Often it’s the small things that can turn a good journey into a great one. During the last giveaway, I asked those who entered to post their favorite travel tips and they generously shared ones covering topics from health to packing to souvenirs.
Below are 30 great ways to make your next travel adventure even better. I’ve added a few of my own as well:
- If you love travel planning, great, but if not, travel with someone who does and then say “thank you.”
- Stay hydrated on long flights or train journeys by drinking lots of water and/or juice (tomato juice is a refreshing choice) and skipping caffeinated and alcoholic beverages (which can be dehydrating).
- Swab Vaseline inside of your nose during a flight to avoid catching a cold from others
- Wipe down everything around your seat you may touch with antibacterial wipes, and carry antibacterial gel for your hands after using the bathroom.
- Don’t use the airplane-provided blanket or pillow; bring your own shawl for a coverup, and your own neck pillow. The airplane blanket or pillow can be placed in your seat for additional lumbar support.
- Pack as lightly as you can, and travel with as little luggage as possible. Once you’ve put in everything you want to take, try to remove at least a third or more of it because that’s probably what isn’t needed and won’t get used.
- Choose lightweight clothes that can be layered easily.
- Choose quick-drying clothes if you won’t be staying where there are a washer and dryer.
- Only pack a few small-size toiletries. Once at your destination assess what’s on hand and purchase more there if necessary.
- Pack a clean, damp, inexpensive washcloth in a plastic bag into your purse or personal carry-on item. Upon arrival wash your face, hands, and neck – very soothing after a long flight!
- The most important clothing item you take along is a comfortable pair of shoes.
- Sturdy canvas shopping totes make great, lightweight personal carry-on bags. They’re easy to carry, fit under the seat in front during a flight, and can hold lots of items along with a purse. Plus, you have a reusable shopping bag when you arrive.
- Your own photos make the best souvenirs. Take lots of pictures!
- Purchase interesting postcards at your destination, then back home display in a basket where you can easily pull them out and remember your trip.
- Purchase small but useful gifts and souvenirs: tea towels, earrings, kitchen utensils, coffee mugs, t-shirts, holiday ornaments, linens, scarves, lipsticks or other small cosmetics are lightweight and pack easily.
- Small, packaged food items make great souvenirs and help you recreate the tastes of where you’ve been. Avoid larger jars or cans as they have to go inside checked luggage and can boost the weight.
- Give children a set amount of spending money upfront to buy their own souvenirs or snacks with the understanding that a) they can’t ask you to buy them something, and b) when the money is gone, it’s gone. Children learn very quickly to think carefully about spending when they control their own money.
- Carry along a cooler when you travel in a car or by train (from small to full-size, depending on the space available), or a small one with you on a plane to keep snacks, meals, or drinks cool and fresh.
- Choose low-cost portable food (i.e. sandwiches or wraps) and add fruit or fresh vegetable for light, healthy meals – the variety is endless.
- Save your loyalty program points to use at airport food purveyors for free or discounted meals so you don’t have to pay airport prices.
- Always try the chocolate wherever you go!
On the Road:
- Pay careful attention to arrival times and make lodging arrangements accordingly. If your arrival time is early in the morning, you might not be able to check into your hotel until later in the afternoon and have to wander around with your luggage for several hours (not good if you’re exhausted). If you can’t book an afternoon arrival time, you can reserve lodging beginning the night before, and ask that your roomor be held for you.
- During your travel day, count your baggage and “toteables” after every stop or activity (i.e. stopping for coffee, using the restroom) to make sure nothing has been left behind.
- Always bring along something to do in downtime, whether that’s reading, a game, knitting or crocheting. If you have to wait or have a long layover, it will make the time pass more quickly.
- Have a plan, but be flexible. Stay calm, work with the unexpected if you have to, and accept you can’t control everything.
- However, always have a Travel Plan B in case of an emergency, and an emergency fund to cover the unexpected.
On the ground:
- For long-term travel, think about carrying small utensils and other practical items you can’t do without, things like a vegetable peeler or washcloths. A wireless charger is a good addition as well.
- Don’t schedule every moment – give yourself room to be spontaneous.
- It’s OK to have a bucket list of things to see and do on your journey but give yourself time to wander down a sidestreet or turn down an alleyway you keep passing or go into a shop that looks interesting. Try that unknown dish or food. Your curiosity will thank you.
- Travel with a sense of wonder.
Any travel experience will be as good as you make it, and adding a few new tricks along with having a positive attitude can and will improve any journey.