Travel can be an amazing source of inspiration, but if things go wrong, it can take on a nightmarish quality, instead. No one wants to go on a vacation that’s more aggravating than relaxing. Fortunately, you can protect yourself against some common travel mistakes and stresses, by following a few easy tips.
Travel can be a fun-filled activity, but always remember to learn at least a few words of the native language. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are a must, but phrases such as ‘I’m lost’ and ‘Where is the train station?’ will prove invaluable in the event you actually need them. It’s much easier than trying to act out complicated activities!
For more exciting, memorable travel experiences, consider cutting down your budget. Traveling on a shoestring, exposes you to novel situations and will show you people and places that you might otherwise miss. Restricting your spending to bare minimums will allow you to get a realistic impression of the way locals live, at your chosen travel destination.
A GPS navigation system is absolutely vital for any long-distance car trip. If your car did not come with a factory navigation system, you should seriously consider buying one before hitting the open road. GPS helps you find alternative routes when closures, traffic or accidents close the road ahead. GPS can even keep you out of danger if you encounter emergency conditions.
When traveling to tropical areas, always keep your dirty laundry in a closed bag. Hotels and homes in tropical parts of the world aren’t as bug-proof as most American homes. Dirty laundry will attract insects, especially ants, meaning that clothing that was simply dirty, is now completely unwearable for the rest of the trip.
If you are planning to fly, make sure that you purchase your ticket under the same exact name that is on your identification. Airport security has increased these past years and you don’t want to get to the airport and realize that you are not allowed to fly because your ID doesn’t match up to your ticket.
Audio books are great to keep you and the family entertained when traveling! Did you know that most people can check audio books out for free if they have a valid library card? Many times you can even browse the selection of books that are available online and complete the checkout process right from your vehicle or even the airport!
If vacationing in an area you’ve never visited before, try to find a local to give you some information about the area. Major tourist attractions are always well marked and you’ll have no problem finding them, but learning about some local favorites can make your trip much more memorable and personalized.
If you want to attempt to get an empty seat, there are some tricks to try. Ask for a seat near the back end of the plane, because these generally fill up last. If you are not comfortable with that, ask for an exit row seat. These seats come with extra responsibility, that not many are willing to accept.
Be aware of the opportunity to get travel credit and continue to watch the price of your flight even after you make your reservation. Many major airlines will give you a credit for future travel if the price of your flight goes down after you have purchased your ticket. You could save money on a future vacation by being aware of the price fluctuations.
No matter where you’re going, buying insurance when you fly is a good idea. Insurance will let you cancel your travel plans last minute with a full (or partial, depending on the insurance) refund. Last minute emergencies happen and you don’t want to be out several hundred dollars for missing your flight.
When traveling, always keep a few snacks in your bag. Airline food can be expensive. Having to stop for snacks when you’re in the car can take time. A few small granola bars or crackers won’t take up much space and can save you both time and money.
Look into getting a hand-held satellite phone. Because a lot of cell phones do not work in many countries, you want to make sure you have some form of communication at all times. If you cannot get a hand-held satellite phone, it would be wise to purchase an international calling card.
Locate ethnic travel agencies in various cities in the U.S. These agents could be considered experts since they are from the region you’ve chosen to travel. They are basically a wealth of knowledge ranging from what to do and see to how to save money. Enrich yourself and have a great trip by experiencing the charm and culture of the region that could only be known by a true native of the land.
With this array of tips in your arsenal, traveling will be a breeze, not a pain. These are simple ideas, but simple acts can be an extremely effective preventative. Simple sense is all you need to keep a travel experience positive and fun, even when you’re venturing way off the beaten track.