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.
Other smart garments include vests with elaborate hidden storage systems, scarves with savvy pockets, and ExOfficio's insect-repellant button-downs (perfect for a trip that takes you from indoors to out). Convertible bags will also extend your wardrobe and lighten your carry-on load; this option from Tumi converts from a flight-friendly backpack to a tote bag for everyday use.
Let’s say you’re flying straight to Bangkok, where you’ve given yourself three days to see the main attractions. You can plan it all out, but you’ll most likely end up jetlagged and sleeping away a chunk of that time in the city. When you’re planning how long to stay in a place, take jetlag into account, as well as general travel fatigue. Remember you won’t want to be outside exploring for 12 hours a day every single day.
Grow your list of potential clients and connected friends by reaching out to people that you are socially connected with and offer to buy them coffee. This is a great way to grow your network and spread the message about what you do. To connect with a larger group, host a meetup and invite your social friends that are in the area or will be in the area!
I always smile, say thank you, and compliment the people I interact with. If I like a necklace or a smile, I let them know. People appreciate honest praise. You might be the friendliest person they meet that day. I don't do it to get upgrades, but it has been known to happen. A ticket agent or desk clerk who hears complaints all day is happy to be treated as a person and shown respect. I do it because I used to do those jobs back in the day. I never regret being nice to people.
Avoid packing pitfalls by only bringing items that have an 80 percent minimum chance of being used—but be sure to plan before you pack. "Lay out everything that you think you want to pack on your bed and take a good hard look," suggests Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel. That way you can avoid packing, say, three floral tops when you only need one. "It's only when you lay your entire ensemble in front of you that you see where you've made mistakes and can make the appropriate cuts."
Sunscreen’s a good idea for situations where you can’t otherwise avoid extended sun exposure, but it’s got its problems too. It enables you to spend unnatural amounts of time exposed to the sun, and unnatural is almost always bad. Plus it blocks your skin from absorbing all the sun’s nutrients. There’s also a debate about whether some of its chemicals are toxic or not—if not to you, at least to the environment. And…
DVT causes leg pain, but the real concern is that part of the clot could break off and flow to the heart or brain, causing severe injury or death. In its DVT pamphlet for travelers, the FAA advises airline passengers to increase leg-muscle activity while flying by walking around in the cabin or exercising lower legs and ankles from a seated position.
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!)