18 Travel Tips

Exploring new destinations is the reason millions of people travel each year. For families, travel allows parents to expose their children to experiences not shared at home in their normal routine. With all the benefits of travel, therre are stressors that can add hassles to the travel experience for just about anyone.  Don’t let those ruin your vacation. Here, we will take a look at some travel hacks that can make your vacation more productive, fun, and comfortable.

1. Roll your clothes when packing instead of creating a folded pile in your suitcase. Rolling allows you to fit in more things.

2. If you are a frequent traveler, live out of your toiletry bag and keep it packed. This will allow the packing process to be a bit easier and will prevent you from forgetting anything and having to make an expensive purchase.

3. Scan your passport, any other identification, credit card information, itinerary and email them to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft. With smartphones, once you email the documents to yourself, you can usually open the email without being connected to the internet.  Or after scanning, save them to a documents folder/app.  If you have a decent camera on your phone, take pictures of everything.

4. It’s important to remember to call your credit or debit card company before you leave to ensure that you have your card authorized for your foreign destination. This prevents them from suspecting suspicious activity. Also, check to see if there are any additional charges that will be incurred for any international transactions.  Different credit card companies have different policies.

5. Mark your baggage as fragile. This is a tip I learned a while ago from a friend who found it to be a great way to ensure that your baggage is handled correctly. Your luggage will be kept at the top because of this and it will make it one of the first bags to be on the carousel.

6. Bring your own water bottle. Having your own water bottle ensures that you have water when you want it. When the flight attendants come around, top off your bottle with what they give you.

7. Splurge on internet service if your flight is more than six-and-a-half hours long. We all know how many ways the internet can keep us occupied.  Plus, you can finish up any work before you hit your destination.

8. Ensure that you have a pen before leaving home so you can complete any customs or immigration forms. Fill the forms out when you get them, and ensure that your family members have theirs filled as well.

9. 20 minutes before you land, visit the bathroom. Usually when the seatbelt light comes on, I have found that you still have 15 minutes before you truly have to be seated. Use this opportunity to relieve yourself to prevent fighting for restrooms when you land.

10. Head directly for baggage claim.  You’ve already used the restrooms on the plane so there is no need to stop anywhere in the airport.

11. Use ATMs to get local currency. Using money converters in the airport usually come with their own fees and the exchange rates are a rip-off. ATMs always dispense local currency.  Also, use your debit or credit card so the transaction shows up somewhere on a statement.

12. Shop for any groceries as soon as you arrive or before you arrive at your lodgings. You don’t have to shop for a feast, but getting basics like water and a few snacks in local stores instead of at the hotel can save you a ton of money.

13. When going to a new destination, use guidebooks sparingly. I recommended Yelp because it allows you to discover a few places off the beaten path. Guidebooks only present you with only the tourist spots; even those that advertise themselves as being off the beaten path.

14. Use the local language as much as possible. It reflects well on you, but also on Americans/your nationality in general. It shows you are willing to make the effort, which can work in your favor in some situations.

15. Eat locally only. Save McDonalds or any other chain restaurant for when you’re home. Trying the local cuisine will save you more money and allow you to experience new and flavorful meals.

16. “When in Rome, do as the Romans” is a general saying that I like to translate it as, “don’t be a stubborn traveler, and get out of your comfort zone”. If a country advises modest dress, for example, follow through. It can even ensure your safety as a foreigner.

17. Unpack as soon as you get home. You may be tired but you’ll be glad you did it in the morning. Plus, it saves your luggage from smelling like soiled laundry.

18. Do something with all of the pics that you took while on vacation.  Print them out for a scrapbook.  Put them all on a digital frame for constant viewing.  Have a picture party and show off your adventures to your family and friends.  Put them on a CD and stash them away for future generations.  Don’t just leave them on your camera or your phone or Ipad.

These travel hacks have helped me on previous trips. and I hope they will provide some help to you. Feel free to let me know what your favorite travel hack is.  The travel community will certainly benefit and appreciate them.

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