20 Ways To Become A Travel Expert
Who needs 20 ways to become a travel expert? We all do! It’s time to get back in the saddle and head out to your dream destinations. We have been waiting to visit the places we have missed over the last couple of years. If you’re feeling a little travel rusty, here are 20 things that will have your traveling like the pro you know you are.
1. Pack an empty water bottle – no buying water at the airport.
Save the budget in small ways – skip purchasing water at the airport and bring a water canister or an empty plastic water bottle. Fill it after making your way through TSA without paying $4 for airport water. It all taste the same and staying hydrated is important to not only your comfort, but your health too.
2. Take photos of any possible “on no’s” – Start with airport parking – Photo your parking location, the parking ticket and while you’re photographing snap a shot of your itinerary, tour, and restaurant reservations. All the things that can get misplaced when traveling. It has happened to us all. Take a photo of things you’ll need later, starting with your airport parking slips, ticket, or a sign indicating where you’re parked, i.e., your aisle or lane number. Also, email this to yourself and share it with your travel buddies.
3. TSA tip – we all know TSA can leave you feeling dizzy and out of sorts. A great tip – put all electronics in your first bin(s) and suitcases/backpacks in a second bin to ensure you do not forget your electronic items. TSA should be called the hustle and bustle of travel – it’s the one place where you feel anxious to make your way through, resulting in overlooking or forgetting things. Ninety to 100,000 items are left behind each month at TSA. Yes, that’s each month. Forgetting something can be very disappointing and spoil your vacation. We tend to grab our suitcase and head to our departure gate bypassing another bin that may be making its way through the scanner. By putting your electronics all together in your first bins, you will see them first, and then your suitcase comes next. It’s not foolproof, but forgetting something at the airport, especially electronics, can be a game-changer for some.
4. Book early morning flights – Airlines schedule planes to rotate routes throughout the day. As the day goes on, it is more likely that an airplane can have problems, face weather delays, or other issues. The earlier in the day you leave, the less likely you are affected by travel complications. No one wants to get up at what we call “O Dark 30” in the airline business, but early flights are less likely to become complicated with delays and cancellations.
5. Join loyalty programs – Car rentals, airlines, and hotels all have them. Don’t forget other programs like grocery and drug stores, too. Can we all say amenities! Loyalty programs keep you coming back. And, to do that, companies offer miles, points, upgrades, and swag, all to make sure you’re a happy customer. The good side is, all of these things can make travel for you easier, less expensive and who doesn’t like to feel rewarded.
6. Pack a power strip – so everyone is plugged in. Don’t forget your power packs to keep all of your electronics “powered-up”. Everyone wants to power-up throughout your trip, but there may be limited outlets. A strip with multiple outlets gives “juice” to everyone. And, don’t forget your portable power chargers. I pack a small one that allows me and my husband’s computer, phones, and iPad to plug in without waiting. Nothing spoils the fun like a dead battery. Bring along your camera chargers too.
7. Use Incognito or Private browsing – Companies can keep track of your interests. Click private browsing by going to file and click private. When searching best rates and fares, you’re likely to see the price increase if tracking is enabled. Turn it off and turn on searching for the best fares.
8. Check out package trips for budget savers – Delta Vacations is a great option and my favorite company for trip deals. Package trips include hotel, airfare, and can include other amenities such as food, beverage and tours. Book everything together to save considerable time and money. Package deals mean more budget for shopping, and your next vacation.
9. Choose small destinations – close to popular destinations and large cities.
We all go for the big cities on our list of must-see places. Check out smaller cities located near big cities. You can still check out the larger cities. To get more for your money, smaller cities offer many off-the-beaten-path surprises and some may save big bucks – for food, accommodations, entertainment and transportation. And, less crowds mean additional time for exploring at a slower pace.
10. Exchange money inside local banks where there is less likelihood of extra fees, and you also avoid changing money at ATMs which may not be safe/secure. Teller machines have been known to potentially have scams and lookalike covers. Once your card is inserted your personal information is read and fraudulent chargers are likely. Avoid! Avoid!
11. Use a travel advisor for all your travel needs and especially when planning big or special occasion trips. Their expertise and knowledge of your destination makes them the ideal resource for deals, trending info, and a one-stop for handling all of your travel details. Travel advisors have relationships with many travel brands and can also negotiate special perks for your getaway.
12. Private pages on Facebook let you stay in touch with family as a fun way to share photos and all the adventures of your trip. Set up the private-personal pages for communicating with the people you choose. You can also keep up with what’s going on at home.
13. Mark your bags as fragile and encourage baggage handlers to take extra care as they load them onboard the airplane, train, or motor coaches. This tip will help you feel less stressed about your checked bag. If you have watched bags loaded onto an aircraft you know what I mean.
14. Shopping tip! Are you going to a destination with tremendous or unique shopping experiences? Take time to research shipping options before leaving home. Once you have made your purchases, the opportunities to ship items home will be at your fingertips. Can you say less baggage fees or no overcrowded car trunks … just ship it!
15. Search social media for trip inspirations – Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook offer ideas for planning your next vacation. Pictures, reviews, and trip details are an informative way to learn more about destinations, hotels, and activities for a well-researched getaway. Follow a few travel bloggers, journalists and influencers to see what’s trending and fun to do.
16. Buy travel insurance to protect your travel investment. Plans include trip interruptions and canceled flights. There are plans with medical coverage just in case you become ill during your vacation. There are many options to choose from that will fit your budget and travel plans. Emergencies are always unforeseen and travel insurance can take the worry of “what might happen” away, so you can have all the fun. Allianz Travel Insurance is my go to. I call them my travel buddy.
17. Notify your credit card company you are traveling – especially on international trips. We want NO surprises at check-out. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your card declined. How can you explain to everyone looking on that your credit card company didn’t know you were traveling abroad. Avoid all the hassle and confusion with a quick call before you leave home to notify your bank that you’ll be in another county and accept the charges.
18. Pack an ink pen and glasses in your carry-on. If you need to complete any paperwork, your ink pen and readers are nearby. When I was a flight attendant one request I received more than any other was, “do you have a pen?” Bring along one and have it easily accessible for compiling forms.
19. Cruising – pack a small bag with a change of clothes/shoes, including a swimsuit. Pack your carry-on with anything you might need before going to your stateroom. Relax – you have it all by your side. You will have a couple of hours to enjoy a meal or sit by the pool. Be prepared and ready to start your cruise experience right away.
20. Eat local and learn more about the local culture; ask your front desk or concierge for recommendations. They know where the trending and hot spots are around the city. Another option – a quick check on social media will lead you in the right direction. Many locals will have suggestions to fit what you’re wanting to experience. Start your research before leaving home by asking family and friends for ideas. People love to share culinary tips. Join the experts and eat like a local.
What are some of your expert tips. Leave them in the comments below.