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9 Ways To Travel More Safely

Lee Huffman

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Whether you're traveling within the U.S. or to a foreign country, you should take extra precautions to stay safe. Distractions born of travel — such as taking in the sights, eating delectable food and exploring new cities — can increase your risk.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

These international and domestic travel safety tips will help you reduce your risk so you can enjoy your vacation and avoid trouble as much as feasible. Here's how to travel safely — ranging from actions that can be implemented on the fly and ones that require a bit more preparation.

1. Digitize important documents

Your wallet or purse is filled with important documents that criminals can exploit. Leave unnecessary items at home (like your Social Security card) and make copies of everything else you would need in an emergency, like prescriptions, a backup credit card (so you can at least make a digital purchase in a pinch) and your passport.

Take a picture and upload them to a secure folder on the web. This way, if anything is stolen, you can easily take steps to reduce the damage that criminals can cause. You can easily call the bank to cancel debit and credit cards and request a new ID from the embassy. You can also use a secure digital vault system like 1Password or LastPass to store these documents.

2. Minimize how much cash you carry

It is important to have a little cash when traveling, but most retailers accept credit cards, even abroad. Not having cash minimizes your wallet's value to a thief, and you can dispute unknown charges from a card. Just make sure to carry a card that has no foreign transaction fees when traveling internationally.

3. Look less like a tourist

The more you dress and act like a local, the less risk there is from criminals targeting you as a tourist. Adapting your style to that of the locals, walking with confidence and keeping maps hidden can help you blend in. When using directions on your phone, only look at it briefly while walking.

Further, familiarize yourself with the city and your route before leaving the hotel. If you do need to look up directions for an extended period of time, consider stepping into a store or cafe to do so, rather than staying outside.

4. Share your itinerary with someone you trust

Whether you're traveling alone or with others, share your itinerary with someone you trust back home. Check in once a day to let them know that you've made it to your next destination or back to your hotel. These small steps increase your safety during travel.

It's also wise to create and share a safe word so that family or friends would know if you're in trouble, even if the conversation seems normal to someone else who may be listening. You can take this a step further and consider sharing your live location with a trusted friend or family member via your smartphone.

5. Research travel advisories for destinations

According to the U.S. Department of State, "conditions can change rapidly in a country at any time." Its website keeps a continuous list of travel advisories in destinations around the world. While these advisories don't always mean that you shouldn't travel, they do help make you aware of the potential conditions you'll find when you arrive, or areas to avoid.

Check the State Department website before making travel plans, and again before you depart. Somewhere that may have been safe when you booked your trip may have deteriorated since then.

6. Sign up for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program , or STEP, is a free service from the State Department that allows citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates. The information that you provide also makes it easier for the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency.

7. Notify credit card companies of your travel plans

Because you may be traveling to cities outside your normal spending patterns, let your bank know your dates and destinations of travel. Many banks allow you to notify them via your online banking portal.

This will minimize the potential of the bank locking your account due to perceived fraudulent transactions, which could leave you stranded.

Additionally, consider bringing a backup credit card.

8. Be careful with public Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi can open your devices and sensitive information to hackers. Using a VPN service is one of the best ways we know of to stay safe in an airport, when exploring your destination or at your hotel. VPN services create a secure connection to protect your personal information when browsing the internet or using web-connected apps on an open connection.

Security.org , a security product review site, conducted a study in June 2020 and found that just 31% of U.S. internet users use a VPN service for public Wi-Fi connections. That means almost 70% of public Wi-Fi users are at risk of being hacked.

9. Get travel insurance

To improve both your physical and financial safety, consider purchasing a travel insurance policy ahead of your trip. This safety net is helpful in avoiding out-of-pocket expenses for emergency medical treatment, trip delays, cancellations or interruptions, lost luggage or evacuations.

Most policies will reimburse travelers for unused accommodations, transit or activities that were nonrefundable but had to be canceled for a covered reason. Similarly, if your luggage is lost by an airline or train company, you’ll likely get reimbursed through the baggage protection on your policy. Plus, if your policy has emergency medical coverage, you won’t be hit with a huge bill for medical attention overseas (where your U.S.-based health insurance is likely not useful).

Some credit cards come with built-in protections, whereas others don’t — in the case of the latter, you will need to purchase a stand-alone policy .

If finding ways to travel safely is your goal …

Now that we've shared some tips on how to travel safely, you can travel with more confidence and less risk. Though implementing most of these tips has little or no cost, they may take time to set up. Investing the time to increase your travel safety will be well worth it if you can avoid dangerous situations that can interrupt or ruin your next trip.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee:   Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards:  Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card  

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

1.5%-6.5% Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

$300 Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

2x-5x Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

75,000 Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

9 tips to travel

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer

My Best 61 Travel Tips to Make You the World’s Savviest Traveler

61 Travel Tips to Make You the World's Savviest Traveler

Most people aren’t born savvy travelers. It’s something that only comes with on-the-road experience. Travel savviness is a process born of missed buses, foolish behavior, cultural unawareness, and countless tiny errors. Then, one day, you begin to seamlessly move through airports and integrate yourself into new cultures like a fish to water.

In the beginning, you just make a lot of travel mistakes.

But I want to help speed up the process and help you avoid my mistakes ( and I often make a lot of them ), so I put together this giant list of my best travel tips that cover everything under the sun to help you reach your full travel ninja potential.

I’ve learned these tips over the last sixteen years being a nomad.

These tips for traveling will have you saving money, sleeping better, getting off the beaten path more, meeting locals, and just being a better traveler.

So, without further ado, here are the best 61 travel tips in the world:

1. Always pack a towel. It’s the key to successful galactic hitchhiking – and plain common sense. You never know when you will need it, whether it’s at the beach, on a picnic, or just to dry off after a shower. While many hostels offer towels, you never know if they will or not, and carrying a small towel won’t add that much weight to your bag.

Make sure it’s a lightweight, quick-drying towel since regular towels are too bulky and heavy (and they take a long time to dry). Dry Fox travel towels are my favorite (use the code “nomadicmatt” for 15% off your purchase)!

Nomadic Matt posing for a photo in Hawaii while traveling

My favorite bag is the Flash Pack from REI . Other companies offering high-quality bags are Osprey, Nomatic, and MEC (for Canadians).

This article has more tips on finding the best travel backpack for your needs.

The same rule applies to suitcases. Don’t take a huge suitcase because they are a pain in the butt to lug around, especially if you’re traveling long term (short term, not so much). I like Level 8 suitcases. They are durable, quite spacious, nicely designed, and well-priced (luggage can be pretty damn expensive). Plus, they have a TSA lock built into the zipper. You can click here to learn more and buy one .

I also recommend packing cubes , which are essential if you’re going to be living out of a backpack for a few weeks (or months), or you just want to keep your suitcase better organized. They come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to store items big and small. They’re great for making it easy to find everything in your backpack or suitcase.

3. Pack light. Write down a list of essentials, cut it in half, and then only pack that! Plus, since you bought a small backpack like I said above, you won’t have much room for extra stuff anyways! Take half the clothes you think you will need…you won’t need as much as you think. It’s OK to wear the same t-shirt a few days in a row.

I love Unbound Merino , as their travel clothing can be worn daily for weeks without getting smelly. They are super light and they look sylish too. I really love the material, they’re comfortable, they hardly ever need a wash, and they last forever!

Click here for more packing tips .

4. But take extra socks. You’ll lose a bunch to laundry gremlins, wear and tear, and hiking so packing extra will come in handy. Take a few more than you need. Trust me on this. Nothing beats a fresh pair of socks!

A room of empty bunk beds in a hostel in Spain

Here’s a list of all my best hostels around the world . If you’re planning on backpacking Europe , it’s worth getting HostelPass , a card that gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money, and they’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and so I’m glad it finally exists. Use code NOMADICMATT for 25% off.

6. Take an extra bank card and credit card with you Disasters happen and things get stolen or hacked. I once had a card duplicated and a freeze put on it. I couldn’t use it for the rest of my trip. I was very happy I had a backup. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds. This happened to a friend once and they had to borrow money for me for weeks while they waited for their new card to arrive.

Here are some helpful articles on banking:

  • How to Avoid Banking Fees While Traveling
  • 22 Ways to Cut Your Expenses and Have Money for Travel
  • How to Pick the Best Travel Credit Card

7. Make sure to use no-fee bank cards. Don’t give banks your hard-earned money. Keep that for yourself and spend it on your travels. Get a credit card and debit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee or an ATM fee. Over the course of a long trip, the few dollars they take every time will really add up!

Here’s an article that will tell you how to do that.

8. Don’t fly direct. When booking flights, sometimes it is cheaper to fly in to airports close to your final destination, and then take a train, bus, or budget airline to where you need to go.

To use this method, find out how much it is to go directly to your destination. Then, look at prices to nearby airports. If the difference is more than $150 USD, I look to see how much it is to get from the second airport to my primary destination.

My favorite flight search engine is Skyscanner . This is my go-to website for finding cheap flights. It searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss.

Here are some more tips on finding cheap flights!

Nomadic Matt posing at the Villandry chateau in France during the summer

Here are some helpful articles on solo travel:

  • Why I Travel Alone
  • The Joy of Solo Travel
  • Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool
  • How to Overcome Being Alone
  • Reading People: One Skill Travel Has Taught Me

10. Always visit the local tourism information center. This is probably one of the most underused travel tips in the world. Tourism information centers know about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities, special events happening during your stay, and everything in between. They even offer discounts on attractions and transportation. It is their job to help you experience the destination better. It’s amazing how many travelers skip this when they are visiting somewhere but, as a savvy traveler, you know to use this resource!

11. Take free walking tours. Besides being free, these tours will give you a good orientation and background of the city you are visiting. I love, love, love taking walking tours when I travel. You pass the time, you get to pepper the guide with questions, and you get to learn so much about where you are. Here are some of my favorite walking tour companies around the world:

  • The Best Walking Tours in New York City
  • The Best Walking Tours in London
  • The Best Walking Tours in Paris
  • The Best Walking Tours in Berlin
  • The Best Walking Tours in Amsterdam

And while free walking tours are great, sometimes it’s worth it to take a paid walking tour if you’d like to dig deeper into a particular aspect of the destination. Walks is one of my favorite paid walking tour companies, offering in-depth history and cultural tours in cities around the world (especially Europe). Its small-group tours also tend to offer exclusive behind-the-scenes access you can’t get elsewhere.

For fellow foodies, Devour Food Tours has all kinds of amazing food tours around Europe.

12. Don’t be afraid to use a map. Looking like a tourist isn’t as bad as getting really lost and ending up in the wrong neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to use a map or ask for directions and look like a tourist. After all, you are one!

13. But don’t be afraid to get purposefully lost. Wandering aimlessly through a new city is a good way to get to know it, get off the beaten path, and away from the tourists. You might be surprised by the hidden gems you find. I like to wander around and try to find my way without using Google Maps. Travel is the art of discovery and you never know what cool little spot you’ll come across.

14. Ask hostel staff for information — even when you aren’t staying there. Hostel staff deal with budget travelers all day, every day. They know exactly where to go for cheap meals and attractions. They also tend to be locals so they know the city very well. Ask them for all sorts of information. Even if you aren’t staying in one, just pop in and ask for help. They’ll usually give it.

15. Sign up for flight deals. When it comes to travel, your flight(s) will likely be your biggest expense. Save money by signing up for flight deal websites. You’ll get epic flight deals straight to your inbox, saving you time and money. Also be sure to sign up for airline newsletters, since that is where they will announce their sales first. The best websites for finding travel deals are:

  • Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – The BEST for upcoming US flight deals.
  • The Flight Deal – Great for global flight deals.
  • Holiday Pirates – The best for European flight deals.
  • Secret Flying – A great site for flight deals from around the world.

16. Don’t buy a money belt — they’re stupid. Thieves know they exist and being seen with one basically shouts, “Look at me, I’m a tourist with money! Rip me off!” The more you can blend in and act like a local, the easier it will be to get deals and avoid touts. If you’re worried about pickpockets, keep a better eye on your stuff!

17. When you go out, take only what you need. Limit the amount of cash and bank cards you carry with you when you go out, so if something does happen, you can easily recover. Never take more than one credit card or ATM card with you. My rule for cash is to limit what I carry to $50 USD.

18. Always carry a lock. Carry a small combination lock with you when you travel. They come in handy, especially when you stay in dorms. Most hostels use lockers, so budget travelers need to provide their own travel lock to keep stuff secured. While you can usually rent or buy them at hostels, it’s much cheaper just to buy one before you go. (Just don’t use one with keys because if you lose the keys, you’re screwed!)

19. Make extra copies of your passport and important documents. Don’t forget to e-mail a copy to yourself too. You never know when you might need to have some sort of documentation with you and might not want to carry your original. Additionally, if your passport gets stolen having a copy will come in handy for your police report.

20. Learn basic phrases in the native language of your destination. The locals will appreciate it and it will make your interactions easier. You don’t need to master the language but learning a few things like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Thank you!”, “Where’s the bathroom?” will go a long way to endearing yourself with the locals. They’ll like that you tried.

Here are some tips on how to learn a language .

Nomadic Matt reading a travel book at a desk

Here are some posts that highlight my favorite reads:

  • 13 Travel Books That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust
  • The Best Travel Books
  • 12 Books to Take You Around the World

22. Don’t be ashamed to walk into a Starbucks or McDonald’s. Sometimes familiarity is comforting and both places have free wifi and public restrooms you can use. (Just don’t eat the food at McDonald’s! That shit is gross and unhealthy for you! You can get it back home!). Libraries and most modern coffee shops also have free Wi-Fi too.

23. Always get behind business travelers when in security lines. They move fast since they are usually in a rush and travel light. They know the drill. Line up behind them as much as possible. You’ll speed through the line!

24. Never get behind families in airport security. They take forever. It’s not their fault. They just have a lot of stuff because of the kids. Try to avoid getting in lines with lots of kids. It’s going to take a while.

25. When you check in to the hotel, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade. They have a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades at check-in. It never hurts to ask. Often times they can accommodate you if the hotel isn’t full. Just be super nice!

Note: If you stay in hotels frequently (or want to), it might be worth it to get a hotel credit card . You can earn points on your everyday spending at home and convert those points into free stays. The best cards come with status, making upgrades more likely too!

26. Write down your experiences. Even in this hyper-technological age, I think everyone needs to write more during their travels so they have something to look back on. I never leave home without a journal. Not only do I use them for work (I’m constantly taking notes and writing down ideas) but I also use them to keep track of my travels.

Simple travel journals work great for journaling during your trip as well as for writing down logistical information like directions, contact information, and language tips.

If you want a travel journal that isn’t just blank pages but rather has space for itinerary planning, places to jot notes in the local language, inspirational quotes, and more, grab our new travel journal. It was designed specifically with travelers in mind, so you can take notes as well as write down stories and reflections during your travels.

27. Lunchtime is the best time to visit historical sites. Be a contrarian. You’ll have fewer crowds getting in your way as big tour buses, groups, and most travelers head to lunch. It’s always best to visit an attraction super early, late, or when people eat. You’ll have even the most popular places to yourself!

28. Never eat in a touristy area or near a tourist attraction. As a general rule, I walk five blocks in either direction before I find a place to eat. The closer you are to tourist attractions the more you are going to pay and the worse the food (and service). Use websites like Yelp , Google Maps , or Open Rice to find some delicious and popular restaurants around you.

Additionally, never eat anywhere the menu is in like 6 languages! That means the restaurant is just for tourists!

29. Locals don’t eat out every night and neither should you. Go grocery shopping. You can learn a lot about locals’ diets by seeing the type of food they buy. Plus, it will save you a lot of money. You won’t regret it. Cook your food, save money, and surprise yourself!

30. Eat at expensive restaurants during lunch. Most expensive restaurants offer lunch specials featuring the same food they would serve for dinner but for a fraction of the cost! That’s the best time to eat out when you travel.

I share more tips on how to eat cheaply around the world here.

31. Pack a headlamp. This is a handy tool for both backpackers and anyone looking to do any hiking or camping. If you’re going to be staying in a hostel, having a headlamp is helpful when you need to check in or out but don’t want to disturb your fellow travelers by turning on the lights. They’re also helpful in emergencies.

32. Carry a basic first-aid kit. Accidents happen, so be prepared. I always take band-aids, antibacterial cream, and ointments for minor cuts and scrapes. You never know when you’re going to need it and you can’t always get it when you travel.

You can either assemble a first aid kit yourself ( here are some tips for doing so ), or purchase a pre-made kit online .

33. Don’t believe the cheap flight myths. Don’t drive yourself too crazy trying to get the absolute cheapest fare. There are a lot of myths online about how to find cheap flights, but there is no magic bullet or one secret ninja trick. It’s not cheaper to book on a particular day of the week, or if you search in an incognito window.

Spending five hours to try to save $10 will cause you a lot of stress. Once you find a flight deal that you’re happy with, book right away, as airfares change by the minute. Remember, you usually have a 24-hour window to cancel in case you need to.

Here are some article on how to save money on flights:

  • 5 Steps to Booking a Cheap Flight Online
  • How to Always Find a Cheap Flight
  • Where I Find the Best Travel Deals

34. Use Meetup, the sharing economy, and hospitality websites to meet locals. These websites will help you get an insider’s perspective on your destination by connecting you with locals in the places you visit. The sharing economy has changed the way people travel allowing you to meet locals, get off the tourist travel, and save mega money! It’s a triple win – and I use these resources all the time when I travel.

Here’s an article on how to use the sharing economy (and what websites to use) when you travel.

35. Be open to strangers. Not everyone bites. Say hi to people on the road. Turn strangers into friends. Remember they are just like you! They want to live a happy, full life and have hopes and dreams too! You never know. You just might make some lifelong friends.

36. But keep your guard up. Some people do bite, so keep a healthy level of suspicion. You don’t want to fall for any travel scams or get yourself into uncomfortable situations. Be open but cautious. Here is a list of travel scams to avoid.

A delicious, fresh Greek meal while looking out over the ocean in the Greek Islands

  • My Favorite Restaurants in Europe
  • The Best Places to Eat in NYC
  • How to Eat Cheap Around the World
  • 30+ Places to Eat in Tokyo
  • How to Eat Around the World on a Vegan Diet

38. Avoid taxis. They are always a budget buster. Never, ever take a taxi unless you absolutely have too!

39. Take a reusable water bottle through airport security and fill it up at your gate. Single-use plastics are common in a lot of countries around the world. They’re also polluting our oceans and destroying the environment. Drink from the tap when you can — you’ll save money and help the environment. If you’re going somewhere where you can’t drink the water, be sure to get a water bottle with a filter. I love Lifestraw .

40. Get city attraction cards. If you are going to visit a lot of museums and other attractions in a short period of time, a city pass is going to save you money on admission (plus most provide free public transportation too!).

41. Take pictures of your luggage and clothes. If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.

42. Carry emergency cash. Because emergencies happen, like that time in Romania when I couldn’t find an ATM and needed money for the bus to the hostel. I usually try to keep around $200 USD in emergency cash in case something happens!

43. Get good shoes. You walk a lot when you travel. Don’t beat up your feet. Love them as much as they love you, and they’ll take you to amazing places.

My favorite shoes for traveling are Suavs shoes , which are versatile and durable. They’re comfortable and great for exploring a new city all day, but also look nice enough that you can dress them up if you want to at night.

44. Get vaccinated. Because falling prey to an illness in a foreign country is not fun — and many countries require you to get vaccinated in order to visit them. So regardless of your opinion on the subject, you just might have to.

Here is an article on how to stay healthy on the road.

45. Learn to haggle. Haggling is a fun, playful way of not getting charged the foreigner price. It’s the art of negotiating and one that will help you throughout all of life, not just at the market.

A TSA Pre-Check sign at a US airport

Here are some articles to help you get started with using points and miles:

  • Points and Miles 101: A Beginner’s Guide
  • How I Earn 1 Million Frequent Flier Miles Every Year
  • The Best Travel Credit Cards
  • The Ultimate Guide to Picking the Best Travel Credit Card

47. Take a jacket. Nights get chilly.

48. Eat street food! If you skip the street food, you miss out on culture . Don’t be scared. If you’re nervous, look for places where kids are eating. If it’s safe for them, it’s safe for you.

49. Get travel insurance. Travel insurance is the most important thing to get that you never want to use. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to be out thousands of dollars in bills. Travel insurance will be there if you get robbed, flights get canceled, you get sick or injured, or have to be sent home. It’s comprehensive and, for just a few dollars a day, one of the best investments you can get for a trip.

You may think you’re superman/woman but so did my friend who broke her arm, didn’t have insurance, and had to pay thousands out of pocket. Insurance was there when I had to replace my camera and when I popped an eardrum scuba diving! Get it! Here are some tips on how to find the best travel insurance.

My favorite companies are:

  • SafetyWing – A budget-friendly choice for travelers who need basic coverage. They are affordable, have great customer service, and make it easy to make a claim. If you’re on a tight budget, go with SafetyWing!
  • Insure My Trip – The best insurance for those over 70 years old.
  • Medjet – This is a membership program that provides emergency evacuation coverage should you get into a dire situation while traveling and be hospitalized. Medjet is meant to supplement your regular travel insurance.

50. Be patient. Things will work out in the end. No need to rush. You’ll get to where you are going in due time. Travel is about the journey, not the destination.

51. Be respectful. Locals are willing to help you out, but there’s probably a language barrier, so keep your cool when something doesn’t go your way. If you don’t, you’ll end up just looking like an asshole tourist.

52. Don’t over plan your trip. Let your days unfold naturally. Schedule two or three things and let the day fill in the rest on its own. It’s less stressful, and letting the day just take you is one of the best ways to travel. Here’s my advice on how not to over plan your travels!

53. Relax. See Be patient .

54. Be frugal — but not cheap. Don’t be pennywise but pound-foolish. Look for deals and don’t waste money, but don’t miss out on great experiences or walk 10 miles to save a couple of dollars. Time is money. Spend them both wisely.

55. Take earplugs. Anyone who has ever stayed in a hostel knows that earplugs are a necessity. Snorers are everywhere and you need your sleep.

But even if you’re not going to be in a hostel, they’re still helpful for sleeping well if your accommodation is located on a busy street, or for sleeping in buses, overnight trains, and other types of transportation. A good night’s sleep is priceless — be prepared!

These earplugs are reusable and work much better than the cheap foam ones, blocking out any distracting noises.

56. Always carry a power bank. Batteries die. Your good mood shouldn’t.

We all travel with numerous electronic devices like phones and tablets, but it can be hard to keep them all charged. An external battery solves that problem.

57. Remember that you’re not alone even if you’re traveling solo. Traveling alone never means you’re really alone. Wherever you go, there is a network of travelers who will be your friends, give you advice or tips, and help you out. They will guide you, point you in the right direction, and be your mentors. You aren’t out there on your own. You’ll make lots of friends and tons of memories.

If you’re not sure about traveling on your own for the first time, you can always join a group tour, such as those we offer at The Nomadic Network . I’ve designed all the itineraries myself to ensure they cover the highlights, get you off the tourist trail, and connect you with friends and locals.

Christmas dinner in Ko Lipe with new friends

59. Pre-book your tickets to attractions, activities, and excursions online. If you’re planning to do any activities or excursions on your trip, book them online. Companies usually offer a discounted price when compared to buying in person. Not only that but you’ll be able to pay with a credit card, giving you some extra protection as well as more travel points!

Many major attractions also allow you to reserve your spot and skip the line. Always look online to see if this is an option. This will you to avoid wasting time in multi-hour lines and go right in. I’ve seen people wait hours for the Paris Catacombs, Louvre, London Churchill War Rooms, churches, temples, historic fortresses, and more. Pre-book the day before, skip the line, get to see more during your day!

Get Your Guide is my favorite place to book activities in advance. It’s a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions, with tons of options in cities all around the world, including skip-the-line attraction tickets, cooking classes, walking tours, and more!

60. Avoid TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is fine when you need opening hours or an address, but when it comes to reviews I ignore it completely. People always leave a negative review when something bad happens but rarely leave a positive review when something good happens so the reviews tend to be skewed.

On top of that, it’s very easy to create fake reviews and make a place seem better than it is. Many hotels and restaurants hire firms to artificially inflate their reviews on the platform. Additionally, TripAdvisor has been known to take down reviews that are overly negative as well as reviews on sexual assault. Use TripAdvisor with caution. Or better yet, don’t use it at all.

61. Finally, wear sunscreen. For as the Baz Luhrmann song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” goes:

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable Than my own meandering experience.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner . It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld . If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Want to Travel for Free? Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip? Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

Ready to Book Your Trip? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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Where in the World is Nina?

100+ Best Travel Tips After Over a Decade of Traveling

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After traveling for over ten years, it was about time I came out with a massive article on all of my best travel tips! Here is everything I have learned along the way, after six continents, 11 years, and nearly 50 countries…

I know not every single tip will apply to every single person or every country out there but it’s all here anyway! Some are just reminders, some are absolutely essential, and some are for your safety. So at the least, do a quick scan so you’re prepped with the best travel tips out there for your next journey!

Table of Contents

1. Travel Insurance

2. anti-theft gear, 3. travel banking cards, 4. car rental, 5. free accommodation, 7. best budget travel tip, 8. staying connected, 9. how to travel longer, 100+ top travel tips, top money travel tips, haggling and local money travel tips, top travel tips for accommodation, top travel tips regarding scams, safety, and rip-offs, top travel tips regarding electronics, top travel tips for food abroad, top travel tips for things to do, clothing travel tips, best travel tips for apps, hacks, internet and more, bags and packing travel tips, best tips for when to travel, top travel tips for transportation, top travel tips for making friends, logistics travel tips, general and random travel tips, top travel tips for being bold, traveling the world alone tips: solo travel for women, travel safety tips—no matter where in the world you're going, 11 ways to get free accommodation while traveling the world, carry on essentials + how to pack a carry on bag, quicky run down of my top 9 travel tips.

Want my top tips really quick? Here are my 9 most essential helpful travel tips to arm yourself with before hopping on a plane !

Honestly, having travel insurance is a must! Being covered for major medical needs, catastrophic accidents and occurrences abroad will give you peace of mind. One of the cheapest and most traveler-friendly insurance out there is Safety Wing . It’s what I use anytime I set foot outside the US! (They cover Covid too!)

Another item to have for peace of mind is anti-theft bags . It’s the easiest way to keep all your important things safe and literally the only bags you’ll need for years.

To get money out of an ATM, you NEED a bank that doesn’t charge you fees. Charles Schwab is my bank of choice. A travel credit card is a way to go for collecting miles and points. Grab yourself a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Venture X card.

Are you renting a car? This is where I usually have the most luck! Want to rent a cool van or RV? Outdoorsy is THE place to start an epic road trip adventure!

With hotels.com , if you book 10 nights and your 11th night is free! No catch, and nothing else to know! It couldn’t be easier. Who says no to free hotel stays!?

Want even more nights for free? Try out…

  • Worldpackers – it’s a work exchange that can use to get free accommodation!
  • Trusted Housesitters – you can take care of someone’s pets while staying at their house for free!

Want to book the best tours out there ahead of time? The best sites to do so are Get Your Guide and Viator . This way, you can book ahead and not have to worry about booking once you’re on the ground.

The #1 best travel for saving money is being flexible. Be flexible with flights, the time of year you’re traveling, your dates, literally everything… If you’re flexible, you’ll have a better time and get better deals.

The two best ways to stay connected is either purchase a local SIM card once you land (the cheapest option) or use GoogleFi , which is a SIM card that works in over 100 countries (the most convenient option).

Want to travel longer? Don’t want to figure out everything yourself? Want someone to tell you precisely what you need to do to live your best travel lifestyle? Want to live, travel, and work around the world for cheaper than your living costs right now?

Grab your Live Around the World Shortcut ! It was made just for you!

If you want AAALLLL of the travel tips I’ve gathered during my travels, I got you! It’s A LOT. These are general travel tips. I’m not really speaking about anything country-specific. Take everything in but don’t be overwhelmed. I’m literally dumping over 100 travel tips on you right now so read through it but don’t worry, a lot of these are just general things to keep in mind.

Also, not every tip here is meant for every person and for every situation! These are all things I have learned over the course of ten years and have helped me in one way or another along the way. I hope they help you too!

  • Get a Charles Schwab card –  Charles Schwab has the best card for Americans and they don’t charge international charges or ATM fees, and refund any ATM charges you encounter. There’s also Revolut and Starling for the UK and Wise is great for transferring money when different currencies are involved.
  • Alert your bank and credit card company – When you travel, it is always wise to alert your bank and credit card company about your plans and what countries you are likely to be visiting. It won’t take long, and will just give those companies a heads up so they won’t freeze your card when they see foreign transactions being made. Notify every bank card you’ll be traveling with. Even the one you don’t plan on using. You never know when you’ll need your extra card in an emergency and that’s the worst time to get flagged.

Currency exchange board best travel tips

  • Don’t do currency exchanges if you can avoid it – If you have a bank card that doesn’t charge fees, going to ATMs are your best bet for a fair exchange rate.
  • Don’t exchange money at the airport – If you need to exchange money, don’t do it at the airport. The airports know that many people will need to exchange money last minute, therefore will bump up their exchange rates and you’ll be paying a lot more. Either wait until you get to your destination, or change some funds up before.
  • Carry some USD on you – No matter where you’re from or where you’re going, having a few bucks in another currency, mainly USD, is a good idea. You never know when you’ll be in a bind that requires cash. 

Phnom Penh market Cambodia

  • Get a travel rewards credit card – Not everyone will want a credit card , but if you do, it may be worth doing a little research to find the one that will give you the best travel rewards. You just have to make sure that you pay off the card everyone month. With the right card, rewards can build up quickly, with points that you could put towards flights and hotels and perks such as early or late check-in and airport lounge access.
  • Always choose local currency – When using your credit card to purchase things, always make sure you choose to be charged in the local currency. Your bank will give you the best rate. If you choose to be charged in USD (or your home country’s currency), you’ll be getting a worse deal. It’s also best to always pay in local currency even if they advertise they accept USD.
  • Plan your post airport travel – The moment you leave an airport, you are the most vulnerable. At this point, you have no idea what a fair price for a ride is and what is the cheapest mode of transport. Do a little planning beforehand so you won’t have to worry about it when you arrive. For example, know if there’s Uber available or what bus to take to get to the city center. If you forget, ask the tourist info kiosk that many major airports have for assistance.

Pile of different currency notes top travel tips

  • Get to know the local exchange rate – Understanding the exchange rate can help when trying to work out exactly what you are paying for things. It will still take a little getting used to, but a bit of research is sure to give you a head start. XE is also an excellent app to have on your phone for quick currency conversions.
  • Eat at restaurants at lunchtime – In many cases, some of the most expensive restaurants serve the same food at lunch as they do in the evening, just at half the price. This way you can treat yourself for cheaper!
  • Ask for advice regarding prices – Always ask a neutral party for a price if you’re unsure about what price to expect. For example, ask a waitress how much they pay for a taxi from A to B to get a base price for a taxi negotiation.

Going shopping in Panajachel is one of the popular things to do in Lake Atitlan

  • Shop locally – Be sure to shop locally for everything you buy abroad, particularly food. Farmer’s markets, mom and pop markets, and whatever produce is in season. This is the best way to stock up on food for less, pretty much how the locals would.
  • Don’t be a cheapskate – It’s OK to be frugal and haggle and know the value of something, but being a total and complete cheapskate will be foolish, and you’ll waste time. You don’t want to offend anyone by asking for one of their products for a super cheap price; this is how they make a living. Make sure to haggle, because it’s appropriate in many countries, but don’t be an @$$ about it.
  • Use a City Pass – Cities all over the globe have City Passes, which are a great way to see all the city has to offer at a reduced rate to what you would pay if you visited all the attractions separately. You usually get a few free attractions, discounts to attractions and eateries, airport transfers, and free transport for one fee. They also sometimes allow you to skip the line at some more touristy places. It’s worth looking into to see if it’s a deal for you.

Cafe in Montmartre Paris best travel ti[s

  • Don’t eat near a tourist attraction – This is one of the top travel tips that people know, but it’s worth repeating. Unless you are happy to pay exorbitant amounts for your food and drink, eateries around tourist attractions should be avoided at all costs. Usually, the closer you are to an attraction, the more expensive the food will be, and it can be of worse quality.
  • Take it slow – Travel slower if you’re low on dough. Slow travel is a sure way to spend less as you won’t be trying to cram a lot of attractions into one day, and the benefits are getting to know a country better. This is my favorite way to travel.
  • Don’t book everything in advance – If you’re OK with being a bit spontaneous to save some cash, don’t book much ahead of time. 90% of the time, a place is cheaper when you’re a walk-in but of course, it’s a risk they could be booked, and “shopping around” can be time-consuming. Gamble wisely. This works very well in some areas of the world like Southeast Asia. This will also work best if you travel for a more extended period . If you’re abroad for just a week, this travel tip might not make sense for you.
  • Join an accommodation rewards program – If you frequently use the same booking site when you book accommodation, check out if they have a rewards or membership program. You could end up getting a free stay now and again. My favorite one is using hotels.com simply because after every 10 nights; you get your 11th for free!
  • Rent a place with a kitchen – Kitchens save money. Buy groceries, cook easy stuff, save a ton of cash! Even just cooking your breakfasts could save a lot of money and even time.

kitchen furniture

  • Save the address to your place somewhere – Write it down, take a picture, pin it on your Google Maps, whatever it is, you’ll need the address later that day, and it’s an easy thing to forget. If you are staying in a hotel, ask for one of the hotel’s business cards that you can carry around with you.
  • An apartment/house is usually cheaper – When staying somewhere long term, aim to get a house or apartment. Hotels will always be more expensive. Long-term apartment rentals can easily be found by word of mouth, asking the guy at the coffee shop because his mother’s, sister’s, cousin probably has a place for rent and even Facebook groups for city-specific places. Even the monthly option on Airbnb is often heavily discounted. If it’s not, it doesn’t hurt to ask either.
  • Location is key – You may have found what you think is some incredible accommodation at a great price, but if it’s so far out of town you’ll have to use public transport to get there, you may not be saving any money at all. Plus, it will be a lot of effort and a waste of precious time to travel to the city center every day.
  • Avoid the ground floor – When checking into a hotel or hostel, one of my best travel tips is asking for a room that’s not on the ground floor. Ground floor rooms are a lot easier to break into, are often noisier, and you won’t have any sort of view.

Worldpackers work exchange for housing

  • Get free accommodation – Yes, I said free! There are a few ways, but these are two favorites:
  • Worldpackers – Do a work exchange and get a free place to stay!
  • Trusted Housesitters – Take care of someone’s pet while the are away and stay at their house for free!
RELATED: 11 Ways to Get Free Accommodation While Traveling The World!
  • Stay away from the desperate – For example, a taxi driver in your face begging you to take his taxi. A random person is telling you to book with their tour… Anything desperate—stay away from.
  • Too good to be true type situations – Check yourself and don’t fall for it. I think this just goes for life in general, right?! An example is a “free tuk-tuk ride” in Southeast Asia. It’s free because they’ll take you to some shops hoping you buy their friend’s overpriced goods.
  • Make sure tickets are official – Be wary of purchasing “tickets” off people. Make sure it’s official – a website, an official-looking stand that has locals buying things…etc. Not just your random new friend.

tuk tuk scam Bangkok

  • Be careful of food scams – Be suspicious when someone REALLY wants you to eat at their friend’s place, offers to take you there, etc… Sometimes they are taking you to a place known for being overpriced, and they will get a commission for bringing you there. Of course, read the situation, it could be genuine, but this is a popular scam.
  • Don’t buy things on the ‘tourist street’ –  Restaurants in touristy areas will be more expensive than those a few streets away, but even worse than that is purchasing tours or bus tickets. They may actually be cheaper on this street, but you’ll pay in other ways. The bus will be crappy, take ten times longer, and the worst part, there will be thieves on the bus. Where do the locals buy their bus tickets? The bus station! Go there. Your hotel might charge a bit more, but they sometimes sell tickets too for convenience, it can often be fine, but sometimes you still might find yourself on the shittier bus.
  • Never order off a menu without prices – If a menu doesn’t have prices, then it will likely be expensive, and even worse, if the restaurant owner can tell you are a tourist, there is a chance they will bump the final bill up further, and there is nothing you can do about it. On this same note, sometimes they have two menus, one with inflated prices.
  • Don’t take up random offers – One of my most important travel tips is never take anything that’s offered to you. YOU ask for something. When someone out of the blue asks if you want something, like someone insisting you put a bracelet on, or being tempted by a local offering a super cheap tour out of the blue, be very wary, this can be the start of a scam. Only trust those whom you ask for things.

Use these tips for driving in Morocco.

  • Take pictures of your rental vehicles – And video too. Everything you rent, make sure to thoroughly document by taking pictures and video so the company can’t try to charge you for a dent or scratch that you didn’t do.
  • Avoid the night – Honestly, if you want to be safe when traveling abroad, you’ll be better off not doing anything at night. It’s unfortunate, but if you eliminate going out at night, you’ll be way more likely to be safe and not have anything terrible happen. If you go out at night, make sure you’re with other people. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid arriving late at night. Make sure you land or your bus arrives or whatever it is during the daytime for extra safety.

9 tips to travel

  • Avoid getting wasted – I know, unfortunate, you should be able to party without worries, but honestly, you’re opening yourself up for trouble if you’re drunk. And you’re likely to be drunk at night too… it’s simply when most bad things happen even if you weren’t traveling. You have bars at home, spend time getting to know a country instead.
  • Do a quick Google – Always do a quick Google on top scams for *insert country* before jetting off. There are tons of general tips and things to keep in mind sometimes, there are country-specific travel tips to keep yourself safe.
  • It stays on you – Electronics should always be on your carry-on bags . When you fly or take a bus. No matter what or where make sure these stay on you at all times until they are safely locked in your room.
  • Back up everything –  Don’t lose those memories. Back them up on different devices! Backblaze and Google Drive are good options.

9 tips to travel

  • Bring a Kindle instead of books – I know, real books are great, but the weight is unbearable. Plus, if you’re an avid reader, you’ll never run out of books with a Kindle , or need to find a store that sells books in English/your language.
  • Pack a power cord –  If you have more than a phone, you’ll be happy to have numerous plugs to play with. If you’re in a dorm or traveling with a friend, you’ll be a savior for having one of these. Make sure it has surge protection too.
  • Pack electronics wisely – When going through security at the airport, you’ll be asked to remove your electronics from your hand luggage. Stay ahead of the game and have all your electronic devices at the top of your bag/easily accessible. Don’t be that person who has to empty half their bag when going through security!

Woman working on laptop with view of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

  • Get a portable phone charger – A power bank will keep your phone charged which is AKA your maps, telephone, contact with the outside world, camera, probably has your list of activities for the day too… So yeah, don’t let your phone die. It’s also great to make sure you’re charged for long buses etc.
  • Don’t plan on buying electronics abroad – Depending on where you go, you’ll either get a fake item, which can be common in Asian countries or get charged more, like in New Zealand and Australia. This travel tip is highly relative and depends on which country you’re from and going to, but it’s something to think about. I paid a few hundred more for my Macbook when I had to get one in South Africa.
  • Ask where the locals like to eat – Don’t ask “where should we eat” because they may direct you to the touristy/western/expensive place. Ask where they eat.
  • Buy fresh – Market food is my fav, but I rarely buy from the people who’ve had their food sitting out/ones that clearly don’t reheat it. There are many people in markets whipping up fresh food or, at the least, reheating.

The 7 Best Travel Water Filters

  • Stay hydrated when you travel – It is imperative to stay hydrated when you travel, especially on long flights. This not only will you feel more alert and have many health benefits. Make sure you bring your water bottle to cut down on plastic waste.
  • Don’t drink tap water – When traveling in developing countries, always avoid tap water. They may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses that your gut isn’t used to and could leave you feeling pretty ill. Google, ask around and find out before sipping even just a little bit. The best way to save on plastic use and make sure your water is clean is using a filter water bottle. I use Grayl , and it’s saved me a million times!
  • Ask about the ice – It is easy to forget when ordering a cocktail, but the ice in developing countries can sometimes be made with tap water. On a similar note, don’t go overboard and don’t have ice ever; just ask to make sure! The most likely situation will be the ice is fine, so don’t skip out on delicious smoothies or an icy beverage in sweltering weather!
  • Make your own meals – Sure, it is nice to dine out whenever possible when traveling, but it is not always the kindest on your wallet. Making your meals is cost-effective and allows you to have control of what you are eating.

Street food in Mexico City

  • Don’t be afraid of street food – Street food can be some of the tastiest, cheapest and freshest food available when traveling, and you shouldn’t be scared of it! Try to only go to vendors with a crowd around it, as you’ll know that these are the most trusted. Again make sure they are cooking it up fresh or reheating. And not trying to turn anyone off of meat, but nine times out of ten, meat is what is going to make you sick. Trust me as a pescatarian/mostly vegetarian of over 12 years and queen of eating at street stalls ! I was ALWAYS the person who wasn’t sick in the group that ate together at street stalls. Guess what the others ate? Yep. Meat.
  • Try the local food – Food is a great way to get to know the local culture better, and you’ll get to try hundreds of new amazing dishes that you would never be able to if you just played it safe with a burger or chips every night. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new!
  • Find a vista – Most cities will have tall buildings that you can climb and see the city sprawled out around you. When out and about in the great outdoors, a clifftop, hill, or even mountain may be your best option! Look for the highest point to see that sweeping view.

One-Week Road Trip Croatia Itinerary, 7 days in croatia, one week croatia, croatia itinerary for 7 days, zadar

  • Get lost – Ditch the map for the day and see where your feet take you. It is on these little ventures that you might find some of the most incredible things on your trip. Just make sure to pin your hotel/familiar area on your map, and then get wonderfully lost! It’s my favorite thing to do in each town I visit.
  • People watch – Sometimes, all you need is to sit in a town square or on a balcony and watch the world go by. It is one of the best ways to feel as though you are part of the local life, even though you are a tourist creeping on others… Just kidding 🙂 
  • Free walking tours – These are a great way of seeing the city when you first arrive. You’ll likely visit all the main attractions in a short space of time with someone who knows their stuff. You know it will be a quality tour as the tour guides just rely on tips.
  • Use Atlas Obscura – I always check Atlas Obscura – it’s packed full of ideas for things to do and see that you wouldn’t find in your usual guidebook or things that are a little off the beaten path. I love the wonderfully weird, so this is fun to give you something unusual to do.

sagada philippines hanging coffins

  • Be flexible – Things are not always going to go as planned when traveling, which you need to expect. Just plan for delays and don’t be upset if things go wrong, as it is almost inevitable that they will.
  • Visit sights at sunrise – Visiting a site a sunrise (or at the least early) means it is likely to be less crowded as everyone is busy getting their beauty sleep. This is also a good time for photos as the lighting is great.
  • Visit the tourist office – The staff here will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have free of charge, and at the very least, you will be able to pick up a free tourist map. They can give you the best travel tips for the area, activities, and events, help you with public transport, and much more.

Beach Hammock at the Driftwood Hostel in El Paredon

  • Relax – There are so many things to see and do in the world that you may forget to find time for yourself. Relaxing is a massive part of the traveling experience, just pause for a moment and take it all in. There is nothing wrong with having a beach day or just sitting around on a hammock with a good book. This can be the best way to recharge and prepare yourself for the adventures to come.
  • Hostel activities – It may not be for everyone, but some hostels have organized activities, which can be a great way to meet people. From beach picnics to rooftop yoga sessions, it is something to consider when looking at which hostel to go with. If all else fails, at least you have the hostel bar crawl!

You make friends quick on a group trip

  • Best tours to book through – The most reliable tour operator sites are Get Your Guide , Viator , Klook (mainly Asia), and G Adventures (multi-day group trips). If you want to book tours online to get everything reserved, these are the ones to use.
  • Use a laundry mesh bag – I use a laundry mesh bag for dirty clothes; they can come in handy when on the move and to separate items. It’s also used for my delicates in the wash, so they don’t get gross and too “used” looking.
  • Be ready to wash clothes on the go – Don’t pack something that can’t be washed in the sink. No joke, if you can’t wear it three times, then wash it in a sink, then leave it behind. Bring easy to wash, not super wrinkly material, durable, sensible clothing. Nothing dry clean, no special need clothing!

Jacket for Europe packing list

  • It’s OK to hand wash – You’re not being cheap, you’re being thrifty and skeptical if you’ll get everything back, and you are watching out for how your clothes are handled. I’m a little OCD with how things are washed, and I rarely like my things going through a hot dryer. Use your hands and the sun… it’s OK. Keep in mind that most other countries worldwide don’t use dryers either, so even if you take it to get washed, they will likely use the sun to dry your stuff.
  • Use Merino when in cold weather – There’s something about Merino wool that just works for cold climates. I guess it’s the quick-drying, lightweight, comfortable, and smell-free features… Buy them if you’re hiking especially.
  • Bring a sarong – For an item that won’t take up much room in your bag, a sarong will undoubtedly come in handy in multiple situations. If you are cold, you can put it around your shoulders for an extra layer, they can be used as protection from the sun, plus if you are going to a place of worship, it is respectful to have your shoulders covered in many countries. I use it as a beach towel, a bathroom towel if one isn’t provided, a swimsuit cover-up, and even a “blanket” on a chilly bus ride. I like this better than a quick-dry towel because I feel like those often get a bit smelly, and they often can’t be used in all the other ways I mentioned either!
  • Choose clothes that do double duty – As with the sarong, try to choose other items of clothing that can serve multiple uses. Use a tank top that can be worn during the day and as PJs (or sleep half naked as I do), and don’t pack anything that is used in one specific way. If you’re worried about getting bored with what you wear, consider multi-wear clothes to switch things up. (I have reversible swimsuits that are amazing!)

Roy's Peak

  • Good shoes – Shoes should not be underestimated when it comes to travel. You will be wearing them all the time, and chances are you will be doing a lot of walking. Invest in some good shoes before your trip and be ready for anything. I usually travel with flip-flops , a closed-toe casual walking shoe, and either a sandal or hiking shoes , depending on my destinations. Usually no more than three pairs.
  • Download an offline map – My go-to map app is Maps.me. There are cool things to discover on the map, and it has GPS functions all offline. Just download it all while on wifi. I also download Google Maps offline as a backup, particularly if I need driving directions.
  • Buy a one-way ticket – You don’t always need to fly roundtrip. Particularly if you’re on the road for a bit longer, buying one way can often be cheaper and more adventurous. But with that said, don’t forget about buying an onward ticket depending on where you’re going if it’s a requirement for entry.

airplane engines in the sky

  • Look for other nearby flights – You don’t always need to fly direct. Sometimes flying into the main city and taking a bus will be significantly cheaper. Or flying to a nearby area and then buying a separate leg could be more affordable as well.
  • Flexibility with flights – Being flexible is the #1 travel tip for flying! This is how you find the cheapest flight. I know tons of others try to tell you to book on a Tuesday, use a VPN, etc and those could work, but the only guaranteed 100% way to save on flights is being flexible with your dates and even the place you fly to.
  • Get a VPN – While away, you will be using a load of unprotected WiFi networks, and a VPN is a great way to ensure that you stay protected. It will also allow you to change your location as you move around. this can be handy for remote work situations or even trying to see if a flight is cheaper when “you’re in another country.” But ultimately, it should be used on sketchy wifi, like the free wifi in airports or cafes. Lastly, a fun tip is to use a VPN to get different choices on Netflix too!
  • Investigate using GoogleFi – This could be the answer to having wifi everywhere. I use GoogleFi because I love having internet straight off the plane and never have to worry about topping up. I’m covered in over 100 countries. It’s not always the fastest, but it’s the most convenient SIM I’ve owned so far. If you’re in very cheap countries, the local SIM should be fine, but GoogleFi is so you don’t need to purchase a new SIM in every country. Do note you will have to pop in and out of the US otherwise, they flag your account if you’re abroad too often. I haven’t been flagged yet but I’m visiting the US at least once a year.
  • Invest in a SIM abroad – Buying SIM cards isn’t that scary. Many countries worldwide have extremely cheap SIM card options for your phone. Don’t be afraid to just buy them straight off the plane. They are often easy to top up, and this will be the cheapest option. GoogleFi is best if you’re country-hopping a lot, but if you’re going to be in one place for just a few months, a local SIM will be the cheapest.

I figured out how to be a social media manager and I love my job.

  • Make sure your phone is unlocked – Don’t leave your home country without an unlocked phone. It’s the only way to travel and get SIM cards along the way.
  • Use Google translate – Download Google translate for offline use. The camera setting is invaluable, and you can even save a few phrases and things to be offline so that you can use them later.
  • The power of Skype – Download Skype and put $10 on it. If you ever need to call your bank, parents, a friend, you can reach them without a $2894894 phone bill. Just get on wifi and give them a ring. I had to call my bank and only used a dollar or two for a 20 min convo. If you’re on a local SIM or have an expensive carrier for phone calls, this travel tip is perfect for you.
  • Never use an “open” or over-the-shoulder bag – Ever. Anywhere. They get in the way, increase the chance of your goods getting stolen, and overall is just not a great accessory for travel. It’s common in areas of the world for motorbikes to swoop past and grab them off shoulders.
  • Be careful in crowds – I always have my bag in front of me, or my backpack turned around and worn in the front. On crowded transport, in markets, in any area where people are close together—always have your bag in front and even place your hand over it. This is a prime opportunity for pickpocketing.
  • Use cross-body bags – This is the only type of purse I use. A crossbody bag or a crossbody fanny pack of some sort. Something that zips close, and something that is securely around your body. It’s the safest bag to use.

Best Anti Theft Backpacks & Travel Bags + Tips for Keeping Your Stuff Safe!

  • Use a backpack – Backpacking is sometimes the best answer. No matter how great wheelie suitcases are, it’s sometimes literally better to travel with a backpack or, at the least, be mentally prepared to drag your wheelie suitcase around cobbled streets, across a beach, or held above your head as you walk to a small boat… Keep in mind the type of traveling you’ll be doing to decide which one is best.
  • Invest in anti-theft gear – Buy yourself some anti-theft gear for your sanity. Get yourself an anti-theft backpack, purse, or even both. I’ve been traveling with both for years, and it’s great for peace of mind and safety.
  • Grab yourself a dry bag – I’ll recommend dry bags until the day I die. It’s a beach bag, rainy day purse, a dry place for electronics, a laundry bucket, a souvenir bag… I have traveled with one for ten years now.

woman with a dry bag

  • Use a bag – Actually, use your bag, not your pockets. Things in your pocket are an invite to thieves to take them… Keep your pockets empty and your bag close to you at all times. If you’re a dude, keep things in your front pockets only and be on alert.
  • Make your luggage noticeable – If you are traveling with baggage that you need to put in the hold or check-in, a quick tip is to wrap a colorful band or ribbon around it. Make yours stand out from the rest so that you’ll quickly be able to spot it when it gets unloaded from the plane. This is particularly true if you have a basic black bag like the thousands of others traveling that day!
  • Pack cards and money separately – Hide a bit of each in a few bags and always have more than one card. That way, if one gets lost, you have the other as a backup in another bag.

The locks of love around Cologne

  • Carry a padlock – Always carry a padlock with you when you travel; you never know when it may come in handy. It won’t take up much room in your bag, and when you stay in dorms, it can be a necessity. One with a combination lock usually works best as then you don’t have to worry about losing keys.
  • Pack a water bottle – Preferably with a filter so you can use less plastic when you travel. Some water bottles are better than others, so make sure you research. I use Grayl ; these water bottles save my life and save me from wasting so much plastic.
  • Bring some earplugs – Even if you’re not a light sleeper, new places will have noises you’re not used to. Whether it’s other people in a shared hostel room, or just unfamiliar traffic sounds, a good set of earplugs will help you wake up fresh and ready for adventuring.
  • Use vacuum/compression bags – These are ideal if you need more space. Packing cubes or vacuum bags can make your stuff shrink with a few squeezes of the bag (no, you don’t need a vacuum) or an extra zip for compression. I’ve used both, and both work for me. I use compression bags more nowadays simply because the vacuum bags eventually get worn and get a hole in them, rendering them useless.
  • Wear your heaviest and bulkiest items – Even if you may look a little silly in the process, every piece of luggage weight is precious, so by wearing your heaviest items, you may just open up a little space to fit in another outfit or save in overweight fees.

packing a carry on clothes

  • Don’t pack toiletries if you’re tight on space – You can buy these very easily at your destination. So if you’re looking for some extra room, leave the toiletries at home and purchase them when you land. Unless you need super specific things, this is easy to save some room in your bag.
  • Fill dead space – Make use of every little space in your bag that you can. That means rolling all your smaller items up, such as socks and underwear, and stuffing them into shoes and all the nooks and crannies you can find.
  • Know your limits – There is nothing worse than a surprise hefty fee at the airport when your bag weighs too much. One of the best travel tips for saving money is to double-check your baggage limits and weigh them at home first.
  • Pack some hand luggage – Even if you are checking in your main bag when you travel, always pack the necessities and a change of clothes in your hand luggage . Sometimes the unthinkable happens, and your main luggage may go missing for a few days at the airport. That way you won’t have to run to the shops as soon as you arrive at your destination to buy replacement clothing. Your electronics should ALWAYS be in your carry-on only and anything else of value.

9 tips to travel

  • Packing for multiple seasons – I honestly simply don’t. I’ve avoided winters all my life up until recently. The easiest way to pack is to make sure you’re staying in similar climates so you don’t need so many types of clothes. If I travel to a place where I need warm items, I make it a round trip. Sometimes you can’t help it and in that case, pack multi-use items and layers like when I went to Iceland .
  • Check the season of your destination – No matter when you travel, check the season. It’s easy for someone from New York to forget to pack winter gear when visiting Australia in June. Make sure you’re not getting your hemisphere’s weather mixed up.
  • Try traveling in low or shoulder season –  Not only are prices lower, but there are fewer tourists, making sightseeing easier. This is your best bet for getting the cheapest accommodation, flights, and tour packages. The only risk is you may not get the best weather 24/7, but this could be a risk worth taking.

The best time to visit Morocco is in March!

  • Just do it – There will never be the ideal time to go traveling, be it because of work, family or friends, but sometimes you have just to get up and go instead of sitting around waiting for that ‘perfect’ time. Chances are, you’ll be waiting for a very long time!
  • Flexibility – We talked about this already, but it’s worth mentioning again flexibility will be your best for finding the best deals.
  • Avoid taxis if possible – Taxis are usually a budget buster. Is there any other way to get from A to B? Double check, as taxis are a headache to haggle with and may overcharge you once they realize you are a tourist. If it’s inevitable, ask a neutral person how much it should be for a base price to negotiate. Google taxi scams for XYZ country too to be double aware. Follow them on your phone through Google maps.
  • Download Grab/Uber – Grab is an excellent app in countries in SE Asia, as you can hail a cab to wherever you are and know how much it will cost you before you accept it. You probably know about Uber. And Lyft works abroad too!

Travel safety tips include using a taxi or Uber when possible.

  • Lounge on a layover – If it’s long enough, explore; if it’s not, use it as a time to stretch, journal, get work done, make the random friend at the coffee shop or bar… Better yet, treat yo’self and go to a lounge. You could get Priority Pass or may potentially have it through your credit card . If not, you can buy day passes for many of them as well. Lounges are great if you get to the airport early or on layovers, in fact, it’s life-saving! It includes better bathrooms and wifi, free food, and even booze!
  • Take into account transit days – Just because you have 14 days of vacation, it doesn’t mean all of those days are fun. Some of those days will be entirely spent on transposition or jet-lagged. Add day accordingly and perhaps don’t go TOO far from home if you don’t have a lot of time.
  • Arrive at the airport with plenty of time – One of the most stressful things in life is getting to the airport with only a little time to spare. Many things could take longer than you think, and you never know how long the lines can be. Missing your plane is not like missing a bus; you can’t just hop on the next one that easily.

thailand transportation train

  • Check-in online – Many flights allow you to check-in online, which will save you precious time at the airport. Sometimes the check-in queue can be scarily long.
  • Make use of sleeper train/buses – Don’t be scared to use a sleeper train or bus to get from A to B. They may take a bit longer than a flight, but are likely to be considerably cheaper and will save you the cost of one night’s accommodation.
  • Talk to people – You might make friends for life on your travels, but to do that, you can’t be afraid to talk to people. The easiest way to do this is to join an organized tour or stay in a hostel, it is likely that others will be in the same boat as you and want to make friends. Just be brave enough to strike up a conversation, and you may be surprised by how much you have in common.
  • Talk to the locals – If there is anyone who will know the best things to see and do in a new location, those who live there. The chances are the locals will be more than happy to provide advice, and you may even come across a hidden gem that you otherwise would not have discovered and get to know the country better.

People sitting around table at Skybar in Antigua Guatemala

  • Show respect – No matter what. Never let a situation get you so angered you disrespect the other party. You are a guest in another country, which can cause an even bigger issue. Always remain calm.
  • Keep an open mind – When traveling, it is a chance to meet people you probably wouldn’t speak to at home. Differences such as age and culture become irrelevant as instead, you’ll bond over things like shared experiences.
  • Keep your guard up – Although you should be open to strangers, this doesn’t mean letting loose and forgetting all potential red flags. Be in tune with your gut and go with it. Your sub-conscience usually can sniff out a sketchy situation; listen to yourself.

A travel safety tip is to always watch your drinks.

  • Staying in a hostel isn’t always fun – This is coming from someone who isn’t a fan; I need my space. Hostels aren’t always your only option sometimes a one-bedroom in a hostel or a guesthouse is only a few bucks more. Making friends is fun, but not having stuff stolen and getting sleep is more fun in my eyes. I can be social in the common rooms!
  • Join Facebook groups – This is one of the best tips for traveling if you want to make friends and be in the know about what’s going on in certain places. There are thousands of Facebook groups, some for particular countries, some for specific towns and cities… Join the ones you’re interested in visiting, and you’ll find out about tons of events and find others who are looking to make friends.
  • Check your passport expiration and pages – Some countries won’t let you in if you have three-six months or less until you’re due for a new one. If you don’t have enough pages to stamp, you’ll also be denied entry. Some countries won’t let you in with less than two pages free. Plus, some visas take up an entire page!
  • Check the visa requirements – Never assume you can just land and enter a country. Always double-check the requirements for visas. All of this is Googleable, and it depends on what country you are from as well.

9 tips to travel

  • Get travel insurance – This is very important; too many people think they will be fine without it. Accidents can happen, and for the sake of some pocket change, you could save yourself some hefty hospital bills. The easiest travel insurance and one I use is Safety Wing . This is particularly the best one for people traveling for longer. Read more about travel insurance.
  • Photocopy important documents – You should always keep a photocopy of your essential documents in a separate bag from the originals, just in case they get lost! It could get you out of a sticky situation for something that can take seconds to do, and it is always good to have a backup as an extra sense of security. I carry them in my bag, have them in an email to my mom, and have a document folder saved on my computer. Passport, ID, visa info…
  • Leave the guidebook at home – Rather than lugging a whole guide around with you, why not just take photos or download an app? Saves both space and weight. Also, travel blogs like the one you’re reading now often have better info than a guidebook that may have been written two years ago by a person that visited a place for 36 hours.
  • Don’t bring your passport –  I never carry my passport with me. Even if it’s a requirement, it’s safer hidden in the hotel than on me, in my opinion.
  • Ask a hotel if you are lost –  Walk into any hotel or store and ask for directions; they will be the most trustworthy and gain nothing from lying to you.

Sunset and Rosetta Stone

  • Learn a little of the local language – There is no way you will be able to learn the language of everywhere that you go, but there is no harm in learning a few choice phrases of the local lingo to help you get by. A few good phrases include, ‘hi,’ ‘please,’ and ‘thank you, but the words for ‘bathroom’ and ‘beer’ may also come in handy!
  • Watch a documentary – Sometimes, before visiting countries or popular places, watching a documentary is a great way to get educated before arriving. Having a bit of a visual will often make you more aware of what to expect of your destination than simply reading a travel guide.
  • Make use of McDonald’s – If you’re in a city and are dying for a toilet… run into a McDonald’s and do your thing. They usually have free wifi too but buy some fries and don’t take total advantage.

Night market in Pai

  • Say no to as much plastic as possible – Some countries are obsessed with plastic. 711s in Southeast Asia will give you a bag for your small snack and water and a plastic straw on top of it. Refuse the extra plastic.
  • Don’t be the over-planner – It will only lead to delusional plans, disappointment, and stress.
  • Don’t have too many expectations – Having crazy expectations is a recipe for disaster. Go in with low expectations and be blown away. Nothing will go perfect; accept that things will go wrong.

Pouakai circuit Taranaki Sunrise side

  • Get up early – Yes, the early bird indeed gets the worm. It’s worth making the most of your day when you don’t have much time in a place, and getting up early means fewer crowds and better pictures. Not only that, but you’ll also have the rest of the day to do other awesome things.
  • Travel with a smile – It’s cheese AF, but it’s so true. Smile more, randomly smile to locals, have a smile even when a situation is frustrating; it’s part of the journey. Smiles go a long way. Wear it often. Everyone is willing to help but not if you’re an angry asshole.

Two women smiling at camera at New Years Eve party in Koh Lanta

  • Vaccinations – Always get a doctor’s advice if you are traveling somewhere where there may be a vaccine requirement. There will likely be a vaccination you can get to protect you from most nasty things, and if it’s a requirement, the airline will probably ask you for proof before you even board the plane!
  • Write things down – You may think you’ll remember every aspect of your traveling experience, but it is scary how quickly you can forget the little things. If you wrote something down, even just a line or two a day, it can be a great thing to look back on in a few years and may help jog your memory about other events that occurred on your trip.
  • Wear sunscreen – It is such a simple tip that so many people tend to ignore. Even if you are hoping to catch a tan, sun cream is vital and has many long-term benefits associated with it. Some places may have an intense sun that you are not used to. On a similar note, sunscreen is often one of the most expensive toiletries abroad! So bring it from home!

Olon, Ecuador has beautiful beaches for surfing!

  • Tell people where you are – For safety reasons , it is always best to ensure at least one person knows where you are and when. An excellent way to do this is to send an itinerary home to your families, such as your upcoming flights and accommodation; that way, if you disappear for a few days, someone will always know where you should be. Before venturing in nature alone, always tell someone.
  • Wear flips flops in the shower – Imagine how many people use the hostel showers every day! Ew! Stay protected and wear flip-flops ; you won’t regret it! This is more often for those staying in hostels or in places where many people share bathrooms.
  • Learn something new – Go surfing in Morocco or ride a motorbike in Thailand. Go diving in Indonesia or hike a volcano … Traveling is all about new experiences, and the opportunities are endless out there in the big, wide world.
  • Embrace the nerves –  It’s OK to feel nervous and excited. The nerves will pass, you’ll have fun and everything will be OK. Don’t let nerves hold you back; it is entirely normal!
  • Travel solo at least once – For many, traveling alone can seem like a pretty scary experience, but there are so many perks when it comes to solo travel ; it should be done at least once. You’ll learn about yourself, how to be independent, how to overcome obstacles, and overall do everything that you want to without having to think about anyone else. You’ll also learn some valuable life skills along the way.

Solo female Morocco tips that you need for your trip!

  • Step out of your comfort zone – There are not many other opportunities in life where you can step out of your comfort zone and do something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Traveling is the perfect time to do something that you would never usually do at home; you’ll likely be surprised about how exhilarating it can be.
  • Get a job to stay abroad longer – If you think you will struggle with the fact of coming home, there is no problem with staying abroad! Yes, it’s true, it’s possible to stay abroad longer, and no, you do have to be rich! There are tons of travel jobs out there, both work abroad and remote work . If you want to stay abroad longer and keep traveling, you’re in the right place. This is the blog to read! I have been blogging for about ten years on exactly how to do this. Head here for more info on working, living, and traveling the world .

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9 tips to travel


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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She's been abroad since 2011 and blogging on Where in the World is Nina? for nearly as long. Nina helps people like you move around the world while making money. She loves talking about how to work abroad and online to travel longer! Read more about Nina

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99 Travel Hacks To Make Your Next Trip A Little Easier

Henah - Headshot

I’ve never cared about brand-name purses or clothing, much less cars or makeup. Instead, I spend whatever leftover money I can on travel. Traveling has exceptional “memory dividends” long after the money’s gone and is the best way to experience all the world has to offer (at least, in my humble opinion).

I’ve now been to 30+ countries and hundreds of cities—from rural northern Thailand to Moorea in French Polynesia to most of the United States—so I’ve picked up quite a few hacks here and there to make traveling the best experience it can be. Below, I’m sharing 99 of my best tips so you can spend less time planning and questioning and more time experiencing and enjoying. Got more? Share them in the comments; we don’t gate-keep here!

Wherever you’re heading—whether by plane, train, or bus—safe travels and happy exploring! 🌍

1. To save time, only pack a carry-on ; no more waiting at baggage claim! 

2. If you decide to check a bag in, throw an Airtag into your suitcase, so you can always track where it is and ensure it’s reached your destination.

3. For the best possible travel deals, be flexible on your destination and dates. I’ve scored deals to multiple European cities for under $200 by leveraging that flexibility.

4. Perhaps the most important tip of all: Always buy travel insurance . Always.

5. Allocate all your spending on a credit card that racks up points which can later be redeemed for travel—my preferred option is Chase Sapphire Reserve or the AmEx Gold.

6. Sign up for credit card bonuses that offer up to 150,000 points once you hit a minimum spending bonus—I like to check Nerdwallet’s top credit card offers (updated monthly) to see the best bonuses.

7. Search for flights leaving at off-peak times (for example, mid-week, red eyes, or with a layover) if you’re trying to save money.

Prioritize early morning flights; they’re the least likely to be delayed or canceled.

8. If convenience is more important than money, prioritize early morning flights; they’re the least likely to be delayed or canceled.

9. Use Google Incognito or a VPN to search for flights. Searching on the same browser and internet connection tells the airline that you’re looking to book and allows them to hike the price up. 

10. Once you find a flight you like—if you’re not ready to book—set up an alert to be notified if the price changes. If it drops, great! If not, you’ll know to book soon or keep an eye on it in case it comes back down.

11. Not sure when to go? Check out apps like Skyscanner or Hopper to find the best prices and times of year to head to your destination.

12. Sign up for loyalty programs with every airline you can; you never know when you’ll need to use them, and you can rack up miles for later use.

13. If you’re used to one specific airline, see if they have an airline-specific credit card for additional bonuses and perks. For example, United Airlines has major hubs in both our hometowns and our current cities so we have the United MileagePlus cards, which offer early boarding, free baggage, and 60,000 points each.

14. Keep an eye out for points sales , like Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, 30% off transfer premiums, and more. (This is always a good option to keep in mind if you just need a few more points for a mostly-free flight!)

15. Look into mistake fares (deeply discounted fares mistakenly shared by an airline). They can sometimes be canceled or refunded, but many times, airlines will honor them anyway. One time, I was able to travel to Milan, Prague, and Amsterdam for $197 one-way from New York.

16. Subscribe to real-time alerts from The Points Guy , The Flight Deal on Twitter, and more.

17. If you have a few bucks to spare, sign up for flight deals from Going (previously known as Scott’s Cheap Flights). You’ll share your departure airports of choice, and you’ll receive deals right in your inbox.

18. Sign up for TSA PreCheck, CLEAR, or Global Entry to expedite the security process.

19. Once you’re past security but before you get to the gate, check out the Priority Pass, which will give you access to hundreds of lounges around the world. Both Chase and AmEx offer cards with Priority Pass access, and once you get to a lounge, you can stock up on free food, drinks, WiFi, and more.

20. Heading abroad? Use a third-party encrypted program like WhatsApp, Viber, or Signal for international texts and calls—you can avoid extra data and call charges!

Alert your credit and debit card companies about your travel so you don’t get flagged for fraud.

21. If you need access to international calls, buy a SIM card locally—you can usually find kiosks in the airport after arrival, or sometimes your carrier will offer a global SIM card for temporary use.

22. Alert your credit and debit card companies about your travel so you don’t get flagged for fraud.

23. Get a no-fee ATM for international destinations; my favorite is the Charles Schwab.

24. Only ask for ATM withdrawals in the local currency, not your native one.

25. Same for credit card charges; if you’re in Italy, pay with your card in Euros, not USD (for example). Then you’ll avoid fees and often score better conversation rates.

26. Download the airline app before you fly for easy access to your boarding pass, checking in, and seat or meal selection.

27. While you’re at it, you can check out the seat map on most flights to see what’s open and change seats accordingly.

28. You may even find an open seat in First or Business Class—consider politely asking for an upgrade. You never know if they’ll say yes!

29. If your travel plans are flexible, volunteer for a later flight when they’re offering compensation to offset the cost of the airfare.

30. If you decide to volunteer, try and wait to see if they’ll increase the compensation before you agree. Sometimes, you can get thousands of dollars in flight vouchers if you hold out long enough.

31. Buffer in extra time for delays—always.

32. Have a connecting flight? Aim for at least a 90-minute layover in between to avoid missing your flight in case of delays, security issues, etc.

33. Travel during shoulder season (i.e., not quite peak time yet). For example, if June-August is the best time of year to visit Greece, consider going in May or September for lower prices but still preferable conditions.

34. Don’t cut costs over convenience either, though—if you know you suffer from insomnia and back pain, taking a red eye in economy to save $100 may not be worthwhile. Similarly, don’t go for the cheapest hotel without thorough vetting; you don’t want to be stuck three miles from the beach without a bike because you didn’t know how far it was!

35. Check out alternative modes of transport besides the typical plane or car: Trains, bikes, public transportation, buses…the list goes on. These are often cheaper, better for the environment, and more accessible.

Create a default packing list for yourself that you can copy and tailor for each trip.

36. Create a default packing list for yourself that you can copy and tailor for each trip. This way, you’ll know you’ve included all the necessities most important to you, like specific medications, chargers, and toiletries.

37. Wear layers while in transit—it’s easier to pack your luggage, and you can stay warm (or cool) as needed.

38. If you suffer from swollen ankles or potential blood clots when sitting in one place for hours, get a pair of compression socks. There’s a reason many travel pros swear by them!

39. Another must? A reusable water bottle. Perfect for refilling inside the airport after security, carrying with you on tours, and having in case of emergency.

40. Heading to a place without clean, potable water? Don’t forget to bring a water filter or purifier for when you’re on the go.

41. Easily organize your suitcase (and save space!) with packing cubes .

42. If you’re really in need of space, consider vacuum bags to compress all your clothes.

43. If you know you’ll want to shop or bring back many souvenirs, get a secondhand suitcase at your local thrift store for cheap and fill ‘er up.

44. Don’t bring too many valuables. Many women travel pros will wear fake wedding rings to avoid burglaries or attacks.

45. Always tell someone at home what your itinerary is and where you’ll be. Even better if you can tell someone you trust locally in case of an emergency. #safety

46. Turn on location services and sharing, too, for good measure.

Print out extra copies of your passports and travel docs; keep digital copies in your email as well.

47. Print out extra copies of your passports and travel docs; keep digital copies in your email as well. Losing your passport is all too easy! 48. Need to drive worldwide? Don’t forget to pick up an International Driver’s Permit , which are readily available at most AAA locations.

49. Want to save money or avoid excess noise? Stay slightly away from downtown city centers and tourist spots—usually going even two or three blocks away can make all the difference.

50. Another way to cut costs is to consider house-sitting or couch surfing, depending on your level of comfort. 

51. Hostels are another great budget-friendly accommodation option; it’s also a wonderful place to meet like-minded people and organize local tours.

52. Weigh the cost of laundry versus the cost of a checked bag. Sometimes packing light and doing laundry will be far cheaper than paying for an extra suitcase.

53. Pack a capsule wardrobe for easy mix ‘n matching for your daily #lewks.

54. Think about items you may need at a destination that you’ll end up paying a premium for later and see if you can get them beforehand. For example, sunblock at a tropical destination will be far more expensive than getting it in the off-season in the Midwest.

55. Pack an essentials kit in case you need certain toiletries or accessories while in transit—for example, a small bag with spare underwear, ear plugs, eye mask, tampons, and charging wires.

56. Carry a purse or travel bag that you can keep close on your body, closed with zippers rather than buttons or flaps. This will help stop pickpockets!

57. Pack extra snacks. Just trust me on this one! You never know when you may need sustenance and can’t find anything worthwhile.

If you can, take the day off after you get home so you can ease back into everyday life.

58. If you can, take the day off after you get home so you can ease back into everyday life. Then you can finish up any chores or errands like laundry, grocery shopping, and more without worrying about rushing back into the office.

59. In your carry-on backpack or purse, keep an extra set of clothes, a toothbrush, and undies in case your luggage gets lost. (Which is another reason why you always want travel insurance!)

60. If you’re not using data and/or are heading to a remote area, download offline versions of Google Maps and take screenshots of any information you need.

61. If you’re heading to a foreign country and the local language isn’t one you speak, download the Google Translate app. You can then converse with locals, take photos of written text to translate, and more. (This was an invaluable tool when I was stranded in northern Thailand during a downpour once!)

62. Download media a day or two before you leave, so you can access it while traveling—think audiobooks, ebooks, Netflix, etc.

63. Get the best portable charger you can afford if you know you’ll be relying on your phone throughout the trip. You’ll never regret it.

64. Pack a universal adapter so you can use your electronic devices around the globe.

Pack a universal adapter so you can use your electronic devices around the globe.

65. Don’t forget a converter too, if your electronics’ voltage doesn’t match up to the outlets abroad.

66. Getting a rental? Book the reservation on a credit card like Chase or AmEx, which offers auto insurance and collision insurance for rentals.

67. If that’s not an option, it’s well worth getting auto insurance from the rental company. 

68. Take photos of everything important: The condition of your rental when you pick it up/drop it off, receipts if you’re going to be reimbursed or splitting costs, WiFi passwords, and so on.

69. Make sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccinations and shots , which vary by country. (And don’t wait until the last minute to book your appointment!)

70. Read. The. Reviews. Make sure you look for any bots or planted reviews, and keep an eye out for any red flags, whether you’re searching for accommodations, a tour, or restaurants.

71. Similarly, seek out vetted tour groups if you’re traveling alone. A few of my favorites for women include El Camino Travel , Stellavision Travel , and G Adventures .

72. Sometimes DIYing a trip can be helpful, but other times, a good travel agent is the most valuable. They’ll get access to exclusive discounts, tours, or accommodations that you couldn’t leverage otherwise.

73. If you’re considering traveling with a friend or partner, ensure your travel priorities are aligned before leaving. Nothing will be more frustrating than having a companion sleep in when you’re a morning person or dealing with a racket first thing in the morning if you’re a night owl.

74. In the same vein, learn many of your destinations’ cultural nuances and customs—it’s important to be considerate and mindful of the communities you’re visiting.

75. Heading to a faraway destination? Try pairing nearby cities together on this trip so you knock out two at once.

76. Stay hydrated, especially when traveling. We’re already adjusting to new environments, time zones, etc., and hydration is key for our bodies to adapt.

Get sunlight as early as possible when you’re in a new time zone to help reset your circadian rhythm. 

77. Get sunlight as early as possible when you’re in a new time zone to help reset your circadian rhythm. 

78. Napping to adjust a timezone is okay, but try staying awake the whole day and sleeping at night to beat jet lag once and for all.

79. Chew gum while taking off or landing if your ears pop while in flight.

80. Invest in a quality skin mask or moisturizer, lip balm, and lotion during and post-flight when our skin is driest.

81. Luggage scales can be clutch—if your baggage is overweight and you can’t rid yourself of any items, you’ll be on the hook for hefty excess fees.

82. Traveling with kiddos? Bring a “busy bag” to keep them entertained throughout the day, stocked with coloring books, toys, a tablet, snacks, and whatever else your little one prefers.

83. If you’re dealing with long-haul travel, you’ll want a quality neck pillow—this is mine and I’m obsessed.

84. If you can , opt for a backpack over a suitcase or duffel. There’s a good chance transportation carriers won’t bother to weigh your backpack!

Whatever you’re budgeting for your trip, add another 10-20% in case of emergency.

85. Whenever you get samples like shampoo, moisturizers, or sunscreen, throw them in your travel toiletry bag. That way, you don’t need to bring the bulk items or worry about the liquid limit.

86. Throw a lavender satchel or a dryer sheet in your bag to keep things smelling…fresh. 🙂

87. Pack at least two extra large plastic or ziplock bags for shoes, dirty clothes, etc.

88. Opt for a bright-colored suitcase so it’s easy to spot at baggage claim or while in transit.

89. If you’re flying with another person and can book your seats in advance, one of you can take the window and the other can take the aisle. That way, the middle seat will likely be left open for you both to enjoy.

90. Always keep a spare pen on you, especially if you know you’ll have to fill out customs forms or write down directions.

91. Take a picture of your car or write down where it is in your notes app so you don’t forget where you’ve parked, whether at an airport parking lot or a new hotel.

92. Bring extra wipes or a sanitizer spray for when there’s no washroom or when things need some tidying…like your tray table.

93. Whatever you’re budgeting for your trip, add another 10-20% in case of emergency.

94. Check out local walking tours in big cities; they’re often free or pay-what-you-can and are a great way to see the most important sights and get acquainted.

95. Some businesses offer deals if you book with a partner company—for example, United MileagePlus members earn savings if you book a car rental through Avis or Budget.

Travel is one of the most valuable experiences there is in life. Enjoy every moment, be mindful and respectful, and explore as much as you can.

96. Don’t forget to check if you’ll need a visa for specific countries! Or, prioritize countries where you won’t need one for ease of access and to save money.

97. Eat street food (as long as it’s cooked in front of you and looks safe!). It’s often one of the best ways to enjoy a local culture.

98. Make lunch your biggest meal—it’s usually cheaper than dinner while being just as filling.

99. Most importantly, remember: Travel is one of the most valuable experiences there is in life. Enjoy every moment, be mindful and respectful, and explore as much as you can.

Henah Velez   (she/her) is the Senior Editor at  Money with Katie  at  Morning Brew , as well as a writer at The Good Trade. She holds a Master’s in Social Entrepreneurship and is a proud Rutgers grad. Originally from NJ, Henah’s now in the Bay Area where she loves shopping small, hanging with her pets, or traveling. Say hi on  Instagram !



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12 essential travel tips from professional travellers

The escapism team shares the travel tips they swear by to help you make the most of your next vacation and avoid the age-old airport annoyances. .

Day2505 via Shutterstock

Published: Tuesday 28th March 2023

After taking a long unplanned hiatus from travel, we're all a little bit rusty. And even now that travel is back on the table, some of us only take one or two trips a year, leaving plenty of time for us to forget all the insight we picked up on our last trip. As amazing as travel is, packing up everything you need into a suitcase and jetting off to an unfamiliar destination is stressful. Here, the Escapism team rounds up our best travel tips — and we travel A LOT — to help ease the uneasiness of travel. 

You don't have to be planning a packed itinerary or a multi-destination tour to use these travel tips — even relaxing on one of the  world's best beaches on a beautiful  Caribbean island can be made all the better. Of course, if you are trying to fit in a whack-load of  Canadian natural wonders or eat your way through the best food cities in the U.S. , these travel tips will take some of hassle out of travel. Basically, no matter where you're headed, knowing the  pack hacks and pro travel tips will come in handy.

It also helps to look out for yourself and use your common sense. Travel isn’t a vacation from who we are, it’s taking ourselves on a holiday. If you wouldn't behave that way in your hometown or city, then you probably shouldn't be doing it on holiday. Wear layers (airport and airplane temperatures always fluctuate), pack your reusable water bottle, bring your patience and an open mind — and follow our top travel tips. Happy travelling. 

Katie Bridges's travel tips

1. leave more than you take.

Travel isn’t the most sustainable thing to do but we can still be responsible citizens of the world. Don’t expect that travel owes you something — destinations existed before you arrived and they’ll be there when you leave. Try to gain something from your travels, beyond just checking something off of an arbitrary list.

Travel tips | A woman walking on Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver

Maridav via Shutterstock

You don’t have to go to the Amalfi Coast just because literally everyone on your Instagram did last summer. Over-tourism is a real problem and will leave you feeling frustrated and more tired when you return. Volunteer at a dog shelter, take a trip off the beaten path or learn about Indigenous culture. Listen to your cabbie’s pearls of wisdom (in my experience, they are some of the sagest city guides I meet on vacation), be mindful of people's customs and traditions, and for the love of god, lose the selfie sticks!

2. Unless you really, really, really have to, don’t bring checked baggage

Most airlines make you pay to check a bag nowadays, and when you’re paying for each leg of the journey, it can really add up. Not only will bringing a carry-on save you money, but you won’t run the risk of losing your suitcase. Spending precious vacation time scouring graveyards of lost luggage, or on the phone with AirCanada’s help desk? No, thank you.

Travel tips | People walking through the airport with luggage

Prostock-studio via Shutterstock

The prospect of fitting your entire vacation attire in a cabin bag might seem scary, but you’ll be surprised how little you actually need. If you’re an anxious packer, preplanning outfits and shoe combinations, and choosing versatile accessories can streamline the process and give you structure — versus throwing your entire closet into a bag. Once you arrive, you can rent items or shop local to pick up anything you forgot (plus some fun souvenirs), making packing overload a thing of the past while supporting the local economy — win, win! Bonus: your laundry basket will thank you when you return.

3. Download the airline app

It’s simple, it’s free and it could rid your airport experience of unnecessary hassle — yet, so few of us remember to download the app of the airline we’re flying with. Delays, gate changes and boarding times will appear on your phone as a push notification, helping you make tricky connections and stay up to date with the latest info.

Travel tips | United Airlines app logo on phone screen

Postmodern Studio via Shutterstock

There are options to upgrade, change your seat, and even follow your baggage’s progress. Most airlines track your bags in-app now as well, so you know your suitcase has made its way onto the plane, plus some airlines will even give you a nudge when it’s about to hit the carousel — meaning you can take a post-flight bathroom break in peace.

Travel tips | An Air Canada Rouge passenger watches a movie on her iPad

It’s also handy for airlines without TVs in the back of their seats, as you’ll still be able to access shows and movies from your phone once you take off.

4. Book with TICO registered agencies and sites

Accidents happen, but failure to prepare is preparation to fail. TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) is Ontario’s travel regulator, and provides consumer protection at no additional cost. They monitor and inspect travel agencies and websites to ensure that they’re living up to Ontario’s travel laws and regulations. If anything goes wrong while you’re travelling, you’ll have access to assistance and guidance if you book with a TICO registered agency or website.

5. Read the small print

Airport delays and cancellations seem to be part and parcel of travelling these days, but there is some recourse for those who’ve had their travel plans altered. Under new airline requirements, if a passenger’s flight is cancelled or delayed by three hours or more for reasons outside of an airline’s control, the airline must offer the passenger a reservation on a flight operated by the airline or one of their partner’s within 48 hours of the departure time on the passenger’s original ticket.

Katie Bridges

Katie Bridges

Taylor newlands's travel tips, 6. use packing cubes to stay organized.

Packing cubes may be the most underrated travel hack. It’s easy to get disorganized and lose items, especially if you plan on staying at more than one accommodation during your trip. Packing cubes help you keep everything together, and will save you time when getting ready.

Travel tips | Monos compression packing cubes

Daniel Harrison

Instead of digging through your suitcase to find that outfit, use your cubes to organize your clothes by occasion (like evening wear, beachwear, day wear, etc.) so you know exactly where to look for. Plus, you can easily see all the outfit options you have to choose from and pick the best (read: most fashionable) one for the occasion.

7. Pack essentials in your carry-on

If you need to check a bag on your flight, pack at least two days’ worth of essentials in your carry-on. Sometimes bags get lost, but oftentimes they’ll be found and arrive at your destination a few days into your trip.

Travel tips | Packing a suitcase

Pixel-Shot via Shutterstock

Any jewelry, valuables or medication should always go in your carry-on. Add onto that two changes of clothes and any essentials for your trip, like a swimsuit, sandals and a phone charger. If your baggage arrives late, at least you’ll still be able to enjoy yourself — and sometimes the airline will even give you some cash for your troubles if you ask for it.

Travel tips | Taylor Newlands, digital editor

Taylor Newlands, digital editor

When I'm going on an overnight flight, I pack my toothbrush and toiletries in an easily accessible place like an outer pocket on my carry-on so that I can freshen up before "bed." Doing my night routine before trying to catch some z's helps prepare my body for sleep, and it just feels better — no one wants to keep the taste of airplane food in their mouth for an entire eight-hour flight. I also like to freshen up in the morning on arrival. 

Going on a tropical vacation in the middle of winter is great — except for when you arrive to blazing hot temperatures in long pants and a sweater. When I'm travelling to a different climate, I pack a change of clothes in my carry-on so I can switch into shorts and t-shirt as soon as the plane lands. 

8. Have an airport security strategy

There’s nothing worse than standing around barefoot in the airport with your laptop in your hand, waiting for your shoes and bag to come out of the baggage scanner. Then there’s the fumbling with it all while you try to put yourself back together.

Travel tips | Putting shoes through security at the airport

Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

If you send your shoes through first, you can put them on while you wait for your other items. Next put your bag through the scanner, followed by your loose electronics. This way, you can be ready and waiting with your bag, then just slide your items in and go.

Taylor Newlands

Taylor Newlands

Digital editor, meredith hardie's travel tips, 9. use the mobile passport control app.

I've never heard someone say, "You know, I really love waiting in this line." Personally, I loathe lines and will try my hardest to avoid them, especially when I'm travelling. NEXUS is great for speeding up border crossings between Canada and the United States, but the process to get a card has been backed up since Covid (applying is still very much worth it though).

Travel tips | People lined up at the airport

Pressmaster via Shutterstock

No Nexus? No problem. If you're a U.S. citizen or Canadian visitor travelling to the U.S., download the free Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app for faster U.S. Customs clearance.

Open the app to create a secure profile with your passport and personal information. From there, select your arrival airport, take a selfie, and answer some Customs and Border Protection questions. You'll then receive an electronic receipt, which you will show along with your passport to a border officer to finish up the inspection for entry to the States. Yes, you'll still need to go through customs, but look out for or ask to be directed to the faster processing lane for MPC users.

Travel tips | Meredith Hardie, staff writer

Meredith Hardie, staff writer

MPC is currently available at 44 sites, including 32 U.S. International Airports and eight Canadian pre-clearance locations like Pearson International, Vancouver International and Montreal Trudeau International.

For more information, go to  cbp.gov

10. Book a reservation with YYZ Express Lane

Streamline your security wait times with YYZ Express Lane, a free online reservation system for domestic and international departures at Pearson’s Terminal One and Terminal Three (not currently available for flights departing to the U.S.) You can make a reservation by adding your flight details, the number of people in your group and contact information up to 72 hours before your flight or even while you're at the airport. When you're ready for security, go to the assigned checkpoint with your snazzy QR code and speed through screening. Appointment times are limited so make sure to reserve your spot early.

To book your spot, go to  torontopearson.com

Meredith Hardie

Meredith Hardie

Staff writer, hunter gutman's travel tips, 11. fly out of billy bishop.

We dream of a day when travelling through Pearson is always a breeze, but today is not that day. If you want to avoid crowds, ghost Terminals (we’re looking at you, Terminal 2) and long security lines, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is your best bet.

Travel tips | Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport

This small but mighty airport on Toronto Island offers service to 20 Canadian cities, from Sault Ste Marie to Moncton, as well as transport to major American destinations like Chicago and Boston .

Travel tips | Hunter Gutman, editorial and social media assistant

Hunter Gutman, editorial and social media assistant

There are ferries and shuttles available, but we’d recommend taking the underground pedestrian tunnel — it’s only a six minute walk from the mainland to the airport. We do love Porter Airlines (once the sole airline flying out of Billy Bishop), but as they say, variety is the spice of life. With Air Canada now an option at the airport and Connect Airlines on the way, you’ll have more departure times and destinations to choose from than ever before.

12. Research hidden gems in any area you visit

Even if you’re a spontaneous, carpe diem type of traveller, a light amount of research can be the difference between an incredible experience or a trip riddled with tourist traps.

Travel tips | A woman walking in Shanghai

Sure, you may want to visit some of the world's most famous attractions, but every country is teeming with hidden gems that are often only frequented by locals. Explore the underrated and under-the-radar spots that won’t be mobbed with tourists, and will give you an authentic experience.

Hunter Gutman

Hunter Gutman

Editorial and social media assistant.

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The Vacationer • Travel Guides • Travel Tips

49 Best Travel Tips to Save Time, Money, & Stress in 2024

Best Travel Tips

Traveling locally, across the country, or to another continent is an exciting way to form memories and experience other cultures. But an awry trip can usher in unnecessary stress, expenses, and potential regrets.

These travel tips can help you have a successful trip from the initial planning stages, as you pack your bags, and once you reach your destination. 

Table of Contents

Best Travel Tips While Preparing for a Trip

This collection of tips covers just about everything you should consider when traveling and before you go. You are most likely practicing some of them, making them a good reminder, and others can help prevent uncommon travel surprises.

1. Book At Least Six Weeks in Advance

Instead of carving time out of your schedule to book your trip at a specific date or time (such as Tuesdays at 3 a.m. using a private browsing session to find discounted fares), a more effective strategy is researching travel options at least four to six weeks in advance.

You can still find cheap flights and ideal flight times at least six weeks before departure. Getting on the hunt two or three months before major holidays is also good.  

Last-minute travel savings are possible but you may be unable to get a desired departure time, layover window, or destination. Waiting until the final days can be worth it if you have a flexible schedule and are open-minded about where you travel to.

Learn More: Best Days and Times to Book Flights

2. Travel in the Off-Season or Shoulder Season

Avoiding the peak travel season is one of the easiest ways to pay less for flights and lodging. You also will enjoy smaller crowds and the weather can still be decent for your intended activities.

For example, visiting Spain is delightful in March and April but travel prices are elevated during Semana Santa (Holy Week) when most cities have processions that virtually shut down the city.

Another example is visiting a beach town during the shoulder season. The shoulder season is the time between the peak and the offseason. So you could take a trip to Cape May, NJ from the middle of May to the end of June instead of during the July/August peak. The weather is still good enough during the shoulder season to enjoy most peak-season activities.

3. Compare Multiple Booking Sites

Comparing prices from several travel booking sites can help you find the best rate within minutes. Airlines, hotels, and rental cars offer several slots to third-party booking sites and you can pay less than booking directly from the carrier.

It’s worth your time to check prices directly from the carrier website but also from one or more third-party booking sites (online travel agencies or OTAs) like Hotels.com , Kayak , or Google Flights .

The Vacationer Tip

Along with looking for the best flight schedule and prices, you can use our guide to help find the best seats on the plane and book them for cheap or for free.

4. Book Directly from the Travel Provider

While you can find discounted prices through online travel agencies and third-party booking sites, booking directly from the airline, hotel, or rental car agency provides more protection if you must cancel or reschedule. This is especially important for flights and the 24-hour cancellation rule .

With third-party reservations, you may be locked into a particular itinerary that could be non-refundable or non-changeable. You will need to call the booking site to determine what your alternatives are. If you’re eligible for a refund, it can take longer to receive your funds.

5. Stay at a Hostel to Save Money

Hostels are a common and safe way to secure affordable lodging in Europe and Asia. If you’re traveling solo or in a group and okay with not having as much privacy, a hostel helps keep your travel costs down. 

Despite many misconceptions, most establishments are well-run with clean bathrooms and bedding. You may also be able to get a basic breakfast at some. With that said, be sure to research your options and consider paying a little more to get more luxurious accommodations.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Staying in a Hostel

6. Consider Vacation Rentals for Extended Stays

Vacation rental websites like Airbnb and VRBO have become immensely more popular since the pandemic as people yearned for privacy. While hotels are usually better for shorter stays as you avoid expensive cleaning fees and service fees, a vacation home or villa can be more cost-effective for extended stays.

At a minimum, a rental or an extended-stay hotel is more likely to offer a full kitchen suite that allows you to cook full meals instead of relying on packaged snacks or what fits inside the hotel mini-fridge. 

Vacation rentals can also be cheaper per square foot if traveling as a family. Instead of squeezing into a hotel suite or booking multiple rooms, you have spacious accommodations. If you have small children, the extra space can keep you from losing your mind on rainy days.

The Vacationer’s Tip: While many people focus on spending less for flights, hotels and vacation rentals can have variable pricing. Here is how to find and book cheap hotels to enjoy clean and spacious lodging on a budget.

7. Buy Travel Insurance for Expensive or International Trips

Travel insurance is inexpensive on most itineraries and can save you thousands of dollars if your non-refundable travel is canceled or delayed for qualifying reasons. 

Obtaining coverage is a good option for expensive trips. Picking up a policy can also be worth it when traveling outside the United States as you can have medical coverage and emergency evacuation benefits that your ordinary health insurance may not provide outside the country.

You should also consider booking your trips using credit cards with travel insurance coverage . These benefits are sufficient for low-cost excursions and can activate before your standalone travel insurance policy can. They can also provide complimentary rental car coverage .

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers the best credit card travel insurance benefits. Namely, you can be eligible for trip interruption and cancellation coverage of up to $10,000 per person ($20,000 per trip), primary auto rental collision damage waiver, up to $500 per ticket in trip delay reimbursement, and up to $100,000 in emergency evacuation  Learn How to Apply Here

8. Consider Annual Travel Insurance Plans

If you travel regularly, an annual travel insurance policy covers multiple trips at a lower premium than buying a new policy for each trip. This is an excellent option for frequent leisure travelers and business travelers.

9. Review Airline and Hotel Cancellation Policies

Your travel plans may change unexpectedly for personal or work reasons. Before you book, take the time to review the cancellation and modification policies just to make sure they are reasonable.

You want to make sure you have a strong possibility of getting a refund or a travel credit to redeem later. Being locked into a non-refundable itinerary may not be worth the savings unless you’re booking right before you go or your travel insurance may issue a refund.

In addition to researching the cancellation policy, be sure to review an airline’s seating and carry-on policy to avoid add-on fees and restrictions. 

10. Choose Early Flights

Early morning flights are the best time to fly for several reasons. First, these departures are less likely to be delayed as it’s a new travel day with rested crews and minimal weather-related interruptions. 

Additionally, these flights can be cheaper as you need to arrive at the airport a little earlier. Routes popular with business travel can be an exception to this rule, but you can anticipate paying less than for a mid-day sortie.

Learn More: How to Avoid Flight Delays and Cancellations

11. Arrive at the Airport Early

Best Travel Tips - Arrive at the Airport Early

Photo: Pixabay

Getting to the airport at least an hour before departure for domestic flights at small airports or when you’re not checking luggage. Plan on arriving at least two hours for domestic flights at busy airports, if you’re checking a bag, or traveling with small children.

What about international flights? Plan on arriving at least three hours before departure to allow additional time for a potentially longer check-in time.

Learn More: How Early Should I Get to the Airport?

12. Qualify for Expedited Airport Security 

If you fly several times a year, obtaining expedited airport security credentials can help you avoid long airport security lines. 

The first step is applying for a federally-administered Trusted Traveler Program, such as:

  • TSA PreCheck : Enjoy expedited security at domestic airports only.  
  • Global Entry : Get expedited processing at customs lines on international flights plus TSA PreCheck benefits. 
  • NEXUS : Ideal for travel between the U.S. and Canada. It also includes Global Entry and TSA PreCheck benefits. 

Several rewards credit cards are offering free Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application fee credits to save a few dollars.

In addition to Trusted Traveler programs, you can also shave a few minutes off security wait times with CLEAR at select major airports and stadiums. Where available, this pre-security program can help you reach the expedited TSA security lines sooner. 

Getting a Redress Number can help those who frequently have boarding pass issues, are subject to additional security screenings (including having SSSS on their boarding pass ), and those who experience delayed or denied boardings.

Learn More: How to Get Through TSA Airport Security Faster

13. Relax at an Airport Lounge

If you have a long layover or arrive at the airport several hours later, visiting an airport lounge (like a Centurion Lounge ) can help you grab a complimentary meal and drink, and recharge your devices. You can also have a comfortable place to sit and the luxury lounges offer spa treatment, sleeping rooms, and shower suites to clean up.

Single-day passes are pricey but there are several credit cards with lounge access . Most lounges allow entry for the primary cardholder and up to two guests complimentary up to three hours before your next flight’s departure.

Airport lounge access is just one way to reduce air travel stress . Check out our article for additional suggestions. 

14. Check Your Passport Expiration Date

Some countries and airlines won’t let you travel if your passport expires within six months. If you’re planning a trip, see if your passport is expiring soon to prevent delaying your trip.

Consider renewing your passport early if you’re approaching the six-month expiration window as the passport processing times can take up to 13 weeks to receive your new document. You can pay extra for expedited processing but the process can still take several weeks.

After submitting your renewal request, you can check your passport application status online .

Finally, use our How to Take Your Own Passport Photo guide to simplify things when applying or renewing.

15. Don’t Go Into Debt for Vacation

As much as you’re earning to get away on a dream trip, it’s probably not worth going into debt for. Whether your bank is offering a vacation loan or you intend on carrying a credit card balance (even with a 0% APR), borrowing money to travel can backfire.

Instead, look for the best options within your spending power. Consider setting aside money each month and delaying your trip if necessary.

In addition to saving up for travel in a dedicated savings account, you can use travel rewards credit cards to redeem points to defray purchases. Some cards offer annual statement credits that reimburse eligible travel bookings. 

Additionally, airline credit cards and hotel credit cards also offer complimentary benefits to spend less.  

Making a travel budget can help you plan for travel expenses so you’re not nervous about running out of cash while you travel or having regrets once you return home.

16. Exercise and Stretch

Once you depart for your trip, be sure to stretch and perform basic exercises as time and space permit. It can be as basic as stationary stretches while sitting in your seat to walking the airport terminal. If driving, stay outside for a few extra minutes at the gas station or rest area.

Stretching and being active once you arrive is also beneficial and can help you sleep better.

Best Travel Tips for Packing

17. only bring a carry-on.

When possible, only bring a carry-on to avoid lost or missing checked luggage. You can also avoid checked baggage fees and excessive weight charges if you overpack. Using the best carry-on can help you find the perfect soft or hard-sided luggage to fit your travel gear.

If you need to check a bag, it most likely won’t get lost but could get delayed. Here’s our helpful guide on what to do during baggage delays .

18. Pack as Light as Possible

Packing is stressful; Many people overpack to ease their anxiety, which sometimes means bringing extra suitcases or paying to check a bag. Write down everything you think you need on your packing list. After it’s complete, cut it down to the bare minimum.

Pack underwear and socks for the number of showers you expect to take; Add an emergency pair for every five or so days of your trip. Shirts and pants can usually be worn multiple days in a row. If your accommodation has a washing machine, you can pack even less.

19. Carry-On Overnight Travel Essentials

You never know when a flight delay will turn into spending the night in the terminal or at a nearby hotel. While the airline may provide meal vouchers, you should pack these travel essentials to freshen up:

  • A change of clothes, especially extra underwear and socks
  • Powerbank (they cost about $20 and have several phone/tablet recharges)
  • Travel charger

Even if you’re not stuck somewhere overnight, these small and compact items can also help you rest while on the road:

  • Earplugs (great for plane rides and noisy hotels)
  • Noise-canceling earbuds or headphones
  • Travel blanket
  • Travel pillow (see the best travel neck pillows )

Adding these carry-on essentials to your packing list can prepare you for nearly any change of plans and to weather a long layover or flight. 

20. Don’t Forget a Power Adapter

A power adapter is essential in most foreign destinations to charge your devices. Traveling to Canada or Mexico is an exception as the standard voltage is 120v and these countries have the same outlet design as the United States. Check to see the adapter requirements for the country you are visiting before leaving.

The Vacationer’s Phil Dengler recently visited South Africa and needed a Type M adapter. He purchased this Ceptics International Power Plug Adapter Travel Set , which includes 13 adapters for just about every foreign country.

21. Use Packing Cubes

There are a couple of ways to organize your travel luggage to squeeze everything in. Your bag may include built-in storage compartments or you might roll up clothing and put them in packing cubes or vacuum storage bags. If you’re on a budget, rubber bands or plastic bags can also do the job. I recommend the following packing cubes: Veken 6 Set of Various Colored Packing Cubes .

Packing for a vacation can feel like a fine art at times, even as a seasoned traveler. Our travel packing list can cover everything you need to bring so you don’t forget and have to buy something along the way.

22. Bring an Empty Water Bottle

For over 20 years, it’s become ingrained for air travelers to pack liquids in containers containing no more than three ounces. This security rule means you can’t bring a filled water bottle through airport security, but you can bring an empty one.

Most airports have filtered water dispensers in the post-security terminal that you can fill up your bottle with and avoid paying big bucks for bottled water. You also won’t struggle to stay hydrated during your journey.

If you’re driving, consider bringing a travel water filter or a portable filter that you can use in your hotel room to pay pennies for filtered water.

23. Dress Comfortably for the Flight

You should dress comfortably for the plane ride. Dressing in layers with a light jacket or a travel blanket can help you stay warm if the cabin is cool. Bringing travel slippers or slip-on shoes on long-haul flights is another overlooked comfort hack. Wear sweatpants instead of jeans.

24. Bring Duplicate Travel Documents

Take a few minutes to photocopy your critical travel documents such as your government-issued IDs and passport. Be sure to keep these papers separate from your originals in case one set gets lost.

Once you arrive at your destination, you may decide to go out in public with your duplicates and keep your originals plus at least one payment card in the room safe. That way, a pickpocket doesn’t run off with the more valuable set and you still have a way to make purchases. 

Taking it a step further, write down your credit card numbers and the emergency contact number if you need to call and cancel if your plastic goes missing. If you don’t have a phone number, you can also look for a pay phone that should have a toll-free number to contact Visa or Mastercard to cancel your card.

25. Keep Valuables at Home and Bring a Lock

Unless it’s necessary to bring them along for a business function or a personal event, leave your valuables at home. The hassle of keeping them secure and the risk of losing them may not be worth the replacement cost. 

This includes your fine jewelry, watches, and high-end electronics that are nice to use but optional for this trip. Additionally, these items can make you a target for thieves.

The Vacationer’s Phil Dengler also recommends bringing a luggage lock or a standard combination lock.

Best Travel Tips Luggage Lock & Tracker

26. Install a Luggage Tracking Device

Bluetooth tracking devices like the Apple AirTag are a small and easy way to see where your carry-on and checked luggage are at all times. A single piece is about the size of a coin and costs $30 or less.

27. Bring Comfy Walking Shoes

Most of the world walks more steps than we do daily. Therefore, it’s essential to pack at least one pair of comfortable shoes or sandals to stroll the streets of your destination. Comfortable footwear is also a must-have if you’re staying stateside.

28. Keep a Travel Journal

Consider packing a notebook or diary into your carry-on. Handwriting your favorite travel memories in a journal is an easy way to remember the intricacies that you may struggle to remember years later when you reflect. 

For example, you can write down what you did each day along with exciting facts. Having everybody share their favorite activity for the day is another way to use this journal.

Best Travel Tips for Once You Arrive

29. learn the local customs.

Words and expressions can have different meanings where you’re traveling to. It’s also a good idea to know some of the common phrases and customs the locals practice so you can have a basic conversation.

You can research these details online or in a guidebook.

Best Travel Tips Local Customs

30. Dress As a Local

Blending in with the crowd can help prevent unwanted attention from panhandlers and pickpockets. For example, don’t wear revealing clothing when the culture favors pants or long dresses. Researching fashion advice for your destination is your best option.

31. Be Wary of Local Scams

Brushing up on the latest tourist scams can help you avoid bad situations. A recent travel guidebook is a reliable way to find the most common tactics for your destination. Two to look out for are unofficial taxis and fake wifi hotspots. 

32. Consider Wearing a Money Belt

Long-time travelers have a love-hate relationship with money belts as they point you out as a tourist if you’re constantly reaching for it in public. Additionally, wearing the belt all day can be a nuisance as it’s an extra layer of fabric you’re not used to.

At the same time, it’s harder to steal a money belt than to grab something from your pockets or purse. They are also inexpensive to buy on Amazon and don’t take up a lot of suitcase space if you decide not to use it.

33. Download Travel Apps

Smartphones make international travel substantially easier as you can download various apps before leaving home so you can hit the ground running.

Some types of apps you may consider downloading for these purposes:

  • Offline Maps: Many consider Maps.me to be the best offline maps app and more user-friendly than Apple Maps or Google Maps. You may still try getting paper maps from a local tourism office or bookstore once you arrive though.
  • Translation: A translator app for traveling can be pre-loaded with basic phrases with offline access. It may also be able to interpret voice recordings and photographs.
  • Jet Lag: Flying to the other side of the world takes a toll on your body and sleep cycle. Timeshifter can help you conquer jet lag quicker while traveling and upon returning home.   

Downloading apps for your airline, hotel, and travel booking sites will help you access your digital reservation information and receive itinerary updates. Some travelers also enjoy downloading tourism apps like Tripadvisor or Yelp to quickly access ratings for attractions.

34. Get an International Sim Card or Phone Plan

Your stateside phone carrier may offer an international plan that you can upgrade to while you’re out of the country. Contract carriers and prepaid providers offer this overseas coverage.

Alternatively, an international sim card can be a budget-friendly and reliable option if you visit multiple countries. Just make sure your device is unlocked and GSM-compatible.  

35. Avoid Eating in Touristy Areas  

You’re likely to pay more and potentially get lower-quality food when eating in touristy areas. This isn’t always the case. For example, dining within sight of Rome’s Pantheon is an exception as there are well-rated restaurants for a memorable ambiance.

However, going a few streets over or to an adjacent community can be the ticket to finding authentic food. Asking your hotel or trustworthy locals can help you find a good spot in addition to researching places to eat online.

36. Lunch Can Be Cheaper than Supper

If you’re only planning on eating out one meal per day, your mid-day meal can be more affordable than in the evening. 

Depending on the restaurant, there can be separate menus for the bar and dining room. Staying in the bar can be more affordable and your meal options can be similar.

37. Use American Chains for Public Restrooms and Wifi

Finding a public bathroom can be challenging in foreign destinations. American restaurants like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Taco Bell are more likely to offer public access to restrooms and wifi, although you may need to make a small purchase.

38. Look for Free Walking Tours

Free walking tours are common in popular tourist destinations both stateside and internationally. These tours can last a couple of hours and hit the cultural and historical points of interest. They can provide an idea of what you want to spend more time exploring later.  

While these tours don’t have an entry fee, nothing in life is genuinely 100% free ,and leaving a tip is expected in most situations. You may decide to tip more if the guide is knowledgeable and engaging.

39. A Paid Tour Can Be Better Than a Free Tour

Best Travel Tips for Tours

You should also compare the free tours to private, guided tours. A paid tour can provide more hands-on support and access to more landmarks. 

In addition to researching the traditional tour providers, the experiences section in Airbnb can also provide curated opportunities to see the sights, enjoy culinary delights, or do physical activities like paddleboarding or folk dancing. 

Further Reading: Best Websites for Booking Cheap Tickets, Tours, & Activities

40. Look for Discounted Sightseeing Passes

Museums and entertainment attractions offer discounted and priority admission with sightseeing pass companies. So, instead of buying tickets directly from the tourist attractions you wish to visit, purchasing a city attraction card in advance can save money and means you won’t need to wait for hours (potentially) to buy a ticket at the door.

For domestic trips, CityPASS® offers discounted packages in approximately 15 major U.S. cities. Entertainment.com can also help you save on experiences in the United States and Canada.

If you’re flying to the “Eternal City” of Rome, Italy, the Roma Tourist Card is worth the upfront cost as you can enjoy these benefits:   

  • Skip-the-line access at the Roman Colosseum
  • Guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Access to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
  • Audio guides for the Pantheon and Rome
  • Free return transfer to or from Rome’s international airports (Ciampino and Fiumicino)
  • 10% discount on other attractions, museums, and tours

Depending on the program, you may need to book your pass weeks in advance.

41. Get an Interrail Pass for a Eurotrip

If you’re backpacking Europe or touring several countries, an Interrail Pass from Eurail can make it easier to finalize your transportation plan using an interactive map. This platform lets you visit up to 33 countries by rail with a single pass. 

42. Have a Flexible Travel Schedule

Mapping out an initial plan for each day can help you seize the day and optimize your time of playing tourist. Meanwhile, remaining flexible is pivotal as several variables can alter your itinerary such as:

  • A change in the weather
  • Accomplishing more than you originally scheduled 
  • Making friends with other travelers and having dinner with them
  • Realizing a planned activity isn’t as appealing once you arrive 

Another related suggestion is to get out and explore the city and the immediate area on your arrival date (time permitting) so you have a better idea of what to do the next day.

43. Wear Sunscreen Early and Often For Beach & Outdoor Trips

There is nothing worse than getting a bad sunburn at the beginning of a trip. Find a good facial sunscreen and buy a travel-sized container. Apply it to your face and neck a few times per day. For beach trips, either cover up with a hat and clothing or apply strong sunscreen to your body multiple times per day. While it may be annoying, it is much better than dealing with painful and peeling sunburn.

Sunscreen is usually marked up at typical tourist spots. If you check a bag, consider buying what you need before leaving and packing it.

44. Use an ATM Instead of a Currency Exchange Booth

Instead of heading directly to the currency exchange booth at the airport or train terminal, look for an ATM instead. Several should be in the public terminals or you can look for a local bank branch to find a secure location.

Why? ATMs provide better currency exchange ratios than the money exchange booth. Even if you pay foreign transaction fees and non-network ATM fees, you will most likely come out ahead financially speaking.

45. Use a Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees

Many travel-focused credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred , the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card , and The Platinum Card from American Express do not have foreign transaction fees. Use cards like those when traveling internationally to avoid potentially expensive fees.

46. Bring at Least One Backup Credit Card

Getting stuck on vacation with no access to money (besides cash) is not something you want to experience; Your main credit card could get lost or stolen. Carry at least one backup credit card (ideally with no foreign transaction fees if overseas) on all trips.

Phil Dengler’s Favorite Travel Tips

Here are a few of Phil’s favorite travel tips.

47. Be Very Flexible – Pick Your Travel Dates Based on the Cheapest Days to Fly

Flights are usually the most costly part of a vacation. I recommend using Google Flights calendar view to find the cheapest days to fly to and from your destination. After identifying those days, book your airfare. You must be flexible, but it can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars planning a vacation this way.

Further Reading: How to Find Cheap Flights and How to Use Google Flights

48. Book the Aisle and Window Seats When Traveling in Pairs

I always book the aisle and window seats when flying with my girlfriend or a friend. No one wants to sit in the middle seat, so people rarely select it. Doing this usually gives us the entire row to ourselves.

It does not work on full flights, however. The good news is people are usually willing to trade their middle seat. Simply offer them your aisle or window seat and you still get to sit next to your significant other or friend.

Further Reading: Can You (and Should You) Change Airplane Seats With Someone Else on a Flight?

49. Follow Proper Airline Etiquette

Knowing how to properly act on a plane can better your flying experience. See our following guides for more information.

  • Airplane Seat Reclining Etiquette
  • Overhead Bin Space Etiquette – Who Does it Belong To and How to Avoid Fights

The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

Taking the time to plan for a vacation, whether it’s the annual beach trip or you’re trying some new place, lets you practice these travel tips and not stress before or during your expedition. 

The best part is that you don’t need to be a travel pro to successfully implement these suggestions. If you’re a beginner, try adopting several more each time you leave home.

Josh Patoka The Vacationer Bio

By Josh Patoka

Josh Patoka writes about maximizing travel rewards for The Vacationer. As well, he contributes to several personal finance sites specializing in making money, paying off debt, and investing.

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Travel Tips: The Best 99 Travel Tips You’ll Ever Need

Photo of author

August 30, 2023

Traveling is something that you can only learn with experience. The more you travel, the more you experience and learn.

If you are new to traveling, you are most likely to make a whole lot of mistakes at first and that’s okay.

With time, you’ll know all the things to do and all the things to avoid when planning a trip somewhere or visiting a foreign land.

There are a ton of mistakes you can make as a first-time traveler. These include being reckless, being culturally offensive, missing buses, etc.

You have to think about traveling as you did your first time in a new school. It will take some time but eventually you will get used to how things work.

Meanwhile, here are my 99 travel tips to get you started as a traveler.

The journey might be long and bumpy so hold on tight and brace yourself;

1. Find Photogenic Places & Spots Using Instagram

2. learn common phrases of the local language, 3. read a history book about the place you are visiting, 4. get to know local customs before you go, 5. don’t be afraid to take your kids with you, 6. get vaccinated, 7. let your family and friends at home know your plans, 8. if you plan to visit someone/staying with someone, during your trip, then get them a present, 9. don’t go into debt for travel, don’t spend beyond your means, 10. research your destination, 11. be flexible and don’t over-plan, 12. book early for cheap flights, 13. use points and miles for discounts and even free travel, 14. use a vpn to potentially get a discount on flights, 15. avoid expensive hotels and accommodations, spend your money on experiences not on sleeping, 16. write down your hotel address and phone number.

  • 17. Get a VPN for Travel to Protect Your Internet Connection While Abroad (I Personally Recommend ProtonVPN and NordVPN)

18. Take Cash with You and Extra Credit/debit Card

19. let your bank know you’re traveling, 20. pack light, 21. but take extra underwear and socks, 22. pack a pair of sneakers, 23. carry a first-aid kit, 24. always get a compeed for your feet – thank me later, 25. bring your normal clothes you’re comfortable in with you, 26. wear comfortable shoes you already broke into, 27. don’t bring clothes that need ironing, 28. always pack a hat and a sarong/scarf, 29. mark your luggage and write your name and contact information on them, 30. take pictures of your luggage and clothes, 31. take a photo and make copies of your passport and important documents, 32. get your phone unlocked before you leave, 33. invest in a good travel camera, 34. bring an extra camera battery, 35. bring a powerful power bank, 36. put electronics, medications, and extra clothes in your carry-on, 37. go to the airport early, 38. go to the bathroom right before boarding on a plane or taking a bus, 39. get a window seat so you can lean against the wall when you sleep, 40. get the closest seat possible from the doors on the plane, this will save a huge time going through customs, 41. stay hydrated on the plane and on the road, 42. get a water filter bottle and drink tap water whenever you can., 43. don’t change your currency at the airport, 44. track your spending, 45. don’t be afraid to pay to get your laundry done, it’s totally worth it, 46. wake up early, 47. try to exercise during your trip, 48. eat local food frequently, 49. don’t be ashamed to buy souvenirs, 50. visit famous and touristy places, 51. but don’t hesitate to get off the beaten path, 52. also, don’t eat at restaurants in touristy places, 53. wear sunscreen, 54. always have snacks with you, 55. put down your cellphone and enjoy the moment, 56. visit historical places at lunchtime, they are usually less crowded between 12:30 and 13:30, 57. go to local markets, 58. try new food, even if you think you won’t like it, 59. go on free walking tours, 60. make friends with locals, 61. make friends with other travelers, 62. break out of your comfort zone, 63. get lost on purpose, 64. do something that scares you, 65. be spontaneous. say yes to interesting opportunities and don’t stick blindly to your plans, 66. experience traveling alone from time to time, 67. go somewhere new every year, 68. if it feels wrong, it’s probably wrong. don’t take unnecessary risks, 69. abc: always be charging charge your power-bank and your devices whenever you have the chance, 70. get a local sim card with internet data for your phone, 71. always take your camera with you, always, 72. don’t forget to take epic photos of what you’re seeing, 73. take plenty of photos at sunrise and sunsets., 74. cloudy days are actually excellent for portrait photos, 75. take more photos of yourself in those places, 76. take more photos of and with locals, 77. save memories, don’t fake memories. your photos are meant to remind you of good times, not for showing off to others., 78. don’t wear your purse on one shoulder. rather, wear it around your body, 79. never carry your wallet in your back pocket., 80. be aware of pickpockets and scams, 81. use public transportation in big cities, 82. if you need a car then rent it. it’s cheaper than hiring a driver or taking taxis every time, 83. if you hired a driver, take pictures of the car, the license plate, and relevant details about the car and the driver. just in case, 84. never leave any valuables in your car, ever, 85. check if you forgot something in your hotel room before leaving, 86. don’t throw trash on the street, 87. be eco-friendly and minimize your trash, 88. also don’t buy anything made of animal parts, 89. don’t take your trip too seriously., 90. expect everything to go wrong, 91. don’t lose your temper when it does, 92. be kind with your travel partner. try to understand each other and avoid getting into an argument or a fight., 93. also, a fight doesn’t mean the end of your relationship/friendship. don’t be too proud to apologize, 94. compromise, compromise, compromise, 95. slow down to enjoy your vacation and never let yourself be in a rush, 96. keep an open mind and don’t judge other cultures, 97. don’t assume that you know more about a country or a culture than the people who actually live there, 98. be polite, smile often, and be friendly, 99. always, always, be respectful., i- travel tips before you go.

use instagram to find great places to travel to or to visit during your trips

Instagram is one of the most popular social media applications you can resort to if you want to stay updated with the best places in town to visit.

Before you plan a trip to any destination, make sure to check Instagram for all the most scenic places you must visit in that particular town and city.

Each city in every country has certain must-see tourist spots, including places of worship, museums, or even landscapes full of natural beauty that you must visit. Instagram can be pretty useful as a starting point for pinning down which places you should necessarily add to your itinerary.

Visiting a new place will always be easier if you have some knowledge of the local language.

This doesn’t mean that you have to spend weeks picking up the new language. It simply means that you can take out a few hours each week before your trip to learn some common phrases in the local language that will help you when in the foreign land.

Such phrases include “I’m sorry” , “hello” , “thank you” and anything else that you feel is necessary to get you through your trip.

As an example I wrote an article that compiles the must-known phrases when visiting Japan . Check it out.

More knowledge never hurt anyone. It’s only human to be curious about a place before you visit it. For the sake of both your curiosity and for efficiency purposes, try to grab a hold of a history book about wherever you plan on visiting.

Anywhere you decide to travel will most likely have a rich history and heritage and it only makes sense to read up on some of this so that you enjoy your trip even more.

Read our guide on the best travel books to read that give intense wanderlust.

The one mistake you want to avoid as much as you can when in a new place is to be culturally insensitive or offensive in some way to the locals.

If you are unaware of their culture entirely, you are quite likely to make this mistake. This is why it makes sense to read up a little on the traditions and customs of a place before you visit so that you understand them better and don’t risk acting in an insensitive manner.

Some people are afraid of traveling with their children, especially if their children are pretty young. Although traveling with toddlers or even infants can be exhausting and even terrifying at times, this is no reason to avoid it altogether.

In fact, traveling helps increase knowledge and if a child is made to travel from a younger age, they develop cultural awareness from that tender age and this shapes them up to be informed, educated, and sensitive adults.

Some countries have strict travel policies and will not allow you to enter their land until you are properly vaccinated. The reasoning behind this is simple – they wish to prevent the spread of diseases from one country to another.

Even if it is not required of you by the country according to its travel policies, it is always a good idea to get yourself vaccinated before boarding the plane to another country. Why risk passing on some sort of infection or disease to another land when you can easily avoid it altogether?

This is perhaps the simplest of all travel tips and is understood even without mentioning. Unless, of course, you have absolutely no friends or family that you are in contact with, it’s always a good idea to inform your close relatives and friends about your travel plans.

This is important because visiting a new place is always risky, and it’s good to know that someone knows exactly where you are in case you need any help or encounter some sort of an emergency.

This shouldn’t be too hard to understand. It’s only common decency that if you plan on living with someone during your travels, or even just visiting them, you should buy them a present in advance of your trip.

It’s best to not leave this till the last minute when you will be chaotic and in a rush. Buy these presents at least two weeks before your intended date of travel to avoid any last minute anxieties.

Traveling can be pretty expensive. The actual costs that you will incur depend on where you are traveling, for how long, and whether or not you opt for any travel packages.

It is never a good idea to spend so much that you are in debt after your trip. If you can’t afford to stay in luxury hotels then don’t include them in your itinerary.

As fun as traveling can be, it won’t be much fun if you can’t afford basic necessities for months after your trip.

II- Travel Planning Tips

9 tips to travel

Before you begin packing your bags and booking your flights, it’s important to do some research on your destination. This will help you better understand the culture, customs, and norms of the place you are visiting, and ensure that you are prepared for what to expect.

Some things you might want to research include the climate and weather, local laws and regulations, the cost of living and common expenses, and any potential health or safety concerns.

This will help you plan and pack appropriately, and also give you a sense of what activities or sights you might want to see while you are there.

Traveling anywhere requires at least a certain degree of flexibility. It is a basic rule of life that everything is more fun when you don’t plan it down to every little detail.

While it is important to be organized and responsible when visiting a new place, you should always be open to spontaneity.

If things don’t go exactly as you planned, don’t be too disappointed because this will most likely ruin the rest of your trip.

Once you have made up your mind about where you are traveling, it only makes sense to book your flights as soon as you can.

You can hire a travel agent, book a package, or even plan the entire trip by yourself, but whatever you choose to do, make sure to get a head start on the process.

No point paying extra when you can get much lower prices by just being responsible enough to book the flights well in advance.

Once you become a frequent flier, you are likely to receive flying points and miles. The more points and miles you gather, the more likely you are to get a discount on your flights. Sometimes, once you have accumulated enough points, it’s even possible for you to travel completely free of cost!

Generally speaking, travel websites tend to track your IP address and the prices that they offer you are based on where you are browsing from.

Using a VPN for travel , you can hide your IP address and consequently, you might be able to benefit from lower flight prices. For example, if you were to set your IP address to a lower income country, you may be able to book a flight at a lower price.

Similarly, you may be able to set your IP address to the country from which that particular airline operates, and thereby save on flight costs.

Yes, traveling is expensive; but it doesn’t always have to be! There are countless ways you can save money during your travels using hacks such as choosing budget-friendly hotels as opposed to luxury, five-star hotels if you can’t afford it.

Remember that the whole point of traveling is to gain new experiences. If you want to sleep comfortably, you can do that in your own home. Make sure that when you do travel, spend on exploring and discovering new places, rather than on comfort.

In fact, the whole point of traveling is to step outside your comfort zone!

Before you set out for your travels, it is pertinent to do some research well in advance. You need to know exactly which hotels you will be staying at, and the smart thing to do is to write down the contact number and address of wherever you will be staying.

This information is important to keep for yourself, as well as for giving it to a close family member or friend lest they have to contact you in case of an emergency.

17. Get a VPN for Travel to Protect Your Internet Connection While Abroad (I Personally Recommend ProtonVPN and NordVPN )

A VPN protects the privacy of your internet connection when you’re away from your home country. When in a new country, it makes sense to install a VPN well in advance of your travel for the sake of internet privacy.

There are certain websites that you are accustomed to using that may even be blocked in the country you are traveling to. A VPN can make sure that you can access your favorite sites regardless of where you are.

ProtonVPN and NordVPN are two reliable VPNs you can install before your travel dates.

Remember that when traveling, it’s always good to be prepared for the worst. Anything can happen during your travels, things can go wrong and you must be prepared.

As such, always make sure to travel with your debit and credit cards, along with cash. It’s important to have both options in hand because depending on where you are traveling, one option might work while another might not.

For example, if you are in a particular city, some areas such as large malls and restaurants might accept a card while marketplaces and bazaars etc. might only accept cash.

Never make the mistake of limiting your options to only one of the two.

It’s always a good idea to inform your bank that you will be traveling and give them your travel dates. This is important because it’s possible that your ATM card or debit card might not work in a foreign country unless your bank allows it.

You might get into a very sticky situation if you somehow run out of cash sooner than you expect and your debit card refuses to work. So make sure to get these technical processes sorted out well in advance of your trip to avoid any inconveniences during the trip.

III- Packing Tips for Travel

Packing Travel Tips

He who travels happily must travel light. Antoine de Saint-Exupery – One of the best travel quotes out there

When going on a trip, it makes sense to pack as light as you possibly can. The more things you carry with you, the more inconvenient things are likely to be for you.

Let’s say your trip comprises of visits to a number of different cities or even countries. The fewer things you carry with yourself, the easier it will be for you to maneuver and move around.

Additionally, the fewer things you carry, the less likely you are to lose things.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why this is so important. Remember that no matter how much you pre-plan, it isn’t possible to think of almost every possible thing that can go wrong in the trip.

You also don’t know if your plan might somewhat change along the way. For example, let’s say you decide to extend your trip by a few days.

The smart thing to do is to avoid all these problems and simply pack a few extra pairs of socks and some extra underwear.

The most important thing to keep in mind while packing is that your comfort must be your first consideration.

If you aren’t comfortable with the clothes you have packed or the things you have kept with you, your entire trip might get ruined.

You also generally have to walk a lot during trips as you go about exploring and discovering new cities and towns.

This is why it’s always a good idea to pack at least one pair of sneakers with you, wherever you go. Sneakers are comfortable, durable, and perfect for walking long distances.

Whether you are traveling alone or with a group of people, you alone are responsible for your health along the way.

It is possible for you to encounter any number of accidents or incidents on your trip. You could get a small injury like a broken nail or stubbed toe, or a bigger injury, such as a fracture.

In any case, having a first aid box with you at all times of your travel is absolutely essential.

Compeed dressings are meant to relieve you of the pain of blisters on the feet. When traveling, there are usually such large distances to cover that you can get blisters very easily.

Blisters are naturally painful and uncomfortable and can potentially make the rest of your trip not as much fun for you.

So do remember to keep some compeed with you at all times during your travels.

No matter where you are traveling to, you aren’t likely to have too great a time if you aren’t comfortable.

While fashion is important, the first rule of fashion is that you must be comfortable in what you wear. So make sure to at least bring two to three outfits that you know you are 100% comfortable in.

It’s common knowledge that new shoes can be pretty uncomfortable the first few times you wear them. This is why it’s never a good idea to take new shoes that you haven’t worn too often along with you on a trip.

It’s possible that the new shoes start to dig into your toes, or hurt the back of your heel.

Old is gold, so stick to what’s comfortable!

While it is possible for you to take a steam iron along with you on your travels, it will just be an added inconvenience.

Ironing also takes up a whole lot of time you could have spent exploring the new land you are in.

The solution is simple – simply make sure to take clothes that you know for a fact won’t require ironing.

There are certain accessories that prove to be very useful during traveling. A hat or a cap is one such accessory. Hats can protect you from the sun, particularly if you are heading out towards a tropical climate. Hats also look stylish.

A scarf can also serve multiple purposes. If you are going to a country where you are required to dress ‘modestly’, a scarf can be pretty useful. Scarves can also sometimes look very fashionable.

Similarly, if you are going to a beach location, a sarong is a necessary item to pack.

If you have ever traveled on a plane before, you will realize just why this is so important. Flights nowadays are often booked. Among so many passengers, it’s very easily to lose some or your entire luggage along the way.

This can easily be avoided. All you have to do is make sure that all pieces of your luggage have your name and proper contact information on them.

This way, even if you do lose your luggage, you can be assured that it will always make your way back to you.

This is purely a precautionary measure. Just writing your name and contact information on all pieces of your luggage sometimes isn’t enough.

It’s also a good idea to take pictures of all pieces of your luggage and clothing just in case something goes wrong.

This is one of the most important pre-travel steps you need to take.

It’s always a good idea to have copies of each of your important travel documents including your passport, your tickets, hotel bookings, and any other crucial pieces of information or documents you need to travel.

IV- Travel Tips for Packing Tech

Packing tech gear for travel

Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave for any trip. You don’t want to face any complications accessing your phone when in a completely foreign land.

There is little point of traveling if you aren’t going to make a whole lot of memories and make sure that at least some of those memories are caught on camera and preserved for you to keep for years and years.

This is why it is always worth investing in a decent travel camera well in advance of your trip. The Canon G5X M2 is one camera certainly worth investing in before your travels.

Cameras usually come with batteries.

It’s possible for those batteries to run out or for something else to go wrong with those batteries.

As such, always make sure that you carry extra camera batteries with you each time you travel.

A power bank is a device that can help you charge your phone when on the go. This device is particularly useful during traveling because even if you do take your phone charger with you, a number of things could go wrong.

It’s possible that the charger begins to malfunction or that you are on some cruise or on an exotic island where there is no way for you to charge your phone.

That’s why I actually have 3 or 4 myself 😀

A carry-on bag serves many purposes during traveling. This bag is where you store all of the extra things that are very useful to you such as necessary medications, electronic items such as your laptop and laptop charger, power bank etc.

You might even want to put a few pairs of extra clothing inside your carry on, just in case you need to freshen up during the journey.

Opening the main suitcase mid journey is impossible, so all of the important things that you might need should be stored in your carry on.

V- Travel Tips While on the Road

Travel tips at the airport

This is perhaps the number one rule of traveling – you must get to the airport well in advance of your flight.

It’s always better to be early rather than late. So quit being lazy. On the day that you have to travel, wake up extra early, have a good breakfast, make sure all your stuff is with you and is sorted out, then head on over to the airport!

One of the most uncomfortable aspects of traveling is not having access to one’s own bathroom. Since traveling is all about stepping outside your comfort zone, you must not mind this too much.

In order to avoid having to go to the bathroom while traveling, make sure you use the bathroom right before boarding a plane, a ship, a bus, or any other vehicle where it might be difficult to use the washroom.

Although this isn’t necessary, the window seat is always a good seat to select, when on a bus or plane.

Not only is this a more comfortable seat because you can lean against the window and fall asleep, the window seat also offers the best views, especially from an airplane.

If possible, make sure to get a seat as near to the doors of the plane as you possibly can.

The nearer you are to the exit of the plane, the earlier you can exit the plane, and the sooner you can get clearance from customs.

This is particularly important if you have to take a connecting flight because you cannot afford to get late for it.

When traveling, it’s sometimes impossible to remember to drink enough water.

Always make sure that whether you are flying or on the road, you have water with you.

Traveling to another country is scary enough, especially for first timers. You don’t need the added stress of encountering any health problems when in a foreign land.

So drink as much water as you can!

It may not be possible for you to find mineral or bottled water easily when on the go.

The easiest thing to do is to simply carry around a water bottle (with an included filter) with you and fill it up with tap water wherever you may find it.

VI- Travel Tips when Arriving at Your Destination

Travel tips at destination

If you are a frequent traveler, you may have realized that it is never a good idea to get your currency exchanged for the foreign currency when at the airport.

This is because the airport often tends to overcharge and give you a rate higher than what you would get from anywhere outside.

Each time you travel, you will have a fixed amount of money with you. As such, you need to spend it wisely.

Make sure you keep a track of all the money you are spending on internal commute, food etc.

Carry a small notebook in your handbag, or use a dedicated budgeting app, and make a note of each time you spend money so that you don’t go overboard or run out of cash.

Whichever hotels you choose to stay at will most likely have a laundry service. You may be unwilling to use the service because of the money you will have to pay for it.

It’s best to however pay that money and get your clothes laundered because you will be saved from a whole lot of inconvenience later.

Fresh, clean clothes are definitely a blessing, especially when you’re in a foreign land.

VII- Travel Tips During Your Trip

Travel tips during your stay

The whole purpose of travel is to explore and discover new places. As such, you want to make the best of your time in the foreign land.

Make sure that you plan out activities for each day of the trip in advance and during the trip, wake up bright and early each day so as not to waste any precious trip time.

Remember, you can always sleep once you’re back home!

Because traveling can be so chaotic in itself, you may forget to care about your physical and mental health. A little bit of exercise goes a long way in this regard.

You can wake up early and do some morning stretches and yoga before starting your day. Alternatively, you can even use an application to keep a track of the number of steps you walk each day. Set a target number of steps and make it your goal to meet your target each day.

There is little point visiting strange new lands if you aren’t willing to step outside your comfort zone. When in a new place, make sure to try out all the local delicacies instead of sticking with food that is readily available.

It can be tempting to buy souvenirs such as bells, magnets, decorative items, or T-Shirts when in a new place.

It’s always a good gesture to buy such things for your family and friends back home or even just for yourself so that you remember this trip for a long time to come.

As obvious as this sounds, some people visit a place and miss out on some of the most famous places to visit because they aren’t aware of them.

Do your research in advance or talk to local tour guides and make sure you visit all the must-see places when in a new place.

While touristy spots are always a delight to visit, sometimes, there are places that no one talks about or visits about are pretty charming. In fact, if you want to get an authentic vibe of the place, its best to sometimes visit places that aren’t particularly famous among tourists.

The problem with only sticking to spots and restaurants that are ‘touristy’ is that these places often tend to get pretty crowded. You also won’t get a feel of the local culture and cuisine if you only stick to restaurants specifically designed to cater to tourists.

This is particularly relevant if you are visiting a tropical region or island. The rays of the sun tend to be pretty strong in these places so make sure to apply sunscreen on all parts of your body that will be exposed to the sun.

Traveling tends to make you pretty hungry, especially when your trip involves a whole lot of adventure an if you’re constantly on the move. Because you can’t always stop at restaurants it’s best to keep some snacks with you on hand in case you get hungry.

The one mistake you should never make when on a trip is to be constantly using your phone. In fact, you should try to avoid social media as much as you can when on vacation. Put your cell phone away, talk to those around you, and enjoy each little moment to the fullest!

If you are in a town or city that is home to a number of historical landmarks that are open for tourists to visit, make sure you plan your visit around lunchtime. This is the time when these landmarks are least crowded and you can even manage to get decent photographs.

Local markets everywhere have a charm of their own. No matter where you are, make sure to visit the night markets and day markets because these can both be pretty interesting in their own ways.

Some places even have floating markets – markets built over flowing water. If you come across any of these, make sure to explore well.

There is little to no point in traveling if you’re only going to stick to what’s considered ‘safe’. Each place you visit will have certain local culinary delicacies that you should at least try out, even if you think you might not like them. Traveling is about collecting new experiences after all!

If the city or town you are visiting has the option of availing free walking tours, make sure you go for these. These walking tours generally tend to be guided and can tell you a lot about the history and culture of the place you are visiting. It’s always good to learn!

Making friends with the locals has a whole lot of advantages of its own. For starters, you can learn some of the local language. More importantly, the locals can guide you on the best places to visit in town and perhaps tell you where you can get the best local food.

It’s always a good idea to befriend those you are traveling with. Not only does this give you a certain support system when in a new land, you can also explore and discover new parts of the city with the other travelers. It’s always more fun when there are more people.

You can even get to know more about the travelers’ home county and this in itself is a learning experience.

VIII- Travel Tips to Live Unforgettable Experiences

Travel tips do what scares you

The number one rule of traveling is that you step outside your comfort zone and are willing to have all sorts of new experiences.

During your travels, you might sometimes face situations that are entirely unfamiliar and where you may feel where you are uncomfortable and that is perfectly okay.

Strange as it sounds, sometimes, the best way to discover yourself is to get lost deliberately. When in a new, strange land, try to be as adventurous as you can, and what’s more adventurous then getting lost?

So shut your phone and aimlessly walk the streets of a foreign city until you don’t know where you are.

At home, it’s okay to stay away from the things that tend to scare you, but not while you are traveling. During your travels, make sure to do things you were otherwise too scared to do. For example, if there’s something you always wanted to try but never got around to it, make sure you go for it when you’re on your trip.

The only thing you need to ask yourself is, what’s the worst that can happen?

Life is supposed to be an adventure, more so when you are traveling. During your travels, make sure to be as spontaneous as you can.

While it’s important to plan out your activities for each day, it’s equally important to take life as it comes to you and not be too stringent if things don’t work out exactly how you plan them.

While it’s always fun to travel in groups, it’s also sometimes fun to travel by yourself. Traveling by yourself can sometimes help you gain a whole new perspective on life. It can also be enriching for your soul to travel alone.

Being by yourself and discovering new places is fulfilling in itself.

While traveling anywhere is a learning experience, the more places you discover, the more you are likely to learn. As such, make it a point to visit a whole new place each year.

The more places you travel, the more you learn about different cultures, histories and traditions, the more foods you discover and the more lifestyles you experience.

Remember that are instincts are almost always right. If you are in a new place or situation that doesn’t feel right to you, get out of those situations as soon as you possibly can. Taking risks is important but taking unnecessary risks is stupid.

Remember that if you mess up, no one can come to your rescue so far away from home. So be smart and careful whenever required.

IX- Travel Tips for Photography & Tech

Travel photography tips

You want to make sure that you don’t run out of charge in your phone or any of the other essential devices you need to carry with yourself. The easiest thing you can do is charge your phone and power bank overnight each day of the trip. You don’t want your phone to be off when you are out and about taking pictures!

This will be useful in case you need to contact friends and family back home. Remember, anything can happen when you are on a trip, far away from all that is familiar. This is also particularly important if you are traveling alone.

Furthermore, data is important even just to access GPS settings on your phone. Imagine that you are in a new place and get lost only because you cannot access maps on your phone.

Make sure that wherever you go, you carry your camera with you and that your camera is fully charged. You might not realize the importance of a camera today, but someday, years from now, when you want to look back at the memories from the trip and you have only the photographs you took, you will realize just how important a camera is.

Photographs will be the only memories of your trip for years to come. Even when you are old and wrinkly, photographs remind you of the places you have visited and the people you have seen,

So make sure that whichever photographs you do end up taking are memorable and epic!

Sunrises and sunsets are two of nature’s most incredible phenomena. Some of the best pictures you can capture are those of the sun rising and setting because this is when the sky is in stunning shades of orange and pink. So make sure to get plenty of these if and where possible!

Many people believe that only sunny day pictures turn out decent and avoid taking pictures when the sky is overcast.

Contrary to popular belief however, cloudy days actually make for excellent backgrounds for photographs, particular portrait photographs .

So next time the sky is cloudy, there is no need to shy away from pictures!

Remember, it’s not all about landscape photography. It’s also somewhat about taking pictures of yourself in whichever place you are visiting.

Years from now, you will want to remember the time you were visiting that place. So make sure to get great shots of yourself with the most popular landmarks of that city.

These are important because years from now, these will make for excellent memories. Make sure that each town or city you are visiting, you get at least a few shots of and with the locals.

Locals everywhere are different from each other. They may for example have a unique style of dressing that you want to capture, for memory’s sake.

Remember that the purpose of taking pictures on a trip is to preserve the memories from the trip, for your own sake, and no one else.

If you spend most of your trip going around taking ‘aesthetic’ or ‘Insta-worthy’ pictures then you might as well not go.

X- Travel Tips for Security & Transportation

Be aware of the pickpockets in the metro and on the streets

This is a safety precaution. While traveling, as you go about exploring and discovering a new town or city, it is common that your things may get stolen or misplaced.

As a result, it’s always best to make sure that your stuff is tightly strung across your body. That way, you can keep an eye on your valuables at all times.

If you are visiting a town or city where theft or pick pocketing is common, you don’t want to risk your things getting stolen. As a result, you must take all necessary safety precautions.

Keeping your wallet in your back pocket is never a good idea because a thief may easily steal it, so avoid this as much as possible.

In some countries and cities, street crime and theft is pretty common. If you are visiting any such city, you must be sure to be as careful as you possibly can. Always be on the lookout for pick pockets and don’t trust anyone blindly when in a foreign land.

If you are visiting any of the major cities of the world such as Tokyo, Paris, London, or new York, it’s always best to stick to public means of transportation such as buses.

Public transport generally tends to be much safer than private taxi services.

If for some reason, public transportation isn’t an option for you and you would much rather travel by car, make sure you rent out a car. Renting a car is much more practical and affordable option than taking taxis all the time. Taxis can sometimes be really expensive and even unsafe in certain situations.

When in a completely new land, there aren’t a lot of people you can trust. Anything can go wrong and you always need to be on your guard. When traveling by taxi, make sure you have pictures of the driver, the car and the license plate, just in case.

While you can afford to be reckless when you’re at home surrounded by friends and family who love you, you must always be extra careful during your travels.

Never forget any of your valuables in a public place.

You most likely won’t get them back.

XI- Common Sense


It doesn’t take a genius to understand why this is so important.

It’s possible that you may not gather all your things before leaving and forget some things in the hotel room, so always double check.

You wouldn’t like it if someone came to your country or city and littered the streets. Littering is extremely disrespectful and ill-mannered so make sure to avoid it.

Each place you visit is likely to have dustbins where you can throw your trash, so follow rules and be on your best behavior.

It’s never too late to start thinking about your planet. During the course of your trip, try to minimize your trash in as many ways as you possibly can. A good start would be to carry around a single water bottle with you instead of buying plastic water bottles all the time.

Caring about animals goes hand in hand with caring about the planet.

Avoid at all cost buying anything that is made up of animal parts. Such as handbags made from crocodile leather, lined with tiger fur, or anything made from giraffe parts, for example.

Purchasing souvenirs made from animal skin to bring home with you is ill-advised, just DON’T do it.

Remember that the primary purpose of your trip is to have a ball. Stop trying to take each aspect of the trip too seriously. Let loose, have fun, and treat everything as an adventure.

If you get lost on your way back to your hotel, stay calm, enjoy the moment while it lasts. You will find your way back eventually!

It’s always best to be prepared for the worst. Remember, any number of things can go wrong during your trip, from the time you board your flight till you come back. Mishaps are simply a part of life. Take them as you come and try to enjoy the journey regardless.

When things don’t seem to be going your way, remember to stay calm. Have faith that everything will work itself out eventually.

There is no need to get wound up about things that are beyond your control and the least productive thing you can do is get angry or lash out on others when things don’t go your way.

During traveling, it’s fairly common for people to get irritable with those they are traveling with. It’s possible that the people you travel with have personality differences to you.

Don’t let this ruin your trip however. Be understanding of everyone’s wishes.

Checkout this wonderful video of the Flying The Nest channel where 4 couples share their best advice about How to travel better as a couple:

Even if you do end up having a fight or two with your travel partners, this is perfectly okay. It doesn’t have to imply the end of your friendship or relationship. It is a fight and you will get over it.

A squabble or two are common when traveling with people. Just remember to not take it to heart or let it ruin your trip, or even worse, your relationship.

The key to a successful trip is to compromise as much as you can with those you are traveling with. Remember, they may have preferences you have to take into account.

This is particularly relevant when you are traveling with your partner our with a group of friends. Each person may have a different place they may want to visit, and you may sometimes have to give up some of the places on your ‘must visit’ list for them, even when you don’t want to.

While you do have to cover a lot of places and activities during you travels, make sure to take things slow at times and enjoy yourself thoroughly.

It does make sense to plan out your itinerary well in advance, but you don’t always have to be on the move. Allow enough time for yourself to soak in each moment so that you enjoy to the fullest.

Simply running from one tourist attraction to the next isn’t always important. What’s important is to make sure to enjoy yourself, wherever you are in that moment.

A lot of tourists make the mistake of being judgemental and insensitive when visiting a new place.

If you want people to welcome you to their country, you need to be sensitive towards their culture, heritage, religion, and traditions.

Avoid doing anything that might be offensive. For example, do not visit a mosque or temple with light clothes as this may be considered disrespectful.

No one can know more about a place than its inhabitants. Be very careful to not act arrogant when visiting a new place.

Locals will consider this to be tactless and disrespectful.

Remember, you are only a tourist, not a resident. You should be open to learning new things, but always remember, you know less than them. It is their country after all!

This is a good idea regardless of where you are traveling. Always appear a friendly as you possibly can.

You must be friendly to the locals as well as to your fellow travelers. People always love to be around friendly people and the more kind and outgoing you are, the more you are likely to enjoy your trip!

This is something you must always remember, regardless of where you are traveling. Make sure you are respectful at all times during your travels. Each place you visit has a unique culture, heritage and traditions. In order to learn about these, you must first and foremost be respectful of these differences.

If someone welcomes you with open arms into their country, you don’t want them to think that you are being offensive to their history, culture or traditions.

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Ph.D. in Geography, Travel Photographer, and Software Engineer. Been on 4 continents and loved them all.

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9 tips to make the most of your summer travels and save money

Follow these summer travel tips for a budget-friendly, hassle-free experience..

With the Covid-19 public health emergency officially over , this summer travel season is going to be busier and more expensive than ever. Everyone from families to solo travelers and anyone in between is looking for an escape, which is bound to create a few bottlenecks.

Luckily, you don't have to stay home this summer and miss out on a great vacation to avoid the chaos. Below, CNBC Select shares eight tips for a smooth, and hopefully, more economical, summer travel experience.

Top summer travel tips

Sign up for a trusted traveler program, know your rights as a passenger, pack the right credit card, use autoslash to save on rental cars, use hotelsslash to save on hotels, best rate guarantee claims, use points when booking flights last minute.

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Have flexibility and be patient

Airports are projected to see record passenger numbers this summer, which means security lines could be longer and slower. If you haven't signed up for a trusted traveler program yet, now is the time. And by getting through security faster, you'll be able to spend more time in the airport lounge and relax before your flight.

You can skip ahead and enjoy a less invasive screening with TSA PreCheck , which costs just $78 for five years. Or, for $100, you can sign up for Global Entry and automatically get PreCheck upon approval. Global Entry is great for those who travel abroad since it also provides expedited immigration processing when returning home. Getting a Global Entry appointment in time for summer travel might be challenging, but you can do it on arrival after an international flight at many airports.

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If you can't secure a trusted traveler program approval before your trip, there might be workarounds. Several major airports like Denver International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport now offer reservation systems that let you reserve a spot in the security line up to three days before travel. These programs are only available at certain checkpoints but may be expanded if successful.

Another option is to sign up for a CLEAR® membership on the spot. Agents are eager to sign up travelers and you'll get access to expedited security right away. CLEAR® costs $189, but you may be able to get that waived if you're a top-tier Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus elite member. The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Green Card also offer up to $189 in CLEAR® Plus credits annually ( subject to auto-renewal ). Terms apply.

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Read our The Platinum Card® from American Express review .

American Express® Green Card

3X Membership Rewards® points on travel, transit purchases, and on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and 1X Membership Rewards® points on all other eligible purchases

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during your first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit.

Not applicable

Terms apply.

Read our American Express® Green Card review .

Whether you're traveling domestically or abroad, it's important to know what your rights are as a passenger in case of delays and cancellations. For example, if you experience a delay in Europe, you'll receive compensation for the inconvenience. European regulation EC261 entitles all passengers flying an E.U.-based airline or departing an E.U. airport to compensation of up to $700 for delays of more than 2 hours, cancellations or denied boarding due to overbooking.

Stateside, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has a page outlining passengers' rights . For example, consumers are entitled to a refund if the airline cancels a flight and the consumer chooses not to travel — even for non-refundable tickets. Be sure to read through the full protections before your trip and claim compensation if your trip is delayed.

Money matters —  so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox.  Sign up here .

Knowing your rights is important, but sometimes you don't want to line up with hundreds of other passengers to claim a hotel voucher when your flight is canceled. Or perhaps the airline lost your luggage and you need essentials fast. With the right credit card, you can get reimbursed for things like hotels, meals and essential purchases when things go wrong without needing to purchase a separate policy . Trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay coverage, auto collision damage waiver and luggage insurance are all included when you charge your travel to a credit card with these benefits.

Be sure to read our guide to credit card travel insurance for our top picks, which include the Chase Sapphire Reserve® , Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express (see rates and fees ). Many of the best travel cards also come with other valuable perks like no foreign transaction fees .

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

22.49% - 29.49% variable

5%, minimum $5

Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

21.49% - 28.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review .

Don't miss: Make sure your credit card checks off these 5 boxes when traveling internationally

For many, summer means road trip season, which often sends rental car prices soaring. If you're looking to hit the road, be sure to start your search through AutoSlash . The free site specializes in tracking and rebooking rental cars to secure lower rates. By constantly monitoring prices, Autoslash helps users find the lowest prices across major rental car companies. Autoslash will even search for discounted rates based on the types of credit cards you carry and any memberships that would qualify you for savings (i.e., AAA, AARP,  Costco , etc.).

If you already have a reservation, you can set an alert with Autoslash to notify you in case of price drops. Setting up only takes a few minutes and can save you hundreds of dollars on your rental car. Overall, Autoslash is a valuable tool for travelers looking to save money on rental cars by finding the best rates and tracking reservations for price drops.

Remember to pay with a credit card that comes with  *primary car rental insurance , such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees ). This way, you won't need to go through your own auto insurance provider in the event of an accident or theft and can simply submit a claim through your card issuer.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars, 5 Miles per dollar on flights when booked via Capital One Travel; unlimited 2X miles on all other eligible purchases

Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

19.99% - 29.99% variable APR

$0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

Foreign transaction fees

See rates and fees . Terms apply.

Read our Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card review.

With hotel prices predicted to skyrocket this summer , HotelSlash could be a great way to save money. HotelSlash is the sister site to Autoslash and charges a $29.95 annual membership fee, though you can easily recoup that cost if you frequently stay at hotels and find a good deal.

The site scours the web for the best possible deals on hotel bookings. Not only can you conduct a general search for hotels by city, but you can set up alerts for individual hotels. The rate monitoring service applies to hotels booked directly through HotelSlash and third-party bookings. Setting up alerts is easy, requiring you to specify the hotel, travel dates, number of guests, and room preferences. 

You'll get an email alert when the search is complete and you can review the available rates. HotelSlash will notify you if rates drop further. The nice thing about the site is that the checkout page will display the total price, including resort fees (which some hotels leave out until it's time to check out).

Don't miss: Get free breakfast, room upgrades and more with the best hotel credit cards

Every major hotel chain has a best-rate guarantee policy to encourage guests to book directly. If you find a lower rate on another public site, most hotel chains will match that rate, and some will even give you additional 20% to 25% discounts or bonus points. If you have upcoming hotel stays, it's absolutely worth familiarizing yourself with your hotel chain's best rate guarantee policy and monitoring the site for lower rates. Hotels often run sales or discount last-minute stays. By staying on top of these deals, you can secure a substantial discount.

HotelSlash can also come in handy here, allowing you to put the monitoring process on autopilot. Once you find a lower rate, simply submit proof and wait for the claim to be processed. This simple step alone can save you hundreds of dollars on your hotel stay this summer. Just remember that the lower rate must be publicly available, be for the same room type and have the same exact cancellation policy.

While airlines generally don't offer any guarantees of this sort, if your ticket allows for free changes, you may be able to rebook it and get the fare difference back as a travel credit. Alternatively, if you're a Capital One cardholder , you can book through the Capital One Travel portal , which automatically gives you credit back if the flight cost drops after you book it. 

Contrary to popular belief, there are hardly ever "last minute deals" on airfare – you generally need to book at least 21 days in advance to get a good deal. Last-minute flights can be expensive, which is where transferable points, such as  American Express Membership Rewards®  and Chase Ultimate Rewards® points , come in.

Many airlines release saver-level award space (especially in premium cabins) closer to departure. So if you transfer your rewards points into airline miles to book a last-minute trip, you can often find good award availability and save money on expensive fares.

Don't miss: 6 times you should redeem points and miles rather than pay cash

Take advantage of Lyft's airport pick-up feature

Lyft unveiled a new feature that takes the hassle out of airport pick-ups. Rather than rushing to the rideshare pick-up stand and hoping it's not packed with other travelers, causing an extensive wait, you can pre-order a ride as soon as you land. Lyft will then assign a vehicle to you as you near the pick-up spot, estimating exactly when you'll arrive. This makes hailing a ride even easier than before, allowing you to just focus on going from Point A to Point B rather than stressing over how and when you'll actually get there. 

Don't miss: Save money and enjoy VIP perks with the best credit cards for Uber, Lyft and taxi rides

Summer travel can be busy and crowded. Everyone is stretched thin and experiencing frustration, so it's important to have some flexibility and patience. Delays and crowded attractions are going to be common, so prepare yourself mentally and try to embrace the experience. Get to where you're going early, plan to avoid the crowds and have a backup plan in case your trip doesn't go as planned.

The last thing you want to do is lose your cool (at others or yourself). Remember that you're on vacation and even the biggest frustrations can turn into humorous anecdotes later. Do what you can to avoid the ruckus but don't stress over things you have no control over. Cooler heads always prevail and that goes for travel more so than anything.

Find the best credit card for you by reviewing offers in our  credit card marketplace  or get personalized offers via  CardMatch™ .

Bottom line

Summer can be a stressful time to travel, but it doesn't have to be unpleasant. With a bit of planning and forethought, you can prepare yourself for possible hiccups and make sure you're not overpaying. More importantly, being aware of your rights as a passenger ensures that you won't be left stranded in case of flight delays and luggage issues. With the right  travel credit card , you can earn heaps of rewards that can help offset the cost of your vacation and unlock valuable perks like airport lounge access and travel protections.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of  credit cards ,  banking  and  money , and follow us on  TikTok ,  Facebook ,  Instagram  and  Twitter  to stay up to date.

* For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here .

For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, click here.


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  • Price drop protection saved me $50 on a flight — here's how I did it Ira Wilder


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9 Tips From a Family of Four That Travels the World Full-time (Video)

The Bucket List Family shares their top tips for becoming a full-time traveling family.

Since 1971, Travel + Leisure editors have followed one mission: to inform, inspire, and guide travelers to have deeper, more meaningful experiences. T+L's editors have traveled to countries all over the world, having flown, sailed, road tripped, and taken the train countless miles. They've visited small towns and big cities, hidden gems and popular destinations, beaches and mountains, and everything in between. With a breadth of knowledge about destinations around the globe, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drinks, outdoor adventure, and more, they are able to take their real-world experience and provide readers with tried-and-tested trip ideas, in-depth intel, and inspiration at every point of a journey.

Two and a half years ago, my family and I took off for a five-month trip around the world. Long story short, that five-month trip has evolved into 100 weeks of full-time travel, covering 50 countries and well over 150 flights.

We've turned our love for travel, family time, and journal-keeping into full-time jobs. Now, through our Instagram, @thebucketlistfamily , we work as family travel journalists.

For people wanting to do something similar, we've put together a few thoughts on how we became travel journalists, and how to successfully take that plunge into the world of full-time travel.

1. Acquire skills.

We've always had a huge passion for journal keeping. My husband, Garett, created Instagram accounts for our children when they were born and has posted almost every single day since. He's turned his love for keeping a record into a love for photography and videography; he is always ready to capture the moment.

In order to become a full-time traveler and travel journalist through social media, you need to figure out how you can best record a moment and then share it, whether through photography, video or text. Acquire the skills to be a talented storyteller in whichever medium fits you best.

2. Be unique.

There are plenty of sources out there for pretty pictures and helpful information, so if you're just getting started, you need to figure out what makes you unique. Everyone is special in their own way, and if you can share that through your content that will make you stand out. This will help you differentiate yourself from all the other travel bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers out there. So, whether that's luxury travel, underwater photography, hiking, or food, find your niche.

Another way to be unique is to have a specific goal. For example, travel to 30 countries in 30 months, or something like that. Find something that draws people into your adventures. Not only do you need to have a unique angle, you need to be able to successfully share it with the world.

3. Create something meaningful to you.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to create something that you love. As I mentioned, we so highly value the memories, photos and videos we create, that even if no one else was following along, it was still worthwhile for us to do all of this documenting. When we started to travel, the purpose wasn't to turn it into our jobs, but to document our family adventures. By doing this, even if your blog or Instagram goes nowhere, it will still mean the world to you.

4. Create valuable content.

Provide something for your audience that is valuable to them. That value can come in a variety of forms: travel guides and tips, ways to save money, awesome products, beautiful photos, unique experiences, funny experiences, inspiring stories, positive vibes, etc.

5. Reach out to relevant brands.

Reach out to brands that you feel are relevant and compliment your brand. If you want to work with Disney or GoPro, you need to be the type of brand that those companies align with. You also need to prove to them that you can create the caliber of content that they typically share.

Before we left on our initial adventure, we reached out to all sort of brands — clothing companies, swim companies, camera companies, luggage companies, etc. We didn't have a following, however, we had created an Instagram account and a website that looked nice and had great photos (thanks to Garrett's photography). Initially, companies wouldn't pay us, but they would send us free gear.

When we messaged companies, we would tell them what we were doing and offer to post, even to our 100 followers, about the product and then share the images with them. For the company, it was a good deal. They got a little promotion and some great photos, and all it cost them was some free product. Collaborating with companies from the beginning showed future brands and companies that we were capable of doing campaigns. We made ourselves look and feel more legit then we actually were.

6. Be sincere and genuine.

People want to follow you and enjoy your stories because of you. Your voice is your brand, so it is very important that you are sincere and genuine. People will better connect with you and it will show in the quality of your content.

Often times, when we tell stories, we speak to the camera as if we are speaking to our close family and friends back home. That keeps our excitement and enthusiasm real and genuine.

7. Engage with your audience.

It is better to have a small audience that you can truly connect with than a large audience that isn't engaged with you. We use our social media community as an opportunity to bring like-minded people together. We're so incredibly grateful for the people who follow us and their kindness and support. We do our best to engage with them in every post. That can be a lot of work, but it goes a long way.

8. Network with everyone.

Online and offline, be engaged with those around you. One of the best parts of travel is networking and connecting with people from all different walks of life. And that becomes very valuable as a travel journalist: Because you are able to provide value to the lives of others, others are able to provide value to you.

9. Be ready to work, work, work.

Garrett does all of our creative — photography, filming, video editing, etc. — and I do all of the posting, brand management and trip planning. I probably work 30 hours a week, aside from my mother responsibilities, and Garrett closer to 40 hours a week. That's on top of the traveling from location to location and capturing content along the way.

It's not a vacation. It might be a ton of fun, but it is also a ton of work.

Bonus: Spread love.

The internet can amplify any message you want to spread. So we feel it is our responsibility to take the opportunity and use our platform to share goodness throughout the world.

We hope this information was helpful for you on your own journey and most of all, we hope you will join us in traveling the world, experiencing its love, and then sharing that love with others.

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The Ultimate Travel Checklist: 9 Steps to a Stress-Free Trip

A step-by-step guide to making sure you don’t forget anything important in the rush to get out the door..

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A hand with pen writing out a checklist in a notebook

Got your passport? What about travel insurance and compression socks?

Courtesy of Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

While some things, like booking flights and hotel rooms, are obvious to-dos before a big trip, other tasks—like remembering to double-check whether you need a visa or an international driver’s permit—sometimes slip through the cracks. That’s why having a pretravel checklist can make for a smoother departure and reduce stress.

Here are nine things you should do in the run-up to your trip and before you leave for the airport, from preparing your home and choosing a phone plan to packing the essentials.

Make sure your passport is up to date

While a standard adult U.S. passport is valid for 10 years from the date of issue (or renewal), you should renew sooner than that .

Many countries (currently around 75 worldwide) require at least six months of passport validity beyond your departure date. If your passport is going to expire less than six months after you leave for your trip, you could be denied entry or deported. Additionally, some nations require that your passport have between one and three completely blank visa pages, so be sure to check the rules for your destination .

Similarly, if your passport has details that are no longer accurate (for instance, you’ve gotten married and changed your last name), you’ll want to have that corrected or have your airplane ticket changed to match the passport information.

Check if you need a visa and immunizations

To enter certain foreign countries, you’ll need some specific visas and immunizations before you can board the plane.

Start by researching the entry requirements for your destination. Most governments have official websites or consular offices that provide detailed information about what is necessary to visit.

For visas, whether or not you need one often depends on your nationality and how long you plan to stay. Additionally, some countries have non-negotiable immunizations that need to be obtained before entry (for instance, a number of countries in Africa require yellow fever vaccinations and certifications ). Other countries may have suggested, but not mandatory, requirements for medications (such as antimalarial tablets). It’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic for up-to-date information on vaccinations and health advisories.

Consider travel insurance

No matter how well you plan your vacation, there’s always the potential for accidents and unforeseen circumstances that can derail everything.

Travel insurance can help safeguard you against unexpected events, like trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, or flight delays. Not only does it mitigate financial losses, but it also ensures you have someone to help you if things go wrong far from home.

In some scenarios, like an expedition cruise to a polar region, the company organizing the trip makes travel insurance mandatory, so be sure to check what requirements your tour has ahead of time. Some cruise lines offer insurance directly through their booking process, which makes it an easier—if not always the most economic—option.

Keep in mind that credit card insurance covers some things, but not all, and that different cards cover different things. Cancel For Any Reason Coverage (CFAR) is another option in the insurance toolkit to review: It gained popularity during COVID and can still be useful in certain cases.

Even if you don’t end up needing your travel insurance, having it can provide peace of mind.

Make a safety plan for yourself

No matter your destination, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with local laws and customs, and to read up on potential safety concerns, particularly those related to current political and health situations specific to that area. The Department of State website is a good place to start, although it is usually quite conservative in its approach to safety issues. You might also consider looking online for blog posts about “important things to know before visiting (insert destination here)” to see what else pops up.

Be sure to share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member so they know your whereabouts in case of emergency. Another option is to share your location with them via your phone, so they can keep track of you in real time. Signing up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is another good idea. It is a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals who are traveling abroad, which allows them to input information about their trip (where they’re going, how they can be contacted, etc.), so that the State Department can help in emergencies (ranging from finding local attorneys and doctors to fleeing the country in the event of war or natural disasters).

Confirm whether you’ll need a special driving permit

Different countries have different rules and regulations when it comes to driving, and in some cases, the driver’s license issued by your home state doesn’t quite cut it. Depending on where you’re going, you may need an international driving permit instead.

Luckily, they’re easy to get . The Automobile Association of America (AAA) issues permits in their various offices countrywide and by mail for $20; all you need to do is submit a simple application, two passport-type photos, and a photocopy of both sides of your driver’s license. They’re currently valid in more than 150 countries. However, there are some countries, like China and Ethiopia, that don’t consider international licenses valid and instead offer their own temporary driving permit for travelers, so be sure to look up what the rules in your destination are. Websites for U.S. embassies in those countries and the Department of State can help in that matter.

hands holding a phone on a plane

Fliers will soon be able to use their phones to text, call, and stream videos in the air, in the same way, they would on the ground, at least within Europe.


Choose an international phone plan (or plan for a different option once on the ground)

If you want to use your phone internationally , check to see if your current carrier offers international roaming options. If it doesn’t offer international data (or the cost is prohibitively expensive), consider purchasing a prepaid plan from a local carrier at your destination (though if you go that route, make sure your phone is unlocked and compatible with the local network). Often you can purchase local SIM cards at booths in the airport. You can also now buy eSIM cards (a digital version of a SIM card) online from companies like Airalo .

Note that some carriers, like Google Fi, offer automatic international service with no preauthorization or extra packages or SIM cards necessary, at the same price as in your home country.

Another option is to rent a Wi-Fi hot spot (available at phone stores for as little as $7 a day; or Travelers Wifi will mail you one). You could also just leave your phone in airplane mode and use free Wi-Fi when you can get it.

Prepare your home for while you’re away

You know the basics (taking out the trash, setting your thermostat, double-checking that all doors and windows are locked), but there are plenty of other steps to remember. Consider, for instance, unplugging any non-essential appliances to prevent energy waste and reduce the risk of electrical issues. While you may already know to empty your refrigerator of perishable items, do you always sweep and clean up any food crumbs that might otherwise attract pests? Also, if you can’t arrange for someone to care for plants in your absence, consider buying a self-watering device, like those from Cowbell Plant Co.

If you’re going on a longer trip , it’s also a good idea to forward your mail or ask a neighbor to collect it to avoid the appearance of an empty home; you can also arrange for the USPS to hold it . You might want to equip your home with camera security systems ( Ring and SwitchBot are solid options), so you can keep an eye on it while you’re away.

Download in-flight entertainment

Nobody wants to be stuck on a long-haul flight without something to keep them occupied. Sure, most airlines offer in-flight movies and TV shows, but there’s a chance the options don’t interest you (or aren’t in your preferred language). On the other hand, many streaming services allow users to download movies and shows for offline watching, so you can ensure you’ll have something you’ll enjoy.

It’s also a good idea to check with your specific airline to see if its in-flight entertainment service is available only through a personal device, which would require you to download an app before boarding (like United ).

Pack your bags

What you need to bring on a vacation depends in part on where you go, what the weather will be like, and what activities you have planned. But the following lists are a good starting point.

  • Footwear (including hiking boots or water shoes ; our editor at large packs this boot on every winter trip)
  • Socks (we’re partial to Bombas )
  • Layers of cold-weather gear (remember that merino wool holds in heat, wicks away moisture, and is naturally antimicrobial)
  • Jackets/outwear (outdoor gear companies are making progress in the plus-size category too )
  • Swimwear and other beach necessities
  • Hat (for sun or the cold)

Personal documents

  • Hotel, flight, tour confirmations
  • Insurance card and travel insurance contact number
  • Documentation for any medication that might be controlled in other countries (e.g., Singapore has a list )


  • Chargers/adapters
  • Earbuds / noise-canceling headphones
  • AirTags if you’re checking a bag
  • Travel apps that travel editors use
  • Medications (keep prescriptions in their official bottles)
  • Compression socks for the flight
  • Packing cubes
  • Water bottle
  • Neck pillow

Packing lists

  • The Essential Cruise Packing List
  • The Ultimate Camping Checklist for a Comfy Night Under the Stars
  • What to Pack for a Road Trip
  • The Ultimate Beach Packing List
  • The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List

The Temple of Hephestus

9 travel packing tips to save space in your luggage

Caroline Tanner

As a traveler, I'm proudly team carry-on, striving each time I fly, whether it be for a few days or a few weeks, to fit everything I bring within the confines of my Away carry-on bag .

There are other people, including maybe some reading this article, who prefer to check a bag so they don't have to worry about cramming everything into one or two carry-on bags.

Whether you're firmly team carry-on or team checked baggage, some universal tips can be helpful when packing, regardless of the size of your suitcase.

Read on for TPG's best general packing tips.

General packing tips

9 tips to travel

Organization hacks

Whenever the topic of packing comes up in conversation among TPG staffers, packing cubes are mentioned over and over again, and they will "change your life," says TPG editorial director Summer Hull.

As a mom of two who frequently travels, Summer recommends families use cubes to divide up the packing by activity and day, rather than each person using a cube for all of their items.

If you're looking to get started with packing cubes, Summer's favorite option is a five-pack from Calpak for $68 , which she raves about for the "thick mesh and polyester material that has held up extraordinarily well across our theme park trips, ski adventures, cruises and beyond," along with the ability to survive multiple rounds of heat in the dryer without any noticeable impacts.

"Additionally, the cubes have waterproof pockets that you can use to keep wet or especially dirty items separate from the rest of the items, meaning that the last morning's jump in the pool won't make your whole bag a bit soupy," wrote Summer .

The great thing about packing cubes is that you can use them to organize your items to your liking. For example, TPG senior editor Madison Blancaflor prefers to organize her stuff in packing cubes by item.

"Packing cubes, packing cubes, packing cubes is my No. 1 tip," Blancaflor told me. "Not only do they help you fit more stuff, but they help you stay organized while you're traveling."

As someone who frequently uses packing cubes myself, I've learned to pack things inside of things in order to fit the intended items in the cube, a concept Blancaflor referred to as nesting.

"Knowing how to nest things is helpful — having your belts lay around the outside edges, fitting socks inside your shoes, putting underwear inside bra cups, etc.," she explained. "Any of those small space-saving things add up to a lot more space by the end of it."

Like all things, though, even packing cubes have their downsides, which is why one TPG staffer recommended using vacuum-sealed bags instead.

9 tips to travel

"I will never fly anywhere without my vacuum-sealed bags and hand vacuum," said TPG SEO senior associate Hannah Streck, who uses the bags for space-saving, cleanliness and organization purposes.

"I am able to pack so much more into my carry-on and able to see what I packed without having to open or take out the clothes, which is a downside of packing cubes," she said.

Another tip to help you stay organized while packing is to color coordinate your outfits, per cruises editor Erica Silverstein.

"I color coordinate outfits to reduce the number of shoes I need to bring and try to pack pieces that I can dress up or down," she shared. "For example, I could wear a top with a skirt at night and then with jeans the next day."

One space-saving tip that I've been practicing for a few years is rolling clothes versus folding them, which TPG credit cards Ryan Smith echoed, and added that he keeps a toiletries bag ready to go.

"I keep a toiletries case ready at all times that I never touch it while at home unless I'm reloading it with supplies that ran out," he said. "This way, I don't have to worry about packing toiletries or forgetting them."

Read more: I fly almost 100,000 miles per year and don't travel without these packing cubes from Calpak

How to keep your clothes wrinkle-free

9 tips to travel

One inevitable issue I always seem to run into when packing is keeping my clothes from wrinkling while in my suitcase. I've long placed tissue paper in between articles of clothing, a tactic I learned from my mother.

Though this works to an extent, I am eager to try plastic dry cleaner bags, per the advice of TPG editor Melissa Klurman.

"I use plastic dry cleaner bags to keep my clothes from wrinkling — you pop one item in each bag, although I often double up, then fold them all on top of your bag," she said. "The air in the bags stops the friction, and your clothes don't wrinkle."

Tips for packing carry-on only

One of my favorite features of my Away carry-on is the built-in battery pack since I know I'll always have access to a charger for my phone if needed.

"I always have a portable battery pack in my carry-on since you never know when you are going to be stranded somewhere and not able to find an outlet," said TPG's Executive Editor Scott Mayerowitz. "It also lets you keep moving in delays, and you aren't stuck next to an outlet."

During the holiday travel season, many of us may be packing winter clothing items. Whether you're departing for a cold destination or heading to the ski slopes, TPG editor Christine Gallipeau reminds us to wear those heavy items, rather than take up precious packing space.

"I wear my bulkiest items, which in the winter, usually means jeans, my thicker coat and boots," she said. "That way, I don't have to use valuable carry-on space for them since I never fly with a checked bag."

Bottom line

9 tips to travel

As you head out on your next flight, keep these simple packing tips in mind.

Whether you try out packing cubes or vacuum-sealed bags for the first time or try rolling instead of folding your clothes, these tips should make packing a little less stressful, while saving you space, which is the ultimate goal.

To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories .

9 Tips That Will Make Your Japan Trip Easier

By Christina Liao


Traveling to a foreign country can be distressing in many ways: language barriers , geographical unfamiliarity, and trying to spend wisely are just some of the concerns that arise. Even when a destination is popular and well-traversed by tourists, it can still be hard to discover the best tips and tricks for seamless navigation. Japan is certainly no exception—if anything, the country in all of its wonderful glory can be one of the most challenging for English-speaking visitors. What do you do when a menu is only available in Japanese? Is there a way to save money on those high-priced Shinkansen (bullet trains)? In a destination notorious for hard-to-acquire reservations, how do you get a seat at a top-notch restaurant ? To answer all of these questions, and more, we’ve compiled eight tips that will help assuage many of your worries and make your trip to this amazing island nation easier.

1. Decide Whether a JR Pass Is Worth It

The Japan Rail Pass allows unlimited access to nearly all JR trains, buses, and ferries for seven, 14, or 21 days and are extremely convenient for those who want some freedom to move around the entire country. However, with the recent price hike this past October, you now have to be more diligent than ever about checking whether getting one for your trip is worth it or not. While Shinkansen tickets can add up quickly, unless you’re taking lengthy train rides or bouncing around every day or two, odds are it’ll be less expensive to book your tickets à la carte. You can calculate costs by using tools like Google Maps or Japan Travel by Navitime (they also have an app), and make note of the price difference between non-reserved and reserved seats.

If you decide to get a JR Pass, purchasing from the official site is the best option. Not only will you no longer need a physical exchange order delivered to your home—you will, however, still need to pick up your pass at a JR ticket office—you’ll also be able to make seat reservations ahead of time online. The latter will be particularly useful if you’re visiting during peak times like cherry blossom season and autumn foliage.

2. Get a Smart Card

IC Cards like Suica and Pasmo are similar to New York City’s MetroCards. In addition to fluid access to public transportation, you can also use them to pay at many stores and restaurants, vending machines, and even some of the newer claw machines. Unfortunately, due to a chip shortage, the sale of physical cards have been suspended, with no news of when it’ll resume. For iPhone and Apple Watch users you can add Suica and Pasmo cards to the Wallet app and load funds with a Mastercard or American Express credit card (Visa unfortunately doesn’t work). However, for Android users, devices purchased outside of Japan don’t support the proper software to be used with Japanese smart cards. Instead, look for temporary cards like the Welcome Suica or Pasmo Passport. These cards are valid for only 28 days and there are no refunds on card balances, so be mindful of how much you add to them. Otherwise, you’ll need to go through the hassle of buying tickets at a machine (or pay with cash where applicable).

3. Learn Key Japanese Phrases

A lot of American travelers assume someone will speak English, but with technology like Duolingo or Google Translate in your pocket, you really have no excuse not to learn the basics. Greetings are a must as it’s a sign of respect, so brush up on how to say “hello,” “good morning,” and the like so that you can properly address someone when entering their establishment, but also look into “excuse me” or “sorry” in case you need to catch a person’s attention or accidentally bump into a fellow pedestrian on a bustling street. And if you are really having trouble communicating with a local, you can always use the app to help connect the dots.

4. Translate Menus With Google Translate

Speaking of Google Translate, it’s a good idea to have the app on your smartphone if you don’t already have it downloaded. In addition to using it for conservations, the camera is great for translating menus when a restaurant doesn’t offer an English version. It’s not foolproof, though, and you may need to do some inventive interpretation every now and then, but it does the job most of the time.

5. Enlist the Help of a Travel Agent

There are a lot of hidden treasures in Japan that aren’t easy to discover unless you have the help of someone in the know. Such experts, or “travel designers” as they’re now called, can help with the most exclusive experiences and make your trip as seamless as possible. One exemplary option is Okuni . Founded by Julia Maeda and Lauren Scharf who have both lived in Japan for well over two decades, these two women are some of the most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to Japan’s luxury landscape. For hyper-exclusive experiences including dinners at some of Tokyo’s most coveted restaurants—including Sushi Jiro—with acclaimed food critic Masuhiro Yamamoto, Taro is one of the most well-connected services in the country’s capital. And if you plan on hopping over to some additional countries in Asia after Japan, one of the leading operators in the region is Remote Lands . Cofounded by Catherine Heald who frequently visited Japan when she lived in Hong Kong and returns every year to continue learning about the country, the Virtuoso-approved company can set up some of the most incredible activities in the Land of the Rising Sun and beyond.

6. Use Reservation Services for Michelin-Starred Restaurants

While well-connected travel specialists or a concierge at a luxury hotel can go a long way in nabbing a seat at some of the most highly sought-after restaurants in Japan, sometimes things just don’t quite pan out the way you hoped. When all else fails, scour online reservation sites for a chance to dine at a famed eatery. You’ll likely need to pay a fee, but Tableall , Omakase , and Pocket Concierge are great resources if you’re really keen on trying out a particular establishment.

7. Take Advantage of Tourist Airfares

With JR Passes having nearly doubled in price, flying between major cities may be more cost-effective than taking the train, especially if you can manage to land one of JAL or ANA’s tourist fares. Japan’s two major airlines offers discounted rates to tourists to more than 30 airports in the country. While JAL’s rates are lower on paper, starting from 5,500 yen, ANA seems to have more availability for their advertised fares starting from 7,364 yen. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to explore Japan’s underrated islands, Hokkaido and Kyushu.

8. Ship Your Luggage Between Destinations

Schlepping around large suitcases screams “I’m a tourist” when traveling in Japan. While many train stations are equipped with escalators and elevators, some provide stair-only access and storage aboard trains is limited. It’s not just that the Japanese know how to travel light, they use something called takkyubin . A door-to-door delivery service by Yamato Transport , you can easily ship parcels and luggage from one hotel to the next for a relatively low cost. Delivery time is usually the next day, sometimes two for longer distances, so you’ll still need to bring along an overnight bag with the essentials. But given that most hotels in Japan offer all the necessary toiletries and pajamas, you won’t really need to carry much except for a couple just-in-case items.

9. Stay Connected for Less

If you want to ensure that you have high-speed Internet service at all times, and on multiple devices, rent a pocket Wi-Fi and do so in advance to lower the cost. If you’ll be in a rush from the airport to your subsequent destination, you can always have the device delivered to your hotel.

Alternatively, if you just need high-speed data on your phone, SIM cards are the way to go. There are several companies that will allow you to pre-order a physical SIM that can either be delivered or picked up at the airport. But if you have a device that supports eSIMs, the digital versions are easy to activate at any point during your trip. 

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9 Years of Constant Travel: My Tips And Tricks

9 years of constant travel

What does a life of constant travel look like?

I am celebrating today.

Exactly 9 years ago I moved to the Caribbean island of St Maarten . And although I had lived abroad before, this time it was different. This move marked the start of my nomadic existence:

In the past 9 years I have not lived in the same country for more than 9 months…

I have lived in 13 countries all over the world in these 9 years and traveled to many more.

In some countries, I would find a short-term job or volunteer project. In other countries I just worked on my own business and lived the classic digital nomad lifestyle .

Once I’d seen enough of a country, or when my visa expired, I’d move on to the next.

It has been an interesting 9 years.

It hasn’t always been easy and I definitely have developed a love/hate relationship with airports (the countless times I cried saying goodbye to people I had come to love, but at the same time the excitement I felt to move on to something new).

But I Have Seen and Done so Much During These Years of Constant Travel!

unique experiences during my years of constant travel

I swam with dolphins as part of a volunteer project in Mauritius .

While I was living in the Maldives I got to stay at some of the most expensive resorts in the world at discounted ‘expat rates’.

I partied on luxury yachts, but I also taught English at a slum school in India and have seen more poverty, corruption, and injustice than I ever imagined possible…

I have felt loved by people I just met. I got to immerse myself into cultures so different from my own and I sometimes feel I have lived 13 different lives.

And all of that helped me grow as a person.

Growing as You Travel

By now things have changed a bit for me: the marketing company I started many years ago as a side business is now profitable enough to sustain my life of constant travel.

So no longer do I have to search for local jobs that sometimes did turn out to be nothing like what I expected.

At the same time, not working locally anymore has taken away part of the experience as well: I don’t have local colleagues anymore and don’t get to know their ways of life.

That being said, I am off to the Bahamas soon to volunteer with a local marine conservation organization so I guess I will get that local experience again!

The Way You Travel Changes as You Change

travel changes as you change - even constant travel

Constantly traveling doesn’t mean you are constantly doing the same things.

My travels and experiences abroad have definitely changed.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I had no money but also little to no fear and no issues with discomfort.

I stayed in cheap hostels where I met so many different people from all over the world. But in these hostels I also shared my room with cockroaches, bed bugs, and once, in a remote hostel in Honduras, with iguanas, frogs, a snake, and a scorpion!

Also Read: Pros and Cons of Staying in Hostels

These days I more often travel to visit one of the many friends I have made all over the world and tend to spend more money on private hotel rooms and rental cars.

Therefore, my advice: don’t put off traveling!

The way you travel when you are young and (relatively) broke is something you will never be able to recreate when you are retired, have some money to spend and need some basic comforts in life!

Also Read: Why Should You Travel?

My Tips for Constant Travel

I want to start by saying that although I’ve really enjoyed these past 9 years, changing country every few months, I understand that this is not for everyone.

Living out of a suitcase isn’t easy and if you love the idea of traveling the world and working abroad, it doesn’t have to turn into a life of constant travel the way mine did.

So these tips are not exclusively for people who want to travel the world indefinitely, but more for anyone who likes the idea of spending more time abroad than just your annual vacation.

I Recommend Finding a (Volunteer) Job Abroad at Least Once

Not only will this allow you to stay abroad longer, but more importantly it will help you connect with the local community and really get to know the country you are living in.

It’s actually one of the things I miss most. Now that I have a successful but demanding online business I don’t have time to take on local jobs anymore. And I only very rarely (too rarely I would say) do volunteer work.

So, even if your ambition is to become a digital nomad , I really recommend taking on a local job at least once or twice to decide for yourself what you think of the experience!

It might feel difficult and intimidating to find a job or even (affordable) volunteer work abroad but it really isn’t that complicated.

As long as you are willing to work hard and see the job as a travel experience more than a good way to make money (most of my jobs were poorly paid but then the countries they were in were also very cheap), you will have no problem finding something.

Check out the following pages for my tips about working abroad and traveling the world:

Tips & Resources For Long Term Travel

Here I have added links to useful sites for finding work abroad, international networks, and general tips about working abroad and long-term travel.

How to Find The Perfect Job Abroad

I have applied for countless jobs all over the world. These are my tips on how to find a job abroad that suits you and how to make the most of your international experience.

Volunteering Abroad: Why You Should or Shouldn’t Do It

Not all volunteer work is equally rewarding and not all projects actually help the local community. Therefore look into what projects you want to volunteer with and whether what they are doing is actually beneficial to everyone involved.

How to Become a Digital Nomad: 7 Skills That Will Help

Of course one of the best ways to create a life of constant travel is by working remotely. This article gives you some tips to help you become a digital nomad.

The Best Digital Nomad Jobs

If you’d love to work remotely, this article shares a list of great jobs for digital nomads. Whether you’d prefer to be employed, you’d rather freelance, or start your own business, the article gives useful tips on the types of jobs that are available, the skills that are important, and how you could get these jobs.

But, also read about the emotional challenges of digital nomad life .

And, if you want some more insight into what it feels like to be moving from country to country all the time, read my article Traveling For Life: What it’s Really Like

Constant Travel – Conclusions

I am writing this while driving through Mexico , on my way to a winery to celebrate my 9 years of constant traveling.

And once again I am realizing how fortunate I am to live the life I live. A life of freedom and adventures. A life that makes me feel alive.

I hope my travel stories inspire you and help you create a life of travel to experience this beautiful world of ours!

Whether you prefer to take day trips to explore the area you live in or want to move to the other side of the world: don’t forget to appreciate the little things!

Talk to local people, get to know their ways of life, and enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the place you find yourself in…

Also Read: I Bought a Catamaran to Live on and Sailed to the Caribbean!

  Like this article about a life of constant travel? Pin it!

constant travel: tips & tricks

6 thoughts on “9 Years of Constant Travel: My Tips And Tricks”

Started traveling last year. I can’t imagine traveling for 9 years but I am always planning the next trip or hiking trip.

Haha traveling is addictive and the years fly by! 🙂

I found your tips very useful and practical! Excellent post!

I know exactly what you mean about the love/hate relationship with having to say goodbye to the incredible people we meet on the road but at the same time the overwhelming excitement for the new adventures that lie ahead. Nothing in life is free, and with sacrifice comes reward. It’s a relationship we should all have in one form or another…

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sanne! Nine years is quite something… I’m trying to travel whenever I can, but I still work full-time and can’t switch to anything different just yet. But thanks to my studies and different jobs I did live on three different continents… I love the learning process of immersing into a different culture, getting to know people.

Happy travels! Ioanna (A Woman Afoot)

Fantastic post!! Can relate to this so much. I’ve been working and traveling for 4 years now and have no intention of stopping. Also agree with the travelling ways changing as you do. I wouldn’t go back to the hostel life now but it was an amazing experience when I did. I really hope this inspires new travellers. Congratulations on 9 years of travel and here’s to 9 more 🙂 thanks for sharing.

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9 tips to travel

Lifestyle News


20 travel tips for planning (and enjoying!) the perfect getaway

During the summer, heading out on vacation is a must. Everyone needs time to unwind and relax, and that's even better if you can do it in a place that's seriously beautiful. Whether you're a frequent traveler or more of a homebody, though, taking some time to thoroughly prepare for your trip can be the difference between a good vacation and a total mess.

Flip through the slideshow for 20 essential travel tips, from planning your journey to what to bring in case something bad happens. 

Start planning your trip well in advance

While it is true that many seasoned travelers are able to score last-minute deals, planning ahead is usually the best way to save money — and hassle. At least 3-4 months before your trip, start searching for flights, accommodations, and activities in the area you're hoping to visit to get an idea of how much you'll need to save. 

If you can, be flexible with your dates

Being a little flexible with when you're planning to leave and return can help you save a ton of cash on flights and hotels. It's generally cheaper to fly on a weekday, and hotel rates also tend to be cheaper. Depending on your destination, you may also be able to save substantial money — and beat the crowds — by traveling just before or after the peak season begins. 

Plan an itinerary

It sounds boring, but planning an itinerary in advance of your trip can really help you make the most of your time. Spend a little time researching travel routes, finding cool activities to do, and trying to plan in a way that allows you to maximize the days you've got in the mountains or at the beach. 

...but don't be too strict with your time

There's nothing more frustrating — or less relaxing — than a trip that's planned down to the minute. Just make sure you've got an idea of at least a few major things you'd like to do on each day of your vacation, like hiking a certain trail or visiting a specific theme park. Be sure to scope out food options, like restaurants and grocery stores, too. 

Make a packing list

Before you start just throwing stuff into your suitcase, make a list of the things you'll actually need. Be sure to consider special gear (like swimsuits for the beach or hiking boots for muddy trails) and don't forget to include all the chargers for your gadgets. 

Set a budget

Once your travel and accommodations are booked, make sure you budget enough cash to actually have a good time on vacation. It's possible to do that on a shoestring budget, just make sure that you've got a few nice meals and some emergency cash for incidentals that pop up along the way. 

Bring headphones

Whether you're flying or driving, headphones can be an absolute life-saver when your traveling companions are making a ton of noise, especially if they have noise-canceling capabilities. Wireless headphones are an especially compelling option because you won't have any wires to get tangled up in your backpack. 

...and don't forget a first aid kit

Use an old makeup bag or other zip pouches to make an easy-to-carry first-aid kit that contains all the essentials: pain medication, antibiotic ointment, bandages, allergy medicine, antiseptic wipes, and anything else specific to your own health needs. It's also a good idea to bring along anti-diarrheal medication and antacids should any stomach discomfort arise. 

Try to stick to carry-on luggage if you're flying

Waiting for checked baggage is terrible, but having your luggage lost is even worse. Stick to a well-organized, high-quality carry-on bag to skip that hassle altogether. Just make sure before you leave that your carry-on suitcase actually fits the dimensions of your airline's overhead bins so you don't end up checking your bag anyway. 

Carry a backpack

A nice tote bag is certainly chic for travel, but a backpack is so much more practical. Not only does a great backpack offer tons of pockets for organizing, but it also won't be as heavy on your shoulders when you're rushing through the airport trying to make a connection. 

Get to the airport early

Considering all the chaos of airline travel this summer, getting to the airport early is just a good idea. If worst comes to worst and your flight is canceled, you'll hopefully know with enough time to rebook, and you can avoid any of the anxiety that comes with trying to make it to your gate before the boarding doors close. 

Bring snacks from home to avoid paying exorbitant airport prices

After schlepping to the airport and making it through security, you're probably going to want a snack. Most solid foods can be brought through TSA screening checkpoints, and it's so much cheaper to bring your favorite snacks from home than pay a premium at airport shops. 

Be extremely nice to airline employees

Air travel is stressful, especially right now, and being a jerk isn't going to get you anywhere. Even if you're frustrated, being super polite to the gate agents and flight attendants you encounter isn't just the right thing to do — it might actually get you better service. 

Consider investing in travel insurance

Sometimes, bad stuff just pops up — you get sick, your flight is canceled, something comes up at work — right before you travel. Depending on the policy you purchase, many travel insurance companies offer coverage for travel mishaps (including canceled flights) that can give you serious peace of mind if something bad happens. 

Comfortable shoes are a necessity

Even if they don't match your outfit, your most comfortable shoes are the best shoes for traveling. Between airports and outings, you're likely going to be doing a lot of walking, and few things are worse than blistered, pinched feet. If you are prone to blisters even in good shoes, pack a few hydrocolloid bandages in your first aid kit to keep your feet in good shape through all the walking. 

Bring a wrap, sweater, or scarf

Even if you're traveling to the tropics, bringing a lightweight shawl or wrap is always a good idea. It might be chilly on the plane or at your hotel, and you can always use it to jazz up a basic dress or top for a night out at your destination. 

Consider signing up for a credit card that offers airline miles or other travel rewards

If you like to vacation frequently, signing up for a credit card that offers airline miles or other travel rewards can help you save cash and bring some serious perks. You'll have to do some research to determine which card is best for you depending on your own personal financial decision, but saving up miles can add up to free flights, hotel rooms, and more over time. 

Download movies and TV to watch while you fly (or ride in the car)

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max allow subscribers to download movies and TV shows, which means that you can watch your favorite entertainment even while your phone is required to be in airplane mode. Just make sure to download your episodes at home — airport WiFi can sometimes be shady. 

Let your bank know you're planning to travel in advance

Before hopping on the plane or gassing up the car, let your bank know that you're headed out of town. Transactions in strange locations can trigger fraud alerts, which could leave you without a credit or debit card when you're hundreds of miles away from home. A quick phone call before you go will help prevent those awkward "card declined" situations. 

Take photos of your identification

Whether traveling domestically or internationally, always take photos of your driver's license, vaccine card, or passport. If something happens and those essential documents get lost, having photos of your identification can help you figure out a way home. 

Amy McCarthy is a Texas-based journalist. Follow her on twitter at @aemccarthy . 

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Travel Advisers: When to Let a Professional Plan Your Trip

An illustration of a person sitting on a folded-out map with books, papers and coffee laid out around the area. That person is inside the head of a beige-colored person wearing a teal telephone headset, and drawings of the Eiffel Tower, a compass, a signpost, a jet plane, mountains and other travel imagery are all around the head.

By Julie Weed

Decades ago, your vacation most likely began with a visit to a travel agent, who relied on a combination of expertise and connections to find the best deals on plane tickets, hotels, tours and more. Since then, the internet has turned most of us into our own travel agents, and artificial intelligence software is making research and self-booking even easier. But for some trips, that special insider knowledge can still make a big difference.

So when should you hire a professional, and how does it all work? Here are some tips.

Why should I consider a travel adviser?

It’s easy for a traveler to do the research for a standard trip, said Chris Anderson, a professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, “so they should look for a specialist for the type of tour they are looking for, say a bike trip in Ireland, who can really add value.”

The insider knowledge offered by a travel adviser can add the most value to trips that have multicity itineraries, involve a wide age range of travelers , are very significant (like an anniversary vacation) or are to destinations you are unfamiliar with, said Gary R. Johnson, who has run the travel agency Woodside Travel in Seattle for nearly 30 years. An adviser could help you decide, for instance, in which order to visit European cities based on local events and transportation options.

What can an adviser give me that a booking site can’t?

Travel advisers can help you research the best destinations, lodging, or activities for your particular group and travel goals, offering up specific advice that might be hard or time-consuming to find yourself. Those specializing in cruises might know which cabin to choose if you are prone to seasickness, while a safari planner could help you decide which park would be best for bird-watching or seeing specific animals, like rhinos.

Travel advisers typically have relationships with tour companies, hotels and cruise lines, sometimes through networks. Those connections can allow advisers to offer extra perks such as late checkout, free breakfast, airport transfers, a welcome basket or a credit to spend on a cruise ship.

“A good travel agent will be a better steward of your travel budget than you are,” said Guy Rubin, managing director of Imperial Tours , which arranges travel in China.

When bad weather or other circumstances disrupt your itinerary, travel advisers often have direct lines of communication with providers and can do the work of rebooking and changing plans, saving you time and stress.

OK, let’s say I need help. How do I find an adviser?

Networks like the American Society of Travel Advisors and Travel Leaders have websites that can help you start your search for a travel adviser by answering a few questions about your desired trip. Once you have a handful to choose from, get on the phone with them to talk about what they might do for you, how they charge and the level of service you can expect. Special trips can cost thousands of dollars, so it’s worth investing time up front, Mr. Rubin said.

Make sure to read over the travel agent’s reviews and any user-generated social content that mentions them, Dr. Anderson said. “If there is no external validation, that’s a red flag.”

How do advisers get paid, and how much will it cost me?

Advisers receive commission from suppliers, typically 10 to 15 percent of the price, when selling cruises, lodging and tours. They also sometimes charge travelers a planning fee, from a few hundred dollars, which may be credited to the final bill if the booking is completed, all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars annually for a luxury concierge travel planner they can call on all year. Mr. Johnson said that he charges a planning fee the first time he works with customers. If they return for other trips, he waives the fee.

Advisers may be tempted to sell you something that will earn them a higher commission, Dr. Anderson said. But, he points out, the same is true for the large online services, which promote hotels that pay them larger commissions. Travelers can ask advisers about specific commissions they receive or how they are affiliated with the products they are recommending, he said.

Sometimes a local tour company will package transportation, lodging and experiences for an adviser, who tacks on a percentage before passing it along to a client. But a bill that is not itemized can make it harder to make trade-offs — between a more expensive hotel and a special experience, for example. If pricing transparency is important to you, discuss it with the adviser up front.

How are A.I. and other technologies affecting travel advisers?

While new technologies are allowing do-it-yourselfers to create their own itineraries online based on individual preferences, and to type questions directly into travel websites, advisers are also taking advantage of those technologies to improve their services. Joan Roca, chief executive of the upscale travel planning company Essentialist said his team “uses technology to enhance the human touch,” employing artificial intelligence to choose options from a database of travel offerings selected by a human team. If a couple wants to take an after-dinner stroll, for example, Essentialist’s app will offer up ideas of where to go, based on what part of the city the travelers are in and conversations they’ve had with their travel adviser.

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

Italy :  Spend 36 hours in Florence , seeking out its lesser-known pockets.

Southern California :  Skip the freeways to explore the back roads between Los Angeles and Los Olivos , a 100-mile route that meanders through mountains, canyons and star-studded enclaves.

Mongolia : Some young people, searching for less curated travel experiences, are flocking to the open spaces of this East Asian nation .

Romania :  Timisoara  may be the most noteworthy city you’ve probably never heard of , offering just enough for visitors to fill two or three days.

India: A writer fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Darjeeling, in the Himalayan foothills , taking in the tea gardens and riding a train through the hills.

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

9 tips to travel

9 Tips for Japan Travel You Can't Afford To Miss

I f you’re planning a trip to Japan, know that the process is a commitment . We’ve gone all over the world and back again, even traveling full-time for two years with our young children.

Even so, planning a trip to Japan sometimes felt like a Herculean task. There are so many moving parts, rules and barriers that it was easy to be overwhelmed at times. After putting together what I’d deem a very successful first visit, I’ve put together some of my best Japan travel tips to help you plan the trip of a lifetime!

I promise, you won’t want to miss these tips for traveling to Japan – they’ll help you make the most of your time with the fewest hassles.

1. Plan as far in advance as you can

As frequent readers of this website know, we’re avid travelers and have been all over the world – sometimes hopping countries on just a few days’ notice.

Japan isn’t a place where I’d want to do that. Ever.

The most important of my tips for Japan travel is to give yourself as much lead time as possible.

We were shocked at just how important it is to plan a trip to Japan well in advance. In my experience particularly if you plan to visit during a peak time (roughly March through May and, to a lesser extent, September and October) you’ll be happiest if you start arranging your hotels 4-6 months in advance. Even 4 months before our March trip, a few small or specialty hotels were already sold out. When I looked to shift our itinerary 3 months in advance, our hotel in Tokyo was double the price I had paid.

But it isn’t just about booking your flights and hotels. There are so many cool attractions in Japan that require booking at least a month in advance. It’s not just the obvious ones! Everything from TeamLab Tokyo (which we got) to Pokemon Cafe (which we didn’t) sells out. Heck, even the wonderful onsen we visited had limited availability for private rooms a month in advance.

Unfortunately the need to lock down times and places so far in advance can make Japan travel planning very tricky. Give yourself plenty of time and try not to get overwhelmed – take it one area at a time and don’t be too disappointed if you can’t get into one specific attraction or hotel. Know that you’ll still have an incredible trip and you’ll be starting to consider a return visit while you’re still there!

Pro tip: When you’re planning, don’t be afraid to book through Klook ! It’s one of the most popular sites for booking activities throughout Asia. It’s easy to use and has a great reputation. We used it many, many times without a hitch.

2. Consider the overall structure of your itinerary

Obviously the first thing to nail down when you’re planning a trip to Japan is the basic framework of your trip: your flights and roughly which regions you’ll visit when. There are a few ways to do it, which I’ll go over here. Here are some ideas for family-friendly Japan itineraries .

If you’re coming from North America, chances are you’ll fly into one of Japan’s three main international airports: Narita (NRT), Haneda (HND) or Kansai (KIX). West coasters may have the luxury of choosing where they’ll go, while travelers coming from the midwest and east coast will probably have to take what they can get based on how their connections work out.

Both Narita and Haneda are in greater Tokyo, but Haneda is much much more convenient: our taxi ride was an easy 20 minutes, which we appreciated after spending most of a day traveling. Narita would have taken over an hour and been more expensive for our family of four.

The other airport option is Kansai, which is about an hour from downtown Osaka by train. A west coast family member recently chose an open-jaw itinerary that arrived in Osaka and departed from Haneda. That was a great option as it avoided an extra few hours of train travel – and depending on your itinerary it could allow you to choose a shorter duration Japan Rail Pass (but more on that later). When we considered a similar itinerary, unfortunately the connections weren’t as favorable and the price was a lot higher but be sure to evaluate options for your airport and dates.

The second half of structuring your itinerary is figuring out the order in which you want to visit Japan’s wonderful and diverse regions. On a first visit, most tourists split their time between Tokyo , Kyoto /Osaka and Hiroshima . It’s worth considering the order of your trip, especially if you end up with a roundtrip ticket to Tokyo (as most visitors do). If you’re lucky enough to have a KIX flight on one leg, your itinerary will mostly build itself.

There are two schools of thought on how to structure your Japan itinerary . This excellent book recommends exchanging your Japan Rail Pass voucher at the airport when you arrive and immediately hopping on a bullet train for Hiroshima as one of the top tips for travelling in Japan. In theory you could also take a short domestic flight to Hiroshima, as it’s less than 2 hours and sometimes only $50 per ticket. You’ll then slowly make your way back up to Tokyo to finish out your trip. The benefits of this option are that you’ll be able to sleep for much of the 6 hour travel time (since most visitors are exhausted after crossing so many time zones) and you’ll also start off in the quieter parts of the country before tackling the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

We took a different approach and it worked out fine as well. Our trip started with 5 nights in Tokyo, which was just a busy as advertised but allowed us to settle in and feel as rested as possible when we were clocking 10 miles on foot each day. Then once we had our bearings we went all the way to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. Our final stay was in Kyoto , halfway between Tokyo and Hiroshima. With only 10 nights in Japan, our stays in Miyajima and Kyoto was shorter and might have been harder with the kids right when we’d gotten off the plane.

I’d probably avoid closing out your trip in Hiroshima. The security line when we returned to Haneda was one of the longest I’ve ever waited in and you would likely have to build in three hours to check in and get through security, whether you’re taking the 5-6 hour train ride or the 2 hour domestic flight (remembering to allow 60 minutes to get to the Hiroshima airport from downtown or 2.5 hours from Miyajima Island and 2 hours for domestic check in). Going through all of that followed by an incredibly long international flight is just too brutal.

3. Always factor transportation into your advance planning

Speaking of transportation, there’s a lot of it in Japan and it should factor into your planning from the beginning in terms of both time and money.

Japan is famous for its shinkansen bullet trains, but in reality the nation’s transportation network is far more vast than most people realize until they visit. Japan has more than 30,000 km of rail, which would get your 3/4 of the way around the globe if it was all laid end-to-end. Those rails are part of everything from the bullet train lines that travel at 200 mph to regional railways to local subways.

Even within a single municipality, there can be multiple overlapping transit lines run by the government, private companies or public-private partnerships. As a visitor, it can sometimes be confusing or even frustrating.

You’ll want to download the excellent JapanTravel app by NAVITIME to your phone. You can also use it on your computer though I found that it didn’t work as well. Where this app is a standout is that it allows you to select which transit passes you have (or are considering purchasing) and shows you which routes are included and which ones aren’t.

Before we talk about money, passes and more I’ll just share a quick note about the time aspect of taking trains in Japan. Overall they’re extremely efficient and get you from A to B. But Japan is home to 46 of the 50 busiest train stations in the world, and when you first arrive prepare to be a little lost. When you’re taking local trains, I recommend allowing plenty of buffer time to what the directions tell you. A “20 minute trip” could easily take you 30 minutes if you struggle to find the platform for your connection or figure out which exit the walking portion of your directions indicate. It’s not your fault, but plan accordingly if you have time-specific activities.

The first piece to figure out – at least a month before your trip but not more than 90 days – is whether or not a Japan Rail Pass is right for you. This pass gives you access to nearly every Japan Rail operated line in the country for a specific number of consecutive days. If you’ll be flitting around to different regions in a fairly short period of time it can be a great savings! You won’t typically need it for your entire itinerary. For example, we made sure that we only needed ours for 7 of our 10 days.

To give you a sense of our our calculations worked, on the second day of our JR Pass we traveled from Tokyo to Hiroshima. On the final day of our pass we traveled from Kyoto to Tokyo. Those two legs alone would have cost us more than the 7 day pass, and of course we used it many times in between.

The very fastest bullet trains – which cut an hour off of the transit between Tokyo and Hiroshima – aren’t currently included with the Japan Rail Pass but they will be when the rail pass price increases in early 2024. That price increase is going to hurt and you’ll really have to evaluate whether or not the pass makes sense for you if you’re visiting beyond 3/31/2024 (the initial announcement indicated October 2023, but it seems to have been pushed back). Of course it’s also possible that fares for individual tickets will rise as well.

Fortunately there’s no need to worry about spending for the fancy “Green Car” service. The regular class is plenty comfortable and very spacious, with reclining seats and tray tables for your bento box. And families rejoice: children 6-11 can get half-price rail passes! Each adult can also take up to two children ages 1-5 on their laps (though only one is realistic) and babies travel free.

Things get much more complicated when you’re talking about local and regional transportation.

If you’re traveling kid-free or your kids are 0-5, your simplest option is to buy an IC card . These are essentially reloadable debit cards that can be used on nearly every transportation system in areas where tourists go in Japan, plus you’ll use them for cashless payment at lots of businesses and kiosks in the country. To make your life easy, once you get your IC card add it to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay app. You can even top up your IC card directly from your phone, and Apple Watch users can scan into trains with their wrists. With an IC card you won’t have to buy individual tickets for train rides, though if you’re taking lots of trains you may end up spending more than if you purchased a train pass – more details on those below.

Unfortunately for families with kids over 6, an IC card isn’t quite so simple. First, for your children to receive discounted child fares when they tap in to a train they have to be on a child IC card. You’ll need to bring the kid and their passport to the JR East office to get it (this is the same place where you’ll exchange your JR Pass voucher for actual tickets). Second, unless they have their own cell phone they won’t be able to use the digital option and will need to carry the physical card and top it up at an actual kiosk.

Given the different fares, shopping opportunities and different reloading options, you may wind up with times when most of the family is topped up and ready to go but a kiddo’s card needs money unexpectedly at the turnstile. The upside is the most of the time you can board basically any train in the country with a simple tap and no worrying about which train line you’re taking. Some families even load their kids’ souvenir shopping money on to the IC card and empower them to stay within their budgets. That’s a great hack for family travel in Japan!

If dealing with IC cards sounds like a headache or you think you’ll ride local trains a lot, there are some additional train passes worth considering. Our family got excellent value out of the 72 hour Tokyo subway pass . It covered nearly every non-JR train we needed to take around the city, including the one conveniently located underneath our hotel . The cost of that pass just can’t be beat!

As you go in the Kansai region (encompassing Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and more) you can consider the Kansai Thru Pass for 2 or 3 days (and kids at half price). It covers nearly all non-JR rail lines plus bus lines and can be used on non-consecutive days. If you have an active Japan Rail pass you can use that for select rides in the city as well, but JR lines aren’t as ubiquitous as elsewhere.

Whether or not a pass makes sense for you will depend on how much you plan to use public transportation versus taxis and Ubers. That said, there’s also the convenience factor of nearly every trip being covered without having to stop at a ticket machine every time you want to board. You could also consider separate passes for Keihan , Hankyu and buses.

There were a few times when we felt like a taxi was the best option, for instance when we were heading to the train station with all of our luggage in the pouring rain on our last morning in Japan. I was so glad that we brought folding car seats for our kids to ride safely – I consider them a “must” to travel Japan with a family!

Want to organize your plans?

Grab our fully-customizable Japan digital travel planner!

4. Get comfortable with Google Translate

The most useful app for Japan is definitely Google Translate. Unless you’re fluent in Japanese (reading and speaking) you’ll use it all day, every day. If you only take away two traveling in Japan tips, it should be this one along with planning as early as possible.

We encountered so many people in Japan who were eager to help us in our travels but virtually none of them spoke English. And that’s understandable, because it’s their country and Japanese is the local language. Thankfully Google Translate was there to bridge the divide. We had plenty of “conversations” that consisted of us typing a few sentences into our app and a Japanese person typing their reply into their own Google Translate.

The other piece of Google Translate that’s indispensable is translating text in images, whether it’s a sign on a storefront or a Japanese-only menu. Particularly if you have any dietary restrictions, you’ll want to take advantage of this.

I recommend that you download the Japanese dictionary within your Google app before you go. When you go to the translation module, click “Detect language” and find Japanese on the list. Then click the download icon to the right. Your translations will be faster when you’re on the ground and you won’t have to worry about using mobile data.

5. Bring power backups for your phone

If you’re anything like us, you’ll use your phone all day long in Japan. Directions, photos, translations and more… it all takes a toll.

We love this portable charger because it plugs directly into our iPhones without a cord and still fits in our pockets. There’s an Android-friendly version as well. We brought one with us, but only because I forgot the second one charging at home when I packed! There were plenty of days we wished we had the second battery pack. It tops my list of what to bring to Japan.

On our smarter days, we brought a USB charging cable and wall plug with us. Plenty of restaurants in Japan have outlets near the tables so we were able to charge while we ate.

Speaking of plugs, Japan uses the same style outlets as the USA. Even so, I ended up bringing this gadget because it saved tons of space and energy on USB wall adapters!

Other things to put in your day pack for Japan: a plastic bag to carry around your trash, a small travel washcloth and hand sanitizer.

6. Pack strategically

I have plenty more to say about what to pack for Japan specifically, but as you’re planning your trip it’s helpful to have an overall strategy that takes your itinerary into account.

First, packing light is always a good thing. I love the travel capsule wardrobe strategy for maximizing my outfits while minimizing my luggage.

Second, if you plan to take trains around the country (which nearly everyone does) know that there’s limited space for huge suitcases in each compartment. Carry-on suitcases and travel backpacks will fit on the overhead racks without issue.

For our family of four, we traveled with two carry-on suitcases, one 35L travel backpack (which I’m wearing above) and our kids backpacks. We also tucked this awesome packable daypack into our luggage to use on the ground. Since we were sharing luggage, we made liberal use of packing cubes to organize everyone’s stuff. Japan isn’t a country that requires a lot of specialized equipment and we made sure to book one hotel with laundry , so packing light was easy!

Now for the strategy part… our itinerary included a very busy 48 hour stretch that saw us taking trains, buses, boats and taxis as we went all the way down to Miyajima Island and doubled back to Kyoto with a half-day stop in Osaka. It was a whirlwind!

But thanks to the excellent Ta-Q-Bin luggage forwarding service run by Yamato, we didn’t have to lug all of our stuff with us. Ta-Q-Bin is beloved by locals and visitors alike, as it reliably and affordably moves your items around the country. The service is available via 7-11 and many hotels. We arranged it the night before with the concierge at our Tokyo hotel . For just $50 we sent both of our suitcases and a supplied cardboard box containing the kids’ backpacks to Kyoto, and we just brought our 35L backpack and daypack for two nights on Miyajima Island. Without a hitch, our items were waiting in our hotel room in Kyoto when we got there!

Having the freedom to move through busy parts of your itinerary unencumbered is amazing. Sure there are luggage lockers in many places (the one time I tried to snag one they were full) but we didn’t always go and come back the same way.

Some visitors also use Ta-Q-Bin on the day they arrive in Japan. While the service generally calls for about 48 hours of lead time, Yamato offers same-day service within Tokyo from the airports if your flight comes in early enough. That means you can drop off your luggage when you arrive and immediately go sightseeing without stopping at your hotel first!

7. Engage with Japanese people

While it’s true that Japanese people are generally quiet and respectful in public, don’t let that scare you from interacting. Overall we found warmth, generosity and an overwhelming desire to help us as tourists – all of this despite the understandable language barrier.

We encountered kindnesses of all sizes, from the businessman who went ten minutes out of his way to help us find a hidden train station to the young people who saw us picnicking and offered us a spare tarp to sit on. Even though there are differences in how we approach public life, plenty of Japanese people we met were happy to chat about their favorite restaurants, the sports teams they support and all of the other normal aspects of daily life.

Private or small-group tours are a great way to forge those connections, even for the DIY traveler. You’ll have an opportunity to ask all of your burning questions about life in Japan and hear an insider’s perspective from someone who is eager to be a bridge.

8. Don’t be afraid of unfamiliar (or inexpensive!) foods

I’m not afraid to say that Japan’s food scene is incredible. Whether you’re craving fresh, creative, comforting or affordable you’ll find it in spades. But the most important thing to bring when you dine (other than perhaps a reservation) is an open mind.

You’ll undoubtedly encounter plenty of foods in Japan that you never imagined, from cabbage-laden okonomiyaki to octopus-filled takoyakio to sakura mochi wrapped in salt-pickled leaves for dessert. As long as they’re within any particular dietary restrictions you have, give it all a shot!

On the note of dietary restrictions, be sure to have your Google Translate app ready at restaurants if you’re particular about what you’re eating. It can be tough.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for pork-free ramen or vegan ramen in Tokyo, don’t miss the rainbow ramen at Afuri. There are locations throughout the city.

By the same token, don’t discriminate against affordable food in Japan. There are plenty of solid options where you can get yakitori , sushi or fried chicken for just a few dollars and they’re absolutely delicious. Many Japanese people grab sandwiches or other simple lunch foods at convenience stores like 7-11 or Lawson’s – these are perfect to bring along for a lunch picnic in one of the thousands of beautiful parks you’ll stumble across.

I’ll be honest and say that we had one of our most filling and satisfying breakfasts at Denny’s of all places – but it was delicious chicken and rice porridge for the adults and broiled salmon with rice for the kids. You could eat for $15-20 per day and really enjoy a huge range of Japanese food!

9. Plan some unique activities

With the ever-increasing costs of flights and hotels, it’s tempting to try to save on other parts of your trip to Japan. There are plenty of free things to do in Japan, from visiting all of the unique temples and shrines to searching out your favorite garden.

But it would be a shame to miss out on some of the more unique things to do in Japan that you have to pay for. Check out some of these great only-in-Japan experiences that we loved:

  • Take an in-home cooking class
  • Dress in a kimono and participate in a traditional tea ceremony
  • Attend a sumo tournament
  • Stay in a traditional ryokan where you can enjoy everything from sleeping on futons to soaking in an onsen to dining on a local gourmet breakfast

Of course there are a million other things you can do in Japan! One fact is certain: no matter where you go or what you, you’ll walk away anticipating your next visit.

Planning your trip to Japan

I hope these travel tips for Japan have give you the confidence to plan your own adventure!

Ready to dive in? Don’t miss these helpful resources for planning your own Japan trip!

  • Buy your Japan Rail Pass
  • Best Things to do in Japan With Kids: A Kid’s Take
  • Essential Japan Itinerary: 10 Days of Family-Friendly Travel
  • What to Pack for Japan in Spring (and What to Leave at Home)
  • Things to do in Tokyo With Kids: Itinerary for 4 Days of Old and New
  • The Best Hotels in Tokyo for Families (and How to Choose Yours)
  • Visiting Kyoto With Kids: 2+ Day Itinerary + Must-Read Travel Tips
  • Best Family Hotels in Kyoto
  • Awesome Pokémon Things to do in Japan
  • Visiting the A-Bomb Sites in Hiroshima with Kids
  • 10 Japan Cultural Activities & Attractions For Your Bucket List

The post 9 Tips for Japan Travel You Can’t Afford To Miss appeared first on The Family Voyage .

For an amazing trip, you can't miss these tips for Japan travel! You'll learn how to ensure a smooth journey from start to finish while you go on the adventure of a lifetime.

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We asked, you answered: Parent-approved tips on traveling with kids under 2

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Becky Harlan

Photograph of a baby sitting next to an open carryon suitcase filled with clothing and other travel items, all against a light pink backdrop.

Last month, Life Kit asked parents to share their go-to advice for traveling with babies and toddlers under age 2 as part of an episode we did on the subject. Over 200 folks responded with tips they wish they'd known before taking a big trip with a little one.

Reading through these responses, it became clear there's no magic hack that works for every kid. Some parents swore by sticking to their kid's sleep schedule on a trip, others said their vacation was smoother when they let the usual routine go. Some sang the praises of the overnight flight (so their child would sleep on the plane), others said their child has never slept more than 10 minutes on a plane no matter the timing.

I flew to Japan with my baby. Here's the travel advice that helped me survive the trip

I flew to Japan with my baby. Here's the travel advice that helped me survive the trip

A few pieces of advice held true throughout. A hungry kid is an unpleasant kid, and children are messy. So packing lots of snacks, extra diapers and a change of clothes ranked high on the list of must-dos. Almost 40 of over 200 responses suggested packing extra outfits in your carry-on for your kid and for you. (If your charge spits up, throws up, blows out or spills it will also get on you!)

So here's a non-exhaustive, impossible-to-be-comprehensive, but-hopefully-still-helpful round-up of your top advice for traveling with little kids. These responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What to pack

A stroller that can be stored in the overhead bin. It's a game changer to not have to check clunky strollers at the gate or check-in counters. —Amy P.

A change of clothes for yourself. If the baby spits up or has a blowout, there's a high likelihood that the mess will end up on you too, especially if you're holding them. Also, be sure to bring a bag to put messy clothes in. Reusable waterproof bags are great and they keep the smell in! —Jenna Yount

Extra diapers. You think you will be fine but if something comes up it's not a good situation to be in. —Jeanna Limtiaco

Overnight diapers. Fewer diaper changes in transit makes everyone happier. —Samantha Warren

Snacks. Remember, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration allows for any size baby food [and baby or toddler beverage], so pack those pouches! —Clara W.

Meds you and your kids might need in flight. That includes chewable Tylenol, Imodium, Dramamine, Zofran, ginger chews, Band-Aids and alcohol wipes. —Paige Ellis

A dark-colored bath towel. It's a blanket, it's for tidying up, it's a tablecloth, it's a sun cover, it shields bottoms from hot slides, it dries off swings. It's a multi-tasking powerhouse. —Judith Heise

Consider what may make sense to buy, rent or borrow upon arrival. You don't need to stuff everything into your suitcase. Buy some of your diapers and snacks at your destination. See if you can borrow or rent large, bulky items like car seats or travel cribs from Facebook Marketplace or your hotel or Airbnb. —Jocelyn Newman

How to get through the flight

Get to your gate an hour before boarding. It gives you time to feed your child, change their diapers, have a cup of coffee and fill your water bottle. It can also help your kid let out their energy before they have to sit on the plane. —Shelly C.

Check the airport for family friendly spaces. Use nursing spaces or pods and family restrooms to reset as needed. Check lounges for nursing and play rooms. —Sara Conger

Take an early morning flight. Those are least likely to get delayed, which is important when traveling with kids. —Carina Ochoa

Parenthood Is A Shock To The System. These Tips Can Help You With The Transition

Parenthood Is A Shock To The System. These Tips Can Help You With The Transition

Board with your partner separately. If you're traveling with two caregivers, have one go on the plane first with all the stuff and do the gate-checking of the stroller while the other hangs back with the kids until the last minute. It gives kids more time to run around! —Andrea De Francesca

Get a plane seat for your kid. Even though many airlines allow kids under 2 to fly for free as a lap baby, if you can afford to get them their own seat, it is worth it. It is recommended for safety to have them in a car seat, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, and the extra space for them to move around is nice. —Nicole Shelledy

Be ready for motion sickness. We were not prepared for how easily some little ones get motion sickness on an airplane. Have throw-up bags handy at all times. —Tiff Bankhurst

Prevent ear discomfort. Sucking during take off and landing may help relieve ear discomfort. My babies have flown with me from 4 weeks onward and never had a problem as long as they had a bottle or sippy cup or straw to suck on. —Shelly Ransom

Don't plan on them sleeping on the plane. It's great if they do, but if it doesn't happen, you'll be frustrated. —Colleen Mayerhoff

Don't worry too much about your kid "bothering" other people. The vast majority of people don't care, and many have been in the same situation you've been in and feel nothing but empathy for you. As for those who do care, they are not guaranteed a child-free existence in public. Kids are part of society too, and they are also allowed to take up space. —Jenna Yount

Make friends with the flight crew. They're going to help, they've got more experience than you, and they also want the flight to be pleasant. —April Graham

Save the screens for the flight. If you're using a screen, wait until you're on the plane. While you're waiting in the terminal, let them move as much as possible. Find an empty gate and play Simon Says, see who can jump in one place the longest, do animal charades. Let them go wild. —Paige Ellis

Download age-appropriate shows for your child on an iPad. (But know that if your kid is under age 2 they'll mostly just want to push the buttons.) —Chantel Dockstader

Travel hacks

Find a lodging close to a grocery store and a park. It makes it easy to buy last-minute things and burn off their energy easily at a park. —Gillian Molina

Dress your young kids in bright, matching shirts. I once traveled alone when my kids were 2, 4 and 6. We all wore matching yellow shirts so people could see we were together. —Emily Hernandez

If you want to let your little one crawl around , bring a pair of socks that you can put over their hands. Then you don't have to worry about dirty hands afterward. —Shannon Geraghty

Hire a photographer. You'll have photos with everyone in them, maybe get to see some scenic parts of the city you hadn't seen before. Dress up, wear matching outfits, be extra! They're only little once. —Tina Doyle

Helpful mindsets

It's not a vacation. It's a trip. You're just parenting in a new place. Set your expectations accordingly. —Laura Henriquez

The airport/train/bus/car is not the time to enforce the normal at-home rules. Do you want Doritos at 7 a.m. at the airport? OK. Do you want to watch 20 episodes of Blippi on the plane? No problem. There are no rules when traveling. This also makes traveling fun for kids because they get to do something different. —Meg Houston

Build in extra time to do things. It will decrease the chances of you and your child getting into stressful situations. —Cori DeLano

You're not going to get as much done as you think with a kiddo in tow. Think about things like nap schedule, traveling with a stroller, meltdowns, diaper changes. On my most "successful" trip with my kiddo, we planned one big activity a day and left the rest of the day open with some general ideas and left room for flexibility. —Whitney Winters

They might not remember, but you will. —Nina Hartman

The digital story was edited by Malaka Gharib. The visual editor is Beck Harlan. We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at [email protected].

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9 Health Travel retreats to book in 2024

Prioritise your wellness this year with these rejuvenating holidays

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Booking a holiday with Health Travel comes with a slew of perks, too, including competitive hotel rates, VIP status and a WhatsApp concierge service throughout your trip.

1. Begin your healing journey in Thailand

a group of people holding hands

Wellness isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Bangkok. Yet, hidden among the lush jungles of Bang Krachao lies RAKxa Integrative Wellness , a retreat offering science-backed insights into your health, thanks to its VitalLife Scientific Wellness Centre. The medical spa uses integrative diagnosis to identify the cause of ailments, and offers tailored detoxing and de-stressing therapies, such as cryosauna and light therapy.

Mixing modern medicine with traditional practices, the retreat promotes Thai, Chinese and Ayurvedic healing, and serves anti-inflammatory cuisine at its UNAM restaurant.

2. Find family wellness in the Middle East

zulal wellness resort, al ruwais

Tucked away on the Arabian Gulf, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som offers a holistic health experience for the whole family, with tailored programmes for adults and children of all ages. Zulal Discovery focuses on instilling healthy habits in families, offering creative and musical activities; outdoor adventures such as stargazing and kayaking, and even children's reiki treatments — with over 400 activities in all, tailored by age group. Meanwhile, the adults-only Zulal Serenity incorporates wellness treatments such as invigorating massage, guided pranayama and advanced physiotherapy into its extensive health programmes.

The integrative retreat by Chiva-Som blends Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine (TAIM) with its own expert wellbeing philosophies to encourage different generations to reconnect, strengthen familial bonds and inspire a wellness-orientated lifestyle.


3. Rebalance your body in Spain

a pool with chairs and umbrellas

Holidays can often leave us feeling sluggish, thanks to overindulgence and time away from our usual routines. But at Health Travel’s Camiral Golf & Wellness Resort in Spain’s Catalonia region, guests can combine relaxing golf, pilates or yoga sessions and personalised mind and body treatments with adventurous outdoor pursuits, such as cycling and hiking, for a serene escape from daily life.

Its 1,000 square metre Wellness Centre offers a comprehensive approach to healthy living, whether you seek detox, downtime, or a boost in immunity. Nestled in the luxurious Camiral Hotel, part of The Leading Hotels of the World, this retreat combines stylish accommodation with health-focused Mediterranean cuisine using seasonal, locally-sourced produce.

And should you crave some culture during your stay, the pretty medieval city of Girona is a 20-minute drive away.


4. Embrace personal transformation in the Maldives

a group of boats sit on the water

With its secluded white sand beaches, azure blue waters, exotic coral reefs and overwater villas, the Maldives is the ideal setting for a transformative experience. At JOALI BEING in Raa Atoll, programmes are curated around four pillars: Mind, Skin, Microbiome and Energy. Guests can take part in personalised wellness experiences such as the Discovery Sound Path and hydrotherapy treatments at KAASHI, enjoy earth-to-table dining at FLOW, and learn about the healing power of herbs at the resort’s herbology centre, AKTAR.

Surrounded by stunning views of the Indian Ocean, JOALI BEING’s private villas have been designed with biophilic principles in mind, connecting guests to the natural paradise that encircles them.


5. Bathe in hot springs in the Tuscan hills

adler spa resort thermae, tuscany

It’s long been recognised that harnessing the power of natural thermal water can provide us with numerous health benefits, thanks to the high percentage of minerals and trace elements found in the water. ADLER Spa Resort Thermae , found in the beautiful Italian village of Bagno Vignoni, utilises the therapeutic properties of the Orcia Valley’s 2,000-year-old spring to rejuvenate its guests from November to March, drawing inspiration from ancient Roman spa traditions.

With the calming Tuscan countryside as a backdrop, the resort combines its panoramic thermal water pools with top-class spa facilities, including five distinct saunas and two revitalising refreshments bars, to provide the perfect holistic experience for guests.


6. Strengthen your connection in Northern Italy, Dolomites

a wooden deck with white tables and white tables and white curtains

Reconnect with your partner under the Mediterranean sun and snow-capped mountains of South Tyrol’s Preidlhof Luxury DolceVita Resort . Its unique microclimate courtesy of its location on the 46th parallel of latitude, which maximises sunshine, makes it a year-round destination for rejuvenation.

The adults-only resort boasts nine signature retreats, a 360-degree approach to wellness focusing on physical, energetic, psychological and emotional health, and spa facilities that mirror Preidlhof’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. Couples can take part in the Wellness for Two programme to enjoy tailored treatments such as joint aromatherapy massage in the garden spa, shared Hammam experiences and romantic dinners for two.


7. Discover culinary delights in the Swiss Alps

This is an image

They say that true wellness starts from within – and that’s certainly the case at Switzerland’s Grand Resort Bad Ragaz . Having received six Michelin Stars, a green Michelin Star and 76 Gault Millau points across its seven restaurants, guests can look forward to a gastronomic feast of local and Swiss Alpine cuisine, Asian specialties and award-winning pinot noirs that are indigenous to the surrounding Bündner Herrschaft region.

As well as its culinary offerings, Bad Ragaz boasts one of Europe’s largest natural thermal spas, set against the peaceful backdrop of the Swiss lakes and mountains. The steam that rises from the surface of the mineral-rich thermal water certainly makes for a memorable experience, while the healing powers of trace elements in the water can help with a number of health conditions, from cardiovascular, rheumatic, metabolic and respiratory issues, to overall wellbeing.


8. Rejuvenate your health in Switzerland

a building with glass walls and trees

Longevity has become something of a buzzword in the wellness industry over the last few years, but ever since it opened in 1931, Clinique La Prairie (or CLP, as its known by its legion of fans) has been at the forefront of this movement, developing its own CLP Longevity Method™ using its founder’s pioneering rejuvenation research.

Employing over 50 medical specialists, CLP is known for its comprehensive week-long revitalisation programmes, aimed at those aged 35 and over. Using a targeted medical approach, it aims to fortify the immune system, combat signs of ageing, promote cell regeneration using cutting-edge technologies, and use DNA predictive testing to identify and prevent long-term health risks. Guests can also look forward to relaxing treatments and panoramic views of the Swiss mountains, courtesy of the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the spa’s futuristic curved pool.


9. Restore your vitality in the English countryside

a table with bowls of food and plates of food

On the outskirts of central London lies the opulent Georgian manor Fairmont Windsor Park – an historic hotel-turned-wellness retreat that offers guests a chance to escape the daily grind. With extensive grounds, sophisticated accommodation and dedicated wellbeing, yoga and Pilates retreats, the luxurious facilities provide the perfect setting for mind and body rejuvenation.

The hotel’s collaboration with Health Travel introduced its one-night Overall Wellbeing Retreat – which includes countryside hikes, breathwork sessions and nourishing brunches at the spa’s Greens Café – along with its specialised yoga and Pilates retreats. Run by seasoned instructors, these programmes offer a mix of restorative movements, healthy dining options and nutrition talks – with a focus on honing skills and improving mental wellness through meditation.


To discover your next wellness holiday, visit Health Travel

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Why your beach hotel has ‘that’ smell

You know the one -- that lingering musty, mildewy scent.

9 tips to travel

When I walked into a motel room at a waterfront spot in Cape Cod in October, I was hit with a musty, dank smell. You can probably smell it, too, as you read this.

As a frequent road tripper, I knew what it was. I had smelled the exact same thing in hotels and motels in St. Petersburg, Fla., Jekyll Island, Ga., and Wildwood, N.J. It was mold.

Mold and mildew (which is a kind of mold) is a constant scourge in air-conditioned, waterfront buildings in humid climates, said Christian Kaltreider, a systems engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory . Rooms like mine in Cape Cod, during an early fall week when it was still humid enough to need an air conditioner, create prime conditions for mold spores always present in the air to grow.

“A body of water is a constant source of water vapor to the air around it, which will result in a general increase in humidity in the surrounding air,” said Kaltreider, who studies energy efficiency in buildings. Humid air, in turn, will condense on cold surfaces. Much like dew collecting on grass, it will hit cold surfaces in an air conditioning room, and settle down.

If that’s on a mold-friendly organic food source, which can be paper that’s part of drywall, wood products, air conditioning filters or just dust — the mold will latch on and start to grow.

What hotels do to fight the smell

If rooms in hotel, motel and short-term vacation rentals in these climates are not regularly and ruthlessly cleaned , and/or air conditioner filters are not routinely changed, then that stink in my Cape Cod hotel room can result. I suspect it came most from the air conditioning unit, because when I pried off the cover, I saw the filter was full. That’s not uncommon mold smell source, said Kaltreider, because air conditioning units dehumidify air. If they aren’t properly cleaned and maintained themselves, they become a hotel for mold, too, and “now it’s just being blown into the air from the unit itself.”

Generally, mildew and mold can be kept at bay by rigorous cleaning routines , said Steve Turk, founder of Turk Hospitality Ventures, which works with vacation rentals in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. “If those establishments don’t have a regular inspection and protocol, that smell starts to come through. They’re not really treating this right away,” he said.

Older curtains and carpets may also be a culprit, when moisture continues to seep into rooms “and mold spores build up,” he added. When his company takes over a property, they may replace those drapes with mold resistant ones, and get rid of carpets all together to prevent a similar thing from happening over time again.

Hotel engineers should also be checking air conditioning filters at least monthly, and bathrooms should regularly be inspected, because that’s the spot in any vacation rental that’s going to be the most humid, especially after showers.

That smell can still be present even if these typical problem spots look pristine, Kaltreider said. Sometimes mold can end up trapped in walls, especially if they’re covered in a vinyl-type wallpaper. The moisture has nowhere to go, so it, and the mold digs in. If that’s the case, there’s nothing anyone can do in the short term, except close the room to visitors entirely.

What you can do if you have a beach-stink room

As a guest, you have a few options if you’re stuck in a stinky room, experts said. You can always ask for another room, said David Mariotti, divisional vice president of operations at Remington Hospitality, a hotel management company. “That next room might be more comfortable, and have less of that aroma,” he said.

If you can’t be moved, or realize that every room has the same smelly issue, you can ask the hotel or motel for a dehumidifier to run in your room, Mariotti said. It’s not uncommon for hotels and motels to have a few, if they’re based in humidity-prone areas.

If you’re nosy like me and see that an air conditioner unit’s filter is dirty, or suspect that’s the source of the smell, he said you can also ask for it to be changed; or if you spot mold on a curtain, let the hotel know.

When seeking these kinds of adjustments, especially if the person at the front desk is less than helpful, ask for the executive housekeeper or director of engineering, since these issues fall directly in their domains, Mariotti said. And if you can’t work things out with whoever is on site at the time, take pictures — the last thing a business owner wants is pictures of mold showing up on travel review websites like Tripadvisor.

If you or someone in your traveling party is especially prone to breathing issues (and it’s not a pain to lug one around), you can also travel with your own air purifier — not unlike what many of us bought due to the pandemic. Kaltreider said to look for purifiers that have filters with a MERV-13 or higher, or a HEPA filter. “Those levels of filtration will remove mold spores and make for cleaner breathing,” he said. While air fresheners or disinfectants make mask the smell a bit, they won’t get rid of it, or the root of the problem, he added.

I ended up doing nothing about my Cape Cod room. I was only there for three nights, and to me, it was more an annoyance than a breathing problem. I did, however, tell the motel in their post-stay survey what I thought about the smell of the room. And when I head out to my next beachfront hotel? I’ll be ready should I encounter that ick.

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness . Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare , including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario , from canceled flights to lost luggage . Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas , including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed . Submit your question here . Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves .

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