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.
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.
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Tissue Paper: For delicate items, one of our favorite packing tips is to use tissue paper. Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper. This is easy enough the first time you pack, but becomes a pain if you have to keep repacking. We only use this approach for evening clothes that we don’t want to crush.
At many hotels, check-in and checkout times are far from set in stone. Loyalty members often get the option of early check-in or late checkout, and sometimes hotels offer the option with certain packages or room types. And if you've got a late flight or just need a home base for a few more hours, it never hurts to call the front desk and ask. Often, the hotel will be happy to oblige.
Keep Your Routine: As much as possible, follow your home routine on the road. Traveling is stressful enough, don’t make it worse. If you workout in the morning at home, workout in the morning during travel. If you eat breakfast before work at home, eat breakfast before you leave the hotel. Keep your bedtime routine as well. If you drink tea before bed, bring tea and have some before bed. Following your night-time routine will improve your quality of sleep on the road.
I would prefer to book aisle seats on international flights, I really use the bathroom and I find it uncomfortable to ask other people to give me space if I´m on the window seat, plus I´m always tempted to go to my hand luggage in international flights to take out the book, or put it back, to take out some slippers or put it back… I´m such a mess hehe… so I really need the aisle seat…
“You will always pack whatever size backpack you have to the absolute exploding point… it must be some kind of immutable law of physics. So knowing this, buy a bag at least 10-20% smaller than you think you want and take it home and pack it full. This is then the most you are allowed to bring on your trip. Then return the backpack to the store and buy the original size bag you wanted, like say from Tortuga :), but only pack what you stuffed into the smaller bag. Now your bag is lighter, you still have everything you need, and you might just have a little extra room for things you buy along the way.”
Your best bet for flexibility in these areas comes if you book your stay during the shoulder season when the owner might simply be pleased to fill an otherwise-open weekend or midweek-to-midweek slot. The additional savings in that case might be on your flights to and from your destination, because you won't be paying exorbitant weekend fares to get there and back.
In most large cities, travelers should always be on the lookout for pickpockets. The easiest way to keep your belongings safe is to keep them hidden and close to you. One way to do this is to stash your valuables underneath your clothing. Another way is by locking your bags closed and using reflective accents to help folks see you at nighttime. Consider these safety travel essentials:
Because they’ll never go away. Those nerves you get the night before leaving? I still experience them, five years on. Whenever I’m visiting a brand new place, I get nervous. Whenever I’m trying something new, I’m nervous. I even get nervous when I’m returning to a place I love! Embrace these travel nerves and accept them as normal — even experienced travellers get them!
Figuring out the airlines' tricky and befuddling baggage-fee policies is key to any budget-minded packing strategy. While most airlines permit travelers to check at least one bag on international flights, the majority of U.S. carriers charge big bucks for bags checked on domestic flights. Spirit Airlines—that notoriously customer-unfriendly discounter—even charges as much as $100 for carry-on bags.
Recent polls have shown that Millennials are twice as likely to seek business trips than the Baby Boomer generation. The travel industry is also growing to account for the increased demand for business travel needs. New apps hit the market every day that cater to the unique needs of business travelers, and travel programs are now offered to help expedite the boarding and security process, as well as assist travelers in avoiding flight delays. As travel requirements change and new legislation is implemented, business travelers will also need up with these emerging trends.
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!)