How to survive in any city

When I first started travelling on my own, I made a lot of rookie mistakes. I would forget to pack a map, or I’d end up in a city without having any clue about the local transportation. After erring, and erring again, I came up with a checklist of things I should know and learn about every city/country I’m going to. It hasn’t just made my life easier, it has saved me from a trip to the jail a number of times too.

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1. Carry a hard copy of the map of the city you’re visiting. You never know when your phone is going to run out of coverage, or battery.

2. Keep a scan of your passport, visa and other important documents. You might not have them on your person- but you might need it.

3. Find out where your country’s embassy is.

4. Learn about the local laws before you go (not knowing the laws got me into quite a bit of trouble in Singapore, to be honest).

5. Seek advice from the locals- they will have a better idea about where you should visit, and where you should eat than tour guides.

6. Be aware of tourist scams in the cities/countries you are visiting.

7. Certain countries have high concentrations of certain diseases. Make sure you get all the right vaccinations before you visit these countries.

Pack light, or don’t pack at all

One of the biggest minus points of being a seasoned traveler is the fact that you’ll start getting annoyed by people who travel with what seems like a dozen bags. Of course, when I say pack light, I don’t mean pack little. You don’t need to carry only one pair of pants and two shirts when on a holiday. You can carry as much as you want- you just need to know how to pack.

First of all, you should invest in a good, solid backpack. There are many travel backpacks that put little to no stress on your back and can store enough clothes and miscellaneous items to last you an entire week. You should always roll your clothes into a cylindrical shape while packing- not only will you save a lot of space, you will also be able to keep your clothes wrinkle-free!

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When picking clothes, try picking items of clothing that can be repeated without grabbing the attention of your friends or co-travelers. This way, you can wear the same pair of pants at least twice during the trip- saving you some more luggage space. Unless you are using something medicated, do not carry any daily-use items such as soaps, moisturizers, lotions, etc. You will be able to find these in any supermarket in the town you’re visiting.