Traveling is a form of magic.
You see unique places, make new friends, and see the world from a new perspective. You can push out of your comfort zone and enjoy unforgettable experiences.
Of course, there are always hiccups along the way. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a novice, here are 15 of the best travel tips for keeping your trip enjoyable and memorable (in a good way).
1. Pack Smart
To pack smart, you need to consider three things: what you pack, how you pack it, and what bag or suitcase you pack it in.
A good rule of thumb for packing is to take about half of what you think you need. There’s nothing wrong with repeats, and you can do laundry in most locations.
To make the most of your wardrobe, pack neutral colors that are loose fitting and breathable. If you’re going to pack extras of something, make it socks and underwear.
Packing cells can help you maximize your luggage space. Roll up your items to make the most of every inch. Underwear organizers can also help keep you organized.
Choose a light bag or suitcase. You may end up hauling it around more than you think. Even if you’re not planning long Euro backpacking trips, just getting your bag around airports and on and off public transportation can be a hassle if it’s too heavy.
Plus, airlines will charge you excess baggage fees, so keeping your bag light will save you money (and save your lower back).
2. Make Extra Copies of Important Documents
If you lose your passport, the process to get it back is time-consuming. Embassies and consulates are closed on weekends and holidays except for life-threatening emergencies. If you lose your passport on one of those days, you have to wait until the next business day to work on getting a replacement.
Having a copy of your passport can help speed things along. You may want to consider uploading a digital copy to your email as well so you can access it no matter what happens.
You may also want to pack extra passport photos and a copy of your birth certificate.
3. Carry Cash
You never know when you’re going to find yourself in a spot with no ATM. As handy as credit and debit cards are for travel, you should also carry cash.
Store your cash in multiple locations. For example, you may want to keep some in the lining of your bag or suitcase and some in your toiletry bag, for example. Keep some on you at all times so you aren’t left unexpectedly stranded.
4. Have a Backup Card (or Two)
With travel, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. You may need to buy a plane ticket on the spur of the moment or want to spring for a once-in-a-lifetime excursion.
Have a backup credit or debit card with you in case of emergencies. That way, if your primary card gets lost or stolen or an expensive emergency happens, you’re not left stranded.
Most travel tips and tricks that you read are geared to helping you travel on a budget. Hostels and couch-surfing websites are great ways to save.
Every once in a while, though, it’s worth it to splurge. You may want to indulge in some fine dining or take a couple of nights to relax in a luxury hotel.
Or you may want to take a unique tour or enjoy scuba diving.
Save where you can, but splurge when it’s worth it to pursue a dream opportunity.
6. One of the Best Travel Tips–Take Your Time
You may have seen the ads for tours that promise, “See seven countries in six days!” Traveling at a rapid pace is possible.
It’s not very fun, though. You end up spending your time on the road and packing and unpacking instead of exploring your destination.
Don’t be afraid to slow down. Keep some open time in your schedule to explore at your own pace.
7. Talk to Locals
One of the best parts of traveling is learning about the local culture. Take the time to get to know locals when you travel.
This might include staff members at your hotel or hostel or customers at a local coffee shop or pub.
Take the time before you go to learn a few key phrases in the local language. Even if you struggle, just making an effort can go a long way toward building a good relationship.
It’s also important to keep an open mind. There may be aspects to the culture that surprise or dismay you. Be respectful of differing beliefs.
One of the best traveling tips and tricks is to get the inside scoop on things to do and see from the locals. They know the places that tourists miss.
8. Fly Smart
Flying is one of the biggest expenses when it comes to travel. To get the best prices on flights, the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends being flexible with your flight dates.
Just shifting your travel by a day or two can change prices by hundreds of dollars.
There are several websites you can use to compare flights on different airlines and on different dates. You can also save by flying into an airport that’s near your destination and then taking a bus or train the rest of the way.
Book your flight as far in advance as you can. Three or four months is the minimum to get the best prices for your flight.
9. Start Early
Another savvy travel tip is to start your day early. This gets you out and about while the light is great for pictures. You’re also more likely to avoid crowds if you get an early start.
Take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures and the morning quiet. It’s also a great time to get to know the locals before the stress of the day starts.
10. Get Professional Advice
Planning a long trip can be daunting, especially if it’s overseas. Instead of surfing the web until it all starts to blur together, consider getting professional assistance.
For example, this company specializes in designing a travel plan that meets your travel needs and your budget. It’s headed by an experienced traveler, which is something you should look for in any travel company that you work with.
Travel professionals have the inside track on the best deals and how to make the most of your travel budget.
11. Enjoy Local Cuisine
One of the best ways to enjoy local culture is through its food. Try to steer clear of eating in tourist areas.
To get the best experience, get advice from the locals. They can direct you to out-of-the-way places that serve unique, authentic local food.
Don’t be afraid of trying street food. It’s cheap and tasty. If you have safety concerns, look for places serving families. If it’s safe enough for children, it’s safe enough for you.
12. Stay Healthy
Take care of yourself while you travel. Stay hydrated and get the sleep you need to avoid jet lag. Make sure to apply sunscreen each time you head outdoors so you don’t end up sidelined by a sunburn.
You may want to pack a first aid kit. Pack stomach medicine, headache medicine, bandages, and anti-bacterial ointment.
13. Do Your Research
Take the time to read up on your destination. History books about your destination can help you better understand the local culture.
In-depth travel guides can help you decide on the must-see stops on your itinerary. You should also check the Department of State’s website and review any travel advisories for your destination.
Travel advisories let you know how safe it is to travel to another country. It also gives you specific advice if there are any safety concerns, including regions or areas to avoid.
14. Pack a Sarong or a Scarf
A scarf or sarong might seem like another item to haul around. These lightweight items can come in handy in many situations, though.
They can be wraps when it’s cold, provide sun protection, and work as a makeshift towel or cover-up.
Sarongs can also be a versatile clothing option. You can style a sarong as a skirt, dress, or shirt.
15. Be Flexible
Things will go wrong. You might miss a bus. You may lose your passport. Your hotel may be overbooked.
It happens. The best way to deal with the unexpected is to be flexible. There will always be another bus. You can get your passport replaced.
You can find another, and possibly better, place to stay.
Being flexible allows room in your schedule to wander and explore. These unexpected moments may be the best part of your trip.
Enjoy Your Trip
Even the best travel tips can’t prepare you for every situation. Stay flexible, bring backups of everything, and then relax.
As you research, our website can provide you with valuable travel information. Enjoy our articles and leave a comment if you have other travel tips to add.
And most importantly, enjoy your trip!