10 Greatest Hacks and Tips From Traveling Pros

Ready to learn how the pros pack and travel? Then, we got you covered. After a quick internet poll, these are the top-voted pro travel tips to help you on your journey.

1. Keep Medications in Your Carry On

One person warned others never to put a prescription or medication they cannot live without in their checked luggage. She elaborated, “Keep your medicines in your carry-on, in a clear plastic bag. If you are on prescription opiates, have your doctor write a letter explaining why, as some countries are funny about that.”

2. Clean Your Home Before You Go

Clean your home before leaving on your trip. Coming home to a mess feels terrible when you’re likely exhausted from a plane or long road trip, especially if you have to work the following day. Having a clean house to come home to is a traveling relief.

3. Pack Lightly

Many people agree that overpacking is a big issue. One suggested that she “cringes” whenever she witnesses people packing full-size toiletries. Instead, she urged people to buy travel-size and “take advantage of hotel freebies.”

Another added that people do not care what you look like traveling, so pack fewer clothes—warning that it’s better not to dress fancy like you have money in many places.

4. Use a Fake Wallet

Never keep your genuine wallet where it’s accessible to pickpockets and thieves. One elaborated, “Lock your valuables away and carry a fake wallet with expired credit cards and a few low denomination bills in case you get mugged.

Others argued about the necessity and mocked the notion, suggesting people shouldn’t travel to places that would require they employ the fake wallet tactic.

After someone said, you need one in France. Another argued, “Not all of France, just Paris in particular. Generally, any famous tourist city is a great place to get scammed or pickpocketed, regardless of how safe the rest of the country is.”

5. Carry Cigarettes

Several people suggested carrying cigarettes. “Even if you don’t smoke: buy a pack of cigarettes. You’d be shocked at how often you can get out of iffy situations by offering someone a smoke. Especially people asking you for money – offer them a cigarette, and they’ll almost always be grateful. Don’t forget a lighter.”

6. Buy Bartenders a Drink

“Always buy the bartender a drink,” shared one. “When I was in Japan, this almost always led to complimentary appetizers, free beverages, good conversation, introductions to the bartender’s friends, recommendations to places to eat, and things to see.” Others agreed, adding, “It can also lead to tips for the hot spots on any given night.”

7. Print Out All Your Reservations

Another pro traveler stated, “Print out all your reservations—plane ticket, hotel, hostel, etc. Even if you booked online, having hard copies to show to the agent at the desk ensures you’ll have minimal problems.

An extra step is to take a highlighter or pen with different-colored ink to mark the reservation, booking, and confirmation numbers.

Especially in hostels, I’ve seen backpackers throw temper tantrums because they called or e-mailed the hostel. Still, their booking wasn’t recorded in the system. So the front desk couldn’t help them.”

8. Book Directly Through Airline and Hotel Websites

“Book directly through the airline, rental cars, and hotel websites rather than third-party travel websites,” replied another. “It’s less risk of them losing your reservation. Also, the staff has more flexibility to make adjustments if things change.

They can only change reservations made on their system. I’ve also heard you get better rooms if you book directly with the hotel; conversely, you get worse rooms if you book with a third-party website.”

9. Get Travel Insurance

Get travel insurance,” answered another. “You want U.S. $1 million or more in coverage for emergency evacuation, where you’ll fly to the nearest suitable hospital. And emergency repatriation if you have to fly back to your home country.

Those services can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So a few hundred dollars for travel insurance is a bargain. You’ll want to check if they cover sports activities (like scuba diving) and property loss/damage/theft (like your laptop or camera). They might be included, or you might have to pay extra.

Check with your current insurance provider and see if they offer travel coverage or if they have a partner provider who does. For example, if I’m with Blue Cross Blue Shield, I can use GeoBlue travel insurance.

World Nomads is popular with backpackers. I like International SOS because they’re more than insurance. They’re a medical provider that runs the hospitals and hires doctors.

You won’t have to worry about waiting for claims to get approved before receiving care. Global Rescue is similar. You can also compare shops on InsureMyTrip.com.”

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10. Read Up on Local Scams

Finally, someone volunteered, “Read up on local scams ahead of time. You’ll want to research the country and city-specific cons, though. Nothing ruins a trip like getting scammed or robbed. Google “[your destination] scams,” and 30 minutes of reading could save money or your life. Search YouTube for videos too.”

Honorable Mentions: Let your bank and credit card companies know you’re leaving the country so they don’t freeze accounts. Learn as much as possible about the culture, learn some of the local language before traveling, and exchange money at banks. The worst rates are usually at airports, hotels, and tourist spots.

We hope you enjoyed this Reddit suggestions list of travel tips from the pros. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Savoteur.

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