When’s the best time to book a flight? How can a free upgrade actually cost you money? Why are duct tape, petroleum jelly, and dental floss among the most valuable things you can pack? Find out the answer to these and many other questions with our list of the 101 travel tricks you need to try. (And then add your own tips and tricks in the comments area below!)
But I’ve learned a ton from my experiences, too. To celebrate seven years since I stumbled my way out of the U.K. and began a life of full-time travel, I’ve compiled an enormous list of my biggest and best travel tips. These are all things that I wish someone had told me before I started traveling, so I hope you’ll find them useful, inspiring, educational, and entertaining.
Packing is pivotal. Forget an essential item and you're left disappointed and scrambling to find the nearest store in your destination. Pack too much and you end up disorganized, burdened with heavy bags, and hemorrhaging money to pay for pricey airline baggage fees. So we thought it best to revisit the most basic—and most useful—packing rules. Here are 10 fundamental packing strategies that every traveler should learn.
I book all of my flights through Skyscanner, because it consistently finds cheapest deals. The key here is to keep things flexible: I look at flights to an entire country (or search for “everywhere” if I’m not sure where to head next) and look at prices over a whole month. I don’t collect points and miles, but I still rarely spend more than $500 on a long-haul flight.
Longing for a long-distance getaway but don't have a passport? You can still jet off to a faraway island overseas. Consider Puerto Rico, officially an unincorporated territory of the United States; the U.S. Virgin Islands, mere minutes from Puerto Rico by plane; Northern Mariana Islands, a collection of Micronesian islands governed by the United States since the Battle of Saipan in 1944; Guam, which is home to a heavy U.S. military presence; and American Samoa, a collection of five volcanic islands and two atolls between Fiji and the Cook Islands.
“When there are problems with the flight, most people start out annoyed or even hostile. If I tell the agents what a great job they’re doing and how I admire their patience, they'll often go to extraordinary lengths for me,” says motivational speaker Barry Maher. “I once had a gate agent spend 45 minutes to get me rebooked on another airline. Then she called the gate, grabbed one of my carry-ons and ran with me to security. When I got to the gate, the agent bumped me into first class.”
That said, however, there are scammers out there, and it's the naive rookie travellers that provide their easiest targets. I was scammed the first time I travelled. And the second time. And the third time. There's no easy way around this – you're often dealing with pros who've been doing this their entire lives. Just roll with the punches and try not to part with too much cash. (Read: Ten classic travel scams)
Like one of your correspondents above said – practice pack and pitch. Any old clothes that are serviceable but may have a spot or are heavily worn get packed and pitched along the way. You can always tie a scarf so it covers a spot and you’re never going to see these people again. Your pitch will equal your stuff purchased. And stuff left in Peru, mark it trash bastuda, doesn’t worm its way back into your closet. I also just purchased an Elizabeth and Clarke unstainable tshirt and can’t wait to see if they work well.
This rip-off is especially noxious because it is based on a lie—that the fuel surcharge somehow isn't part of the regular fare. How bad it is? Recently, British Airways posted a round-trip from Boston to London with a base fare of $208, plus $230 in government/airport/security taxes and fees and a $458 "carrier imposed" (read: "fuel") surcharge. Ridiculous!
When you receive something fragile in the mail, save the bubble wrap. It's perfect for protecting breakables in your luggage, from wine bottles (staple the bubble wrap around the bottle) to snow-globe souvenirs. Packing apples or pears for a snack on the plane? Fold them in bubble wrap to prevent bruising. A stapled sleeve of bubble wrap also makes a suitable iPad or iPhone protector.
Don’t judge other travellers, either. Don’t judge people for visiting the most touristy cities in the world, don’t judge them for travelling with a backpack or a suitcase, don’t judge them for being a budget or luxury traveller, don’t judge them for carrying a selfie stick, just accept that everyone’s different, travels for different reasons, and likes different things.
There are many more perks to be picked up in the booking process than an amateur business traveler takes advantage of. Seeking these tips out can be useful for both eliminating or reducing travel stressors and increasing comfort or luxury. In other words, they make the bad stuff go away, and more good stuff fall right into your lap (and we’re not talking about that ginger ale).
Everyone knows that jet lag feeling: You’re groggy at dinner, but unable to sleep at night; you can’t muster hunger at socially appropriate times and even your digestive system doesn’t seem to cooperate. And some studies have linked chronic jet lag (jumping time zones on at least a weekly basis) to increased risk of some cancers and quicker cognitive decline. In other words? It’s time to get with the (local) program fast.
Airports are pretty bad in and of themselves, but the hassles and restrictions they place on our gadgets are the worst. No Wi-Fi, weak cellular reception, and three power outlets per terminal? Come on. But not every trip to JFK or LAX has to be a brutal experience—you just have to prepare. Here are some airport tech hacks that can help make the inconvenience of traversing the globe a little less disruptive.
Whether it’s that steamy romance novel, thrilling sci-fi, or a dog-eared travel guide, download it before your trip. Even if at home you’re a paper-til-I-die sort, save the space and weight for your holiday. And don’t count on wi-fi to jump back into the story from your perfectly positioned beach chair. Make sure it’s on a water-resistent covered device (check out Otterbox for some serious protection for your cherished e-reader, phone or tablet).
Before you go on a big trip, it is tempting to try and plan every aspect of it. As tempting as it might seem, make sure to leave plenty of room for serendipity. Try to just plan the skeleton of your trip and leave room in between for discovery and for things to come up which you didn't plan. Talk to other travelers that you meet on the ground and you'll have a much better idea of what you want to do once you land.
This dramatic region takes up the southeastern half of the state. Remarkable desert parklands, including Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and Anza-Borrego, provide an extraordinary chance to explore, while the oasis-like allure of Palm Springs, 3 hours northeast of San Diego, offers sunny resort-style getaways, with golf, tennis, spas, and high-end shopping.
All these tips are great, but I truly appreciate the perspective about Sunrise is better than Sunset. I know I am probably in the minority here, but the freshness of morning is a rebirth for me. And a dazzling sunrise does more for lifting my spirits than almost anything else. Whatever problems I had yesterday, now, with this new sunrise, I have a chance at a fresh start. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a romantic sunset too!)
Is there any website where you can meet up travelers and make plans. I don’t know if that’s a bad idea lol but I have a friend I travel with but he can’t make it all the time and even thought I have travel alone, i do prefer traveling with someone else for help with picture, life talk, and just being a little safer tbh even though I do agree with you that most places are safer than media makes them up to be. Any suggestions?