Simply you cannot plan for everything. However, keeping a few important things in mind will make your travels much easier. So, in no particular order, here are the best travel tips:
We always plan for delays and try not to get upset when things inevitably go wrong. Patience is extremely important when traveling!
Make a List
About a week or so before each trip, I make a mental list of items I don’t want to forget — which I WILL forget if I don’t write them down. I’ve learned that when I think of something, I need to write it down.
Learn Common Phrases of the Local Language
A simple “Please,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry” in the local language goes a long way. I also like to learn the word for beer, but that’s just me.
Make Photocopies of Important Documents
In my early twenties, I was very good about keeping a copy of my passport in a separate bag from my actual passport. Then I got lazy. Recently, a friend of mine lost her passport at the airport. She was told that if she had brought a copy of it and extra passport photos they would have let her travel. Since she didn’t, she was forced to forfeit a $2,000 flight and a week in Europe. I now carry a copy with me.
Put Electronics, Medications, Toothbrush, and an Extra Pair of Underwear in Your Carry-on
A few important items should always go in your carry-on. A swimsuit is also a good idea if you are going on a beach vacation. You can buy most of these things if your bag gets lost, but having them in your carry-on will save you money and time if your luggage gets lost in transit.
Enquire about the price BEFORE You Take Public Transportation
It’s a good idea to ask about the price before you hop on a bus, guagua, or other form of public transportation. We learned our lesson in the Dominican Republic.
Put Your Room Number & Hotel Address in Your Phone
Am I the only one who can’t remember my hotel room number?? There has to be others out there like me.
Alert Your Bank and Credit Card Company of Your Travel Plans
This is a great habit to get into if you don’t want your credit card company or bank to put a hold on your card while you are overseas.
Take Plenty of Photos
They make the best souvenirs!
Keep an Open Mind
Don’t judge other customs. You are a visitor. Be respectful.
Let Someone at Home Know Your Plans
This is extremely important when traveling solo, but it’s still a good idea no matter how many people are in your travel group.
Separate Your Sources of Money
Don’t keep all of your cash and cards in one spot. I usually hide some cash and a back up credit/bank card in a separate bag — not the same bag as my wallet.