Although traveling nationally or internationally gives you the opportunity to see the world and interact with people of all backgrounds, it can also be a hassle, an expense or even a danger. However, there are ways to make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable, whether it’s for business or pleasure. All you need to do is follow these simple tips.
If you’re going on a trip where you expect to be doing lots of walking, break in your new shoes in advance. This will prevent blisters and help keep your feet from becoming sore. Good shoes can be the difference between the most enjoyable walking tour of your life, and a torture session.
When traveling by car, always make sure you bring along a bag for trash. Even if you don’t plan on having meals in your car, the trash will build up surprisingly quickly. Having the bag ready will help you to keep your car neat and organized and make it easier to get rid of the trash when you stop.
Don’t judge a hotel by its name alone. Look for the year it was built or last renovated, which can be very telling. Hotels can take a beating and a newly built budget hotel, may be much nicer than a luxury brand that is showing a lot of wear and tear from not being renovated in years.
You should have a door stopper when you are going to get a hotel room. Sometimes, especially when traveling in less developed countries, it is desirable to have a little bit more security in your hotel room at night. Use a doorstop when you retire for the night, especially if your door doesn’t have a chain or a deadbolt.
If you have questions about the hotel, the best time to call is around midnight. The people working the desk most likely aren’t busy and will be able to give you their full attention. If you call during the day, most likely they’ve got people there in person and others calling on the phone to distract them.
Don’t miss the bus. If you need to travel a moderate distance to your next destination, use the bus instead of more expensive taxis or rental cars. Many buses, especially in major cities, are quite clean and modern. Not only will you save money, but you will get an excellent chance to people-watch and get to know the locals.
Carry a mini notebook with you wherever you go. It is much easier to write the name of your destination and have someone understand you, than it is to make wild gestures while trying to say a difficult town name. Carry the notebook and write in it when you feel necessary. You will be much better understood.
Travel in May and October to avoid crowds, save money and enjoy temperate weather. In those months, many families with children cannot travel due to school commitments, making many tourist attractions much less crowded. This may also result in lower costs for airfare and hotels. As an added bonus, the weather in May and October is usually perfect for traveling — not too hot and not too cold.
Joining a hotel’s loyalty program can provide you with many different traveling perks. Members of these programs often get special bonuses that are not available to the general population. Some hotels offer free internet access or a free drink every morning for breakfast. Others will iron a few items of your clothing for no charge. Loyalty programs are a way to make your hotel stay a little more pleasant.
During the trip, post to the social media networks all about where you are and the sites you are seeing. These posts not only let friends and family know you are safe, they also can be used to come up with great destination recommendations! You may be surprised how many of your friends have inside information on places to go and important sites to see.
National Parks are usually open all year, but it is best to check with the park you are wanting to visit to confirm that it will be open when you are planning on going. During the summer and winter the parks are generally more popular. If you want to avoid crowds, go in spring or fall.
When packing your luggage for a flight, affix a card with your name, phone and address inside the bag in the event the luggage is misplaced and tags are lost. Often the airlines will inspect the inside of lost luggage when the tag is lost, in an effort to find some identifying information about the owner.
If you are planning to travel by car, purchase an expandable file to help you organize your trip. Label one slot with each day of your trip and put any information that you need for the day in there. You might include maps, directions, hotel confirmation numbers, or attraction information. Staying organized will help make your road trip less stressful and will allow you to stay on schedule.
Pack one extra outfit in your carry-on bag. Lost luggage could leave you without a change of clothes until they are located. By having one on hand, you will at least be able to change one clean set of clothes. Make sure your spare outfit does not take up a lot of space – a simple t-shirt and lightweight pants or shorts will suffice.
Set up an account on a “cloud” site and upload scans of important documentation that you may need on your trip. Loss and theft occur quite often during travel in-country as well as abroad. By having documentation stored in a “cloud” location you can easily access them from anywhere you have Internet access.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to make traveling more pleasurable, as well as safer and less costly. Many of these tips come from seasoned travelers who have learned through experience. Use their knowledge to your advantage the next time you have to plan a trip, whether it’s in a neighboring city or another country.