After more than 12 years of traveling the world, I definitely learned my fair share of lessons. Like when they assaulted me on a train because I let my guard down or when Scott and I showed up at Bozeman airport just to find out that we no longer had car rentals.
Some of these travel mishaps can be avoided and others are only part of the trip. You just can’t plan everything. However, taking into account some important things will make your trips much easier.
I have put together the best travel tips and tricks to help you save money, avoid mistakes and travel like a pro!
We always plan for delays and try not to bother when things inevitably go wrong. Patience is extremely important when traveling!
Make a list
About a week before each trip, I make a mental list of items that I don’t want to forget, that I will forget if I don’t write to them. I learned that when I think of something, I need to write it.
Learn common phrases from the local language.
A simple “please”, “thank you” and “sorry” in the local language is very useful. I also like to learn the word beer, but it’s just me.
Don’t forget an additional camera battery (or two)
Have you ever reached that epic point in the sunset photo and realized that your camera’s battery is low and you have no backup? I try to carry at least three camera batteries on all our trips so as not to lose the perfect shot.
Always bring a sarong
The Sarongs can be used as a wrap when it is cold, a towel, a curtain or a garment that can be used in dozens of different ways. Solid colors are great, but if you want something that stands out, I love this match.
Always buy travel insurance
A medical emergency can void your savings, or worse. We use and rely on World Nomads for travel insurance.
Photocopy important documents
When I was a little over twenty years old, I was very good at keeping a copy of my passport in a separate bag from my real passport. Then I became lazy.
Recently, a friend of mine lost her passport at the airport. They told her that if she brought an extra copy and photos of her passport, they would let her travel. As she did not, she was forced to miss a $ 2,000 flight and a week in Europe. Now I carry a copy with me.
Extra underwear pack
The briefs are small and it is always a good idea to have some additional pairs in case of emergency. Another option is to pack this quick-drying underwear so you can easily wash it on the road.
Plan your clothes in advance
As I am a lazy and last-minute baler, I spent many trips in black or gray clothes because I didn’t plan my clothes before packing. I look at the photos and wish I had tried harder to pack.
Put electronics, medications, toothbrush and an additional pair of underwear in your carry-on luggage
Some important items should always be in hand luggage. A swimsuit is also a good idea if you go on vacation to the beach. You can buy most of these things if you lose your luggage, but having them in your hand luggage will save you time and money if you lose your luggage during transport.
Check the price BEFORE taking public transport
It is a good idea to ask the price before taking a bus, other forms of public transport. We learned our lesson in the Dominican Republic.
Put your room number and hotel address on the phone
Am I the only one who does not remember the number of my hotel room? There must be others like me.
Ask the residents
We always ask locals to indicate the best restaurants, amazing places to watch the sunset, the best cafes, etc. I like to tell people what kind of food I crave. They took me to some interesting restaurants that would not be my first choice.
Beware of free public Wi-Fi
I always try to avoid logging into bank accounts or entering passwords while using free public WIFI in a place like an airport. I’m not as strict as I get to the hotel, especially if they have a password for Wi-Fi.
Alert your bank and credit card company about your travel plans
This is a great habit if you do not want the credit card company or the bank to suspend your card while abroad.
Book early for cheap flights
Flights are always the first thing I book when I plan a trip, sometimes I do it almost a year in advance! Most of the time, the earlier you book, the better price you will get. Air tickets rarely go down in price, unless there is a sale (or an error in the price of the airline).
Momondo is the first place I look for when I look for cheap flights. Search hundreds of sites for the best rate and include standard and cheap airlines. The calendar function (or “map”) shows the cheapest days to fly on your favorite travel month!
Leave room for spontaneity
Do not plan your entire itinerary in advance. It’s tempting, I know, but those unplanned moments on the trip may be the best memories.
Let someone at home know your plans
This is extremely important when traveling alone, but it is still a good idea, no matter how many people are in your travel group.
Separate your personal items
When Scott and I travel together, we mix our personal items in each checked bag (assuming we have more than one). That way, if one of our bags is lost, we both still have some clothes and personal items.
Separate your money sources
Do not store all your money and cards in one place. Usually, I hide cash and an alternative credit/bank card in a separate wallet, it’s not the same as my wallet.
Travel First Aid Kit
We pack a small first aid kit with aspirin, Benedryl, cold medications, Tums, cough medicines, bandages, activated carbon pills (they are a lifeline for traveler’s diarrhea and minor allergic reactions), Neosporin and other things that We cannot always have easy access when we travel. J&J sells a cheap first aid kit.