Best Travel Tips

You will find 50 free travel tips that will make your travel journey much better.

Tip 1

Purchase some anti-bacterial, moisture-wicking undergarments and take them on any trips that may involve high temps, a lot of walking, excessive physical activity, or prolonged wear/re-use of said undergarments.

Tip 2

Carry the travel-size packets of laundry detergent (Tide makes good ones) so you can wash clothes in your bathroom sink. This works surprisingly well, particularly for undergarments and socks. And hotel laundry fees are insane. Avoid at all costs, unless your employer is footing the bill and won’t reject the expense.

Tip 3

AVOID CHECKING BAGS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! I have flown A LOT, many times for several weeks at a time, and I’ve very rarely had to check a bag. I can fit two weeks worth of clothes into one 26″ carry-on roller. Just pack smart. If you check bags you run the ridiculously high risk of them getting lost (I’ve experienced about a 10-15% loss rate, later to be recovered, while checking). You have to wait much longer at the airport while your bags make their way to the conveyor belt, and you run the risk of pissing off all of the other colleagues in your party who were smart and carried on, and now have to wait for your stupid ass to get his bags.

Tip 4

Don’t buy trendy four-wheel, polycarbonate luggage. This is a huge trend right now and these are the worst bags for travel. They’re terribly on non-smooth, flat surface, the dent and scratch VERY easily (just look at the floor models in your local luggage shop), they’re slow, and they have easy-to-break wheels. A durable two-wheeled roller is superior. Get one with nice, big rollerblade wheels. And spend money for a good one. It will last longer. I have a Tumi that has lasted me six years of heavy travel and is still going strong. Before it I went through about one bag a year. And Tumi will replace broken parts for free. Great service.

Tip 5

Pack up a small first aid kit that includes pain meds, anti-diahhrial, laxatives, Benedryl, cold meds, Tums, sore throat treatment, bandages, disinfectant, and other things you’d want if you we’re sick and didn’t have easy access to them. Always keep this in your bag.

Tip 6

Buy a $20 phone calling card in case you get stuck somewhere and don’t have money or phone. Keep this away from your wallet and somewhere that it’s least likely to disappear.

Tip 7

Similar to above, buy a Visa gift card with $100-200 on it and keep in a similar safe, hidden location. This is only to be used for emergencies. Losing your wallet and having no ID nor money while traveling abroad can be a nightmare.

Tip 8

Store copies of critical info, including IDs, in an Evernote note or Dropbox folder so you can access it from any browser if needed.

Tip 9

Carry a ten foot length of brightly colored string/para cord in your suitcase. If you use the hotel safe, tie one end to the handle and the other end to something you can’t possibly forget, like a suitcase. Otherwise there’s a good chance that you’ll forget that you put things in the safe and will have to get the hotel to ship it to you. Not that I learned this lesson the hard way…

Tip 10

For my second carry on I usually carry a medium-sized duffle (I use a brown leather Jack Spade) and put my ultraslim UltraBook laptop inside a minimalist Incase laptop bag inside the duffle. This way I can carry way more crap than a standard messenger/backpack and I have a nice, lightweight, stylish solution for carrying my laptop to meetings. I hate carrying a big, ugly backpack into a meeting with executives in a fancy Tokyo office

Tip 11

Concentrate points programs as much as possible. Pick one airline and one hotel chain and stick to it. Status makes a HUGE difference when you’re a frequent traveler. I get free first class upgrades everywhere I go and free upgrades to the best available room in every Starwood I stay in. I make every point count and don’t stray from my preferred hotel/airline unless I absolutely have to. Bonus: all of my vacations are paid for with points

Tip 12

Buy a tablet and load it up with videos and ebooks. This is my most essential travel companion. Not only does it help pass the time on long flights but it helps entertain you when CNN International is the only English speaking channel in your hotel room.

Tip 13

Use Uber for car service when available. It is awesome.

Tip 14

Keep your toiletry liquids in a sturdy, clear plastic bag in a very easy-to-grab location in your bag. This will speed you through airport security.

Tip 15

If you’re in a hurry, minimize the risk of having your bag pulled out for a secondary search by throwing iffy stuff into bins before running it through. Stuff like electronics, tools, weirdly-shaped equipment. Just don’t give the x-ray guy a reason to flag your bag.

Tip 16

Avoid the security line with families, kids, elderly, or people who look like they never travel. They will take longer and if there bag gets flagged it will slow you down. (George Clooney’s character nailed this bit in that one movie he was in where he was hired to fire people)

Tip 17

If you’re a business traveler, consider taking up photography as a hobby. Its a great way to have fun when you’re on your own on long business trips

Tip 18

Pack a complete outfit in your carry-on. Delayed baggage is extremely common and it’s best to ensure you have backup clothes so you can at least wash them without having to hang around a hotel in a robe half of the day just to have some clean undies.

Tip 19

Buy a Packtowl for drying your clothes faster if you need to do wash while you’re gone

Tip 20

Family-run businesses offer the best values. Because they employ family members to get around Europe’s costly labor regulations. In mom-and-pop shops you’re more likely to be served by people who care about their reputation and their customers.

Tip 21

Buses, while often slower, are cheaper than trains. Especially in Great Britain, home of Europe’s most expensive train system. For instance, traveling from London to Edinburgh could cost $145 by train or only $45 by bus.

Tip 22

Museum passes can save time and money. The Paris Museum pass, for example, pays for itself in three visits and saves you hours by letting you skip the long lines and scoot right into each sight. Also, with some passes, you’ll pop painlessly into sights that might otherwise not be worth the expense.

Tip 23

Download the metro/bus map apps for all the cities you’re going to. There’s nothing worse than trying to squint at a faraway map in a foreign language for the next stop on a crowded subway.

Tip 24

Download a currency converter app. Who would have thought your dollar would get you so far (or so little). If you’re going through Europe, make sure you know which countries don’t take the Euro (UK, Scandinavian countries, Czech Republic, Hungary, etc.)

Tip 25

Bring an empty water bottle through airport security. Fill it up from a water fountain inside. Drink it on the flight to counteract dehydration.

Tip 26

Bring some kind of eye covering and ear plugs to help you sleep — on flights, in airports, in hostels located next to nightclubs..

Tip 27

Get money from the ATM. Avoid moneychangers and their atrocious exchange rates like the plague. If possible, use a bank that doesn’t charge you extra fees for withdrawals from outside ATMs on top of the ATMs’ fees (my FCU even refunds the ATMs’ fees).

Tip 28

You can use Google Maps as a free GPS without an international data plan by making use of it’s hidden offline maps feature.

You can use this feature by simply zooming to a map area you want offline in the maps app and typing “ok maps” into the search box, and then this data will be available even when you don’t have data connectivity.

Works in both the iOS and Android apps. I also suggest “starring” places of interest since you can’t search or route when offline.

For routes, take screenshots of searches when you are online ( say you have wifi at the hotel ) and use them as guides.

Tip 29

If you’re traveling with someone, and you’re on a flight with 3 seats across, book the aisle and window, leaving the middle seat empty. That seat is much more likely to remain empty than if you leave the aisle or window empty, and if someone does happen to get placed there, chances are they’ll be ecstatic to switch seats with one of you.

Tip 30

If you travel a lot internationally, it might be worth it to pay the $65/month for AT&T’s international unlimited data plan. It really is unlimited, and as far as I know it’s unique in the world. People from other countries are incredibly jealous that this plan is available to Americans (or people with a US credit history and address).

Tip 31

If you are a frequent traveler, buy an annual travel insurance policy. I have mine through AAA, and its less than $100/year and covers me on all trips under 4 weeks in duration with an unlimited number of trips per year. It’s a lot cheaper than adding insurance during checkout at your favorite online booking site for each trip that you make.

Bonus tip: Baggage insurance is a scam as it won’t cover anything valuable that gets lost by the airlines or stolen during your trip.

Tip 32

Book the first flight in the morning. These are the least likely to be delayed, and if the flight gets cancelled or otherwise screwed up you’re still going to get to the destination on the same-day rather than being forced to overnight at a crappy airport hotel.

Tip 33

Divide your cash up, and keep some in separate bags.

Tip 34

When you’re taking a taxi, ask your hotel on the way out how much it should cost. In my experience, telling the driver “at my hotel, they said it should be XXX” is the easiest way to get a reasonable fare.

Tip 35

Know the local bargaining culture. In China, it was common for the initial asking price to be 10 to 20 times what we ended up paying. Do not feel strange saying “How about 5?” when they say that something costs 100. In Thailand, however, they would go down about 10% from the initial price, and that was it (letting me walk out, no problem). Maybe just where I was though (a pretty touristy part of Bangkok, I think). Also it’s good to practice on stuff that you don’t really want, so you can see how overpriced they’re really starting at.

Tip 36

Tell the checkout counter that any bags you check should be marked as “fragile” even if they do not contain any fragile items. This means your bags will get put on top, increasing the chances of them coming out early during baggage claim. I’ve done this for 2 international and 11 domestic flights, and it’s worked about 90% of the time. “Worked” meaning my checked bags were among the first 15 or so to come out

Tip 37

Google for or create a custom map. You can find many Google Custom maps like “Top Spots in Venice” or “Hanoi’s Top TripAdvisor Attractions” freely created by other wonderful travelers. These maps often have a wealth of tidbits/tips on every location recorded in the notes section.

Tip 38

Don’t bring any towel! These take an incredible amount of space, and they take a long time to dry. Instead, get a sport towel:

You just squeeze it when you’re done, wash it, and can reuse it immediately, or put it back in your suitcase. You could theoretically only use a single sport towel for a group of friends or a family. Worth every penny, and it lasts for years.

Tip 39

Before a long flight, I check out SeatGuru.com to see what are the best seats on the plane, before going to ExpertFlyer.com to create a seat-alert if I see a seat that I want but is already occupied. What SeatGuru does is to show you a map of the plane that you will be flying on and tell you which seats (e.g. exit row, etc) are ‘better rated’, and expertflyer allows you to create an alert for that particular seat such that you are notified immediately when that seat is freed up.

Tip 40

f you don’t want to risk your credit or debit card on the road, consider using a Thomas Cook card. You can get them through most banks or at the airport before you leave. They are safe, secure and if lost, do not give thieves access to your accounts. They can be reloaded on the go.

Tip 41

If traveling in a developing country, try to eat yogurt. The probiotics will do you good, both in terms of fighting stomach bugs you might catch from accidentally drinking the water or whatever, and if you happen to be taking Doxycycline as an anti-malarial, it’ll help restore the good bacteria in your stomach that might’ve been killed off by it.

Tip 42

Whenever possible, try to learn some basics of the local language. Over the years I’ve taken crash courses in Thai, Turkish and Indonesian to prepare for various trips, and it helped immensely. Even just getting a stack of flash cards is a great step. It’ll make it easier to negotiate with taxi drivers, etc, and open other doors as well.

Tip 43

Most airline companies release most promotion offers on Tuesdays, Wednesdays. Book your ticket accordingly.

Tip 44

Most people travel in and around holidays. So just a few days after a major holiday is the best time for air travel

Tip 45

Use a dummy wallet. A dummy wallet can stop pickpockets before they get to your real wallet. And in the scary and unlikely case of an actual mugging, it also gives you something to throw and run, buying you time to escape with your safety and your actual wallet.

Tip 46

I always order the Indian Vegetarian meal on flights. For some reason, it’s the tastiest no matter what airline and you are not charged extra for it.

Tip 47

When making day trips, leave large guidebooks and maps behind. Take digital photos of the relevant guidebook pages and maps on your smartphone or pocket camera, then use the camera display to reference the photos as necessary. And then delete the photos when you no longer need them.

Tip 48

If going to a foreign country learn at least how to say; Thank You, Please and where is the washroom. You can put foreign phrases and translation on a 3×5 card or cell phone for reference.

If you have medical condition or allergies find someone to translate this and take it with you. Show it to people when you need to and tell your travel buddies where this is in case of emergency and you can’t.

Tip 49

This is a pro tip to avoid diseases when you travelling to new places.

Whenever you travel to the new place, and take your first bath, or do your first facewash in that place, drink a handful of that same water.

You might know that vaccines do NOT contain medicines for the diseases, but rather it contains disease-causing-germs themselves. Our body creates the antibodies for fighting the germs and once they have created the antibody, that formula remains in the body forever.

So is the same germs enter your body even after five-ten years, your body will already have the formula for fighting it.
One of the reasons why vaccines work is that the quantity and/or the strength of the disease-causing-germs in vaccines is less

Water mostly contains all the micro-organisms generally found in a particular area. And if you drink a handful of water, you won’t get enough germs in your body as to make you sick. However that water itself will act as a vaccine for you.

All people in my family, including my uncles, aunts, nieces etc follow this neat little trick and we never fall sick while travelling.

Tip 50

To charge your phone faster, put it into airplane mode. Being disconnected to all networks, it will charge faster =)