Who wants to head out on vacation already stressed? Traveling should be fun and stress-free and we have some tips for you. Deciding where to stay, how to get there, and how you are going to pay for the trip are things to prepare for ahead of time.
Preparedness is all the more critical when you’re traveling. How will you react when the snot-nosed punk is kicking the back of your airplane seat? When in doubt, follow these helpful tips every traveler should remember.
1. Use Your Friends
What are friends for if not to save you $200 on a hotel room? No, really, can you think of a better reason to have a friend? Bonding, emotional support, and mutual interests are great and all. It’s that spare bedroom, pal, that I’m really interested in.
2. Don’t Limit Yourself to Air Travel
Countless college students have discovered themselves in a train car between Paris and Amsterdam. Myriad marriages have elevated from ho-hum to something more profound because the wife and hubby decided to explore Europe in a car.
Anyone who does their European vacation solely in the air should have FOMO because they’re missing out.
3. Travel Light (and Research Local Laundromats)
When possible, locate a Vrbo or Airbnb with a washer-dryer. If you can’t do that, find local laundromats and select your accommodations accordingly. By planning your trip to allow you to wash your clothes, you’ll save on luggage-related fees, potentially lost luggage (an increasing problem), and muscle aches from lugging your stuff through airports.
4. Have Multiple Copies of Your Documents
While many airlines and hotels have implemented digital-first reservation models, veteran travelers still prefer the hard stuff—paper copies. So if you have a paper ticket, email a scannable picture to yourself as a digital backup. Vice versa for digital reservations.
Your iPhone is fallible, and the condensation on your Starbucks cup can ruin your paper ticket. Always keep a backup.
5. Have a Handheld Bag with All the Essentials
Your passport does not belong next to your underwear. Likewise, your car keys and wallet should be in a different vicinity than your moisturizer.
Some travel items have a far greater capacity to cause distress in the case of theft or loss, while others are wholly replaceable. Keep the important stuff close and separate from the rest. And yes, we’re talking about a fanny pack.
6. Make the Effort to Act Like a Local
Do it right if you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to take a trip. If you’re venturing to Latin America, it’s worth learning a few common phrases (no, hola doesn’t cut it). If you’re headed to Canada, research local customs (always apologize, even when you’re in the right).
If a little pre-trip homework improves the trip, act like you’re the valedictorian.
7. Carry Local Currency
Even if it’s not a lot, a few local dollars or coins can spare you rejection from a business (or bathroom tender) that doesn’t accept your native currency or plastic cards.
8. Travel in a Circle
Time is a flat circle, as Matthew McConaughey taught us in True Detective. So why not make your international trip itinerary look like time? If you can plan a multi-leg trip that spares you unnecessary return trips, you’ll save some serious dough.
9. Insulate Yourself from Avoidable Data Charges
While you no longer have to purchase international calling cards or install a special SIM card to use your phone across borders, roaming charges can be costly. Avoid unnecessary fees by downloading maps, podcasts, movies, and other downloadable content before leaving for the airport.
After all, how would you make it a day in Paris without watching Con Air?
10. Don’t Penny-Pinch on Accommodations
Surely you can save that $20 somewhere else on your travel budget and avoid the mayhem that comes with a dirt-cheap hostel, right?