Traveling can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a stressful one. There are so many things to think about, from finding the best flights and hotels to dealing with jet lag and cultural differences.
To help make your next trip as smooth as possible I have included my personal best travel tips in the blog post below.
What are the best travel tips?
Travel Planning Tips
1. Make sure that your passport is up to date
While your passport may be valid during your travel dates, most countries require passports that have a validity of at least 6 months.
Visa rules are specific to each country. Find out if you require a visa for the destination country you are traveling to and the specific requirements for this. Allocate enough time to get the visa approved before you leave.
3. Covid country regulations
Covid rules are constantly being updated. Stay up to date with the latest country-specific rules on their official websites.
4. Familiarize yourself with country customs and rules
Certain gestures which may be widely accepted in your country could be offensive countries and even be subject to a fine.
5. Travel insurance
Travel insurance can cover delays, lost baggage, and other unforeseen events. In the wake of the pandemic, a lot of foreign countries expanded their medical travel insurance requirements for travelers. Ensure that your travel insurance meets the particular country’s requirements.
While credit cards are accepted everywhere, it is always best to have some cash in the currency of your destination. This will also come in handy if you need emergency cash when you are unable to use your credit card.
A good tip is to keep small notes of local currency as you may need this for street vendors or other small purchases.
7. Book refundable travel
Prepaid rates are usually cheaper but if there is one thing the last few years have taught us about travel, it is that travel disruptions that come in the form of delays and cancellations can be costly and inconvenient.
While hotels and airlines usually issue vouchers, it may be hard to plan the same trip in the future. It is, therefore, best to book refundable rates.
8. Scan passport and other important documents
You should scan your actual passport, visa, and other important documents and upload them to an online platform that you can access from anywhere.
It would also be a good idea to share this with a close family member or friend in case of an emergency.
9. Invest in lightweight quality luggage
A good set of lightweight luggage will make navigating airports and planes easier and will also last longer. You should start with a carry-on and a larger bag for longer trips.
10. Travel in shoulder season
Traveling off-peak has its advantages. There are usually cheaper flights and hotels, no queues, and also you won’t be left disappointed getting to the pool just in time to see the last lounger get taken.
11. Booking flights
12. Book the early flight
This will give you a greater chance of being rebooked on a later flight on the same day if your flight is canceled.
13. Booking hotels
Most hotel chains have a best-rate guarantee policy that allows you to submit a claim if you find a lower rate after having booked directly with them.
This can save you up to 25% on your travel costs at hotels.
14. Learn to book with points and miles
Points and miles are a smart way to travel and save money. Often the points and miles rate can be cheaper than the cash rate.
You can start collecting points and miles through loyalty reward programs.
15. Register for hotel and airline rewards programs
Registering with hotel and airline loyalty reward programs is one of the easiest ways to collect points and benefit from travel perks.
Almost every airline and hotel chain will have a loyalty program. As you progress to higher levels, you will be entitled to an array of benefits.
16. Make use of status match
If you have elite status with an airline or hotel, some hotels will match this status. It is always useful to have an elite status as it provides many benefits such as upgrades, late check-outs, and free breakfasts.
17. Don’t book at the last minute
The notion of getting a deal at the last minute does not work anymore. The post-pandemic surge in demand for travel along with rising inflation is showing an increase in the prices of flights and hotels.
Waiting till the last minute will not save money but end up costing you more of your hard-earned money.
18. Pre-book tickets to attractions
You can often find online discounts and 2 for 1 offers on tickets to major attractions. Booking online and ahead of time will also save you queueing time.
19. Inform your bank of your travels
With the rise of credit card fraud, banks are likely to flag transactions in foreign countries if they are unaware that you are traveling.
This could lead to transactions being declined and become a huge inconvenience. It is best to call the bank before you leave and advise them of your intended travel plans.
20. Find out about accessibility to airport lounges
Many credit cards offer complimentary visits to airport lounges. Find out if you are eligible for this as a stopover to the lounge provides the ultimate opportunity to rest and refresh before your trip or during your layover.
21. Rent a car
Renting a car is usually cheaper if you will be making many trips or taking long drives. Considering the destination, this might be a more feasible option instead of flagging a taxi driver or using Uber.
22. Don’t over-schedule your itinerary
Leave time to simply enjoy the place you are traveling to. Make time to just walk the endless streets or stroll the ocean shores.
If you get bogged down with planning the little details to the minute, you often miss the opportunity to linger and enjoy the present moment. Slow travel is an experience to be enjoyed.
23. Activate the find me feature on your phone
This is a good idea to share this with traveling partners or close friends/family. This is a good tip especially if you are planning solo travel to a new destination or if you are going off the beaten track.
24. Stay healthy by taking immune supplements or probiotics before traveling
This is a great tip to boost your immune system. Street food and unfamiliar food can be unsettling to sensitive stomachs.
Research the weather of the places you are traveling to. This will allow you to pack appropriately.
I once traveled through Italy during a rainy season and it was challenging to navigate the puddles without water-resistant shoes.
26. Arrange Internal transfers
Consider booking your internal transfers to and from hotels before you leave home. Sometimes this is cheaper than getting a cab at the airport.
27. Research opening and closing times of major attractions
Some tourist attractions and shops are closed on religious holidays and other significant days. Researching this before you go, will avoid disappointment due to you being unable to visit the sites on your list.
28. Unlock your phone
Your phone may need to be unlocked to function in international countries with the use of a local sim card. Check with your service provider and make the necessary adjustments if needed.
29. Research local food outlets if you have special dietary requirements
If you have specific dietary requirements such as vegan, halal, or kosher, find a few places close to where you will be traveling. Language barriers often make it difficult to find specific places when you arrive in a new country.
30. Be polite at check-ins
Staff at the airline and hotel check-in desks work long hours and often face demanding guests. It costs nothing to be polite and kind and who knows, being a respectable human being might even land you an upgrade.
31. Packpoint App
This is a useful app that will help you organize your packing. Packpoint is a smart packing app that will advise you what to pack based on the length of your trip, weather, and planned activities.
32. Medications and basic first aid kit
As a basic rule, you should travel with medicines for pain, fever, stomach, and nausea. This will eliminate the hassle of having to look for medications in foreign countries.
Including a basic first aid kit is also a great idea. All medicines should be packed in the carry-on for easy access.
33. Pack Extra clothes in a carry-on
Your hand carry-on should always contain an extra set of clothes. This will come in handy in case of an emergency.
34. Snacks in carry-on
A few snacks can help you through flight delays as many airports do not have 24-hour stores.
The snacks can also be useful on long-haul flights or when in-flight service stops. Unsalted nuts are usually a great idea as they are packed with protein and will keep you full for a few hours.
35. Masks and sanitizer
Carry extra masks and sanitizer in your carry-on.
36. Power bank travel charger
Include a power bank charger in your essential items packing list.
37. Neck pillow
A neck pillow can help you to get into a comfortable sleeping position during long-haul flights.
38. Relevant plugs and adapters
Pack a universal adapter that will ensure that you can power up your devices in countries that operate with different plugs and voltages.
39. Plastic resealable bag for the beach
Pack a few resealable bags to store items when going to the beach or near water. This will allow you to keep devices such as your camera and phone sand and water-free.
40. Locks for bags
Travel with TSA-approved locks. This minimizes the risk of your bag being broken into while still allowing airport security to access it if needs be.
41. Tags for tracking
You can consider using tracking tags to minimize losing your luggage if it contains a lot of valuable items.
42. Packing cubes or Ziplocs for different destinations
By packing with cubes or in large Ziploc bags you can organize your items per destination or climate.
43. Carry a pen
Always travel with your pen. You sometimes need to fill out landing cards at your final destination.
44. Travel clothes
Travel in loose comfortable clothes. Wear dark colors as they are easier to clean up in case of emergency.
45. Photography gadgets
Invest in a good camera or phone to capture your special memories. Smaller compact gadgets such as DJI Osmo make it easy for capturing your travel memories in a video format.
46. Use a standard packing list
Create a standard packing list of essential items and store this in your luggage. You can always use the same list to pack and adjust your clothing based on the length of your holiday.
47. Compression socks for long flights
Compression socks are very useful for circulation. This is a good idea to use for long flights. It reduces the risk of developing blood clots.
48. Put all liquids in transparent bags
Pack your liquids into transparent bags before your get to security to have a smooth and quick pass-through security.
49. Disposable plastic raincoats
If you are traveling to a destination that is known for potential quick downpours, this raincoat will come in handy.
It is very thin and light and will not take up much space in your bag. This can easily be stored in your day bag.
50. Chose lightweight shoes and fewer shoes
51. Packing shoes
Use a shower cap to cover wrap shoes so that they don’t mix with your clothes. A shower cap comes in handy when you don’t have a shoe bag and want to cover the soles of your shoes so that they do not damage your clothes.
52. Storing cables and chargers
Cables are less likes to get tangled and unwound in your bag if you store them securely in a case. A glasses or sunglasses case is a good place to store wires, cords, and chargers.
53. Extra memory cards and camera battery
Tourist sites will charge high prices for items such as these so always carry an extra memory card and an extra camera battery.
54. Pouch for all travel documents
Have a dedicated pouch that is easily accessible for all your travel documents such as your passport, visa, boarding passes, vaccine certificates, lounge vouchers, and hotel reservations.
55. Pack light
Don’t overpack. Pack clothes that are lightweight, wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, and wearable.
56. Take a picture of your luggage
Take a picture of your luggage. This will help you file a report if it gets lost.
57. Make your luggage identifiable
Mark your luggage with a ribbon or sticker to make it easily identifiable and to prevent it from getting mixed up with similar-looking luggage.
58. Luggage cover
Luggage is most often tossed around and can easily scratch or peel. Invest in a bag cover to prevent damage to your luggage.
59. Special meals
If you have specific dietary requirements, you may choose a special meal such as vegetarian, kosher, halal, diabetic, etc.
This is usually done at the time of booking or a few days prior to departure. These meals get served before the other meals
60. Check in early for flights
Check-in online as soon as flights open to get your preferred seats.
61. Choosing the best seat
Seatguru.com is a tool that will map out your specific aircraft showing all the exits, toilets, and seat arrangements. This will allow you to choose the best available seat.
62. Ensure bags are not overweight
Weigh your bags before going to the airport to make sure it is within the limit. This is will avoid unnecessary repacking of bags at the airport.
63. Curbside check-in
Some airlines offer curbside check-in. This makes the process of navigating the airport so much easier when you don’t have to carry luggage with you.
64. Luggage receipt
Always keep your luggage receipt safe or take a photo of it. You will need this in case your bag does not arrive at the destination when you do.
65. Do not watch, carry or agree to look after anyone’s luggage
Do not ever agree to look over someone else’s luggage even if it is for a few moments. Many things could go wrong with this.
66. Do not leave your luggage unattended
Never leave your luggage unattended as this poses a risk for anyone to tamper with it by taking out items or putting in illegal items.
67. Luggage hook
A J luggage hook can come in handy if you have a few pieces of luggage. This will allow you to connect the pieces and move them together minimizing the risk of losing smaller pieces or having to carry them on your shoulder.
68. Choose the left security lane
When going through security opt for the left side as most people instinctively go to the right side.
69. Do not wear belts with metal buckles
Belts with metal buckles and other metal items will beep through security. Avoid these types of items to pass easily through security.
Flightaware is a real-time flight tracker. If you put in your flight number or origin and destination, it will give you real-time updates on your flight. This can be useful to stay up to date with your flight times.
71. Long layovers
Certain airlines provide a free meal and hotel vouchers. If you have connecting flights with a long layover, find out if you are entitled to any meal, hotel vouchers, or city tours.
72. Flight Compensation
Flight delays and cancellations may be eligible for compensation. This depends on the country.
Tips for When you’re In the Air
73. Filtered earplugs
Specific earplugs for flying can help ease ear pressure during take-off and landing
74. Keep glasses on hand
Air on the plane tends to become very dry and this tends to irritate the eyes. If you are wearing contact lenses, chances are that they will become uncomfortable over longer periods so keep your glasses on hand for longer flights.
75. Pack a sweater or scarf for the plane
The plane gets very cold. Carry a sweater or scarf to keep you comfortable.
76. Stay in motion during long-haul flights
Sitting in a confined space for long periods can lead to blood clots in the legs. By staying in motion and doing simple leg exercises, you can increase the circulation in your legs and prevent this.
77. Avoid salty snacks
Salt increases water retention in the body when flying. It also makes you thirsty and flying already has a dehydrating effect on the body.
78. Stay hydrated
The cabin air is very dry and the most important thing to do when flying is to stay hydrated. It helps with jet lag and avoids dehydration amongst other benefits.
79. Wear dark clothes on the plane
Darker clothes will be easier to clean up in the case of an unexpected spill or mess.
80. Finding an empty seat
As soon as the stairs attached to the aircraft start moving away, you can scout for empty seats as the doors will then close and no one else will be boarding.
81. Preventing nausea while in motion
The seats in the middle of the plane tend to be more stable and less bumpier. Choosing a window seat also helps as looking out on the sky will allow your brain and body to adjust to the motion and equalize.
82. Jet lag
Jet lag is a result of traveling to different time zones. Treat your jet lag by napping on the plane, staying hydrated, exposing yourself to your natural light and time zones, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine on the plane.
Tips for During your holiday
83. Make a list of things you want to do on the holiday
Start with the most important things you wish to do. Delays, unexpected weather, and unforeseen events are all part of the inevitable. It would be wise to tick off the most important to-do items on your list first in case you are unable to do everything.
84. Google translate app
The Google Translate App can translate 108 languages. It is able to translate text on images. You simply take a photo of a sign, menu, or anything else you want to be translated and the app will translate it for you.
85. Currency converter
The XE Currency Converter app will allow you to convert the local currency into your currency so you can work out the price of anything at any time.
86. Make use of digital payment cards such as Apple pay
The use of digital cards provides a safe and secure way to make payments. This eliminates the risk of losing your physical credit card each time you take it out as well as your card details being captured and replicated for fraud.
87. Bargain in local markets
It is widely acceptable to haggle (bargain) in street markets. Prices in local markets are usually inflated, especially in popular tourist sites.
88. Be wary of scammers in tourist areas
Tourists are easy to spot. Avoid becoming a target by being on the guard for con artists and scammers that usually have very good stories to tell.
89. Sanitize high traffic areas in hotel rooms
Covid has made us aware of sanitizing, however, a little know fact is that those hotel rooms have always been full of germs.
While this has improved, it is always a good idea to wipe down the most used items in the room such as door handles, switches, remotes, and telephones.
90. Safeguard your hotel room
Make use of the safe in your room to store important travel documents and other valuables. Also, ensure that your door is locked from the inside at night.
91. Free Walking tours
This is a great way to explore a new city. These tours provide a fun way to explore the city.
92. Hotel check-in times
Different countries have different check-in and check-out times, Be aware of this and plan your arrival and departure around this.
93. Use the first cubicle in public toilets
The 1st toilet is usually the one most people walk past and thus the least used cubicle. It may provide a cleaner alternative than the others.
94. Make a note of the number of your taxi
Taxi drivers are usually in a hurry and ride off as soon as you pay them It is easy to forget something in the tax when you get off in a hurry.
Making a habit to note the number of the taxi will ensure that you can track down your lost items if you forget them.
95. Check your hotel room when leaving
Always check the draws, under the bed, bathroom, and corners when you are checking out of the hotel. You will most likely find some item that has fallen or been forgotten during your stay.
96. Wake up early to get the best pictures
This is a simple but effective way to see uncrowded streets and get the best pictures.
Tips for Traveling with kids
97. Invest in a lightweight and compact fold-up travel stroller
This comes in handy when traveling in taxis and trains and places where your need to fold up the stroller.
Here is an article on the 12 best travel strollers.
98. Leave your stroller at the door of the aircraft
You can check it in at that gate of the plane instead of when you check in your luggage. Doing so will also give you immediate access to your stroller when you exit the plane.
99. Baby carrier
If you would like to be hands-free, then opt for a sturdy and comfortable baby carrier during travels. This is useful when you are walking on uneven paths, on cobbled streets, or climbing stairs.
100. Disposable changing mats
Disposable changing mats are great for changing kids in public bathrooms. It can double up on an existing changer.
101. Travel with lots of kid-friendly snacks
Pack lots of healthy snacks that can keep toddlers and children occupied and ward off hunger tantrums when food is not readily available.
Having a few snacks on hand will also allow you to go for a few hours before having to stop and sit down for an actual meal.
Small magnetic games and paint-with-water items fit well on the airplane tray table and will keep kids occupied without a mess.
103. Allocate extra time
When traveling with kids you will most likely need to stop and take more frequent breaks. It is also a good idea to allocate extra time for check-in and getting through security.
104. Dress children in layers
This comes in handy when the weather suddenly changes.
105. Find out about child discounts
Attractions, tours, public transport, restaurants, and hotels often have discounted rates for children.
106. Include interesting child friendly attractions
Do some research before you go and include some exciting attractions that would be interesting for children.
Examples of this would be a model train museum or a mini-town which is a miniature version of the city. These attractions can be fun for adults and children.
107. Your contact information
Children should have a contact number for you at all times.
Older children should be able to memorize your phone number and hotel information. For younger kids, you can attach a wearable band with your contact info or write it under their shoes. Talk to them and explain what it is and when to use it.
108. Additional travel documentation
Certain countries require birth certificates for children entering that country. You may also need a letter if the child is not traveling with parents or if they are traveling with one parent only.
109. Document their travels
For older children, it is a great idea to invest in a basic camera or travel journal. This will allow them to document their trip and relieve the precious memories for years to come.
Traveling is an exhilarating experience. With research, planning, and a few good tips you will be prepared to travel the world.
So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, we hope at least one of our 109 best travel tips will help make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.