50+ travel tips: Travelers share their #1 tips
A few weeks ago, I invited you to share your #1 travel tips with me, and you did not disappoint! Below, I’ve shared the best of your travel tips, from silly and serious to life-changing and ingenious – as well as a few of my own favorite tips, sprinkled throughout.
The result? The ultimate list of the best travel tips for your upcoming adventures:
1. “Leave your expectations at home. I know it’s hard, but if you go to a new place with few to no expectations it will really make a difference in your trip, and make it a lot better.” – Taylor from Taylor’s Tracks
2. Keep all your travel accessories in an easy to reach travel drawer to minimize packing chaos.
3. Stay in shape in your hotel room with free workout videos from Youtube fitness channels.
4. “Pack less than you think you’ll need (clothes, toiletries, etc.). You can re-wear some clothes or have them washed along the way and you can buy extra toiletries anywhere. Save some of that space for things you’ll want to bring back from your trip.” – Laura and Lance from Travel Addicts
5. It never hurts to ask for directions – nicely.
6. Keep a folder handy of all essential confirmation printouts and ticket reservations – sometimes having a hard copy to show is the easiest way to talk yourself out of confusing mix-ups.
7. “If the locals stare, you are doing something wrong.” – Samuel
8. Adopt whatever daily schedule the locals keep, whether that’s early rise and shine, siesta, or up all night.
9. “It’s better safe than sorry, so always bring some medicine with you when traveling. We never know if you can get the same meds in the place you’re visiting.” – Criz from Crizzy Kiss
10. At the very least, learn “please” and “thank you” and “hello” in the local language before you arrive.
11. “Don’t worry about seeing a ‘must see’ sight if it isn’t your kind of thing. Any trip is too short to waste valuable time visiting stuff that you don’t care about. Go find something that you’ll like instead.” – Carol from Wayfaring Views
12. Separate your $$$ sources so your cash and cards aren’t all in the same location.
13. Make photocopies of your passport in case your passport is lost or stolen.
14. “Although I am not a seasoned traveler, I have found that it’s super important to gather as many travel resources as possible (guide books, etc.) . . . but equally important to be willing to throw out everything you learned from them. It’s good to have a basis for your journey, but important to make it your own.” – Maddie
15. One way to skip the lines plaguing popular sites is by buying tickets in advance. Often, having a print-out ticket with you allows you to skip either all, or the majority, of the lines to tourist destinations. Check the site’s website to see if you can take advantage of this.
16. “My best tip – do your research and make plans but BE FLEXIBLE!! The best experiences may come from those you meet along the way rather than what a blog or guidebook suggests.” – Camille
17. Peruse travel apps before you leave on vacation. Several will find you last minute hotel and restaurant reservations, while some will even let you download free walking tours.
18. Pack a power splitter to make sharing that one hotel room outlet a no-stress operation.
19. “Research your location for currency: Cash based culture? What credit cards are accepted? What is the tipping etiquette?” – Jen from Jen There Done That
20. Before booking a hotel online, call or email the hotel (or a direct person if you can find a name) and simply ask (in your sweetest voice) if they happen to have any deals they can offer you. At the very least, they’ll repeat the same deals or specials you saw online. In the best scenario, they may very well offer you a free room upgrade or a price reduction. This is a must if you’re planning a longer stay (a week+) as hotels are often most eager to offer deals for longer stays. It never hurts to ask.
21. “Take a reusable water bottle. Not only will it save you a lot of money buying bottled water, you’re also leaving a lesser footprint on the environment.” – Bianca from My Altruistic Travels
22. Allow yourself to get lost every once and awhile.
23. “For girls/women, always bring some tampons or sanitary pads in case of “red tide” or your friend’s emergency” – Criz from Crizzy Kiss
24. Bring packs of Vitamin C to ward off unwanted colds.
25. “On our trips, we bring an extremely lightweight nylon duffle bag (like a gym bag) that rolls up smaller than a sausage. Then, on our trip, we put dirty clothes in the duffle to keep them separate. But the real function is to have an extra back to bring on the flight home (usually filled with dirties) that frees up room in our main luggage for souvenirs (which is usually wine for us!)” – Laura and Lance from Travel Addicts
26. Always bring snack food on a flight.
27. “Bring some duct tape! Not the whole roll, just tape some around an ink pen or pencil that you can unwind later to repair shoes, bags, clothing, or countless other things that will break on your journey.” – Cameron from Camescape
28. Use packing cubes (or fake it with Ziplocks) to keep luggage organized.
29. Travel long-term on the cheap by volunteering abroad.
30. “Language: Learn a few phrases of greeting, ordering food, How much does this cost?
Bring a phrase book, or download the google translate app for your smartphone, if you will have phone coverage for metro areas.” – Jen from Jen There Done That
31. Consider combo tickets and passes for tourist sites. You can buy entrance to numerous sites with one “combo” or “pass” in many cities. Whenever this is an option, do the math to see if it’s actually a deal for you. Sometimes, you may not even be interested in most of the included sites. Other times, it can not only save you money, but can let you skip long lines!
32. “Start shopping for things you’ll need for your trip in advance so you can look for sales, plan what you’ll need, and space out your spending so you’re not spending a big chunk right before your trip. This way you’ll be able to better track your spending as well, and know if you need to buckle down and be more serious about saving or not.” – Taylor from Taylor’s Tracks
33. Learn to laugh at yourself.
34. Better yet, find a travel buddy who’s not afraid to laugh at himself.
35. “Listen to locals and keep an open mind.” – Monica & Jon from We Travel Together
36. Pay attention to your mind and body and give yourself what you need. Feeling exhausted after a long day of sightseeing? Take a nap. Really missing a yummy meal? Splurge on a nice dinner. Take care of yourself.
37. “Support local. Take locally run tours, stay in locally run accommodation, eat at locally run restaurants. If you want authenticity the locals do it best, and you’re also helping to put money into their economy, not others’.” – Bianca from My Altruistic Travels
38. Take tons of photos.
39. Use TripAdvisor to read other’s reviews of top sites to make sure it’s something you really want to do. Honest reviews = priceless!
40. “Save a folder of trip ideas, map screenshots, itineraries and reservations into a Dropbox folder and then *star* the files so that they save down to your phone or tablet. That way you can access them even when you don’t data access.” – Carol from Wayfaring Views
41. Keep a travel journal – even if you don’t like to write.
42. “Zip lock bags. For everything. Clothes, cosmetics, medications, foods, precious documents, misc supplies. For trash and yucky stuff you can’t dispose of quickly. To keep things dry. To separate things without adding weight. Just mandatory.” – Holly
43. Kayak allows you to sign up for price alerts for particular hotels or dates you’re interested in, so when the price drops, you’ll get an immediate email notification.
44. “In packing for trips, we split pack everything. If you are traveling with someone else, divide your clothes between the two checked bags (instead of each person having their own luggage). We’ve had several instances where the airlines have misplaced one of our bags, but not the other. By splitting clothes, we both have something to wear for a few days until the rest of the luggage can (hopefully) catch up to us.” – Laura and Lance from Travel Addicts
45. Keep an open mind.
46. See what bloggers have to say. Ever wish you had a trustworthy globetrotting BFF to tell you how you should actually spend your time to get the most for your buck? Vagabonds, you’re in luck. Peruse popular travel blogs – especially those focused on the places you’re going – for the best down-to-earth insider tips.
47. “Make a list of top priorities activities, then adjust travel based on opportunity/weather/whim. Be ready to try something new!” – Jen from Jen There Done That
48. Search Priceline’s Express Deals for super last minute hotel rooms. Though deals like this can save you major $$$ (up to 60% off) there’s no guarantee you’ll get the room you need if you wait until the last minute. If you’re okay playing it on the risky side, give it a try.
49. Before you completely fill up your schedule, give yourself at least one day in each city with nothing planned. That’s right. Nothing. Often something comes up that you need to do (shopping, laundry, a trip to the post office, etc). And having time to simply wander your location is an absolute must.
50. “Open your mind and be ready to learn” – Bee from This Kenyan Traveler
Those of you who participated in the travel tip contest giveaway, you will be receiving an email from me this week on how to claim you free GPSMyCity walking tour app! So stay tuned, check that inbox, and let me know where you want to go in the world!