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Travel Tips

100 Travel Tips: The Best Advice for Any Traveler

View of airplane wing from airplane window

Travel can be stressful. It has taken me years of travelling to get to the point where I feel comfortable with every stage of a trip. I’ve made plenty of mistakes: paying too much for a flight, missing a connecting train, having my suitcase explode in the middle of a busy city street (yes, it was horrifying and yes, some of my underwear ended up in a drain). I’ve compiled this giant list of tips and tricks to make your trip easier than ever. From planning to making your way around safely, this list of 100 travel tips will help you on your next journey, no matter how large or small.

DisclaimerSome of the links in this article will take you to affiliate partner sites. This means that I may earn a small commission on items that have been purchased through those links at no additional cost to the buyer.

100 Travel Tips for Domestic or International Travel

Before your trip, the planning stage

  • Check your passport expiration date at least a month in advance of international travel. Always check your passport’s validity BEFORE buying your plane ticket! Passport renewals can be expedited, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 
  • Check if you need a special visa for international travel. 
  • Scan your ID and passport and email the images to yourself. Having digital copies of your documents can make getting new ones easier if they are lost or stolen. 
  • Call your bank or use their website to let them know that you’ll be travelling out of the country or out of state. Ask if your bank has any partner banks abroad that will allow free withdrawals. Ask about any fees for withdrawing cash from ATMs abroad.
  • Call your credit card companies or use their websites to tell them you’ll be travelling out of state or out of the country. Setting a travel alert can mean the difference between easy transactions or getting your card declined on the road. If travelling internationally, also ask if there are any fees for using the card abroad.
  • Exchange currency at your bank, NOT at the airport. Airports charge exorbitant exchange rates and should only be used as a last resort. 
  • Make sure you have enough of all of your prescription medications. Get any refills you need well before the day of the trip. 
  • When planning your itinerary incorporate transport time into your figuring. Make sure you count your transportation (flying, buses, trains) as part of your days and when you need time off. 
  • Budget your trip, but don’t be surprised if you go over. It’s hard to know where you’ll eat every day, or what unknown attraction may catch your eye. 
  • If you’re travelling internationally: Make sure your phone has international roaming and find out the data plan. You may want an international sim card or to just avoid using your cell phone all together. Cheap cell phones with local sim cards can be found at many international airports, but the minutes are very expensive.
  • Purchase your checked luggage in advance, it’s usually cheaper. Some budget airlines also weigh your carry on. Check with your airline.
  • Buy travel insurance, especially if travelling somewhere without universal healthcare. 
  • Some credit cards offer protection for trips. Check with your credit card companies, and make sure to book travel through the cards that offer the best options.
  • Book flights 2 to 3 months in advance if possible. See tips for booking flights here.
  • Don’t always fly direct. Look for deals at nearby airports. Sometimes you’ll have second smaller (and cheaper) flight, or sometimes you can take a short train or bus ride to your final destination. This can save you a ton of money!
  • If you’re going abroad, get a medical checkup beforehand and any vaccinations you may need. Requirements will vary by country. 
  • Read up on local customs and etiquette, you do not want to be the offensive tourist.
  • A difference in departing or arriving a day or two later can save hundreds on airfare, if you can be flexible.
  • Make sure you make arrangements for your pets to be taken care of while you’re gone. Research local pet hotels and book in advance, if necessary.
  • Register with your country’s consulate if you’ll be spending a significant amount of time there.
  • Travel in the shoulder or off-season for better prices. There will also be less tourists. 
  • Look for accommodations well in advance. Check hotel websites, Kayak, Hotels.com, AirBnb, Couchsurfing, and VRBO
  • If you are staying in one place for more than 5 days, ask if there are discounted rates for a longer stay.
  • Try to leave at LEAST an hour and a half between domestic connecting flights, and three hours for international flights. See how to cope with long layovers by checking out my other post here.
  • Some airlines allow you 48 hours or more on a layover to explore your connecting city. Check with specific airlines. 
Flat lay of hiking luggage on a map
  • Pack at least two days in advance, checking off a list. You can find a packing list here. 
  • Pack as lightly as possible. You probably don’t need as much stuff as you think you do.
  • Get lightweight but sturdy suitcases and carry-ons. Luggage can be extremely heavy, and will limit how much you can bring. 
  • Buy a battery pack for your phone and small electronics. I use an Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger, which can charge my phone multiple times when full. 
    Get it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/35Xps2S.
  • Make sure to charge up all of your electronics (camera, Kindle, phone, etc.) the night before you leave and pack all of the chargers the morning of your trip.
  • Check which electric converter you will need if travelling internationally. There are several universal adapters available. I like ones that have USB ports for charging as well as classic plugs, like this one from Newvanga.
    Get it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/33NpUhe
  • Research what to pack based on the weather. Your wardrobe may change drastically from your current locale. 
  • Seal all shampoo, lotions, and other liquids (basically anything that can leak) in plastic Ziploc bags. Instead, you can opt to use dry or solid shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste bites. Find some great shampoo and conditioner bars on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3jbFbiJ
  • Get a dry bag if you’ll be in a very wet place or will be on a boat. Try the Earth Pak – Waterproof Dry Bag from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2S1BbVH
  • Invest in packing cubes to optimize your suitcase space. There are many versions available, but I would avoid the “vacuum sealed” ones unless you are going on an extended vacation or moving abroad. You may tend to overpack if you fill those things to the brim. Instead get a set that is sturdy yet flexible, like this one from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RQfqZb
  • Get good shoes, but don’t wear brand new sneakers or shoes for the first time when travelling. Always break them in a bit at home first. 
  • Bring at least two credit cards and a debit card. Hide one in your luggage when you are out exploring in case something happens to your wallet. 
  • Let friends or family members know where you are going and where you will be. Print or email them your itinerary and check in frequently so that they know if something has gone wrong.
  • Pack underwear, a shirt, and a few small toiletries in your carry-on in case your checked luggage gets lost. Always carry your important prescriptions with you in your backpack or carry-on.
  • Don’t take expensive or precious jewelry.
  • I roll my clothing because it seems to fill space better and you end up with less wrinkles. 
  • A tiny pair of scissors or a sharp nail clipper can be surprisingly useful. 
  • Don’t bring more fancy clothes than you need, and sometimes you may not need any. Opt for flats or fancy sandals if you absolutely need a fancy shoe, high heels take up a ton of space. 
  • Pack a few empty plastic bags for dirty clothing, a wet bathing suit or towel, etc. 
  • Pack a little duct tape. Just trust me, this will eventually come in handy. 
  • Bring allergy meds, pain meds, and stomach meds. Bring itch cream if there will be bugs. Sunscreen is a must, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. 
  • If you’ll be travelling for more than a week, bring a few dry laundry pods or detergent sheets to do laundry on the go. You can also find local laundromats, if you have downtime. 
  • Uterus-having people should pack tampons, pads or cups. Have condoms or other contraceptives with you if you’re so inclined. Learn about where to buy these things locally if you need to. They are not always in grocery stores like in the States!
  • You don’t need as many pants or sports bras as you think you do. Most people like to wear a new top and underwear per day, but pants and most bras can be worn multiple times
  • Get a head torch for camping or any time you’ll be outdoors at night for significant amounts of time. They are also great for staying at hostels, when you want to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Get one here: https://amzn.to/3j38UtV.
  • Pack a pair of sandals or slip-ons in case you need to walk down the hall to a bathroom at night. This is especially important for hostels. 
  • If you will be swimming a lot, consider water shoes, especially if you’ll be in lakes or rivers. You don’t want a cut on your foot when you’re trying to walk everywhere!
  • Only take your laptop if you need it. Usually you can get by with your phone. 
  • Bring a rain poncho or an umbrella, unless you’re going somewhere with no rain (like San Diego).
  • Take pictures of your luggage and clothes in case they get lost. This will speed up the insurance process if they are irretrievable.
  • Pack a first aid kit that works for the type of trip you’ll be on. If it’s just a quick getaway, you can just bring a few band-aids and Tylenol. For a camping trip, you’ll need a larger assortment. 
  • Pack sunglasses, regular glasses and extra contact lenses.
  • Pack a lock if you are staying in a hostel or will need to use lockers. Get one here: https://amzn.to/333Mqnf
Hiking boots on the shoreline

On the plane, train, or bus

  • Bring a book or have one downloaded on your Kindle. See my recommended book list here.
  • Travel pillows are a must on long-haul flights. I actually bring one on ALL flights because I hate being conscious in the air. I use this Huzi Infinity Pillow and I can’t recommend it enough. https://amzn.to/36472h4
  • Bring a reusable water bottle on your trip. This saves on single-use plastic. Here’s an eco-friendly option that won’t break the bank! https://amzn.to/3cp7bMU
  • Wear your heaviest boots or shoes on the plane if you can. This opens up space in your luggage. 
  • Bring energy bars or snacks from home. This can be a lifesaver the first few days, or if your flights are late or delayed. 
  • Wear ear plugs if you intend to sleep on your flight. Bring a pair for your trip, you never know if a hotel room will be louder than you thought. I use Mack’s Original Foam Earplugs. Get them here: https://amzn.to/330gShT

Arriving at your destination

  • Write down the address of the hotel you will be staying at when you arrive. It will get your trip started on the right foot once you land. 
  • Don’t accept transport from just anyone. Try to use transport info centers at airports or sanctioned taxi queues to avoid getting scammed.
  • Grab hotel business cards and keep them on you in case you need to find your way back, you can just hand them to the driver or show a local.
  • If you’re renting a car, take pictures of it before you leave the rental lot. This can help if there is any argument of damages when you drop it off. Take pictures of all the paperwork as well.
Megan and mom at Laguna Beach

During your trip

  • Take tons of pictures, unless there is a reason not to: some museums and certain religious or cultural sites may request that you don’t take pictures. Don’t be a jerk.
  • Back up your photos online periodically as you travel if you can. If you don’t have access to the internet, have extra memory cards handy.
  • Remember when taking photos: Humans are NOT props. Ask before taking photos of people, and respect local cultural rules concerning photography.
  • Keep a journal or use social media to record memories of your journey. But don’t get too caught up in meticulous journaling and miss the memorable moments.
  • Drink enough water. Stay hydrated! 
  • Pay attention to the heat and cold of your new location. Don’t stay in the heat/cold for too long if you’re not used to it.
  • Research carefully if the local water is safe to drink. Err on the side of caution. Ice is usually from tap water, so avoid if necessary.
  • Get plenty of sleep, even if it means missing a few sights. Rest when you need to, and don’t beat yourself up for choosing a nap over a museum.
  • Wear sunscreen and bug spray when you need it. Some places have crazy bugs that you may not know or be used to. 
  • Don’t leave your things unattended. This is even the case when eating out or heading to the bathroom at a bar. 
  • Exploring new foods is great, but make sure you don’t go crazy the entire trip. Try to eat things like fresh fruits and veggies, and avoid spicy things before long bus or plane rides. Don’t go so far out of your comfort zone that you get sick.
  • If you do start to get sick abroad, check out local pharmacies. In Europe especially, they are able to provide some medical care and antibiotics. 
  • Know the local emergency numbers.
  • If you’re riding on an overnight train or just trying to catch a nap between stops, sleep with your head or body on your bags, and hook an arm around your backpack or through any loop. If you are with a group sleep in turns.
  • You can use Google Maps and many other map apps offline if you download them (when you have wifi) before you go. See a list of great apps here
  • Eat further away from the tourist attractions. The food is usually pricier and not as authentic when it’s right next to a popular tourist spot.
  • Your prescription medication, your passport and your phone are the three most important things. Keep them safe, nearly everything else can be bought.
  • Luggage storage places at airports and stations are your friend. Some hotels and attractions have storage for luggage as well. It’s often called “left luggage” and costs a small fee. This is great if you don’t have a room for the night but want to explore.
  • Take a power nap during the day if you need to, or check into your hotel a little early in the afternoon and nap before dinner. 
  • The Google Translate app can be a lifesaver. The camera mode is great for menus and maps. 
  • Do the super touristy things if you want to. It’s your vacation. 
  • Learn how to say or recognize things that you are allergic to in the local language (i.e. shrimp). 
  • You might be scared or have panic attacks. This is normal even for experienced travelers. Try these techniques to help with anxiety here.
  • Look for a Starbucks, Subway, or McDonalds if you need the comfort of home. Most have free wifi and usually a bathroom.
  • Public bathrooms may charge a small fee. Have some coins or small bills on you.
  • Stop at cafes or libraries for free wifi.
  • Don’t buy souvenirs. This one is up for debate and personal preference. I find that postcards are the best thing to buy – they are small and don’t take up much space, and are personalized by location. 
  • If you want a fancier meal without the full price, see if the restaurant has lunch specials.
  • Get City Attraction cards if you’ll actually go to the places on them. Many cities offer a bundled price and are actually a great deal! Some even cover transportation to selected locations. 
  • Book tickets for attractions online rather than in line. Some museums and attractions need to be booked in advance, so do your research before showing up. 
  • Have a little emergency cash on you.
  • Accept that you can’t see everything, and have rest days in your schedule. Don’t overbook or over-plan your trip.

Do you have any other travel tips or advice for me? Let me know in the comments, I’m always ready to learn from other travelers!

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