Travel can be an amazing source of inspiration, but if things go wrong, it can take on a nightmarish quality, instead. No one wants to go on a vacation that’s more aggravating than relaxing. Fortunately, you can protect yourself against some common travel mistakes and stresses, by following a few easy tips.
When traveling by airplane, try to limit yourself to a single 20 pound carry-on bag. This way, you always know where you luggage is. If you are traveling to multiple destinations in a single trip, there’s nothing worse than having your luggage chasing you around while you go without clean underwear.
Bring an empty water bottle. We all know that bringing a full bottle of water through security is a big no-no. If you don’t want to be stuck paying a premium for bottled beverages after security, bring along your own empty bottle to fill at a water fountain. If the tap water is less than appealing to you, bring a single serve packet of drink mix to add to the bottle.
Enroll in the loyal customer club. These clubs reward you with a free night after you’ve stayed a certain number of nights at their participating locations. Even if aren’t planning to stay with them again, enroll anyway. Being a member often entitles you to extra benefits–anything from drinks to internet access–during your stay.
When traveling, the savvy tourist will always be on the lookout for local restaurants. A chain restaurant, even one belonging to a foreign chain the traveler does not know, will never be as colorful as an independently operated eatery. Not only are locally-owned restaurants more memorable, they are frequently cheaper than more generic options.
If you are traveling overseas, be prepared for anything. Cultures are very different once you leave the western world. Don’t expect to see anything resembling your normal life until you disembark in the United States again. Planning ahead for this will help you reduce the effects of culture shock during your travels.
Sometimes it’s better to pick places to travel where you have family and friends in the area. You can save money on hotels by staying with a close friend or family member when you travel, you can just make it up to them by taking them out to dinner. They can also show you all the cool sites to check out since they should be very familiar with the area.
Travel on a Boeing 767 for your flight. They have less middle seats because their rows are set up in a two-three-two arrangement instead of the traditional three-three rows. Their total number of seats range from 180 to 250 depending on who you fly with, and they normally operate for long domestic flights. By booking with a Boeing 767, you are more likely to get the type of seat you want.
Give a copy of your trip itinerary to a friend or family member. In case of an accident or another situation, this can help your friends and family track down your whereabouts. Make sure you also keep in contact with this individual as you transition from one leg of your trip to the next.
If you are planning to travel by car, purchase an expandable file to help you organize your trip. Label one slot with each day of your trip and put any information that you need for the day in there. You might include maps, directions, hotel confirmation numbers, or attraction information. Staying organized will help make your road trip less stressful and will allow you to stay on schedule.
To avoid having to talk to your seatmate on a long flight, wear headphones, even if you don’t feel like listening to music. The headphones will indicate to your seatmate that you are busy and unavailable to chat, which will allow you to relax or get some work done without being bothered.
If you’re going on a long car trip, make sure to bring a plastic bag that can be dedicated to trash. This way you will have a place to throw all of those fast food wrappers and used tissues so they don’t end up all over the floor of your car.
Adjust to a new time zone faster by spending time in the sun. When you arrive at your destination, try to get plenty of sun exposure on your first and second days. This will help “set” your circadian rhythm to be in line with the local time zone and help you get over jet lag faster.
With this array of tips in your arsenal, traveling will be a breeze, not a pain. These are simple ideas, but simple acts can be an extremely effective preventative. Simple sense is all you need to keep a travel experience positive and fun, even when you’re venturing way off the beaten track.