It's tempting to walk into one of the travel shops and just go bananas. You could spend thousands in there, picking up things like special travel shirts with breathable material, compression sacks, wire mesh thingys to wrap around your backpack, money belts, karabiners, hiking shoes… But you don't need any of it. Wear clothes you're comfortable wearing. And using a money belt is like carrying around a sign saying "rob me".
You know the socks you often get on overseas flights? The ones that don't fit quite right and come with weird treads that make them impossible to wear with shoes? Give them new purpose by keeping a pair on hand to protect items from getting chipped or scratched in transit. They're the perfect size to hold the trinkets you pick up on your travels—the ones that don't need to be enveloped in bubble wrap but do need a bit of extra protection before being tossed into your bag. And in a pinch, they can serve as a handy alternative to a glasses case in your bag or purse.
Savvy travelers take along a tube of Topricin pain relief and healing cream for easing all of the aches and pains of being sardined on a plane, lugging luggage, or hoofing it all day at an expo. It is a safe, natural biomedicine formula that rapidly relieves and soothes swollen feet, cramping legs, achy necks and shoulders--with no odor, grease, parabens, petroleum, or other chemicals, and with no side effects.
The single biggest difference in my travels is seeking out local food. A lot of people go to a destination looking for a deal on fine dining or experiencing a famous Michelin restaurant. That is absolutely fine, but it's also where you'll dine with other tourists and not get a sense of how locals really live. Food is a great way to begin a conversation about history, politics and family values in a way that isn't intrusive or rude.
Travel isn’t conducive for sleep, whether it’s snorers in dorm rooms, early risers rustling plastic bags, or drunk backpackers stumbling around in the middle of the night. Even if you don’t stay in hostels, you’ll still have to deal with street noise from outside, loud bars nearby, and uncomfortable overnight journeys. Pack some ear plugs and a sleep mask in your bag to help improve your sleep. I’ve been using Sleep Phones to block out light and listen to podcasts and I love them.
Shrink it. Jessica Ellis, a graphic designer who travels between New York City and Chicago every other week, piles clothing into Eagle Creek Pack-It Compressor bags ($10 to $26, rei.com). “Zipper them, and they take out 80 percent of the volume.” Warning: This can have wrinkly consequences, so if the clothes don’t yet require laundering, lay them flat and place fabric-softener sheets between them. Consider your fresh-smelling clothes a welcome-home present.
"After going on international adventures and suffering food poisoning, sudden fever, cuts and scrapes, terrible bug bites, and other ailments — and then having to navigate a foreign pharmacy — I've learned to always pack a small medical kit. I keep a toiletry bag ready to go stocked with Band-aids, Neosporin, pain relievers, cold medicine, medicine for stomach trouble, itch relief ointment, antibiotics (you can ask your doctor for an emergency prescription before you travel), and ear plugs (life savers on long-haul flights and trains). And if you never have to use it, all the better!" — Karen Chen, Digital Producer
My best tip for a business trip if you are exhibiting at a trade show is to have all of your equipment and booth supplies mailed separately directly to the event hall. I made the rookie mistake before of trying to bring it all in luggage, and it ended up being a complete headache! Not only was it heavy, but lugging an extra suitcase through airports, into a rental car, in the hotel and then to a trade show floor is just not fun. Save yourself some backache by having it delivered ahead of time and make it a seamless set up to start the show off on a good note.
So many tips here that I live by. After 5 years on the road I came to #4 (kids). Recently had a month in USA and happily did #12 (blow budget) but we have come back and said to ourselves that it’s not really worth those massive big budget blowing trips with our little one only being 2 yo (almost 3) as she can get great fun out of almost anything. We took her to Disneyland and her best time was a bench seat that had old tractor seats on it!
5. Get a good meal. Yelp isn’t as sexy as some of the newer apps, but I use it on every single trip I take. There’s nothing more depressing than coming into a new city, being ravenously hungry and not having a clue where to eat (except for the decrepit hotel lounge). Use Yelp’s advanced search functionality to determine what’s “open now,” and within either a quick walk or a short drive. You can sort by type of cuisine and also by ratings, so you can ensure you’re looking at the best. This has led me to fantastic spots I never would have found, from a Thai/Vietnamese place in Akron to small gems on the side streets of Paris. (Note that Yelp is particularly strong in the U.S.; TripAdvisor may be worth consulting as an alternative if you’re traveling abroad and don’t see a lot of Yelp listings for the region you’re in.)