If you’ve read a few of the posts on my website, you’ll have realized that I am a big fan of lists. So here’s one more for you. I’m by no means an expert, but here is a list of travel tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the past decade-or-so that has made my wanderlusting less stressful and more enjoyable. I hope at least one (if not more) of these is helpful on your travels! Head here for even more travel tips and hacks.
Important packing tips and tricks
- Don’t stress about bringing toothpaste, especially if you’re not checking a bag and staying in a hotel. Call housekeeping when you get there, most places have travel-sized toothpaste and mouthwash available at no charge for their guests.
- Find out what type of voltage and plug adapter the country you’re traveling to uses and bring a travel adapter. Don’t freak out if you forgot to bring one – if you’re staying at a hotel, call reception and ask to borrow one.
- Pack a power bank in your carry-on bag and charging cord to make sure you don’t run out of juice in a foreign country, but remember there are strict airline regulations for bringing lithium battery packs in checked luggage as they can start fires! Check with the airline to see if your battery pack is within the Watt-hour limit.
- While you’re at it, bring a thin scarf or sarong as well. It’s such a versatile accessory and I can’t even tell you how many times it has come in handy especially when temperature fluctuates during the day, or there are strict dress codes to enter certain monuments.
- Bring hand sanitizer and a pocket tissue. I can not stress this enough.
- Bring an umbrella. It seems so simple and obvious, but it’s one of my top travel tips because for some reason we never think about packing an umbrella! Souvenir shops love scamming tourists and making them pay $10 for a shoddy umbrella during a torrential rainstorm.
- Keep a few band-aids, anti-histamines and pepto bismol tablets in your wallet. People make fun of me for doing this – until they need one.
Planning your trip and getting there
- If you have some time before your trip and travel for business occasionally, consider applying for an APEC card. Major airports in countries will often let you join the diplomat/flight crew line if you are a cardholder – major time saver.
- Use Booking.com to book your accommodation in advance, especially if you are traveling to a country during its peak travel season. If your dates or plans might change, the majority of the hotels listed on Booking.com allow you to cancel your booking for free! Just make sure you know what the deadline is for cancelling with no penalty.
- Find out if you need a visa to enter the country and how long the visa is valid for. Doesn’t hurt to also look into what the procedures are to extend that visa in case you decide to stay longer.
- Pre-book your airport transportation. Taxis in countries like Europe and Australia are extremely pricey, so check to see if you can pre-book a seat on an airport shuttle for a fraction of the price of a taxi (check sites like Klook). If you’re visiting the U.S., check to see if UberPool or LyftLine are offered in the city you’re visiting, so you can split the cost of your ride with another passenger. If you are renting a car, I recommend Rentalcars.com which shows you the various options across different companies, and also offers optional rental car insurance so that you can have 100% peace of mind when you’re driving in a foreign country.
- Sign up for flight alerts via the airline’s website. Alternatively, track your flight using Google by entering your flight number directly in the search bar. Google will tell you if the flight’s on time or delayed and which gate and terminal the flight is departing from.
While you’re there
- Avoid using a currency exchange service at the airport or your hotel. Use a debit card at a local ATM (check the back of your ATM card to see if there is a Cirrus or Plus logo which enables you to withdraw money overseas), or head to a local currency exchange service outside of your hotel. (Need to do a quick currency conversion? Type the search term directly into the Google search bar. For example, if I wanted to know how much 50 dollars was in Euros, this is what I would type in: 50 USD to EUR.)
- Buy a local SIM card so that you don’t blow your data allowance and get charged for overseas roaming. More often than not you can pre-purchase a local SIM card and pick it up from the airport upon arrival, I always check Klook for reviews and good deals so that I’m not overwhelmed by the different counters and packages at the airport.
- Use your phone’s world clock feature so you know what time it is back home.
- Ladies, if you’re on the pill, set a phone alarm so you remember to take it on time every day.
- If you practice yoga, find a studio or practice in your room using apps like Yoga Studio by Gaiam. Check out other handy Yoga apps you should download for your travels!
- If you don’t have Internet access abroad, just save the map for offline use. You can also use Google Maps offline. Make sure you use the starred places and labels feature to save places that you want to check out!
- Go on a food tour. Always go on a food tour. Try to do this in the first few days of your trip, so that you can go back to restaurants you liked later on for a full meal.
- Everyone has different travel styles, but I personally don’t like to overschedule my trips too much. Make a list of 5 things you have to do/see, and take it as it comes and wander around with the rest of your time.
- Triple check your room to make sure you haven’t left anything behind, and always check the safety deposit box so you don’t leave without your passport!
- Donate all your spare change at the airport so you don’t have to lug it around – most airports will have collection boxes, or some airlines will collect and donate your spare change as well.
- Check in online as soon as you can (24-48 hours before the flight, depending on which airline) and choose your seat/print your boarding pass. This will also save you some time at the airport, especially if you’re checking bags.
What are some other key travel tips and tricks? Share them with me below!
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