Travel Tips

From my years of travel, I’ve put together a list of 25 travel tips for you — from planning to research to packing. I hope these tips will help you plan your next trip.

Note: You might also want to check out these 10 Tips for Visiting U.S. National Parks.

RV at a camp site

  1. Not all travel guidebooks are the same. For short stays, a city guide is your best bet. For longer stays, a more in-depth guide will provide a wide range of planning tools. In addition, use the web for your research. A fold-up map of the city is a handy tool.
  2. I like to watch a film, classics preferably, of the country I am visiting because it gives me certain visual insights. I re-watched “Zorba the Greek” before I visited Greece. I read “Portrait of a Turkish Family” by Irfan Orga, before I visited Turkey. [Hint: Read a Pxley story.]
  3. Shoulder season is my favorite time to travel — the crowds are fewer, queues are shorter, costs are lower, and service is better.
  4. Cross-check flight times and prices with different websites. Remember to quit your browser and clear the cache and cookies. Start your search once again.
  5. The Eurail Pass is a good option if you plan to cover several countries in the European Union. Buy the Pass before you leave for your trip. Make seat reservations in advance if you have a set itinerary. If 2nd class is full, you can use the Pass to upgrade to 1st class, for a price. Flights are always an option but book ahead.
  6. Book your museum and other attraction tickets in advance. This allows you to skip the ticket lines.
  7. Learn a few phrases of the country you are visiting. A simple greeting in the local language can go a long way. A  few useful  words like “hello” “goodbye” “thank you” “please” “excuse me”— there are plenty of websites for this.
  8. I don’t wear a money belt because I’m sure most pickpocketeers know about money belts. A regular belt with a hidden pocket is a better option. Or, put your money in different pockets and your wallet.
  9. For long trips, I always pack an extra set of clothes in my backpack, a face or travel towel, and a light sweater. In addition, I carry a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and lotion. Carry your medications and a copy of your prescription.
  10. Keep a notebook and pen handy. Write notes about the day or something unique about the day, or something you don’t want to forget when you share your travels stories with family and friends.
  11. Make photocopies of your travel documents and keep them in a separate bag, other than the bag that has the original documents.
  12. You will always find dried nuts and chocolates in my backpack or daypack. The former is a good source of protein and the latter, well, I love chocolate! Pack any kind of snack that you prefer.
  13. Get an universal plug adapter, an unlocked smartphone, and a charger.
  14. Carry toilet paper, a hand sanitizer, and Band-aids. Oh yes, a mouth freshener or chewing gum too.
  15. Instead of paying high prices for bottled water, carry a water bottle and fill it up from a water fountain after Security Check. Some airports won’t have water fountains and bottled water is your best bet on such instances.
  16. Graduated compression socks is a good investment. Comfortable clothing is a must and I don’t mean your pjs or tank tops but if that’s what you prefer, more power to you.
  17. I prefer aisle seats for long haul flights and window seats for short haul flight. Aisle seats allow me to get up and walk or get to the restroom without having to wake up my fellow passenger. On short haul flights, I get to look out of the window and enjoy the view.
  18. My sleep patterns are off during long haul flights, which is why I prefer an eye mask. I can rest while a packet breakfast is served at an odd hour. In addition, I can avoid the bright glare when a co-passenger decides to keep the window shades up.
  19. When I sleep on flights, my head rolls forward instead of sideways. Hence, I use a travel pillow as a front support. Decide accordingly and a U-shaped pillow will be better for you if your heads rolls to the side or front while sitting and sleeping.
  20. Wear good walking shoes.
  21. Keep a business card of your hotel in your daypack or wallet.
  22. Ease into the local food and drink bottled water. Refrain from adding ice to your water or drinks. Blend in; don’t stick out. Don’t ask for a “Chai Tea” in India and in Italy, try not to order a cappuccino or caffè latte or latte macchiato in the afternoon.
  23. Stay in contact with your family or a friend. Make sure to leave a copy of your itinerary with family and/or a friend.
  24. Be safe and be aware of your surroundings, always.
  25. Have patience.