In the last post we described things you can stop doing before you even go, ways that you can prepare for a trip full of adventure and fun without the worries typified by most journeys away from home. While long term habits are hard to make unless you’re doing them on a daily basis (and few of us travel for a living) there are some things we can list here that you can keep in mind every time you travel anywhere that you can eventually work into little time saving habits that make all the difference between an enjoyable trip, and one full of hectic non-stop worry until you return home, only to realize you’re not as relaxed and rejuvenated as you’d hoped to be from the trip. With these travel tips and tricks in your arsenal you’ll be better prepared than ever to take on anything a holiday trip can throw at you.
1. Make a list of what to pack. Most of the things you would pack won’t change from year to year, especially if it’s just you going. If you’ve just recently had a baby, or your location requires certain specific things, obviously adjustments will need to be made, but if you have used the same face cream for the past ten years, put it on the list! Here’s some sub-section ideas for what to pack, to help give you an idea of what we mean by this.
- Pack light! Find out if what you want to bring is a want or a need, then ask yourself if you’re willing to carry it everywhere with you as you travel, especially if you plan to go to multiple destinations.
- Bring along a light backpack, it leaves you hands free to enjoy your activities far more, and it can easily be rolled up to pack away.
- Only pack a few articles of clothing for any sort of inclement weather, using colors that will complement each other regardless how you put them together. You will be able to wash those clothes nearly anywhere you stay, so you don’t need the entire closet.
- Pack only what you can carry onto the flight, or what you don’t mind losing below it.
- Make a big pile in the middle of your floor of everything you want to take along with you, and over a period of a few days, whittle it down until you have just your necessities.
- Consider leaving behind the laptop or your tablet. If you’re a computer or techy addict, this gives you a great way to really relax and stop feeling constantly connected to the world, so you can actually enjoy the world around you for a change. If your laptop is brought along for movies or something you want to watch at night before bed, that’s fine but consider bringing along a book instead. You may even find a nice used bookstore you can take your one book you bring into, that you can trade for a new one!
- Remember that nearly any toiletry you have at home, can also be bought where you’re going, and takes up needless space in baggage.
- Find one of those stuff bags or totes that you can fold up into a tiny package to put in your backpack. You can use this to put your collected souvenirs and postcards into as you go along, and consider mailing those home instead of packing them along with you at the end of the trip. It reduces the breakage possibility as well as what you must declare at customs.
- Bring along ziploc baggies and baby wipes, they’re going to be ridiculously useful for reasons you’ll find plenty for once you arrive.
- Carry nothing in your pockets but your passport and your wallet. You won’t be using your phone anyway (or shouldn’t be) and this cuts down on security checks time, as well as being comfortable while sitting on what might be a very long flight.
- Photocopy your drivers license, passport and travel itinerary information and put one copy into each of your bags, and carry one on your person to be safe. Also copy your credit cards, or other valuable documents and leave them with someone you trust back home in case they end up lost or stolen and need to be replaced. You can also scan them and email them to yourself so you have them on your person at all times, but be secure and encrypt them whenever possible.
- Try to bring along a small amount of foreign currency for stop offs along the way to your final destination for incidentals, as well as the currency of the final destination until you get to the place you’re staying, where exchange rates will likely be more favorable.
- Lastly, pack all of these things the night before you go. While you can make all your decisions on what to bring weeks in advance, you’ll probably end up making last minute changes the night before, or finding there is something you have missed.
2. Make a habit to put things in the same place every time. If you know where to expect things to be, you’ll know when they’re not. You cannot misplace something if you are always aware of where it should be, so for instance, if you have a set of house keys, they should always go in the same outside pocket of a purse or the same compartment in a suitcase every time, no matter how far or where you’re going with them. Parking tickets that are always placed on the dash of the vehicle are easily located no matter which vehicle you find yourself in. Try to park in the same place, or near the same place every time if you’re leaving from an airport you’re familiar with. There is little worse than coming home exhausted after a long flight and realizing you have no idea where your car is.
3. Always, ALWAYS be sure to charge your phone before you go. You never know when something is going to be delayed, as is very common with airlines, so you don’t want to be stuck without a way to contact someone that won’t be exceedingly expensive and not in your travel budget. Bring along your charger cable in your purse or carry-on, or suitcase, and if you have stop-overs in locations where the receiving end of the plug differs from yours back home, either purchase an adapter online, or try to find one in the airport but be prepared to pay up to 4x the cost if you purchase it at an airport. This will keep your phone charged no matter where you are, and in contact with anyone should something happen.
4. Use smart travel apps like OneReceipt which can capture all your receipts for expenses into an electronic viewable format to take the hassle out of where to put all those annoying scraps of paper while you’re trying to enjoy yourself away from home. Inevitably they’ll either get lost, smudged, ruined or otherwise compromised, and unless you want to try to track how much you spend at every single kiosk or tourist stand along the way, converting your money on the go in your bank book, using a travel app to keep track and then going over it at night from the comfort of your suite at your luxury location like Cinnamon House can save you a really large headache later, and give you more time to enjoy the surrounding areas. While apps can give you a lot of information about the area itself, little can substitute the information of the people who live there, at places like Cinnamon House, the owners and operators on premises will have plenty of recommendations you can go see, so while apps have a place, be sure you don’t cut out the human element.
5. Plan ahead, get that good seat on the flight. Booking near the wing, or just behind the wing generally means more leg room because there’s a wall there to separate the areas between the cabins. Also be sure you’re not seated next to a restroom, and if you are, not to take the aisle seat unless you want to be bumped constantly by travelers needing to use it. The window seat is great if you can sleep at all on the flight, but for a long international flight, you may want to rather take that aisle seat instead, so you aren’t disturbing your seat partners by the need to get up and stretch, which you’ll want to do for sure. Make sure you have plenty of time to get to your flight, and when booking it, don’t be afraid of layover times longer than a couple hours. With plane delays a common occurrence, it means the difference between becoming an Olympiad as you sprint to your next gate, or taking the time to get there and stop at a few shops along the way.