Traveling can be such an exhausting experience. So exhaustive that sometimes when we return home, we are glad to get back to normal life. But leading up to a trip can be fun and exciting, filled with a little anticipation and a whole lot of preparation. Here are some things to consider when you are planning on taking your next trip.
If you’re traveling with kids, it’s tempting to let them all tune out with their own mp3 players, but consider bringing along some books on CD. Having something literate and interesting for the whole family to listen to is not only entertaining and interesting, but provides a common experience that each family member can take forward with them into life (“Hey, remember when I was ten, and we listened to Black Beauty on the way to Maine?”). It’s the stuff of which fond memories are made.
You can save a lot of money on your next vacation by purchasing a last minute travel deal. Many websites now offer this feature. When travel agencies, cruises, airlines and the like have unsold vacation packages, they offer them at steep discounts the closer they get to departure date.
When you travel to visit friends or family, be a courteous guest and do not assume they will make all your sightseeing plans for you. Many people assume they are there to be entertained, which is of course an incorrect assumption and generates bad feeling. Instead, do your homework ahead of time, let your hosts know what you’re planning to do, invite but don’t oblige them to accompany you, and spend your time together in good will, knowing you are being a gracious guest.
When renting a car take the time before you leave the parking garage to acquaint yourself with its most basic features. Make sure an instruction manual for the car model is in the glove box and take time to skim through it. It’s no fun to pull into rush hour traffic just as a thunder storm hits if you don’t know how to turn on the windshield wipers!
If you’re going on a long road trip, try breaking it up into a few segments. Mark a few cities on the way to your final destination where you can stop for a bit. You can get out a stretch, get some food, and otherwise regenerate. You’d be surprised how much faster the trip goes if you break it up.
Avoid the gate until it is actually time to board the plane. Many passengers will crowd the gate, hoping to be the first to be allowed on. To avoid the major hustle and bustle, hang back until you hear it is your turn. Then you can calmly walk up and get on the plane.
If you are traveling with a laptop and plan to spend a lot of time in your hotel room, pack an A/C cable in your laptop case. If the room features an HDTV, you can use the cable to connect your computer to the television. This allows you to stream movies from Netflix or Hulu to your laptop, then watch them on the larger screen. It is definitely cheaper than paying five bucks a pop for video rental.
If you and a group of family or friends are traveling by car, bring a walkie talkie wherever you go. Cell phones need to have a cell tower in order to work properly. Walkie talkies only need each other, making them more beneficial than the phones when you are traveling in rural areas that might not have cell phone coverage.
If you are traveling on a cruise ship, bring a travel mug with you. There is always an unlimited amount of coffee and tea on the ship, but the cups they have on board are usually very little. Taking a mug will prevent you from having to fill up several times each morning. You can also use it at the buffet line to stop spills.
Your dream trip can turn into a nightmare if you don’t do the proper research beforehand. Search the Internet for travel reviews from people who have already been to that location. Their bad experience can prevent you from staying at a poorly rated hotel or bad area of town.
To be prepared for travel, make sure you pack light. Bring just what you need, which is always less than you think. You can wash clothes on the road – at your hotel, at a laundromat, or even in a sink. Do not pack so much that your bag becomes cumbersome.
If you put these tips into place, you can avoid so many of the frustrations, anxieties, and sleepless nights that come along with planning a trip. Rest assured that you will be ready and prepared come departure day. There is no need to spend so much time worrying.