Traveling is a strong passion of mine. I love to venture to places I’ve never been, meet people around the world and broaden my thinking. I’m very fortunate that I work in an industry that allows me to travel as much as possible. Over the past few months, I’ve taken full advantage of skipping town and exploring new places. From Silicon Valley to New York, each destination has opened my eyes to new things, no matter how many times I’ve visited.
Each time I go on a trip, not only do I learn about the area but I learn new tricks and hacks for traveling. It took many years for me to learn how to pack all my belongings in only a carry on instead of checking a huge bad of clothes and shoes that I’m not going to wear. I gathered some of my favorite travel tips to help you with your next trip.
Know before you go. It’s way too easy to access the weather, things to do, restaurants, activities and more in the location that you’re heading to. Do some research and learn about the area. One thing I always make sure to check before heading anywhere is the weather. You never know when you’re going to need to bring a light jacket or an extra bathing suit.
Plan ahead when packing. Many of my most recent trips have been weekend trips so it’s easy to just pack a carry on. I lay every single item out by day that I’m going to need starting with the first day of travel. I take mental note of every item and carefully think through what I’ll wear to each occasion. Then when packing, I put the outfits for the last day that I’m there on the bottom since I’ll need them last.
Search a day or two before and after the day you are wanting to travel. Many times the flight price will fluctuate greatly and if you’re flexible with your scheduling, you can save lots of money. When traveling, always try to be flexible.
Since I’ve been traveling often, all of my flights and itineraries seemed to be getting confused. I couldn’t keep up with it all until I started using TripIt. You can use the app or on the computer. It’s a program that keeps track of all your travel itineraries, reservations, flight info and more. All you have to do is forward your travel info to a specific email address that they give you and it creates a beautiful planned out trip for you.
Always attach a frequent flyer number to your flight. It’s completely free to get a frequent flyer number from any airlines that you’ll be flying on. You’ll receive incentives from many of the companies and why not? It can only benefit you.
I have been looking for a great credit card and I finally decided on a Southwest Credit Card since I fly with them 90% of the time. Not only am I earning air miles every time I shop, I’m getting extra bonuses and incentives for when I fly. Just this week, I received a handful of drink tickets in the mail. Score!
Check into your flight early. Within 24 hours of your flight, you can check in online. Make sure to do this if you’re on Southwest! They don’t have assigned seats but if you check in late, you get last priority of seats and that’s always a pain. If you’re flying other airlines and check in at the kiosk, they often offer amazing upgrades for a cheap price. The first time I ever flew first class was because the kiosk offered me an upgrade for only $30. Why not?
Ask your friends for hidden gems. The best places when traveling aren’t usually the ones that are advertised all over the internet. It’s the places that only locals know about. Before you head out of town post a simple tweet or facebook status that asks people for cool things to see. You’ll be amazed by the amount of responses of places you’ve never heard of.
Pack something to do on the plane. I always charge my tablet and computer the night before my flight. If wifi is available, I’ll work and get as much done as possible. If wifi isn’t available, I’ll play games or read a book. There have been many flights where I had nothing to do and it was miserable. Always plan ahead and don’t forget headphones.
Skip the over priced airport stores and bring your own snacks. When my husband and I travel together, we’ll usually go to the store the night before and stock up on chips and candy. We can snack on it in the plane and save at least $20. Also, the plane doesn’t offer delicious treats like sour patch kids. 🙂
If you drove to the airport, take a picture of the parking area and number. Even if you’re only gone for a couple days it’s hard to remember exactly where you parked. The last thing you want to do when getting back from a trip is walk up and down a parking garage trying to beep your car because you can’t find it. Trust me.
Always bring cash. You don’t have to bring tons but bring enough to cover smalls tabs, taxis or if you need to split a ticket with somebody at dinner. I am personally horrible at this. I never have cash on me and it’s made for some awkward situations where people think they have to buy my part of the meal or pay for my taxi. I always make sure to have at least a $20 on hand. Not to mention, I like to have cash so I can negotiate in places like Chinatown.
Pack chargers – lots of them. I always pack at least two chargers and a mophie. Since I live on social media, my phone tends to die fast so I am always prepared. One thing I hate more than anything is not having access to a phone when I’m in an unfamiliar area.
Use public transportation. It’s amazing how much more of the city you will see if you use public transportation, not to mention how much cheaper it is than renting a car. The last place we visited charged us over $200 for a rental car that was a piece of crap.
Remember when I mentioned joining your hotel’s frequent flyer program? Why not join your hotel’s loyalty program too! Make sure you and your husband are on the same card so you can both stack points when you travel.
Don’t be too shy to ask for upgrades. Almost every single time I check in a hotel, I always ask if there are any upgrades available. It’s an open ended question, some hotel clerks will upgrade for free while others will tell me if there is a price included. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
Pack all your essentials. This means everything from your toilet brush to feminine accessories. The last thing you want to be doing while on a trip is looking for the closest Target or CVS because you forgot to bring your personal items. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it would be to need a personal item and not have it? I’ve been there and it’s no fun.
There are a few essentials that I always bring. Some of them include U by Kotex Curves® Liners, dry shampoo, q-tips, floss, hair band, pepper spray and my toothbrush.
What other travel tips would you recommend?