Travel Tips – 28 Things You Need to Know Before Getting Off that Plane

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Traveling this summer? Here are some useful travel tips to help you prepare.

Summer is the time for many of us to use our vacation time, so we seek out adventures in exotic or otherwise compelling locales. Here are some super-useful travel tips to keep in mind as you plan your escapades. Being over prepared is great and can prevent mishaps, but being spontaneous also makes for a fun vacation. Ideally, a balance of the two will give you the combination of excitement and relaxation you crave and deserve.

  1. For foreign travel – research the country you plan to visit. Are there travel advisories or other developments that could interfere with your plans? Getting stranded in Bangkok due to an airport political protest can be a real drag. Believe me. Lonely Planet is a great online travel resource and even has a booking search engine (no, we are not affiliated with them).
  2. Don’t pack too many clothes, but pack as many as you will wear – a dressy outfit for dinner out, something warm for cool nights, and comfortable clothing appropriate for your planned activities.
  3. Check local customs for attire before packing. You may choose to blend with the locals, or maybe not, depending on where you are going. In some instances, you may want to wear a disguise. Seriously.
  4. Not to sound bossy, but you might want to be culturally sensitive. You’re a guest and you probably don’t want to inadvertently offend someone by not making it your business to learn a bit about their customs. Touching someone’s head in Thailand might get you in dutch, and a racy top could get you booted from the temple tour. There are plenty of resources online (again, Lonely Planet is tops).
  5. Try eating the local food rather than just dining at the restaurants tailored to tourists. You will be glad you had the experience of fried grass hoppers and it’s really respectful to utilize all parts of the animal. No, really.
  6. Learn some common phrases if you are visiting a foreign country. It will make it easier to accomplish simple tasks like getting your check, and foreigners are likely to appreciate that you made the effort. “Thank you,” “What does this cost?” “Another drink, please,” and “Where the heck am I?” come to mind.
  7. Make a checklist for packing, one for booking tasks, and one for the administrative tasks you need to do at home to prepare for your absence (i.e., bills, mail forwarding, etc.).
  8. Bring extra batteries for your devices, as they may be hard to find in other countries. Also bring an appropriate charging adaptor for the country you are visiting. If you’re not sure what type you need, here’s a good resource.
  9. Buy medical insurance for your trip. It isn’t that expensive and, should something happen, you’ll be glad you did.
  10. Tell your bank or credit card companies where you are going. Many of them will block your card as soon as they see a foreign charge.
  11. Bring comfortable walking shoes. Really, like broken-in tennis shoes – not brand new ones. Blisters can ruin a trip.
  12. Mark your luggage in some way to make it distinct. You can spot it easier on the conveyors if it doesn’t look just like everyone else’s. Use pink tape, skull or flower-power stickers, or whatever is likely to grab your attention.
  13. Keep your most important papers, essentials and valuables with you on the plane. Probably half the times I have traveled, my luggage got delayed or lost. You can keep them in a backpack or other small carry-on bag.
  14. Tip hotel staff and other service people. They work hard and generally make little in hourly wages. While you can do it at the end of the stay, doing it daily might result in better service. You can check online to see what is appropriate for the service and for the locale.
  15. Make a digital copy of any documents you might need traveling and email to yourself in the event you lose the originals. This might include your airline tickets, passport, and other i.d.
  16. Bring any important phone numbers with you in the event you need to contact someone back home. I’m not trying to make you compulsive and yet…
  17. Consider committing other important information like hotel names to paper – in addition to adding to your phone apps. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget a name, especially if it’s in a foreign language or you’re walking down a sandy beach with 30 competing hotels that all look alike and have similar names. Also, sometimes batteries die, phones break, and being without some information until you can charge or fix it could be potentially inconvenient.
  18. Learn to pack efficiently. There are lots of video sources online, but rolling jeans up small is one method. Stuff socks or accessories inside of shoes to maximize space. Roll-up, hanging jewelry holders are space-efficient for luggage and can be hung in your hotel closet. Vacuum bags rock for maximizing space in your luggage.
  19. Bring a book (or two if you’re a fast reader). There will be down time and bad movies.
  20. Invest in luggage with wheels or carts for your non-mobile luggage. Your back will thank you.
  21. Don’t forget luggage labels. This is another way to make your luggage stand out on the conveyer for pickup. Buy pink ones, neon glow, animal print, or whatever strikes your fancy.
  22. Toilet paper, tissue paper – bring some. Does your vacation country have public restrooms?
  23. Invest in a money belt or discreet wallet or holder to secure and conceal your valuables.
  24. Be careful using wifi in public places as it may not be secure. Be especially cautious doing financial activities when using free services.
  25. Engage with residents (locals) for suggestions on restaurants, stores and things to do. Of course, you want to plan ahead and research, but insider tips will likely reveal some little hidden-gem-of-a-cafe or other venue that didn’t make it into the travel “touristy” guides.
  26. Carry a mini-first-aid kit with you that includes things like Motrin, Band-aids, tweezers, ear plugs, a snake-bite kit, and other essentials.
  27. Purchase a travel bottle (or two) and keep water with you so you can stay hydrated.
  28. Feel free to plan, but also be flexible enough to bounce back from mishaps and be sure to schedule some down time, as vacations should be both exhilarating AND rejuvenating.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my travel tips. Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Thai grasshoppers

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