With the right advice, anyone can easily plan a trip that will be safe, affordable, and enjoyable. Ahead are a collection of tips that will help you plan a great trip and turn you into a seasoned pro.
To save money when booking airline flights, check the round-trip prices — even if you only want to fly one way to a destination. Thanks to quirky airline policies, sometimes it’s less expensive to purchase a round trip to your desired locale than to fly one way. At least if that happens, you can save money by buying the round-trip tickets anyway and simply not take the return flight back.
To help you avoid paying excess airline baggage fees on your return trip, when you are more likely to have souvenirs to bring home, pack old clothing and shoes that you might want to give away. Then, when you are packing to come home, you can leave or donate the old clothing and shoes to make room in your luggage if necessary.
Don’t tempt robbers! Especially when traveling abroad or in unsafe areas, don’t make your belongings look tempting to steal. Instead of carrying around shiny new backpacks and gear, use older things. If you don’t have any older gear that will work, stick some duct tape on your new pack to give the impression that it is older.
Book your reservations and flights with the exact name shown on your government identification card. Although you may typically go by a nickname or middle name, for the purpose of ticketing, use your given name. Small name differences can be a huge headache when trying to get through security, especially abroad where it isn’t obvious that Bill is short for William.
If you’re on vacation and you arrive at the hotel only to find out that you left the charger to your cell phone, video game, tablet, or whatever at home, don’t panic! Go down to the front desk and ask nicely if they have one you can use. Most hotels have a box of chargers that past guests have left behind and you can probably find one that fits your device.
Learn to take it easy. You do not have to follow a strict schedule when you are traveling. If you feel like you must schedule out your vacation, at least pen in a little “nothing” time, where you are free to follow up on anything that has interested you, or just lay by the pool with a drink.
If you’re going to be going on a road trip, make sure you pack a tire repair kit! You never know where you might be when you get a flat tire and it’s better safe than sorry. If you don’t have one and have to call of tow truck you may be looking at expensive charges and a ruined trip.
If you are traveling abroad, it’s a wise idea to sign up with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free government service for citizens of the United States who live in a foreign country or are planning to visit one. Providing STEP with your contact information and some details on your trip allows them to contact you in the event of an emergency and to advise you of travel warnings and alerts.
Taking your credit cards with you on a trip is a great way to have access to any money you may need. In addition, they will help to provide a list of your expenses, and generally offer good exchange rates. However, before you leave for your trip, you should notify the credit card provider about your trip, this is so they won’t block any transactions from the new location.
Snap a few pictures of your meals while traveling. The different foods you eat while on your vacation can be as memorable as anything else you do during your trip. Looking back at the pictures years later can be a great way to reminisce about the experience you had and will inevitably bring up interesting stories about the places you visited.
Try not make yourself look like a tourist. Robbers will think they can take advantage of you if you are not from their country. You can make yourself inconspicuous by not taking out a map and pulling out large amounts of money. Make it look like you know where you are going.
When traveling, always keep a few snacks in your bag. Airline food can be expensive. Having to stop for snacks when you’re in the car can take time. A few small granola bars or crackers won’t take up much space and can save you both time and money.
Make sure to buy durable luggage. It is bad enough that you may have a lot of items with you and your bags may already be heavy when you leave for your trip. While you are on the trip, chances are you will purchase souvenirs, and other similar items. You want to have sturdy, durable luggage to hold these items.
If you are on a special diet, call your hotel or other accommodation and tell them so. These days, many businesses aim to keep their customers happy. If you let them know in advance that you require certain foods, chances are they will make sure they have the food available for you when you arrive.
Bring your camera, wallet and other valuables wherever you go. For instance, if you are visiting a beach when on vacation, do not leave your belongings on the sand if you go in the water. This makes it very easy for anyone to steal your possessions when you are not looking.
While packing, try to keep your belongings as light as possible to reduce the amount of tension on your back. The last thing that you will want is to have to transport heavy bags from one place to another with items that you do not need. Stay practical to optimize your traveling experience.
Use what you learned in this article to get your trip off to a great start. You want to be safe, and you want to make smart decisions so that you encounter nothing but fun.