HOW TO TRAVEL LIKE A PRO
It can be intimidating to start planning your dream trip. So intimidating that you may just call it quits and "plan it another time." Traveling with ease doesn't come easy the first, second, or even third time. It's something that comes with a lot of experience. You will make mistakes along the way, but practice makes perfect (cliché, I know).
Want to make traveling easier? GREAT! You came to the right spot. One thing I can't stress enough...
LESS IS MORE.
My goal is to help make your next travel adventure seamless and easy. Check out my travel tips below!
ONE STOP SHOP FOR ALL THINGS TRAVEL
1. Luggage - To Check or Not to Check?
My go-to travel look is a hard shell carry-on suitcase with a Northface backpack.
Rule of thumb - If your trip is less than 7 days, there is no need to check your luggage. Crazy, right? NOPE! Continue below to see how to consolidate your items. Trip more than 7 days? If you can fit it into a carry-on, go for it.
Checked Baggage : The Unknown. If you are checking luggage, be sure to pack your essentials + one extra day of clothes in the unfortunate event that your luggage is lost for a day or two (hopefully not longer!).
2. Packing Cubes - The greatest invention since wheels on luggage
Packing cubes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors to fit all luggage.
Organization - cube for intimates, shirts, pants, etc. No more having to unpack all of your clothes to find one item. Bring an extra cube to stuff dirty clothes as you use them. Keep clothes neat and minimize wrinkles.
Maximize space - compression packing cubes to compress clothes for optimum space.
These are my recommendations for packing cubes:
3. Travel Insurance - When is it necessary?
The short answer - ALWAYS. I recommend World Nomads. They offer simple and flexible travel insurance designed by travelers for travelers. You can get an immediate quote before paying for the insurance.
A medical emergency on your trip can cost you your entire savings. An emergency right before your trip, forcing you to cancel, can cost you your entire trip! World Nomads offers travel insurance for as little as $30. It is better to have it and not use it, then not have it and end up forking out a pretty penny.
The long answer - Highly recommend for international travel. For domestic travel, it is at your discretion. If you need to cancel your entire trip last minute due to a unexpected medical emergency, family death, natural disaster, etc... then it is worth to have travel insurance. If you have health insurance that does not cover medical coverage outside of your current network, then travel insurance is also recommended for domestic travel.
4. Be Flexible - Flexible travel dates will help you score better deals
Although this may be hard to do if you require taking days off in advance (from employer), being flexible with your travel dates by even just a few days can help you score better deals. Skyscanner is a great tool to set up travel alerts for when flights dip low. It is also a good idea to be flexible with your day to day activities while traveling, as unforeseen weather can impact an excursion (have a back up plan!)
5. What kind of travel backpack should I buy?
Well, that depends. But I'll make it easy for you. What kind of adventure are you getting yourself into?
Exploring/Not hiking - day pack (standard backpack)
Single-day hiking - day pack and/or hydration pack
Multi-day hiking - backpacking pack (+ hydration bladder)
Not all backpacks are created equal. Refer to this page for more information regarding hiking backpacks, what to pack, and where to score the best deals.
6. Photocopy your passport and bring it with you
Having a copy of your passport abroad is helpful if you lose it and need to get a new one as soon as possible from the Embassy. The U.S. Department of State also recommends photocopying the information page of your passport when you travel internationally. It may sound silly, but from a personal experience of losing my passport abroad and not having a photocopy, it's important to have. (don't worry - I learned my lesson!)
7. Learn a few phrases in the language spoken in the country(ies) for which you are traveling
There are many language translator apps, like Google Translate. It's important to learn a few phrases like "Hello", "Please", "Thank you", and "More Wine."
8. Hotel or Airbnb?
Five things to consider:
Proximity to points of interest
Cost (per person)
Duration of stay
Comfort level with native country/language
What comes with it?
Hotels are an easy choice because they are usually located near points of interest, you know what you're getting, and they offer as low as 1 nights stay. However, they can be pricey. Airbnb's can also be situated near points of interest, can be much cheaper, but usually require at least 2 nights stay.
9. Wake up early to avoid crowds and get those Insta-worthy photographs
Have you seen those amazing photos on Instagram where it looks like no one is there but the person taking the photo? YEP, they do it first thing in the morning while everyone else is sleeping in! Head out before sunrise to have the best attractions all to yourself. It is also a perfect time for photography, as the hour during sunrise and sunset are called the "golden hour," rendering beautiful shots with the natural light of the sun.
10. Sign up for credit cards that offer travel deals
Many credit cards companies now offer a point system that can benefit your travel. Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a 1x-5x points for airfare, hotels, supermarkets, basically anything you spend money on. You can redeem these points for travel. Airline specific credit cards, like Southwest Airlines, also offer great deals. You can rack up points quickly and redeem them for flights. I will be posting a blog soon on what credit cards offer the best deals for travelers.
11. Tell your travel plans to someone back home
It is important to share with a friend or family member your travel plans, especially if you are traveling abroad. In the event that something were to happen to you, that friend or family member can quickly identify your location, where you are staying, and can relay any other important information on your behalf.
12. DON'T FORGET - Miscellaneous Essential Items:
Electronics travel adapter (check out this worldwide travel adapter)
Photocopy of passport
Dry shampoo (powder, not aerosol)
For Photographers - GoPro and/or gimbal, camera + extra battery
Portable charge power block
Sunscreen, travel sized
Bug spray, travel sized
Travel first aid kit
Alert bank/credit card companies of your international travel
Alert cell phone provider + purchase additional service as needed
Let someone back home know your travel plans
Hope you can use these travel tips to help ease your travel plans. Live Wild and Wander.