the top ten travel commandments

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The top 10 travel commandments

No matter what your plans, abide by these travel commandments for a better travel experience.

1. Less is more
Whether you're roughing it or on a five-star splurge, smart travellers know that light luggage means an easier trip. If you're rushing to meet a flight connection you'll be thankful you didn't pack excess. And taking less leaves more space for shopping!

2. Learn the language
A few local phrases can go a long way in a foreign country. Don't assume everyone speaks English. You don't need to be a linguist �" carry a phrase book for help. Locals will appreciate the effort, and they'll be more inclined to help you rather than your less-informed comrades.

3. Dress smart
Consider your clothing. Some cultures have strict dress codes so make sure you're in the know. Also think about what's practical: heels don't go well on safari, and if you're in an area known for theft, best ditch the Rolex.

4. Choose accommodation wisely
If you're single, avoid family haunts, and if you're with family, a party cruise won't suit. Solo travellers should go where they're likely to meet people �" backpacker hostels are an obvious choice, but also consider a hotel with a great bar or restaurant, where you can hit the nightlife and safely return to your room.

5. Be prepared
If you fall ill, a basic medical pack is a godsend. Pick one up from a travel doctor. Just make sure your medicines are legal in the countries you're travelling to. Ask whether you'll need vaccinations, and find out if it's safe to drink the tap water. If not, be careful ordering salads and anything that might be washed unsafely.

6. Get insured
Travel insurance is a must overseas, as medical treatment can be very expensive in some countries. If you get into trouble, you could end up with a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most policies also cover things like unexpected cancellation and thefts.

7. Be wary of taxi drivers
When leaving an airport, never go with a taxi driver who approaches you or seems to be loitering. These are usually unregistered rogues who charge more, and may not be safe. It's better to locate an official taxi rank.

8. Stay connected
Make sure someone knows where you're going. Give them a copy of your passport and touch base regularly. Make use of the Internet when you can, and carry a mobile phone with global roaming set up. Save calls for emergencies, but text messages should be pretty cheap �" check with your provider.

9. Don't snap and dash
A trip is more memorable if you really explore, rather than taking holiday snaps and rushing on. It's better to choose one or two destinations and enjoy them. A holiday will quickly turn stressful with too much commuting. Also be aware that taking photos in certain countries, particularly of government buildings, can be illegal. Check first before snapping.

10. Take the road less travelled
If you only rely on guidebooks and tourist websites, you could find yourself in some serious tourist traps. Most cities have tourist zones where the locals wouldn't be seen dead. If you want an authentic experience, try to get hold of some local advice. If you don't know anyone, start asking when you get there!

What travel commandments do you live by? Have your say below.

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photo by: mkrh