For travel bloggers, nothing is more fun than to share trade secrets with other travelers or with your community. When Chris of South Korea posted his Top 3 Travel Secrets and tagged me in it, I was thrilled. I too, had seen the year-old Tripbase travel meme on Legal Nomads‘ blog and commented on it almost the week before receiving this challenge.
As I said, I excited to share some of my new travel secrets…
Then nervous… only three?
Should I choose travel secrets I’ve discovered centric to Korea or pertinent to the type of travel I aspire to? My traveler’s savvy would be vastly different in a developing country, than it would be in a safe and developed country like Korea. I was split down the middle between rugged backpacker and expat living in Korea. I decided to merge the two for now, so here goes…
My Top 3 Travel Secrets:
1. Map it!
As travelers, some of us don’t like looking map-touting tourists, but having it around for quick access is helpful. Unless you know how to speak the language of the country or plan to get around via taxi, you’ll find yourself either needing to ask someone for directions or the bus driver if he’s going in your direction.
With a map, all you have to point your finger! It’s also a convenient catch spot for jotting down transit information, when you’re asking for advice from the tourist information desk.
How do you get a free city map? Airports, tourist offices and occasionally, transit hubs.
Grab one. Circle your destination in advance so when you whip out your map, you can quickly and easily point to the spot you’re going to.
I like to jot notes about the bus lines I’ll need to take.
2. Take photos of important details and things you need to remember.
A traveler-on-the-go, I make it a safe habit to take backup snaps of the bus and train schedules… and other details I might have trouble remembering.
I snap rental car license plates, parking stalls … even a store I need to return to. Chances are I won’t have to resort to the photos, but if I’m in a bind, it comes in handy and I can show it to people if I need help. It also helps when I’m too lazy to write things down.
When I traveled and worked on shows with MTV, we’d always get hooked up with Hertz rental cars. The cars came with convenient point & shoot remote key chains that would honk the car horn, flash its lights and pop the trunk. That’s how I’d find my rental car in a parking lot. After I got my first car which –gasp– didn’t have a remote key and spent valuable time frantically scouring the parking lot, I started taking photos!
Note for expats: If you don’t use the photos of your bus schedules, you can upload it to Facebook to share with your fellow expats’ future journeys.
3. Jjimjilbang it!
While I’ve recently done a post on Korean Love Motels, my cheaper and more favorite weekend bed stay is a jjimjilbang.
Jjimjilbangs, the Korean combination of a bathhouse, spa and sleeping sprawl (read about sleeping in a jjimjilbang).
It’s the perfect solution for budget backpacker types and Korean families looking for weekend fun-on-the cheap. Most of them are clean, safe, are open 24 hours (but double-check). Moreover, some offer various rooms of recreational fun, ranging from PC and DVD rooms to noraebangs and golf courses, etc… They have snack bars and soap/bath products for cheap sale, unless you bring your own.
You’re given a key to your own personal locker, a towel and smock outfit; and if you’re there to sleep, the facility may offer either cots or just a simple mat, blanket and wooden block (for a pillow) on the floor.
Costs range from 6,000-10,000W.
Find your own spot. Nighttime and one of the jjimjilbangs I stayed at in Busan.
What are your top 3 travel secrets? Let me know and leave a comment.