Traveling can offer you the most amazing experiences in the world. But if you’re not used to it, travel can also be quite daunting and stressful. So if you’ve never traveled before or are looking to experience more, here are a few expert tips to help you out on your next adventure.
One of the best travel tips is to travel light. These days flight cancellations and delays happen regularly, so traveling with a carry-on means adapting to tight connections without waiting for your bags.
Packing light also gives you more freedom and flexibility when you travel. You can move around more easily, not get weighed down by luggage, and take advantage of spontaneous opportunities.
If you rent a car at your destination, you can skip ahead of the crowds and get to the car rental counter much quicker than those waiting at the baggage carousel.
Get Annual Travel Insurance
A good travel insurance policy gives you peace of mind on your trip. It covers you for unexpected medical emergencies, travel delays, lost luggage, and more. In addition, annual travel insurance is beneficial and significantly cheaper if you travel frequently.
Some credit cards offer travel insurance as a benefit so check to see if your card has this perk before buying a separate policy. And check the fine print to ensure whichever travel insurance policy you buy includes air ambulance coverage.
Work on Your Packing Habits
Don’t leave packing to the last minute. Start at least a few days in advance and coordinate interchangeable outfits so you can pack lighter. Use packing cubes to organize your suitcase. They’re great for maximizing space and keeping your clothes wrinkle-free.
Save space in your suitcase and make packing easier by planning your outfits. First, lay out all the clothes you want to bring and mix and match them to create different outfits. That will also help you pack fewer shoes since you can wear the same pair with multiple outfits.
Pack Essential Items in Your Carry-on
In addition to travel insurance, always pack essential items in your carry-on. That includes medications, travel documents, a change of clothes, and electronics chargers. Then, if your flight is delayed or canceled, you’ll have everything you need to make the most of the unexpected situation.
If you are heading from a cold climate to a warm destination, pack a pair of flip-flops in your carry-on to slip into when you reach your destination. Flip flops don’t take up much room, and you will be thankful to get out of your socks and boots when that blast of warm air hits!
Create a Packing List
Create a travel packing list of everything you need for your trip to make packing easy. If you make an effort to make a list once, you can reuse it for every trip, updating it as you need. That will help ensure you don’t forget anything essential and help keep your luggage organized.
If you want to go one step further, consider making specific travel packing lists for summer/beach vacations, winter/ski vacations, etc. You can also make specific lists for road trips and camping trips.
You will be amazed at how much stress you will remove by creating these packing lists.
Dress for Comfort
When you travel, comfort should be your number one priority. Wearing loose and comfortable clothing will make traveling long distances easier to deal with inevitable travel delays.
You should also dress for the climate and environment. If you’re spending time outdoors, pack appropriate clothing and footwear. And if you’re traveling to a hot climate, loose and breathable clothing is a must.
Please don’t pull out those clothes hanging in your closet for years because you think you will wear them on vacation. Chances are, if you don’t wear them at home, you probably won’t wear them on vacation, and they will end up taking up precious room in your luggage.
Eat Away From Tourist Attractions
If you want to save money and better understand the local culture, eat away from tourist attractions. Restaurants in touristy areas tend to be more expensive and geared towards tourists.
Instead, do a little research or ask a local for recommendations on where to find the best restaurants. You will save money, but you’ll also try some authentic local dishes.
Choose the Right Bag
The type of travel bag you take with you makes a big difference. A travel backpack is often the best option as it evenly distributes the weight and frees up your hands. A carry-on bag with organizational pockets will be game-changing if you like to be organized. If you’re traveling with a lot of gear, a rolling suitcase is also a good option. And if you’re traveling with just a few items, a tote bag or crossbody purse will do the trick.
Be aware of the size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage on the airlines you’ll be traveling with, and choose your travel bag accordingly.
Pack Toiletries That You Can Use for Multiple Purposes
Save space in your travel toiletry bag by packing items that serve multiple purposes. For example, you can use lip balm as a lip moisturizer and sunscreen. You can use coconut oil as a hair treatment, a body moisturizer, and a makeup remover.
Other great multi-purpose travel toiletries include face wipes, travel towels, shampoo/conditioner combo, conditioner as shaving cream, double-ended makeup brushes, and a straightener as a curling iron.
Book Flights in Opposite Seasons
If you have the flexibility, book your flights during the opposite season of when you want to travel. For example, if you wish to fly to Europe in the summer, book your flights at the beginning of winter for the best prices.
While celebrating July 4th festivities, it is the perfect time to book your Christmas and New Year’s getaways.
You can also save money by booking flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, typically the cheapest days to fly.
Be Willing To Travel During Shoulder Season
Shoulder season is the time between peak travel season and off-peak travel season. That is often the best time to travel as the weather is still lovely, but there are fewer crowds and lower prices.
September is one of the most beautiful months to travel to many destinations. Families with kids are back in school, most tourists are back home, and the weather is still warm but not too hot.
If your travel goals include visiting popular tourist destinations, travel during the shoulder season to avoid the crowds and save money.
No matter how well you plan your trip, there will always be things that don’t go according to plan. However, learning to roll with the punches and going with the flow will help you travel more easily and stress-free.
Forget about perfection and embrace imperfection on your travels. After all, the imperfections make the journey so exciting and fun.
Don’t Forget an Adapter
If you’re traveling internationally, don’t forget to pack a travel adapter so you can charge your electronics. Different countries have different electrical outlets, so it’s essential to check what type of adapter you need for the country or countries you’ll be visiting.
There are some great all-in-one adapters on the market with retractable plugs for each type and various USB ports, including Type A, Type C, and Micro-USB.
Download Offline Maps
If you’re traveling to an area with spotty cell service or data coverage, download offline maps of the area before you go.
Several great apps allow you to download maps for offline use, including Google Maps, HERE WeGo, and Maps.me. With offline maps, you’ll be able to navigate your way around even if you can’t get online.
Wake Up Early To Avoid the Crowds
If you want to avoid the crowds, wake up early and get out there before everyone else. Many of the most popular tourist attractions open early in the morning so you can beat the crowds and have the place almost to yourself.
Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll also get to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. And if you are looking to take some great photos for your travel photo books, the morning light is perfect for photography. You will also have fewer people in your images during those early morning outings.
Learn a Few Foreign Words
Learning a few words and phrases in the local language will go a long way in helping you travel like a pro. Of course, it will help you get around more easily, but locals will also appreciate your efforts.
Start with some basics like hello, goodbye, please, and thank you. Then, once you’ve mastered those, try learning a few more phrases that will come in handy while you travel.
Write Down the Address of Your Hotel
When traveling internationally, you will be required to provide the address of your accommodations when going through customs. To avoid any problems, make sure to write down the address of your hotel or accommodation before you travel.
You can also use a service like Google Maps to find the address and then save it offline to access it even if you don’t have data or Wi-Fi.
If you’re going to be traveling to a place where you don’t speak the language, make sure to write down the address of your hotel before you go. It will come in handy if you need to take a taxi or ask for directions.
It’s also a good idea to have a business card or two from your hotel to show to a taxi driver or someone who can help you find your way.
Make Sure You Have Enough Storage on Your Phone
If you’re taking a lot of photos and videos on your trip, make sure you have enough storage on your phone. No one wants to run out of storage space in the middle of a trip and have to delete all their photos.
Before you travel, clear out any unwanted files and apps from your phone and make sure you have enough space to store all the new memories you will be making.
Pack Your Own Water Bottle
You’ll save money and reduce waste if you pack a water bottle when you travel. Bring an empty water bottle with you and fill it up once you’ve gone through security at the airport.
Many airports now have water fountains where you can fill up your bottle, or if you’re traveling in the US, you can take advantage of the free water refills at most fast-food restaurants.
You can fill your water bottle each morning at your accommodation before you venture out instead of buying water in the middle of your day’s adventures.
Pack Good Travel Shoes
One of the essential things to pack for travel is good walking shoes. Chances are, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, often much more than you would walk at home. Therefore, you want to make sure you have comfortable shoes that won’t give you blisters. If you buy new shoes for your vacation, spend a few days breaking them in first before traveling.
With a bit of preparation and these handy tips, you can enjoy your travels to the fullest. Experiencing new cultures and seeing amazing things is what travel is all about, so get out there and explore the world. Safe and happy travels!
Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous, young boys. She is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate who grew up in Toronto with Danish roots. Casandra has visited over 20 countries on three continents often with her two boys in tow!