Traveling can be an amazing experience, but it can also be stressful. There are so many things to think about, from packing to booking flights and accommodation. Here are some top travel tips to help you plan your trip and have a stress-free journey:
Do your Research
The first step to planning a successful trip is to do your research. This includes researching your destination, the best time to travel, and the different ways to get there.
One of your first points of research should be online reviews. Online reviews are easily accessible and depending upon what people are saying about a travel destination, it may help you select a choose a location or filter out places that are not a good fit for you and your family. You should also read reviews of hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in the area. It is really great to support small businesses when you travel, but the experience can be unpredictable. Online reviews can help to make decisions that are best for your trip.
Doing your research will help you get a better understanding of what your destination has to offer and how to make the most of your trip. You can find information about your destination online, in travel books, or by talking to people who have been there. First hand accounts can be particularly valuable. Sometimes if you have friends or family that have visited a place you would like to travel, they may be able to give you tips or introduce you to people in the area.
In addition to researching travel activities, be sure to check things like the weather forecast and currency exchange rates before you go. As far as currency, you should find out what currencies are commonly accepted at your destination. In some places like Belize, it is common for businesses to accept both US and Belizean currency. In other cases, you may want to exchange currency before you leave so you can make cash transactions as soon as you arrive. It is nice to be able to tip people or pay for transportation as you make your way from the airport or train station to your accommodations.
Book your Flights and Accommodation Early
The earlier you book your flights and accommodation, the more likely you are to get a good deal. You should also be flexible with your travel dates, as this can also help you save money.
There are many websites like Travelocity or Expedia that allow you to compare prices for flights and accommodation. One tip is to use these websites to compare rates and when you find the accommodations that are right for your trip, head over to the actual hotel website to actually book your room. You will often get the same rate and a third party does not get part of the transaction, so you are supporting the businesses you actually want to support. Some travel booking sites can be predatory to small businesses.
And of course, be sure to read the terms and conditions before you book anything. Anything can happen while you travel so it is best to know what kind of flexibility you have before you actually need to make changes to your itinerary. Can you get a refund on your hotel room? Is your flight insured? If you know the answer to questions like these, you will be better prepared to alter plans if you need to.
This will make it easier to travel and avoid baggage fees. Pack only the essentials and leave anything you don’t need at home. Part of the experience of travel is to be outside your own comfort zone, so challenge yourself to live a short while without some of your common comforts.
When packing, think about the activities you will be doing and the climate of your destination. You will likely need to pack a versatile wardrobe that you can mix and match. Obviously you will want to pack clothing items that are weather appropriate, but there may also be social or cultural rules to follow. For instance, many resorts or cruises may require long pants for dinner. This would be a social rule to be aware of before packing for travel. If visiting religious facilities will be part of your travel there may be cultural rules to follow. Once again you may need long pants, or perhaps you need a head cover to enter.
And of course, don’t forget to pack your passport, visa, and other important documents. You can probably just about anything else you need for your travels once you arrive at your destination, but you will not arrive at your destination if you forget your documentation.
Be Prepared for Anything
Things don’t always go according to plan when you’re traveling. Be prepared for delays, cancellations, and other unexpected events. Many of these events will be out of your control, so it is best to prepare yourself with something to help with patience. Bring a book or a game or something that will help to pass the time as you inevitably have to wait during unexpected downtime. I see a lot of people with headphones. I suppose listening to music or a podcast can help pass time, but I find it a little dangerous to put headphones in while traveling. There are so many new stimuli, that I like to be as alert as I can, but there is a thin line between being alert and anxious while dealing traveling.
Carry some cash in case you can’t use your credit card. Carrying cash can be tricky while traveling because you never want to be carrying a ton of cash, especially when visiting someplace new. You also do not want to expose yourself by pulling out a bunch of cash in a public place while you are paying for something. Personally, I usually carry some cash in a money clip and keep it in my front pant pocket, but really only about a couple hundred. That will most likely be enough to get a taxi if need, or some food along the way. Otherwise, if I need more cash at my destination I have become comfortable relying on ATMs or local banks. It may come with extra fees, but it has just become worth it to me for the peace of mind.
Travelers from the United States are often warned prior to travel to protect themselves from robbery, theft, or scams. Often this message is given with the understanding that it is because the country you are traveling to is especially dangerous. More often than not, I think the real danger of being pickpocketed or robbed is due to the fact that people travel to or through some of the most populous cities in the world. The chances of encountering criminals is higher in places where there are more people. We are also often visiting these places with little to no local knowledge, so we likely stand out as easy targets.
Just be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe. This includes following local laws and customs, and being aware of potential scams. Some things that can help you gain local knowledge are guide books, reviewing online blogs and reviews, and most valuable is speaking with locals.
Be mindful of your belongings and don’t leave them unattended. This is yet another reason why packing light is useful. The lighter you pack, the less valuables you have to keep track of.
Don’t walk alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas.
Trust your gut instinct and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel unsafe.
Final Thoughts on our Travel Tips from Applied Worldwide Lifestyle
These are a few tips that we have learned from our life traveling together. Packing light, doing good research, and being prepared are all important, but most of all be safe. And, have fun!