I have wanderlust. I love to travel and I’ll take a trip, an adventure, a journey – whatever you want to call it over just about any gift you could offer. I’ve come up with 20 travel tips to make your trip memorable from my years of criss-crossing the states and visiting over 20 countries, more than 55 islands and all but four states. My best travel tips are super easy and come from experiences on the road, in-flight and mid-adventure.
20 Travel Tips To Make Your Trip Memorable
-Be flexible and leave room for spontaneity when you travel. When you schedule your entire itinerary down to the last hour you end up racing from point A to point B and miss out on unexpected opportunities. Leave some wiggle room each day to explore, relax or try something perhaps only the locals do. This can happen often when you try to squeeze in a lot of sight-seeing into a tight amount of time.
Pack a Sarong
-Going somewhere warm? Pack a sarong. This works for so much more than just the beach. You can wear it multiple ways from a skirt, as a dress, a scarf or wrapped around your shoulders. Around the shoulders works well when visiting churches in places like Italy as they prefer women to have covered shoulders. Here’s the tip: Pack it in your carry on bag. This would have come in handy when my checked bag was lost for three days while on my honeymoon in Fiji.
-While I loathe checking a bag a longer trip usually requires more clothing so when traveling with your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend mix your personal items into each checked bag (assuming you have more than one). If one of your bags gets lost, you both still have some clothing and personal items. And consider taking a photo of your bag to show to an airline rep if a bag does get lost since bags can look similar. As I said above, I had already been a frequent traveler, but hadn’t started the “split your stuff” habit until after my honeymoon. My new husband and I were taking a three week trip to Fiji and Australia. When we landed in Fiji we learned my bag was missing, but we had to catch a smaller flight to another island and then were driven for a hour to a tiny dock and then we were taken in a boat to a private island. It was a planes, automobiles and boat situation. It took three days for my bag to arrive. Luckily, I had packed a bikini and an extra pair of underwear in my tote bag. Those items were washed in the sink of our beach cottage every night to re-wear the next day. The resort gave us sarongs as welcome gifts and that put my styling to the test each day. Now we co-pack so I’m not left with so little to wear ever again if a bag gets lost.
Do The Idiot Check
-Do the idiot check. You may think you packed everything before you leave the hotel, but look under chairs, check outlets, the room safe, and bathroom counters just in case. It would be awful to get to the airport or arrive home and be missing something that you’ll likely never get back. I left my favorite belt at a Wyndham hotel in Detroit and never got it back even after I realized exactly where I left it and called multiple times offering to pay the shipping fees. However, I did get back a ring I left on a tiny glass shelf in the bathroom of my room at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. So basically, look before you leave.
-Put your room number and hotel address in your phone. We all get forgetful. This is just like when you can’t remember what level you parked on in a multi-level garage. I recently had been traveling for over a week with everyday in a different city. In Chicago, I went to the wrong room twice. It happened to have been the room from the city prior.
-Separate your money. Don’t keep all your cash and cards in one spot. Hide some cash and a back-up credit/bank card in a separate bag. Make sure it’s not the same bag that you carry your wallet in. And stay aware of your bags at all times, seriously, at all times.
Get Up Early
-It’s worth it to get up at least one morning for the sunrise or an early walk when streets or beaches aren’t busy. You get to see more without other people walking by and a chance to have photos without strangers in them.
Splurge On Something
-Splurge every once in a while. It’s not a vacation if you nickel and dime everything. A splurge like a helicopter ride or a private tour can be the highlight of your trip.
On our trip to New Zealand we splurged on a helicopter ride with a guided hike on a top of a glacier. Then we booked another guided hike exploring caves within a mountain with only our head lamps to light the way. It was worth it!!
– Be like a local. Look for a restaurant, a bar or even an activity that’s common among the locals. Take suggestions from locals rather than what you read in a tourist travel book.
More Travel Tips
-Learn a few common phrases in the local language. Nowadays you can just look them up on your phone and even listen to how to pronounce the words correctly. Simply saying “Please” and “Thank you” can be helpful. Learning the words for right and left are handy as well when you need directions.
-Relax. If you‘re on a beach you’re likely going to relax A LOT. If you’re headed to a city take some time to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day or start off the day slow over coffee and some people watching.
A few hours of relaxation on a sandbar in Fiji to paddle boarding in Bora Bora.
-This seems simple, but don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses.
Get Pack Happy!
-Don’t buy a solid black suitcase! You’ll end up spending more time scanning the carousel after your flight trying to determine which one is yours. Go for color, go for a fun print, go for sparkle instead. There are lots of options out there to choose from. Some of my favorites are from Cal Pak travel. Lightweight, sturdy construction, lots of styles AND more affordable than other brands. As in, I can buy a set of three suitcases for under $400 rather than paying that price for just one piece. I’ll admit I haven’t paid full price for luggage in a long time. I usually just stop by TJ Maxx or Marshalls to replace one, but now I can get the goods I really want. Cal Pak has a marble print suitcase set that works for both my husband and I. They also have a fun confetti print as part of their Oh Joy! collaboration with design blogger Joy Cho. This certainly inspires a good mood to kick off vacation.
– Before you start piling clothes into a suitcase make a quick list of what to pack. Pull out everything you want to bring, edit it down to create outfits and items that can be worn more than once. THEN use packing cubes. Packing cubes are genius for being able to bring a few extra items. You’ll save space, time and stay organized. As you travel and wear more of your clothes turn one of the cubes into your laundry cube. Extra tip: Check the weather of your destination– you may want to add last minute items like a hat or umbrella.
-If you plan to get “snap happy” and take lots of photos, bring extra batteries for your camera. Also, consider packing a small portable back up drive, an extra SD card or put them on your computer.
– Make photocopies of your passport and put the copy in your suitcase separate from where you keep your actual passport. Keep a paper copy of your itinerary including flights, hotels, car rental, etc. When my husband and I take trips that include multiple cities we tote a skinny binder with all our details. It’s an easy reference along the way.
-Bring portable power chargers for your devices. Whether you need to power up at the airport or at your destination. It’s such a bummer when you realize you’re almost out of juice and the only available outlet is next to a garbage can. Been there, done that and never again.
Power charger luggage tags from Cal Pak Travel ($32).
-If you travel often considering investing in doubles of some of your favorite skin care products and keep them already packed in a small waterproof bag. If a bottle leaks your clothes won’t be stained.
-Trips can also be the perfect time to pack a few of those samples you get of products at Sephora, Kiehl’s and other retailers. Those packets and mini jars take up less space and once done, you toss it.
-Create a mini first aid kit for those just in case moments of headaches, cuts, sore throat, etc. Put in band-aids, cold medicine, anti-diarrhea pills, cough drops, acetaminophen and hydrocortisone cream.
Stay Calm and Quiet
– When you don’t want to talk to strangers, but you’re too polite to say something then don’t forget to pack ear plugs, head phones and an eye mask.
-Bring sanitizing wipes to clean off all surfaces the moment you sit down in your plane seat. I mean wipe everything from the tray to the arm rests to the small vent above your head. Those never seem to get cleaned and carry plenty of germs.
Now go hit the road, take flight and enjoy!!