10 Golden Tips for Traveling Smarter

Traveling is one of the most enriching experiences that one can have. It broadens our perspective and exposes us to different cultures and ways of life. However, it can also be stressful and overwhelming if not planned properly. That’s why we’ve compiled these 10 golden Tips for Traveling to help you make the most out of your adventures. From packing efficiently to finding the best deals on flights, these Tips for Traveling will save you time, money, and hassle, so you can focus on enjoying your journey. So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first trip, read on to discover how to travel smarter.

Tips for Traveling

1) If you want a cheap flight, be knowledgeable and flexible.

Finding good flight prices can be a headache. In the past, there used to be certain days (such as Tuesdays) that had better fares. Those days are gone. Promotions run throughout the entire week, so there isn’t necessarily a single day that’s better than others. But never fear; there are three things you can do right now to set yourself up to find cheap flights:

  1. Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights email newsletter. This is customizable for international travel, so you can opt to only get emails for flights from your airport hub. There is a free version that sends a portion of the flight deals and a premium membership for all of the deals (and well worth the annual fee).
  2. Sign up for The Flight Deal email newsletter, which is another free resource. This is great for domestic travel. Although the newsletter is a bit more cumbersome to read through versus Scott’s Cheap Flights, it is worth signing up for because it covers many more destinations per email.
  3. Sign up to be on the email list for airlines. While it can be annoying to get spammed with frequent emails, you’ll also be the first to know when a promotion is going on.

The first step is knowing which places you’d like to visit and how many days or weeks you’d like to spend there. Keep that list somewhere handy because you’ll feel much more confident booking a flight as soon as a flight deal pops up. Hemming and hawing on a decision can be costly since prices can go up within several hours as they are generally based on demand.

The next step to capitalizing on cheap flights is to be flexible with your dates. Couple this with your list of destinations, and you’ll have so many options in front of you. Finally, if you are still on the fence, keep in mind that most airlines have a 24-hour cancellation policy. If they do, you can always book the flight and continue to research the feasibility of your trip within that time period. Cancel the flight if things don’t work out; no harm done.


2) Carry on instead of checking a bag

Losing luggage at the beginning of a trip has the potential to turn into the worst day ever. Packing more efficiently, bringing less, and carrying on belongings can save time at baggage claim and reduce stress about lost luggage. The key to packing smart and fashionably is to bring items that coordinate easily (neutral tones and solid colors with a few prints), do laundry during the trip and change up your outfit with different accessories such as scarves and hats.

Of course, there are some instances where you will be checking in a bag. If you have to do this, consider buying travel insurance. Certain travel-focused credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire, even have lost luggage reimbursement programs, so check to see if you have similar perks.


3) Use Wikitravel, TripAdvisor, and blogs for trip planning

When starting at ground zero for trip planning, it’s always helpful to begin by reading the destination’s Wikitravel page to take a pulse on history, climate, transportation, things to eat, and notable features. From there, head over to TripAdvisor and look at the “things to do” list. Most of us only have a limited amount of time in a place, and it’s hard to decide between the hundreds of activities or landmarks to see. Look at the top 20 items on lists to get a sense of which sites are worth visiting. Of course, every traveler has specific interests, so don’t write anything off if it doesn’t rank well; this is just a basis for comparison.

Reading travel blogs can provide personal opinions from those who have visited the same areas. Travel blogs can give you a different perspective of a destination and might also come with hilarious stories that’ll prepare you for anything. There are travel blogs for every kind of niche out there – solo female, amputee, history, vegan, couples, food, fashion, and more. Guidebooks and generic websites simply can’t convey these kinds of perspectives


4) Create a single Google document for your ideas

Once a flight is booked, and travel plans are being made, creating a Google document and sharing it with companions can be important Tips for Traveling. This method involves writing out every date of the trip from departure to return, with bullet points underneath each day for arranging ideas and scheduling activities.

Each day includes the city or activity, accommodation information, and a brief overview of plans. General notes can be added to the bottom of the document, including sections for things like local cuisine, email correspondence, or other useful information. At the beginning of the document, important information such as currency rates, languages spoken, visa requirements, travel shots required, or safety precautions can be highlighted. Using one document can consolidate all travel notes and make it easier to manage when it’s time to go.


5) Print copies of your itinerary and passport

Many people rely heavily on their phones, but there may be times, places, or situations where they cannot use them. For instance, if a phone is dropped in the toilet on day 2 of a trip while in a remote village in Vietnam, it can be problematic. It is recommended to always have a printed copy of the full itinerary with contact information for accommodations and tours, as well as carrying a printed copy of the passport just in case anything should happen to the real one. It is important to keep the passport in the most secure location at all times, usually on the body, as losing it could easily transform the trip into the worst day.


6) When you arrive in a new place, take a walk around by yourself – Listen and observe

Entering a new location can be overwhelming at first, whether it’s for a new job, school, or country. One may feel like an alien on a distant planet without any idea of where to go, what to do, or how to communicate. Alternatively, one might also be eager to explore and have a list of places they intend to visit. Regardless, it can be helpful to take 15 to 20 minutes to walk around a new place.

This can aid in understanding the vibe in a non-intrusive way, familiarizing oneself with the neighborhood, and sparking curiosity about the people one has yet to meet. Subtle head nods and smiles can go a long way, even if you don’t speak the same language.


7) Download offline Google Maps

Traveling without constant access to wifi is common, but many people navigate using Google Maps to get around. It’s advisable to download an offline map so that one can keep track of their location without draining their data or hotspot battery life. Keep in mind certain features such as bike routes, transit details, and walking directions won’t work offline, but you will still be able to search addresses and businesses and get yourself over to them.

Instructions to download offline maps

  • Download Google Maps on your phone
  • Type in the city or area, such as “Quito, Ecuador”
  • Click the 3-line menu bar in the top left corner, then select offline areas
  • Under “download, an offline area,” click “custom area.”
  • Zoom out of the area as far as it can go, and hit download
  • Once the download is complete, you can rename the area you’ve downloaded, so it makes sense, such as “Quito, Ecuador.”
  • Offline areas are kept for 30 days and then expire automatically
  • If you need to keep the area longer than 30 days, click on it and hit “update.”


8) Traveling to another country isn’t necessarily the time for you to go “off the grid”

When it comes to wifi, having access to it whenever possible can greatly enhance your travel experience. In today’s world, it can be difficult to fully disconnect from work messages, even while on vacation. Although it may be tempting to disconnect completely, having internet connectivity can be beneficial for researching contextual information, translating languages, finding restaurants, communicating, and navigating while traveling abroad. It’s not uncommon to stop and explore a neighborhood, and in these situations, doing some quick research on a phone can help you better understand what you’re experiencing.


9) Order what they’re having

How will you discover your favorite local dish if you never get a chance to taste it? It may seem like common knowledge, but don’t forget to use your intuition when it comes to travel and food. If a restaurant is crowded with people and it smells good inside, you’ve likely hit a gastronomic jackpot. Don’t know how to read the menu? It’s all good (and perhaps even better that way). Just look around, spot something that piques your interest, and order what they’re having. The very worst thing that might happen is that you don’t enjoy the dish and will have to order another one. Not a lot to lose and much to gain by unearthing a tasty treasure.


10) Global Entry will save you precious time

If you are a person who travels frequently, it is advisable to consider getting Global Entry. This would allow for easy passage through processing lines, eliminate the need to fill out customs paperwork, and also give access to TSA PreCheck eligibility. Global Entry is available at major US airports, and its application fee is around $100. Once approved, the Global Entry status would be valid for 5 years.

Though the application process involves an online application and an in-person interview, it is worth the effort, as time is a valuable commodity. The TSA PreCheck program is also available for an application fee of $85 and is valid for 5 years upon approval. However, Global Entry covers TSA PreCheck, making it a better option for those willing to pay a little more.


Traveling can seem daunting at times because there are so many components involved– saving, research, strategy, wrangling people together, contacting companies, and so on. It’s a labor of love that we do because we’re curious about the world, and we’re compelled to see it with our own eyes. We hope these golden Tips for Traveling will help you more efficiently. Also, we suggest you take a look at the 52 Creative Ways to Save Money for Travel and Bucket list ideas from world-class travelers to get travel ideas.

Do you have any advice of your own on traveling smarter? We’d like to hear about it in the comments below!

17 Bucket List Ideas From World-Class Travelers

What do you think of when you search for your Bucket List Ideas? Do you conquer fears? Do you seek new experiences? Are these things unattainable in your present life? No matter what you write down, we believe bucket lists are special because they represent potential. No matter what your present state is, your future is still wide open.


We spoke to some of the world-class travelers to find out where they’ve been and what they think you should see. This isn’t your average catalog of bucket list ideas. It is a collective of offbeat travel destinations from real people who started off with an idea– just like you. We hope this will inspire you to seek transformative travel across oceans, rainforests, and beyond your wildest dreams.


#17 Getting Lost in Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida, the “Lost City”

Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida, the “Lost City”

Sometimes, it’s a better experience to get lost than to get led, to explore rather than listen to an explanation. This is why we think Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida is a better experience than visiting the Disney-fied circus that Machu Picchu has become.

The trek to Ciudad Perdida is a challenging three-day hike that involves sleeping in hammocks, enduring insect bites, and avoiding snakes that the guide described as only “a little bit poisonous.” However, the experience of connecting with global backpackers in a communal setting more than made up for the physical exertion and minor injuries.

While Ciudad Perdida itself may not be as architecturally impressive as Machu Picchu, its lack of grandiosity is part of its appeal. In fact, taking just a few steps off the trail can lead to getting completely lost in the sound-absorbing jungle, which was once known as “the green hell.” The nearby villages remain largely unchanged from ancient times, making the trek an authentic and unique experience.


#16 Finding a Ruin Bar in Budapest

Discovering the unconventional side of Budapest is one of the things that endear visitors to the city. The ruin bars offer a unique nightlife experience for those seeking an alternative to traditional bars. These bars are located in various ruins throughout the city, often in old communist buildings. Exploring the crumbling interiors of these bars reveals numerous rooms, nooks, and crannies to discover.

Many ruin bars have multiple bars within them, playing indie music, showcasing random scenes on tvs, and offering hookah to patrons. The adventure of finding these bars adds to their allure, as they are often nondescript and located down dark alleyways, making it easy to get lost in the city. Overall, visiting a ruin bar is a must for those looking for an unforgettable and unconventional night out in Budapest.


#15 Spending the Night at a Mayan Village in the Yucatan of Mexico

Spending the night at a Mayan village in the Yucatan of Mexico offers a unique opportunity to experience the rich culture and way of life of the indigenous people. The traditional Mayan huts, known as Palapas, offer a rustic and authentic experience, allowing visitors to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in the local culture.

During the stay, visitors may be invited to join in local celebrations or rituals, such as a traditional Mayan birthday party or a shaman-led cleansing ceremony. These experiences offer a chance to try traditional Mayan food and learn about the unique spiritual beliefs and practices of the culture.


#14 Bowling in North Korea

Bowling may not be the first activity that one associates with North Korea due to the negative image portrayed by the media. However, for those with an open mind, visiting this mysterious country can offer a unique and eye-opening experience.

One recommended activity is to visit local bowling alleys and mix in with the crowd. Despite preconceptions, the alleys can get quite busy and provide an opportunity to observe how locals spend their free time and interact with them. Celebrating each other’s victories in bowling games with neighboring bowlers can also be a fun and social experience.


#13 Swimming at the Natural Hot Springs – Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca

Swimming at the Natural Hot Springs – Hierve el Agua in

Hierve el Agua is a special destination that stands out among the many places in the world to visit. It’s a natural hot springs/rock formation in rural Oaxaca with pools that have been eroded out of the rock with incredible views of the valley. Half the fun is the difficulty of getting there (if you don’t do a tour, it requires multiple bus/taxi transfers) and the fact that it’s hidden at the top of this random valley. A magical place to add to your bucket list ideas.


#12 Getting massaged by the Blind at Omamori Spa in Hanoi

This is one of the most unusual experiences you can get in Hanoi. Not only do you get an incredible massage for less than €15, but you can also support an amazing cause. Omamori Spa on Hang Bun Street and Huynh Thuc Khang Street is run by a social enterprise called Blind-Link which offers employment to people who are blind or visually impaired. These skilled masseuses have an exceptional awareness of the body and are attentive to any aches and pains, making for a massage experience like no other.


#11 Street Racing Mario Kart in Tokyo

There have been recent crackdowns on go-karting in the streets of Tokyo, and word on the street is that go-karting and Robot restaurants might soon be a thing of the past. Who doesn’t want to relive their childhood memories of playing Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo…but in real life? The experience of driving a go-kart dressed up as Mario and going 90km per hour on the highways of Japan is something that shouldn’t be missed. It is recommended to experience it soon before it’s too late.


#10 Scuba Diving at the World’s Deepest Indoor Diving Pool in Brussels, Belgium

When looking up things to do during a stint in Brussels, many expect waffle-making classes, events in Grand-Place, and Belgian chocolate tours galore. Scuba diving is not typically on the radar. For avid divers who have enjoyed dive meccas all over the world, from the Caribbean to Thailand, Belgium is not a place that often comes to mind.

However, much to their delight, there is Nemo 33, a gigantic dive waterpark. The deepest section of the pool plunges all the way to 113 feet, and it contains 660,000 gallons of water in total. Visitors can spend the afternoon swimming around, peeping through the pool’s windows at the patrons enjoying the dive shop’s restaurant, and exploring an underwater world in a place one would never expect to find themselves scuba diving.


#9 Hang-gliding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, hang gliding is a must-try experience. Running off the edge of a mountain and soaring hundreds of meters above one of the most beautiful cities in the world is an unforgettable experience. The lack of control may be daunting at first, but once you get over it, the feeling of flying is incomparable. Warm winds from the ocean can lift you above the take-off point, giving you a longer flight time and incredible views of the city and its landmarks, such as Pedra de Gavea and sugar loaf. It’s one of the top bucket list ideas that have a breathtaking experience that words cannot fully describe.


#8 Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua

Sliding down an active volcano on a makeshift toboggan is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience because there is only one place in the world with the ideal conditions to do it: Cerro Negro near Leon, Nicaragua. The novelty, the idea of danger, and the sheer ridiculousness of the whole concept are what make the experience so unique and memorable.

Once you book your tour, hike up the ash-ridden volcano, and put your jumpsuit on, it’s all up to you to control your board. Go as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable and try not to wipe out. Everyone should experience this because it will be one of the unique things they have ever done.


#7 Cycle around the Aran Islands in Ireland

Cycle around the Aran Islands in Ireland

It’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed. A day trip to Inishmore, the largest of the three islands, can easily be done from either Galway or Dingle by taking a ferry. The ferry ride may not be for the faint of heart, but the journey is just as memorable as the destination. Once on the island, rent a bike and take the “seal colony” route to see the seals sunbathing during low tide.

The Aran Islands transport you back in time with its rock fences and small population, making you feel like you’re in Ireland. It’s recommended to leave a few days in your schedule instead of one, so you won’t feel rushed. Also, don’t forget to check out the Cliffs of Moher and the town of Dingle.


#6 Frogging, Alligators, and Eating in the Louisiana Bayou

Exploring the Louisiana Bayou offers a unique experience that many visitors to New Orleans might miss out on. While Bourbon Street is a popular destination, venturing outside the city can lead to unforgettable experiences. One such experience is frogging, which involves using a pole and net to catch frogs in the swamps. It’s important to look for the white glow of their eyes to avoid catching alligators instead.

To round out the day, a visit to a local Cajun restaurant is a must. A mixed plate of fried catfish, crawfish, alligator, frog legs, chicken wings, hush puppies, and boudin (a sausage mixed with rice) is a tasty way to experience the local cuisine. While the activities may seem unusual, the overall experience is a must-try for anyone visiting the Louisiana Bayou.


#5 Hiking Through the Pyrenees in Andorra

Growing up, many countries were never mentioned in history classes. It is fascinating to research all that we were never taught about the world. Micro-nations like Andorra are often overlooked, but once you arrive, it’s hard to believe it’s not at the forefront of everyone’s bucket list ideas. On a sunny day in July, the small mountain town of Soldeu in Andorra was breathtaking. The Pyrenees mountains were stunning, and the water was crystal clear.

Despite not being a well-known destination, the hiking experience in Andorra was unforgettable, and the air was invigorating. It’s a reminder that just because something isn’t on everyone’s radar, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on yours. You can add Andorra to your bucket list ideas to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Pyrenees mountains.


#4 Motorcycling North Island New Zealand

Traveling by motorcycle is one of the most rewarding challenges one can think of. It’s a task that requires full attention, quick wits, and attention to detail. If any of these three details are compromised, the consequences could lead to some serious road rash. But the reward of where the bike will take you and what you will see is well worth it.

Motorcycling through North Island, New Zealand, can be an exciting and adventurous experience. The island offers a diverse range of landscapes, from sandy beaches to volcanic peaks, rolling hills to dense forests, and serene lakes to bustling cities. Overall, a motorcycling trip through North Island, New Zealand, can be a rewarding and memorable experience for adventure seekers who are prepared to follow safety guidelines and respect the local culture and environment.


#3 Hiking Montenegro’s Wild Mountains

Montenegro is one of Europe’s newest countries, having been one of the last countries to separate in the breakup of Yugoslavia in 2006. It’s overshadowed by its neighbor to North Croatia, which has become a holiday favorite. While some people are starting to visit the Montenegrin coastline, where we think the country really shines, its wild, untouched mountains and national parks.

Durmitor National Park in the northeastern corner of Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. The geography is insanely rugged and beautiful, having been carved from melting glaciers over hundreds of thousands of years. Hiking through, you’ll pass through landscapes that alternate looking like Iceland, Scotland, New Zealand, and beyond.

You can do multi-day treks or do an epic one-day hike that brings you to the peak of Bobotov Kuk, the Durmitor range’s highest mountain at 2,525 meters. From the peak, you can see three countries all at once: Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia. On the way back, you can stop by ice caves or the famous Black Lake. This part of the world is still very much undiscovered, and hiking there is something that all lovers of the outdoors should do!


#2 Staying in Remote Jungle Hostels

Being completely immersed in nature at a remote jungle hostel can be an incredible experience! Falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of monkeys howling, birds chirping, and critters rustling through the jungle can be a mesmerizing experience. You might spot monkeys swinging through the air, toucans resting on the treetops, or lizards scurrying across the ground. But it’s essential to be careful not to step on any giant toads in the dark.

What really makes a jungle hostel amazing is having plenty of hiking trails to explore. Lost & Found Hostel in Panama is a great option for hiking enthusiasts, with trails leading to scenic viewpoints, swift rivers, and secret caves. It’s definitely worth the steep 15-minute trek with all your gear to get to this hostel. The treasure hunt here encourages guests to make new friends and have a great time hiking through the jungle to uncover clues to a puzzle.

Bolita Hostel in Costa Rica is also a highly recommended bucket list ideas for those seeking an intense jungle hostel experience. It’s located on the edge of Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically intense places on Earth, and you need to cross two rivers to reach the hostel.


#1 Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc

One could never have fathomed how much a single trek could change the trajectory of their travel lust. The Tour du Mont Blanc is a famous world-class route that takes you 170 kilometers (or 105 miles) through the legendary Alps of France, Italy, and Switzerland. This is the first long-distance trek that many undertake and self-guide. For more details about these bucket list ideas, you can check the 7-Day Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc Itinerary and What You Need To Know To Do A Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc Hike.


In conclusion, these 17 bucket list ideas from world-class travelers offer a glimpse into the vast array of experiences that travel has to offer. From trekking through the legendary Alps to exploring remote jungle hostels and from motorcycling through New Zealand and many more, the possibilities are endless. By stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new challenges, we can broaden our horizons and create memories that last a lifetime. So, whether you’re an avid traveler or just starting to plan your next adventure, consider adding one of these experiences to your bucket list and let the journey begin!

Caving Along The Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is a painfully beautiful 2,500km stretch of coastline along the country’s western face. Majestic cliffs with multi-colored rock strata resembling the finest layered cake stand nonchalantly along the route with names like Downpatrick Head and the Cliffs of Moher. There are all sorts of things to do and see along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, from wildlife hikes, walking through (or getting stuck) in the Derrigmlagh bog to water adventure sports along the many beaches.

While you’ll see all sorts of advertisements for these landmarks along the route, you might have to do a little digging to uncover one of your favorite activities– caving in Ireland. It’s time to don your Indiana Jones fedora and travel differently by exploring the Emerald Isle underground.

Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

What is Caving? The Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

Caving is also known as spelunking (in the USA) or potholing (in the UK and Ireland). When you go caving, you may be doing a combination of walking, wading through rivers, swimming, crawling through passageways, and adapting to all of the different ways your body can get from one point to another. Caving is about the journey through.

You’ll see ancient formations that have never been exposed to the light of day and will likely be in total darkness, except for the headlamp you entered with. It’s a real treat for your senses, especially for the tactile components. Your hands are great navigation tools to maintain your balance and propel yourself forward, and something you’ll need to get a sense of how the cave system is changing around you.

caving irelandIf you’re lucky enough, you might be able to squeeze through passageways to explore the nooks and crannies inside of a cave.


What should I know before I go caving the Wild Atlantic Way?

Caving differs from traditional outdoor adventure sports because it combines elements of cave science, the spirit of exploration, knowledge of mapping, and the opportunity for unique photography. There are cave systems all over the world to explore, which makes it an interesting activity that everyone enjoys seeking out whenever traveling! The favorite parts about caving are spotting the stalactites (they hang from the ceilings) and stalagmites (they rise from the floor).

Another important point to remember is that you should be prepared to pack in and out all of your waste. You can bet your buttons there won’t be a cleaning crew coming in there after you, so please do not leave any trash behind. That said, there won’t be any restrooms either. Before any caving experience, be sure you use the bathroom beforehand and even consider limiting your water intake so you can avoid doing business inside of the cave. Just like many other natural settings, these caves were formed in prehistoric times and can’t just be repaired if they’re damaged. It’s our duty to treat these places with respect


What kind of animals might I encounter inside a cave?

Every cave is a mini ecosystem of its own and has different inhabitants living in it. Some caves have only a few animals that call them home, while others may have a lot more activity. In the caves, you might encounter the occasional spider, some bats, harmless insects, and glow worms. Other caves may have salamanders, snails, shrimp, and crickets. Of course, some cave entrances might also be occupied by other shelter-seeking creatures, such as raccoons, bears, and foxes. If you’re going with a caving adventure company, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be in a dangerous situation with any of these mammals.


What should I wear when I go caving the Wild Atlantic Way?

When going caving, it is important to dress appropriately to ensure your safety and comfort during the exploration. It is recommended to wear comfortable and durable clothing suitable for physical activity, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, to protect your skin from scratches and bruises. Loose or baggy clothing should be avoided, as it can get caught on rocks or other obstacles.

Additionally, sturdy closed-toe shoes with good traction, such as hiking boots or sneakers, should be worn to protect your feet. Head protection is also essential, so wearing a hard hat with a headlamp attached will provide hands-free illumination and protect your head from bumps and falling debris. Gloves are also recommended to protect your hands from sharp rocks and rough surfaces.

Depending on the cave, you may encounter water, so waterproof clothing or a wetsuit may be necessary, along with neoprene socks and rubber boots to keep your feet dry and warm. Always keep in mind that caves can be dangerous environments, so it is essential to be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear.


Ireland is undeniably beautiful inside and out. There’s nothing quite like exploring these cave systems that have been carefully hidden beneath the ground for hundreds of years. The sound of a single drop of water inside a cave is magnified as the noise of the outside world melts away. The rocks feel cool to the touch, and you can’t help but wonder what these sage minerals would say if they could speak. In these moments, it’s just you and the earth. If you’ve gone caving before or plan on going soon, we want to hear all about it in the comments below.

What You Need To Know To Do A Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc Hike

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is an inspiring 170km trek around the Mont Blanc massif, which begins in France and crosses through Italy and Switzerland. It’s no surprise that it is wildly popular in Europe; not all trails were created equal. The TMB takes the trekker through unbelievable landscapes via snowy mountain summits and gorgeous green pastures where happy cows slowly graze.

Charming mountainside refuges, along the way, whip up hearty dinners eaten in cozy common areas where fellow trekkers share stories of their daily adventures and review maps for the next day. If you’re thinking this might be the right time to see the Alps for yourself, here is everything you’ll need to know to prepare for a self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc hike.

SELF-GUIDED Tour du Mont Blanc hike

Should I self-guide or go with a Tour company?

As many things in life, every decision is multi-faceted. Self-guiding your Tour du Mont Blanc hike can come with many positives, such as lower costs, the opportunity to forge friendships with others on the trail, move at your own pace, and the full autonomy to change plans in case unexpected circumstances arise (such as creating a “rest day” or waiting out bad weather). You are also solely responsible for understanding the trail and necessities needed to complete each day successfully.

On the other hand, if you decide to go with an organized adventure company, there are also many benefits. Your daily lodgings are pre-arranged, which saves a lot of planning on your end. Many of the companies will offer services to send your belongings from refuge to refuge so that you are only required to carry a light daypack. Your guide will be available to answer questions, watch for your safety, and give you tips as you navigate your way through the Alps. You are also traveling with a group, so there is a guarantee you will always be able to ask other people to take your picture as you pose in front of an epic mountain.


Okay, cool. I’m going on to self-guided Tour Du Mont Blanc. What should I do first?

Buy Cicerone’s The Tour of Mont Blanc Complete Two-Way Trekking Guide. Once in this book is in hand, decide whether you want to go clockwise or counterclockwise and how many days you want to allot to the trek. Are you going to do the full loop or partial? Making these decisions will help you decide which airports or major cities you will travel from.

We would recommend reading the introduction and daily route walkthroughs several times. Decide whether you want to stay in the refuge every evening or go full backpacking mode with your own tent. Highlight important parts such as difficult ascents, fantastic photo opportunities, and water/refreshment sources. You’ll be bringing this book along with you during the trek, so don’t be afraid to mark it up with notes.


What is the best time to do Tour Du Mont Blanc Hike?

You will be high-walking in the Alps, so understandably, there is a possibility of inclement weather (depending on the previous year’s snowfall or the early/late onset of cold conditions). Generally speaking, the season may be able to start the last week of June or early July and last until the end of September. The peak season is in August, with the best weather conditions noted in early September.


How many days should I plan for the Tour Du Mont Blanc hike?

The full Tour du Mont Blanc circuit is 170km long and is typically completed within 10-12 days. Depending on the route you decide to take (traditional and alternative are 11 and 10 days, respectively), this number can vary. It’s important to ask yourself whether you might want to take a day off the trail to explore a city/town to rest or if you want to keep charging ahead. We would highly recommend working on one of these “recharge” days to rest your aching body and spend a slow moment enjoying one of these idyllic mountain hamlets.


When should I start reserving accommodations?

You don’t necessarily have to reserve your refuges in advance (you can also walk up if needed), although the peace of mind from advance bookings was invaluable for someone. If you are going a bit later, do note that some of the refuges close for the season mid to late September. Make sure you double-check check dates of operation to have a good sense of availability if you decide you’re going to book on the fly. If you happen to be trekking in August, definitely reserve your spot as soon as possible since this is the busiest season and refuges do sell out.

If you pre-arrange your reservations, the nice part is that most of the refuges require a small deposit (or none at all) for the booking. If your plans end up changing unexpectedly, you aren’t forfeiting payment for a full night. Another point of consideration for reserving in advance is that it also makes you accountable for completing your daily trek so that you don’t mess up your own schedule. While the trekking guidebook does list some places, you found that this Tour du Mont Blanc website was immensely helpful in uncovering other accommodations. To get a sense of what your Tour du Mont Blanc hike might look like, here is one actual 7-day itinerary, including the refuges.


What should I pack?

If you bring it, you’re going to have to carry it. Somehow, it’s easy to forget this when you are packing at home and want to include all of your gadgets and articles of clothing. For a petite female, a 36L pack works marvelously in the 12-15 pound range. Depending on your body size and willingness to carry, you can also use a 50L pack and get up into the 20-25 pound range.

Keep in mind that you’ll be trekking anywhere from 7-12 miles per day with difficult ascents and descents in the Alps. After a while, you’ll feel every ounce of weight on your body. Don’t forget to factor in that you’ll also be carrying water and food, which adds a significant amount of heft, too. Check out 7 day self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc packing list, which will also help you prepare.


What is it like to stay at a refuge?

Outside of the alps, the favorite part about trekking the TMB was staying at the refuges. Even though many of them only offer dormitory-style bed situations, the energy and camaraderie of each place make the entire experience special. We recommend booking half board so you can have dinner and breakfast during your stay.

Dinner is typically served at 7:00 pm and is a loaded multi-course meal with lots of bread, cheese, and dessert. It’s a great time to mingle with other trekkers and get to know some of the faces you’ve been seeing along the trail. Breakfast is usually served around 7:00 am and isn’t quite as exciting. It usually comes with a standard assortment of bread, butter, jam, cereal, and coffee.

To make things even easier, most refuges also have the option to pack bagged lunches for €10. Hot showers are always available (some refuges require tokens to conserve resources), and wifi is also available in some places. As you can imagine, sleeping in a dormitory means you will be subject to noise from other trekkers. Bring earplugs and an eye mask!

For cleanliness, it is also helpful to bring your own sleeping bag liner as most of the refuges do not offer sheets for the bedding. Some of the refuges are quite isolated on the TMB, while others are nestled in larger cities. If you have the opportunity to stay at a hotel in Courmayeur or Champex, we would recommend going for it to give yourself a night of uninterrupted sleep or privacy to chill out.


How should I plan for food and water?

If you don’t plan on buying bagged lunches at the refuges, you can also buy your own groceries along the way or get refreshments along the trail. Depending on when you go during the TMB season, some mid-trail refuges may be open and serving food. Grocery stores are available in the larger towns, so you’ll want to strategically buy enough to last you until you can find the next store. A good practice is to always ensure you have extra sustenance on you at all times (such as granola bars) in case you aren’t able to find a restaurant or grocery store.

We wish you the best of luck as you go forth along your self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc hike! Remember to slow down and enjoy your time in the Alps. As cliche as it is to say, it really is about the journey and not the destination. Every day, the landscapes that reveal themselves along your trek are truly remarkable. If you have any other questions that we can help answer, feel free to drop me a line here. Bon voyage!


7 Day Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List

Are you planning a self-guided tour of the stunning Mont Blanc? Whether you’re an experienced trekker or a novice adventurer, packing the right gear can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey. In this guide, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List for a 7-day Self-Guided hike, covering everything from clothing and toiletries to trekking gear and travel necessities. With this list, you’ll be well-equipped to take on the Tour du Mont Blanc and create unforgettable memories along the way.

Before heading over to 7 Day Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List, it’s recommended to refer to our comprehensive guide that covers topics such as trekking season, staying in refuges, and the option of a self-guided or company-led trek. This guide is suitable for individuals who have some experience camping or backpacking and want to be fully equipped for any situation. You can also check our Tour du Mont Blanc map & post-traveled itinerary for more details.


First of all, this packing list is designed for travelers and adventurers who want to be well-prepared for any situation during their trip. It is not intended for minimalist trekkers but rather for those who have some experience with camping or backpacking. The items on this list will ensure that you are appropriately dressed for any activity and equipped to handle unexpected situations. It’s important to remember that some items may not be used, such as first aid kits, safety whistles, and GPS, but they can be lifesavers in rare instances. Let’s dive into the Necessities.

Travel Necessities

Traveling can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a stressful experience if you’re not properly prepared. Here are some travel necessities to consider packing for your Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc.

  • Airline tickets and printed itinerary in a folder
  • Passport
  • Travel Insurance
  • Local currency and bank cards (euros for France and Italy, Swiss francs for Switzerland)
  • Travel passport holder and wallet
  • The Tour of Mont Blanc: Complete two-way trekking guide



Electronics have become an essential part of our daily lives, especially when traveling. Here are some common electronics that are useful to bring on the Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List.

  • Travel adapter with USB ports
  • Chargers and cables
  • Kindle E-reader
  • Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
  • Smartphone – Airplane mode on to avoid roaming charges with WiFi on
  • Headphones / wireless earbuds (optional)
  • Power bank with extra USB ports (optional)
  • Mobile hotspot (pay as you go) (optional)
  • GoPro adventure camera and accessories (optional)
  •  Handheld GPS(optional)



It is important to note that clothing choices may vary depending on gender. While we have included the most common clothing options, feel free to supplement them with any additional items that suit your personal preferences.

  • 4 boxers or briefs (men)
  • 8 pairs of underwear (women)
  • 2 sports bras
  • 2 long-sleeve or short sleeve synthetic shirts
  • 1 set of sleeping clothes
  • 1 casual t-shirt
  • 1 pair of casual shoes
  • 4 pairs of Merino wool hiking socks
  • 1 athletic thermal leggings (men’s and women’s)
  • 1 mid-weight fleece or soft-shell jacket (men’s and women’s)
  • 1 down or synthetic parka (men’s and women’s)
  • 1 waterproof rain shell (men’s and women’s)
  • 1-2 hiking pants (men’s and women’s)
  • 1 pair of outdoor gloves
  • 1 beanie hat
  • 1 hat with brim or bill for sun protection
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 bandana or buff
  • 1 rain poncho (optional)
  • 1 pair of gaiters (optional)
  • 1 hiking shorts (optional for men’s and women’s)
  • 1 swimsuit (optional if you are going to visit hot springs or pools)

Keep in mind that you should be packing mostly athletic, lightweight, synthetic clothing that wicks moisture quickly.


Trekking Gear

Here are some essential trekking gear items to consider for your Tour Du Mont Blanc hike.

  • 36L to 50L backpacking pack
  • Backpack rain cover
  • Waterproof hiking shoes/boots with good tread to hike through rain, snow, ice, and mud
  • LED headlamp
  • Trekking poles
  • 1L to 2L refillable water bottle or hydration reservoir
  • Several compostable plastic bags to hold your trash (leave no trace)
  • Compass
  • Signaling safety whistle
  • Sleeping bag liner for refuge dormitory beds
  • Quick drying and lightweight microfiber towel
  • Compact first aid kit
  • Lightweight dry stuff sacks to keep your clothing separated and dry
  • Iodine tablets for water purification (optional)
  • Compact multi tool (optional)
  • St-Gervais les Bains, Paper Tour Du Mont Blanc map (optional)
  • Sports wristwatch with alarm (optional)

Remember, the specific gear you need may vary depending on the location and conditions of your trek, so be sure to do your research and plan accordingly.


Toiletries (travel-friendly)

Toiletries are an essential part of any travel packing list. Here are some items you should consider bringing with you. ( This list may vary with gender, so pick accordingly )

  • Daily skin moisturizer
  • Face cleanser
  • Medicine (general assortment)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
  • Shampoo & Conditioner, or pack your own in these reusable bottles
  • Sunblock
  • Comb
  • Contact solution and lens case
  • Deodorant (women’s / men’s)
  • Chapstick
  • Optional: face wipes, q-tips, hair ties, bobby pins, stain remover pen, antibacterial gel
  • Toilet paper/tissues
  • Blister care/moleskin
  • Pain relief ointment
  • Electrolyte replenisher powder mix sticks (optional)
  • Small notebook and pen (optional)
  • Book – I recommend Mountain Lines, a book about a man’s journey through the French Alps (optional)
  • Foldable and lightweight travel purse/tote (optional)

If you happen to forget anything (even athletic clothing), you can buy supplies in the larger towns or cities.

In conclusion, the 7-day self-guided Tour Du Mont Blanc is an incredible adventure that requires thoughtful preparation and packing. We hope this comprehensive Tour Du Mont Blanc packing list will help you be as comfortable and prepared as possible during your journey, no matter what may arise. So, take a deep breath, pack smartly, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the stunning alpine terrain of Tour Du Mont Blanc.

7 Things You Need To Know Before Biking Waterford Greenway

Riding a bike after an extended hiatus can feel like reuniting with an old friend. You might start off unsure, teetering awkwardly and trying to recall where that damn center of balance might be inside of you. But once you begin finding your cadence, pumping your legs left and right, letting stray hairs tickle the side of your face, you’ll naturally begin to relax.

It feels like you are picking up right where you left off, closing the gap between your present moment and not-too-distant past, and there is no better place to do it than the Waterford Greenway. It is a horizontal portal to Ireland’s crayon green fields, weathered pubs that had served countless pints of beer long before you were born, the smell of fresh rain on ancient stone buildings, and a glimpse into daily life happening around you.

Biking The Waterford Greenway

What is the Waterford Greenway?

The Waterford Greenway (also known as Déise Greenway) was formerly a railway line that has been repurposed into 46 kilometers or 28.6 miles of butter-smooth paved roads. It opened in early 2017 and has been steadily growing in popularity ever since. It’s practically impossible not to like; there’s something magical about letting brisk air glide across your face as you see idyllic landscapes and historical landmarks.

As Ireland’s longest greenway, it spans from the historic city of Waterford to Dungarvan and features 11 bridges, 3 viaducts, and a 400-meter tunnel. Despite its 46km length, the ride offers plenty of excitement and surprises. Visitors can discover charming details like handmade fairy doors in the Durrow Tunnel and the stunning scenery of Clonea Beach’s cobalt-blue waters.


What is the best Waterford Greenway starting point?

There are three main entry points for the Waterford Greenway; however, you can also begin in any of the cities that run between Waterford, Mount Congreve, Kilmeaden, Kilmacthomas, and Dungarvan. If you are looking to do the entire 46km, you can begin at either end in Waterford or Dungarvan. To save the tropical vibe of the Durrow/Ballyvoyle tunnel and the picturesque views of Clonea Beach as a grand finale to your ride, it’s recommended to start the journey in Waterford.

Kilmacthomas is located in the precise middle of the greenway with a distance of 23km to either end and another great starting jump-off if you want to trim your ride time in half. Keep in mind that all 3 of the viaducts are located between the Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan stretch, so if you are only going to ride half of the greenway, make sure it is this one.

Waterford Greenway map

Map of the Waterford Greenway. For additional information, the Waterford Greenway website is a solid resource [PDF Version of Waterford Greenway map]


How long will it take to cycle the Waterford Greenway?

It really depends on how often you plan to stop. The Waterford Greenway is best appreciated as a leisurely ride with an emphasis on the journey instead of the destination. Sure; if you blaze straight through the 46km, stopping only when necessary, you could bang out the ride in under 2 hours. However, I’d recommend making a full day (5-6 hours) with plenty of stops for coffee, snacks, photo opportunities, and soaking in the changing landscape around you.


Is this going to be strenuous? Will you get sweaty and regret doing this?

The Waterford Greenway is flat and silky, like Kyoto tofu. It’s great for all ages, from young to old, families, runners, dogs, skateboarders, scooters, walkers– you name it. Anyone in average health may work up a mild sweat, but that can easily be adjusted by changing gears or speeds. Let’s just say it’s one of those roads where you can try riding with “no hands, ma.”


What are some points of interest or good places to stop?

It’s recommended to travel from Waterford to Dungarvan to enjoy the finish of Clonea Beach, as mentioned previously. To help plan your journey, here is a list of photo opportunities and potential stopping points along the way from Waterford to Kilmacthomas and Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan.

Waterford to Kilmacthomas – 23km

  • Thomas Frances Meagher Bridge
  • Mount Congreve Gardens
  • Kilmeaden Castle ruins
  • Waterford & Suir Valley Railway

Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan – 23km

  • Coach House Coffee – Kilmacthomas
  • Kilmacthomas Viaduct
  • Flahavan’s oats mill
  • Durrow Viaduct
  • O’Mahony’s Bar and Shop – Shanacool
  • Durrow Tunnel (also known as Ballyvoyle tunnel)
  • Ballyvoyle Viaduct
  • Clonea Beach
  • The Anchor Bar or The Moorings for a meal – Dungarvan


Waterford Greenway Bike Hire?

Renting a bicycle for the Waterford Greenway is easy and convenient thanks to Waterford Greenway Bike Hire, which has three depots located along the route in Waterford, Kilmacthomas, and Dungarvan. Each depot is fully equipped with helmets, bungee cords, and other necessary equipment to help you get started right away.

The part I appreciate most about their service is that they have a free shuttle bus that can take you from any of the three locations back to your car. This is a serious bonus if you aren’t keen on backtracking or need to get back in a timely manner. You can begin cycling in Kilmacthomas, end in Dungarvan, and then take the shuttle back to your car in Kilmacthomas.


What should I wear to cycle the Waterford Greenway?

Not the biggest surprise in the world– Ireland can be a rainy place. Avoid the annoying stripe of mud that may spray on your back from a wet wheel by wearing a rain jacket that can be easily cleaned. The weather can change in an instant, so it’s best to come prepared with a hooded rain jacket, gloves, beanie/hat, and athletic shoes/boots. If you plan on bringing a backpack or purse, you may want to bring a plastic bag, so it doesn’t get wet in the event of rain.


You are now armed with all of the information you’ll need to happily cruise along the Waterford Greenway. I hope you have a blissful time and enjoy the ride! This is a fantastic way to connect with Ireland’s lush landscape and enjoy the beautiful scenery.