A lot of pitfalls come with traveling. One wrong move and your trip can be ruined by a mistake of yours, a shifty hotel room or an uncomfortable overnight flight sandwiched in the middle seat. The goal is to plan thoroughly to guarantee a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are 10 tips that will help you do that:
- When Packing
Take time out to check your preferred airline’s baggage fees policies. A lot of airlines let you check at least one bag for free, but it is advisable to always double check. This will ensure that you don’t waste money before even arriving at your destination.
If you put a dryer sheet under your suitcase, your clothes will smell fresh and clean during travel. Also, using a Q-tip container to keep your chargers will prevent it from tangling. No one likes when wires get tangled up when you want to use them.
Instead of folding your clothes, roll them. This will save a lot of baggage space and ensure that you can pack more clothes. Make sure you put a shower cap on your shoes so that the soles don’t dirty your surrounding clothes. If you’re packing any delicate item, wrap it in tissue paper. This will prevent it from getting wrinkled or crushed.
If you mark your bag with “fragile”, airport staff will usually load it on top of others. This will result in your bag coming out first at the baggage claim. Sneaky, eh?!
- Take a Carry-on for Essentials
A recent study shows that, on average, at least one bag on each flight is either lost or delayed. If there’s any item you cannot do without, make sure you pack it in your carry-on. This is particularly correct for items that are not easily or cheaply replaced – like running shoes or a lightweight raincoat.
You’ll also get through airport security faster if you efficiently pack your carry-on. For instance, if you have your quart-size plastic bag containing liquids and gels packed in an outside pouch or just near the top of your bag, you’ll be able to easily pull it out for screening.
- Carry your Hotel Information with you
You’ll need to have complete contact information on you, for the hotel you’re planning to stay in case:
- a) Your baggage is delayed or lost;
- b) You are going to a place you’ve never been to before; or
- c) You miss your connection which means you won’t check-in on time.
Before leaving home, make sure you print out the name of the hotel, its address and phone number. Also, program the hotel’s phone number into your phone. You can also decide to print out a map of the hotel’s neighborhood. It could prove useful to you or to your cab driver.
- Make your Bags easily recognizable
The time for flower-pattern steamer trunks has passed and now, we usually buy our bags at the same stores and manufacturers. This results in a lot of nearly identical bags at baggage claim.
The solution to this is to mark your bags by tying a colorful ribbon to it, sewing a unique patch on it or putting a large sticker anywhere on your bags. This way, you won’t see any other passengers grabbing your bags off the carousel to find their tiny name tags. Also, you’ll be able to locate your suitcases as soon as they come out of the door – even if you’re miles away. You can also decide to choose a suitcase with a unique color or pattern. This will make finding your bag a lot easier at baggage claim.
- Passport and Travel Documents
For people looking to travel to the U.S., these are particularly important. A foreign individual looking to enter the U.S. is required to present a passport and valid visa. This, however, isn’t needed if the individual is a citizen of a country eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Travelers under the Visa Waiver Program will need to acquire an ESTA – not a Visa. Additionally, all VWP travelers need to obtain authorization through ESTA visa Form before traveling to the U.S. Any traveler that fails to obtain this authorization may be denied aircraft boarding.
When traveling abroad, exchange rates are one of the things you should pay attention to. It is advisable to figure out the exchange rate before you leave. One mistake travelers make is exchanging their money before they even reach their destination. Due to exchange rates, you will actually lose some money if you buy from your bank or when you exchange your money while at the airport. If you use an ATM at your travel location, you’ll most likely get the best rate.
Remember to disclose to your bank that you’ll be traveling so that they can place a travel alert on your account. This will ensure that temporary holds or freezes on your account due to any spending deemed suspicious is avoided.
- Travel Insurance
For people oblivious to its existence, yes, travel insurance is a thing. It exists for unfortunate events like injury, illness, baggage loss or theft, trip cancellations and other miscellaneous occurrences. Travel insurance isn’t really required, but it is highly recommended.
As much as half of the fun of travel is the unexpected, it is always better to be prepared for as much as possible. If you’re having problems planning, you can talk to a travel agent or anyone you know that is experienced in traveling. Even if you’re traveling domestically or abroad, it’s always better to cover the basics (and a little bit more than that). So before you take your trip take a look on What You Should Know About Travel Insurance
- Plan your First Day
You’re normally occupied with logistics and your unfamiliar surroundings on the first day of your trip. First of all, you’ll have to take yourself and your belongings to a resting place – most likely a hotel. Then, you have to figure out just exactly where you are located, all the nearby attractions and how to appropriately use your limited time. If you plan ahead, you can make the most of this confusing and hectic first day.
You can decide to plan for a walk near your hotel which can help in getting you oriented as well as shake off the travel fatigue and jet lag you have. To enjoy a chilled time after the hectic travel day, look out for nearby amenities – like a balcony with a brilliant view, a rooftop lounge or a heated pool.
- Local Research
You can buy tickets for places you want to visit in advance. Doing this will give you the opportunity to skip a lot of lines or queues and find more deals that are meant just for you. You can also get guidebooks. These books usually include maps, phrases or keywords, and they will give you plenty detail on certain sites which means you won’t need to purchase pamphlets at venues. Download apps you’ll need before traveling too. This will prevent unnecessary charges from your wireless carrier.
- Remember your flight number
This might seem like something that shouldn’t be mentioned here, but knowing your flight number can make things easier for you – especially in small or foreign airports that only list by flight numbers.