Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to travel to lots of different places. Here’s some of the things that I’ve learned along the way.
Tip #1: Pack Light for the Caribbean
You’re on vacation. Who wants to worry about carrying a “boatload” of luggage? If you’re going to a warm destination your best bet is to pack cool, lightweight clothes. Sandals work best for foot ware. Always bring a light sweater or wrap for evenings by the ocean. If you’re like me you may get chilly.
Tip #2: Make a list
Make a mental list of items you don’t want to forget on your trip about one week prior. This will help you avoid the stress of realizing you forgot something once you’re in route or at your destination.
Tip #3: Learn Common Phrases of the Local Language
Learning simple phrases such as “Please,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry” in the local language goes a long way. I also like to learn the words for a variety of tasty foods. But that’s because I’m a “foodie”.
Tip #4: Always buy travel insurance.
Let’s face it, stuff happens. By purchasing travel insurance, your trip will be protected in the event your travel plans need to change. There are a variety of options available. Research different plans and work with your travel agent to find the best one.
Tip #5: Make copies of Important documents
It’s best to always keep a copy of your passport in a separate bag from your original passport. If you lose your original but have a copy along with copies of your passport photo, You’re usually ok. Also, always leave a copy of your passport at home in a safe place.
Tip #6 Put Electronics, Medications, and Necessities in Your Carry-on
You never know when your checked luggage will get “lost” or delayed by an airline. Because of this I always keep important items with me in my carry-on. If you’re going on a beach vacation then having a swimsuit in your carry-on luggage is also a good idea. Sure, you can buy most of these things if your bag gets lost or delayed, but having them in your carry-on will save you money and time.
Tip #7: Beware of Free Public WIFI
At places like an airport, I always try to avoid logging into bank accounts or entering any passwords while I’m using free public WIFI. Once I get to my hotel I’m not as strict about it, especially if they have a password for their wifi.
Tip #8: Alert Your Bank and Credit Card Company of Your Travel Plans
Sometimes your bank will put a hold on charges if they see a different charging pattern show up for your card or if they see transactions from overseas. Avoid this by alerting your bank in advance of your travel plans.
Tip #9: Be Spontaneous
I know it’s tough but try not to plan out your entire itinerary ahead of time. Those unplanned moments while traveling can make the best memories.
Tip #10: Communicate your travel plans
Yes, you’re independent and able, but you never know when you will need, or will be needed, by someone back at home. For this reason, always communicate your travel plans with someone. Be diligent in doing this, especially if you’re a solo traveler.
Tip #11: Visit the local tourism office.
The local tourism office knows about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities, special events going on during your stay, and everything in between. They often offer discounts on attractions and transportation. It’s their job to help you experience the destination better. As a savvy traveler, use this resource! Visit the tourism board! Save money!
Tip #12: Take an extra bank card or credit card with you
Unfortunately, sometimes bad stuff happens. You should always have a backup credit card in case you get robbed or lose a card. You don’t ever want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds. For example, what if someone gets hold of your card and has it duplicated? Your bank will freeze your account leaving you without funds for the rest of your trip. Don’t let that happen to you.
Tip #13: Travel by yourself at least once in your lifetime
You will learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent when you travel by yourself. It may be a cliché, but it’s true. Traveling solo taught me how to talk to people, fend for myself, and handle unfamiliar situations with ease. It’s made me comfortable with myself, helped me learn about what I’m capable of, and allowed me to do whatever I wanted. It can take some getting used to if you’ve never done it before but try to do it at least once. Make yourself uncomfortable and surprise yourself. You will learn valuable life skills when you push yourself!
Tip #14: Always carry a lock when traveling.
Locks always come in handy, especially when your luggage will be exposed to the public for an extended period of time. Carry a small combination lock with you when you travel. Don’t use the locks with keys because, if you lose the keys, you’re screwed!
Tip #15: Always get behind business travelers when in security lines.
Business travelers move fast since they are usually in a rush. They also usually travel light. They know the drill. Line up behind them as much as possible and you’ll speed through the line!
Tip #16. Don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade when checking into a hotel.
Hotels often have a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades at check-in. It never hurts to ask. Most often they can accommodate you if the hotel isn’t full. Just be extra nice when making the request!
Tip #17. Lunchtime is the best time to visit historical sites.
Visit historical sites during standard lunch times. You’ll have fewer crowds to deal with such as big tour buses & groups. It’s always best to visit an attraction very early, late, or when people eat. You will have even the most popular places to yourself!
Tip #18. Carry a basic first-aid kit.
Accidents may happen so be prepared. Pack band-aids, antibacterial cream, and ointments for minor cuts and scrapes. You never know when you’re going to need it and you can’t always get those items when you travel.
Tip #19. Book flights 2-3 months in advance to get the best price.
Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to get the absolute cheapest fare. Spending five hundred hours trying to save $10 will cause you a lot of stress. Just book a few months in advance. Clear your “cookies” from your computer before executing duplicate searches.
Tip #20. Get vaccinated.
Getting an illness in a foreign country is not fun. Also, many countries require you get vaccinated in order to visit them so, regardless of your opinion on the subject, you just might have to.