, when packing, it is the perfect place to put breakable items like perfumes, or delicate souvenirs, so they won’t get squished or break in your bag.
5. Buy postcards, but don't send them
Everyone is trying to get that perfect, tourist free postcard-style shot of the well known tourist sight, but that is easier said than done.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just buy the gorgeous postcard as your souvenir, and focus on enjoying where you are rather than taking pictures.