A recent survey found that about two in three Americans plan to travel more this 2021. However, experts believe this could increase as more folks get their COVID-19 vaccination.
If you’re planning to go on a trip yourself, it’s best you start preparing at least a few weeks beforehand. This will give you more time to map out a route, create a flexible itinerary, and save money.
To that end, we created this guide listing some of the best travel tips that can help you become a savvy wayfarer. Read on to discover the dos and don’ts of traveling so that you can get the most out of your well-deserved trip.
- Enhance Your Vocabulary
One of the best tips for traveling internationally is to prepare your vocabulary. Even if some say that English is a universal language, just over 70 countries use it as an official language. So, a few weeks before your trip, learn your destination’s language a bit more.
You don’t have to learn it by heart, but you should at least memorize some polite phrases. This is even more crucial if you’re visiting a country where honorific speech is the norm. A few examples are Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.
You can also bridge the language gap with a language translation mobile app. You can use this to translate words and phrases like directions, food, and greetings.
- Determine How You Can Get Around
After you make a list of the spots you want to visit, check how exactly you can get in and out of them. Even if you plan to rent a vehicle, be sure it’s powerful enough for your destination’s terrain. There are also places wherein access may only be via motorcycle, buses, train, or boat.
Once you know your travel options, research the companies that offer such services. Consider booking ride tickets early, especially if your destination has limited access. It’s also a smart idea to check if your next travel spot is accessible from the previous one.
- Mind What You Pack
It’s easy to spot tourists based on their outfits, but travelers can blend in as they dress like a proper local. As such, your clothes should be appropriate for your destination’s culture and climate. Don’t forget to pack apparel, footwear, and accessories that fit your planned activities.
You don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb, as this can make you an easy target for unscrupulous folks. Keep in mind that tourists are susceptible to crimes like mugging, scams, and assault. Many travelers have also been victims of credit card fraud.
- Gather the Gadgets and Gizmo
One of the best travel tips for international vacationers is to ditch data roaming. It’s expensive and may not even provide you with reliable and stable data service. If you have an open line smartphone, buy a prepaid sim card once you get to your destination.
If you plan to swim, snorkel, or even dive, consider investing in a portable underwater camera. These take awesome photos in and out of the water, so they’re a great buy.
Another of the best travel tips for long-haul flights is always to carry around a power bank. If you don’t have one yet, buy one with enough capacity for at least two full charges.
You should also check the type of wall outlets they have over at the country of your destination. Note that there are 15 types of domestic outlet plugs used around the world. They have varying prongs and voltages that require adapters for safe use.
Lastly, pack all your electronics in a sturdy portable dry bag. This way, they won’t short circuit if you’re outdoors and it starts pouring.
- Prepare For the Weather
Speaking of outdoors, make it a habit to check the weather forecast every day, and do so at least a week before your trip. Five-day forecasts typically have a 90% accuracy, so they can help you prepare better when it’s time to go. To make it easier, download AccuWeather or the Weather Channel app on your smartphone.
Keep checking the forecast throughout your trip, too. This way, you can dress appropriately for the day and not end up soaked if it does rain. Knowing how the weather can turn out also gives you enough time to modify your itinerary.
- Bring a Travel Blanket
One of the wisest and best travel tips ever is to bring a travel blanket. Do this even if your destination is a tropical country or if you’re traveling in the summer.
For starters, airplane cabin temperatures are usually set at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be quite chilly if you’re all dressed up for the tropics while you’re still on the plane. A travel blanket can warm you up enough so that you don’t have to wear a thick jacket.
Plus, you can use the blanket as a makeshift pillow during the rest of your trip. It’ll also be useful if you have plans to go camping once you get to your destination.
- Reserve an Airport Parking Spot
Did you know that you now have the freedom to select airport parking space days ahead of your take-off? Parking apps make this possible, so their use can be very handy if you want to drive your car to the airport and back home.
Having a reserved spot ready for your arrival can lower your risks of being late and missing your flight. It also helps make your return less tiring, as you already have your car waiting for you once you get back from the trip. Plus, using your own ride can help cut your exposure to germs that cabs and ridesharing vehicles may have.
- Respect the Local Customs
To live like a local is to act like a local, so you definitely want to know what the customs are in your destination. For example, some places around the world, such as Japan, follow the “keep left” policy. They apply this not only on the roads but also in many pedestrian walkways.
Another custom you’d want to learn about is greeting people. In western culture, it’s usually customary to shake hands. However, in some Eastern countries, a bow is more appropriate and courteous.
Don’t forget to research religious customs, too, some of which have to with clothes. Shorts, sleeveless shirts, and flip-flops will bar your entry into a religious site.
Some countries, like Cambodia and Japan, also have a custom on footwear. You can’t bring the ones you use outdoors into homes. They usually have shelves for these just right by the front door.
If you’re not sure about a specific custom, don’t be shy to ask the locals. They’re likely to find you even more courteous as you want to learn about their customs.
- Divide the Cash
Divvy up your travel funds, ATM, and credit cards in multiple secure spots. Don’t stash everything in your wallet because if you lose that, you lose everything. You want some of them on your person, in a separate bag, and in a safe back in your room.
It’s also a smart idea to bring at least two debit or ATM cards with you on your travels. You never know when your card can get eaten by and locked in an ATM, which is why you’d want a spare.
You should also add funds to your online wallets or payment platforms, such as PayPal. This way, you can move and transfer funds online and have a backup strategy if something happens.
- Save Whenever and Wherever Possible
Always compare rates when it comes to flights, car rental fees, and accommodations. Scour the net for discount codes before you book tickets, be it for transportation or sights. Some travel websites even let you earn points you can redeem for future bookings.
You might also want to book a rental home over a hotel room, especially if you want privacy. Many properties on Airbnb and similar apps cost less than hotels. Plus, they have interesting places to stay in, such as tree houses or cabins in the woods.
Just make sure that you research the safety and security rating of your travel spots. You do want to save money, but not in a way that compromises your welfare. It’s best to book accommodations near a police station, too.
- It’s Okay to Splurge on Occasion
You can then use the money you get to save on smart booking practices on whatever your heart fancies while on a trip. Splurge on things or experiences that you find worthy of splurging on. It can be a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spot in a hot air balloon, or a ticket to go sky diving.
Have a Blast by Keeping These Best Travel Tips in Mind
Here’s a final piece of advice: prepare yourself for a few setbacks even if you have an awesome itinerary. However, you can reduce their odds of happening by following the best travel tips in this guide. The more of these tactics you implement, the safer and more enjoyable your trip would likely be.
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