Every traveler wants a stress free trip, no matter where in the world they are going. Whether a trip is for business or pleasure, long lines, delayed flights or lost luggage are just a few of the things that can ruin what is meant to be a fantastic getaway. The one thing every experienced traveler will tell you is that sometimes you have to roll with the punches and stay calm. This is great advice, but sometimes a little extra preparation can go a long way in making sure your trip goes exactly as you planned.
These travel tips from travel enthusiasts will hopefully make your next trip a (slightly) less bumpy ride.
54. No One Sent Me
53. Leave On Thanks Giving
If you are leaving the country (United States) and can swing it, leave on thanksgiving. It’s an American holiday and people are traveling state to state. Ticket prices go WAY down if you are leaving the country. Few years ago I wanted to go to Ireland and booked my tickets 2 months in advance. Tickets were around 1,200 dollars every day except Thanksgiving which dropped to 550. Have done this every Thanksgiving since.
52. Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn
Spend less on where you stay, use those savings going it to do something. Spend less time in the hotel. The only time in in the hotel is to sleep or eat. I stay busy.
Allow two days when you get back home, off work. You’ll want time to rest and recuperate.
Have your house 100% clean before you leave for vacation.
51. Bum Rush Hour
I did this in both Bali and Thailand. When you land at the airport, you will be bum rushed by tons of “taxi” drivers. EVERYONE just comes at you. So I would wear sunglasses no matter what time of day, earphones in my ear connected to my phone and pretend like I’m on the phone talking to someone. Walk out of the airport, breathe, and then find the reputable taxi drivers. I travel alone a lot and this was huge for me. Just act like you know what you’re doing and where you’re going.
Also, when in Asia most towns now have ATM’s everywhere, but your pin better be 5 digits or less because a lot of the ATMs are old and they can’t accept more that 5 characters. I was screwed one time when this happened to me. If you have a pin longer than 5 characters, change it in the USA before you leave.
50. Free WiFi
49. Did You Get That?
The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests.
Enjoy your flight.
48. I Am My Own Chef
I always, always put a couple large bottles of water, some easy snacks/food and a ramen noodle cup in my checked bag. The airplane trip gets the bottled water to a great, cold temp and when I arrive at my destination I also have something to drink and eat so I don’t have to worry about getting ripped off by hotel charges and there’s no stress about having to find something when I arrive. This works really well too when I am jet-lagged and get up in the middle of the night in a hotel without food options.
47. LOUD NOISES
On the plane, when you go to sleep, disconnect your headphones from the seat.
Regardless of the volume you were watching that rerun of friends, the announcements come through at 139 1/2 decibels, and it takes a good 45 minutes for your heart rate to return to resting, let alone sleeping.
46. Be A Sheep
45. Do It Yourself
44. Taking Photos
Make the first photo you take of the place you’re visiting a photo of the place’s name (Like the train terminal or similar). That way you’ll be able to work out later where you took all your photo’s that day.
43. Big In Japan
If you’re traveling to Japan, buy some hand-sanitizer and a handkerchief when you arrive. There were a ton of bathrooms that didn’t have paper towels/hand dryers and some that didn’t even have soap, so having a way to dry and/or clean your hands is a life saver.
Also, the two most useful phrases you could ever learn for there: ‘Sumimasen’ is basically ‘excuse me’ and it is a polite way to get someone’s attention, get a waitress to come over to your table, get through crowds. Even if that’s all you know and start speaking in English after, it’s very helpful. The other phrase is ‘Eigo no menyu wa arimasu ka?’ (Do you have an English menu?). Every single place I went had either an English menu or a picture menu and you can just point at what you want and say ‘Kore’ (this).
Got us through so much of Japan!
42. Living On The Road
This may be a bit extreme, but in my previous job as a business consultant I traveled about 75% of the year. Here are a few travel tips I’ve picked up and forged for myself to make life as stress-free as possible:
Set one up and use it on a daily basis for a few weeks. It’s far cheaper to buy travel-sized toiletries ONCE and then re-use the containers (within reason – there’s no point in trying to refill a travel-sized toothpaste tube) with the stuff you’ve bought from full-sized products.
By using them for a few weeks, you identify the things that you might have forgotten about – nail clippers, tweezers (for men, I know women wouldn’t forget those, but we need them too on occasion), ibuprofen and some basic first aid (like a couple band-aids, eye drops, etc. don’t go overboard, but if it’s something reasonably common bring it along. If it’s unlikely but possible, wherever you’re going will probably have a drug store nearby. So be reasonable)
The TSA limitation on container size is something like 100ml (about 3 oz.) The natural tendency is to bring the maximum – so you’ve got 100 ml tubes of shampoo, hair product, shaving cream, shower gel…everything. But the fact is if you’re traveling you’ll only probably be gone for one or maybe two weeks. You won’t use that much in that time, so why carry the extra bulk AND WEIGHT? Go with smaller containers like 1.25 oz or so, 2 oz at the most. You’ll be fine.
As soon as you get to your hotel, unpack everything. This will do a few things:
Get you acquainted with the hotel room, which will make it feel more like home
Clear your mind and clear the clutter. With the suitcase put aside in the closet or wherever, you’ve eliminated a visual reminder that you’re somewhere temporary, which again makes you feel more like home. This goes a long way in alleviating stress.
Stick to a routine
If you’re of the sort to go for a run or work out in the morning, continue to do that. If you have a ritual of getting tea in the morning and reading the paper or checking email, then do that.
Our routines are the things we’ve learned to keep us feeling on an even keel, reduce stress, and feel organized. If you’re on vacation, why would you want to feel less organized or more stressed? So fit a few of those key things into your routine. Even if it’s cutting back a bit: if you’re used to running three miles a day, maybe two would suffice. You know your body and mind best, so find what works.
Be a local, not a tourist
Read up in advance or learn while you’re there what the local customs are, and do those. Last time I was in Vancouver I found that on nice evenings people made their way to English Bay Beach, sat on the huge driftwood logs that have been set there, and watch the sun set into the bay. So I did that and enjoyed it immensely.
If the place you’re visiting is mostly vegetarian and you’re not – guess what – make yourself a vegetarian for the week. It won’t kill you and you might have a newfound appreciation for cooking veggies.
Remember: the people around you aren’t strange because they’re different from you; you’re strange because you’re different from them. So embrace it and participate!
Explore on foot
If you’re traveling on business, it’s easy to get into the habit of working during the day and living at your hotel in the evening. Make a point of venturing out every single evening and explore. Head north one evening, south the next, west another and so on. it’s easy to play it safe stick to that one restaurant down the street or that one cafe around the corner. But try something different and you’ll surprise yourself.
Learn the language
You don’t have to be fluent by any means, but if you learn a few basic words or phrases like “please”, “thank you”, etc. You’ll have a better time of interacting with people People will be surprisingly gracious and helpful if you show you’ve made an attempt to connect.
That’s it off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more…
41. Planning Ahead
40. Concierge Marie
The concierge at your hotel is your best friend. If you’re looking for something interesting to do off the beaten path, ask them. Need directions? Ask them. Best food in town? Yup, they know.
While staying in Madrid one year, my mom and I decided that we wanted to see a flamenco show. We asked the concierge for his recommendation. Instead of just telling us where to go, he called up the venue for their showtimes, booked our tickets, gave us written directions for how to get there on public transportation, and told us the best place to sit when we got there. It was a fantastic night out, and he earned himself a nice tip when we left.
39. Almost Like An Old School Map
38. Knowledge Is Power
37. Added Security
36. Be Careful Where You Rent
35. Use A Local Phone Service
Instead of buying an expensive international roaming and data plan from your cell provider, just buy a cheap prepaid rechargeable SIM in whatever country you need service. Having both phone and data makes for a fun traveling experience since you can keep in touch with your people and also post photos, use the GPS, and book Uber/Lyft rides, which are more convenient and usually cheaper than taxis.
34. Maps Matter And Cash Is King
The Maps.me app is the best thing since sliced bread if you don’t have an internet connection. We use it to avoid taxi “long routing.” You show the driver that you know where you are, know where you want to be, and can track it the entire way. Also has been a lifesaver in really remote places, better than paper maps in some cases. We used it all over the Annapurna Circuit last year.
Also, keep some U.S. cash on you as a backup, regardless of where you are in the world. There will be some time, somewhere, where you’re in a pinch, and I guarantee anyone, anywhere will be willing to accept U.S. currency. I’ve gotten weird looks when I show people our awesome Canadian money, doesn’t quite have the same recognition that a greenback does.