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Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned veteran, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of travel recommendations based on our readers’ experiences. Keep reading to learn 101 of their best travel tips!
Best Travel Tips
Planning a Trip
My top tip is to learn as much as you can about your destination before you go. Then you can enjoy the trip knowing that you can easily shift gears in case something changes in your itinerary (due to weather, disputes, closures). You’ll already have a start on ‘plan B’ without burying your head in a guidebook.
As a beginner in overseas traveling, the one thing we learned was to prepare ahead of time. Plot everything in Google Maps to see what is close to each other and what can be done in one day.
Number one tip would definitely have to be RESEARCH! Sounds boring but it can save you from getting to the Louvre on a Monday and figuring out it’s closed, or showing up in Italy during the Ferragosto festival when half of the things are shut down, or realizing that your suitcase is too big for international carry on and you have to pay $90 to check it.
Don’t second guess your plan to travel; just go!
Research. Make a list of all the places you want to go but know you may not see it all. Just another reason to go back for another visit.
Research and plan so you can make the most of every moment of your trip.
Don’t over-schedule yourself. Be willing to go with the flow.
My favorite thing is to learn as much as I can about the history and people of the area so that when I visit museums or historical sites, I have a little context.
Have a loose itinerary. Leave room for spontaneity and go where the locals are!
Always remember to check the weather forecast before your trip! You can then focus on creating a travel capsule wardrobe. Although it may be spring time, there could be a random cold front or heat wave that comes in. This has helped me pack the right clothes and not overpack!
My advice is to be sure to arrange some down time every four days or so. Train travel is a perfect way to rest while seeing the areas between locations you are visiting. When you arrive at your destination you will be rested and ready to go, go, go again!
My number one international travel tip is to always write down the address of your hotel and directions for getting there. Sometimes roaming can be slow and WiFi doesn’t always work, but pen and paper never fail.
My #1 travel tip is to always allow enough time. I allow enough time to plan for the trip, buy my tickets in advance to save money on them, get to the airport early so that I’m not stressed by weather or traffic, and choose connections that do not require me to run to the next gate. So far, so good!
My number one travel tip, if you have an event or cruise, leave a day early. I see too many people that miss a major event or cruise because of unforeseen delays at the airport. Spend the extra money on a hotel stay to ensure you don’t miss an important event.
Money and Expenses
My #1 tip is to always have some cash on you (even if you’re leaving that country, which I found out the hard way) and keep it in multiple places. I carry a little ExOfficio parachute fabric coin purse with a clip. I put a modest amount of cash, an ID, and a CC in it and clip it around your pant loop. I then keep as little hidden in my purse and generally, depending on what I’m wearing, someplace else (back pocket, bra etc.).
When returning from a trip, I always keep roughly $20 to $30 of the currency. I keep it in separate baggies where I store my passport. It’s great to have a bit of cash on hand to start the next trip. I can grab a coffee, beer, or bite at the airport before tackling the ATM, taxi stand, etc.
Pre-pay as much as possible when planning, so once you get there it’s a breeze and you don’t worry about money!
Always travel with a back-up credit or debit card preferably stored separately from your main card. Emergencies can happen (loss, robbery, the bank’s computers go down, etc.) and you don’t want to be caught without an alternate way to access your funds!
My tip is to try to get maximum enjoyment per dollar (euro, peso, etc.). One way to do this is to walk instead of taking a car or take public transport around a city. You’ll save money and see more!
Always be present in your vacation, put the phone and camera down, and just enjoy the moment!
My travel tip is to always do at least one walking tour if you’re visiting a large city. It’s a fantastic way to get acquainted with a city. They’re informative, inexpensive, and many are free – just tip the guide.
Whenever possible, take a bike tour! It’s a wonderful way to see new places and they are usually led by locals who can give you great recommendations on what to do, where to eat, and what to avoid!
My top travel tip is ‘say YES!’ So many times I have had a greater adventure by doing the thing that was a bit outside my comfort zone. I have never regretted it and some of my best memories are from doing this!
Don’t get worked up if things don’t go as you had planned. Misadventure is part of the adventure. Go with the flow and enjoy being in the moment. Also, make sure you pack a small set of essentials in your carry-on in case your checked luggage is lost. It will help you get through the day until you can buy new items.
Get off the beaten path!
Get lost wherever you go. You’ll find the most amazing things.
My travel tip would have to be to always get lost wandering in your destination. You will find so many treasures that aren’t in the guide books. Talk to the locals and learn about their life and culture.
Get away from the standard touristy sites and venture into the neighborhoods and areas where the locals hang out.
Take the plunge! Get out of your area of comfort. Wander. Learn people’s stories. Take lots of quick pictures and then banish the camera to experience the wonder of life.
Have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. We just did our first carry-on for three weeks to Italy and it was scary but the best thing we ever did.
When you are far from home and it becomes a bit overwhelming, find a favorite treat that you have at home and go sit in your room and enjoy it. Eyoos (Moroccan oreos) got me through my very first trip overseas.
Running or cycling is one of my favorite ways to explore new places. You really see things you might otherwise overlook.
If you have the choice between renting a car or taking a train, rent the car! Getting lost in random streets in route to a destination is part of the adventure and you always find more interesting places you didn’t know existed.
Food tours give an insight to the culture of your destination as well as a look into their past. It’s a great way to see a city and have a tour at the same time. And you get to eat along the way!
My #1 travel tip is to search Facebook for events happening in the places you’ll be visiting so you won’t miss out on incredible events that could be happening while you’re there.
Local Interactions & Culture
Always be aware of different cultural customs and surroundings when traveling internationally! It makes for a better experience.
Don’t be shy about talking to the locals. Always learn to say hello, please, and thank you in the local language.
Try to learn something about the people that live in the country you are visiting. Be respectful of their customs. We are citizens of the world and kindness is free. Sprinkle some of it wherever you travel.
Always, always, always try to do as the locals do. Eat as they eat, travel as they travel, and enjoy as they enjoy.
Smile! And try to speak the language. Locals love it when you try to speak their language. And a smile goes a long way in every situation.
Before heading to a foreign country in which you don’t speak the language, learn four or five of the basics. We have found the people are generally more tolerant and willing to help if you’ve made an effort. Learning a few cultural customs or faux pas is also appreciated.
Make a packing list to ensure essential items don’t get missed!
When packing jewelry, thread chains through a straw to keep from tangling. I cut the straws in half. Works like a charm!
I like to pack clothes that I no longer want. After I wear them, I donate them locally when I leave. This frees up room in my suitcase for souvenirs.
Use packing cubes to organize your clothes and suitcase!
Traveling carry-on only will change your life. You will learn how little you really need to enjoy your trip and life. It has followed me home.
Practice packing! Regardless of how much I plan on bringing, packing up everything before a trip for practice has really helped me become more minimalistic.
Pack light and only bring your favorites. And when you are wondering if you need the extra pair of shoes, the answer is NO!
Start packing early for your trip. I lay my outfits out and I take a picture. This helps me not to over pack. Then while on my trip, I can refer back to my pictures so I don’t stress, as the outfit is already put together.
Color coordinate your clothes. I always travel with black and white!
My best travel tip to date is to make sure you have a change of clothes in your carryon if you check a bag. Ask me how I know!
To make traveling light easier, start to change your everyday routine. Experiment with bar soaps, shampoos, and lotions at home and begin to use them daily. When you are shopping, always keep in mind versatility and ease of care for clothing. When purchasing shoes, consider comfort as much as fashion. Find multi-use cosmetics that work for you. In simplifying your everyday life, you will find you can shop in your own closet for your travel needs instead of last-minute panic shopping when you realize you don’t have what you need.
Don’t pack things ‘just in case,’ it just weighs you down. Pack your trip and daily essentials. Anything else can be bought abroad!
If you’re going to overpack, always bring extra underwear.
Noise cancellation headphones make a difference. I like to download some songs and make a playlist that fits the destination to get my mind prepped for the trip! Podcasts and audiobooks are great, too. If you have them downloaded already, you can still listen to it at take off and landing while your phone is in airplane mode. It helps me tremendously when I’m nervous about the landing. Before you know it, the plane is already taxing to the gate!
Always bring snacks! An amazing adventure can be ruined by the hangries.
Wear clothes made with merino wool. They’re warm in cool weather and cool in hot weather, easy to hand-wash, quick to dry, and you can re-wear them many times without them smelling.
Always pack some tissues and hand sanitizer. You can never guarantee the quality of the toilets and when you have to go, you have to go.
Take a travel compression bag for your dirty laundry. It keeps them separate from your other things and the clothes take up less space.
Baby wipes have been a godsend, as have a good travel pillow, Bose noise canceling headphones, and compression socks. Lastly, we always travel with a double silk liner so it doesn’t matter where we need to lay our head to rest, it’s always comfy.
I always take a bug-proof queen-size pillow case so you never need to worry about whose head has been on that pillow! And it doubles up as a dirty laundry bag, too.
Use beauty samples for travel. You don’t need the full sized bottle.
Bring a guidebook. I like Lonely Planet or Rick Steves. They have walking tours and a little history information. I make notes and mark the places I go and it’s a great souvenir when you get home.
Colgate Wisps. You don’t need water, toothbrush, or paste to use. They’re small and fit anywhere. And they’re great for long flights or just to freshen up.
Slippers! Just a light and cheap pair. They’re great on the plane for long flights so you can take your shoes off but not be barefoot when walking to the bathroom or just stretching your legs. They’re also nice to have if you don’t want to walk barefoot in the place you’re staying, especially if the floors are cold.
Ear plugs! I have several pairs in different pockets in your bags. Being tired or irritated with unfamiliar or heightened noises can ruin a trip. Ear plugs help with airline train trips, sleeping arrangements, and different noises overnight in an unfamiliar city. Being rested will lend to a better trip!
Take an empty water bottle and protein bars for snacks. After you pass security, fill up the water bottle and keep hydrated.
My favorite travel tip is to take solids instead of liquids. I love my solid shampoo and conditioner bar from Lush, the Clinique Chubby Foundation Stick, and the Palmer’s Swivel Stick.
No one wants to get sick while on vacation, but you never know. It’s better to be prepared than have to hunt down a pharmacy in another country, only to not find what you need. I always bring iBuprofen, Tums, anti-diarrhea pills, Pedialyte packets (if you get dehydrated), and band-aids.
Never forget to pack blister pads! No matter how broken in your shoes are, you’re inevitably walking many miles and you never know what the conditions will be
Always take advantage of samples and beauty boxes (from Birchbox and Sephora). I save all of my samples for travel and haven’t had to purchase much outside of those for my toiletries in years! And everything fits in my quart size liquids bag!
Bring a portable power bank if you plan on using a cell phone on your travels. Phone batteries go dead quickly when searching for addresses and using GPS apps. Also, make sure your power bank still holds a charge. I found out the hard way on our first night in Prague that our power bank didn’t work anymore.
Always pack a black dress. You can use it for any occasion by adding the right accessories.
My number one travel tip is to pack a small bar of laundry soap so that you can wash undies and socks or anything that get dirty while keeping the packing light.
My travel tip is to take a lightweight but large scarf on every trip. It makes a fabulous blanket on the plane and can quickly warm you up when out and about and the temperature drops. Lightweight scarves pack up small in your bag and also make outfits look more stylish.
Wear compression socks during flights and your mind and body will feel much more refreshed when you arrive at your destination.
Always take a photo of your passport and email it to yourself. This will make things easier if it gets lost or stolen.
Make copies of ID, insurance cards, credit cards, and travel documents along with emergency contact information to keep in a safe place in case of theft or other emergency situations.
If you have to check your luggage, take a picture of the inside. The airline will ask you to describe three things if you bag is lost or delayed.
Whether you are traveling alone or not, let someone back home know where you will be staying and the estimated schedule of your trip.
Travel insurance is a must. I’m so glad I did for my last trip when, coming back from Morocco, I was stranded in New York.
Never EVER pack your passport in your checked luggage.
Set all your travel locks to the same combination so they are easier to remember.
Don’t look like a tourist. Dress like a local, and walk like you’ve seen the area a million times before. You won’t have to worry about your wallet as much because you won’t be a target.
Get a RFID wallet during your travel for ease of mind, and keep a photocopy of your passport.
Start using your travel purse or bag before you start traveling so you can get used to organizing it before your trip. This way, you can make sure everything has a place and you know where everything is before you open it. This speeds up the process and there is less of a chance for pickpockets to see you as a target.
Write postcards home to yourself. In this digital era, we don’t take pen to paper often enough. Searching for the perfect card is fun and you have a nice keepsake when you return.
Pick your traveling companions wisely. You are spending a lot of time with these folks so pick someone you are travel-compatible with.
Take a travel journal and use it! Your best souvenir will be your travel journal and your legacy will live on long after your gone.
Use your network. The more you travel, the more likely it is you know someone who knows someone in your location. Insight, meeting up for a drink, or even a place to stay are all possible outcomes. My best travel experiences have come this way.
Stay hydrated when on a long flight. It makes it easier to get over jet lag.
Download the airline app you will be traveling on so you may check in early – especially if you only have a carry-on.
My advice is keep all confirmations and reservations together on an app such as TripIt. Also, print out hard copies for times when you or the vendor may not have electronic access.
Take half as much stuff and twice as much money. Someone said their grandmother always said that and I’ve found it to be great advice!
I try to document what we did each night so I have the memories written down. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the fun little details later when you’re on the road for awhile so it’s nice to have it documented.
If you receive perfume samples on Sephora, choose one sample perfume for each trip. That way, every time you smell that perfume it will remind you of that specific trip. Sometimes if I’m feeling down (like stuck at home in winter), I’ll wear a certain fragrance that I wore on a favorite trip and it instantly perks up my mood.
Always take pictures. When you travel, anything can, and often will, happen. By taking pictures, you get to turn travel troubles into fond memories. After traveling to 20 countries (12 of them with my five kids!), I find that taking pictures makes every experience better.
Take a small bag of candy or chocolates on each flight as a gift to the flight attendants. They are often working very long shifts with a demanding crowd.They appreciate the thought and it can often result in a wonderful surprise for the worst part of travel. And if you don’t receive anything in return, you still know that you have made someone else’s day. Win for everyone.
Always ‘do you.’ What works for one person just may not work for you. It doesn’t matter if the entire world thinks a certain shoe is comfortable. If you don’t, they’re not for you.
Don’t stay right in the city center, but just outside and near public transportation. It’s usually less expensive, you get more of a neighborhood feel, it’s less busy and touristy, and you can easily get anywhere with public transportation.
Embrace your own travel style. If you want to check every bucket list item off at a destination, make a list and go. If you want to spend an afternoon reading a book in the sunshine, make the time. If you want to eat all the things, bring your stretchy pants. If you want to group travel so other people take care of all the reservations and logistics, fantastic. If you want to plan your own trip so you have all the freedom in your schedule, that is great too. Five-star hotels versus hostels, beaches versus cities – everyone is different. Do not let others make you insecure about the way you like to travel just because they would do it differently!
Do you like these packing tips shared by our readers? If you have any travel packing tips to share, comment below!
For more packing tips, please read:
- 10-Step Guide to Packing One Suitcase for any Trip
- This Video Will Change the Way You Pack
- 60 Travel Packing Tips from the Experts
- 75 Packing Tips that Will Make Your Travels So Much Easier
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