My best travel tips:
- Plan your itinerary ahead.
- Don’t overdo #1; be flexible.
- Make a packing list. You might want to have more than one travel category like overnight trips, long weekend getaways, domestic travel, and international travel. You also might want to use such categories as business, formal, camping, and photography trips. Save this list on your computer, then print it when you start packing.
- Pack early and often! Keep some of your staple items like lotions, shampoos, and conditioners, tissues, hand sanitizers, and travel plugs and chargers gathered in storage with your luggage or other travel gear.
- Research every place you travel, even if it’s the small town you’re visiting for the weekend. I’ve learned that the more I research before I go, the more I learn while I’m at my destination.
- Check all your reservations at the latest moment you can and still have time to correct any mistakes–before the point of no return.
- Print copies of all your reservations and travel arrangements even if you plan to use your smart electronic devices at check-in.
- Make copies of your credit cards and valuable items in your wallet (i.e., passport, driver’s license, health insurance card, and travel insurance information) and leave them at home where someone at home can access them in an emergency.
- Leave any keys you don’t need at home.
- Weigh your luggage before you leave if you’re flying and must meet weight restrictions.
- Take a small luggage scale with you if you plan to do any serious souvenir shopping.
- Stick a business card inside all of your bags and totes, even your checked bags, in case your luggage ID tags are unfortunately and violently separated from your bags. Even if you don’t have business cards for work, you should make some simple cards with your basic information such as name, cell phone number, and e-mail address. (Use safety precautions if you are ever contacted by anyone using this information.) Check out Vista Print online.
- Ignore you partner’s incessant grumblings about all the “stuff” you are packing, and pack as lightly or as heavily as you feel comfortable with and can afford. I have offered my husband this promise–I will never pack more than I can afford to check and I am able and willing to carry myself. Can’t say it’s done much good for the grumblings.
- At your destination, ask locals you interact with about where they like to eat, and what they do for entertainment. Although I’m from Houston, I haven’t lived there for years. I asked a waitress in mid-town once where she liked to go for fun, and she told me about this great little community theater. Mom and I went to a play there on Mother’s Day, and it was awesome!
- Walk around near the popular eateries, lodging, and attractions at your destinations. You’ll find some great places that just don’t advertise as much that are as good or better than the hyped locations.
- Schedule yourself one day before and 1-2 days after a longer trip to prepare and recuperate if you can. This one tip alone has made all my trips more memorable and enjoyable because I didn’t sandwich my trip between two days of pure Hell.
Got any tips you’d like to share?