Travel can be full of pitfalls and disappointments just as often as it can be rainbows and butterflies. Luckily many travelers have made these mistakes so you can avoid them. Read the travel advice below to avoid those pitfalls! These travel tips do not only apply to travelling to Paris/France but anywhere in the world.
Here Are Some Travel Tips For Your Next Vacation
- Always carry a notebook with a pen attached to it.
- Keep spare underwear (& a change of clothes if there’s room) and medication in your carry-on bag. If your checked bags get lost, you’re not without necessities.
- In France, a small zippered crossbody bag looks less touristy.
- Carry your own wipes and toilet paper.
- Bring two extra padlocks for lockers, bags, etc. I also take a small bendy lock chain to lock your suitcase to your bed.
- Pack efficiently. Make a list of essentials and only bring those.
- Check the weather forecast; don’t rely your packing based on the season.
- Always have extra money available.
- Bring a bunch of delicious snacks in your carry on.
- You really don’t need ALL that clothing.
- Don’t keep all your tampons in one place.
- Pack light and never take more than you can comfortably carry.
- Always carry a condom in a spot that’s easily accessible.
- Don’t forget your earplugs or eye masks. They’re a godsend in hostels.
- You know those bras that have the extra padding in them? Take out the extra padding and place currency in there. Even a paper copy of your passport if you want.
- Always take a pair of trousers or pants, even when it’s hot.
Hotels and Lodging Travel Advice
- Always take a hotel business card with you with the information on it. Take a photo of it with your phone.
- Rolling suitcases are not your friend in many places, thanks to cobblestone.
- Don’t book anywhere you haven’t seen in person for more than a few days. Book somewhere for the first few days (like a hostel) then figure it out once you have a good idea of the area.
- Don’t ever rely on the front desk to wake you up.
Flights & Airport Advice
- Always check-in before you arrive at the airport.
- The names of cities are different in other languages; check your tickets, not your confirmation.
- Try and book afternoon flights.
- Double-check that you purchased the right flight dates, destinations, and times before checking out and AGAIN in the email confirmation because you will only have 24 hours to correct any errors for free.
- DO NOT throw your boarding pass away. It has a bar code on it. Thieves are scanning the bar on an app, and it WILL download all of your personal info you used to book the flight to include your credit card.
- Before searching the entire airport for a plane ticket that you may or may not have dropped, check your back pocket first.
- It’s almost always cheapest to fly on Tuesdays.
- In a multi-leg flight, if you miss the first leg: other legs get cancelled.
- Clean your backpacking stove of all fume residue before carrying onto a flight, or you’ll be forced to throw it away.
- Don’t check your bag if you can help it. Traveling light is the only way to fly.
Money & Banking Travel Advice
- American AmEx chip cards work unreliably in Europe, but there is a secret that will sometimes work! Europe requires a pin with the chip, and sometimes if you just make one up, your card will work.
- Always, always, always get travel insurance. They will fly your body home if you die unexpectedly and help with tons of other situations.
- Always divide your cash in two places, walk with a visa/debit card, and try to have the exact change as possible when using motorcycle taxis. They never have changed.
- Don’t leave your excess cash in a hotel room unless it is in a safe, housekeeping can steal it even if it is inside your luggage hidden away.
- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD KNOW THE EXCHANGE RATE IF YOU’RE GONNA EXCHANGE MONEY AT THE BORDER!!! THE GUY CHANGING YOUR MONEY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND!!!
- Don’t exchange money in a train station.
- Always carry plenty of coins when you’re traveling in countries that make you pay to use the restroom.
- Always notify your bank that you will be traveling.
- Try stashing your cash in the hotel room’s Bible.
Taxi & Ground Transportation Travel Advice
- If you’re passing a gas station and have a quarter of a tank, don’t assume there’s going to be a gas station in the next town. There probably won’t.
- Make sure the taxi has a meter, and the driver starts it.
- Always make sure the taxi-driver is a licensed/legal one.
- Never admit to your taxi driver that it is your first visit to his city, or he will take you for an expensive ride. If you need to, also Google Maps directions to your hotel.
- Ask for a quote before getting in a taxi cab.
- Never save anything for the last minute. Always give yourself extra time.
- When in Amsterdam make sure you pay the agreed price for the taxi and not let them tell you afterwards that you had a lot of luggage or there was a lot of traffic.
Health & Wellness Travel Advice
- If you’re told to not drink the water, DON’T! Don’t even eat veggies that were washed in it.
- Bring back up birth control with you and keep them separate. Also, speak to your OB/GYN and see if you need to change the time you take the pill according to time zone and how an overnight flight or massive time difference will affect the effectiveness of your pill.
- When you have food poisoning… don’t trust a fart.
- Set aside time every single day to do absolutely nothing. Just sit down, have a drink, and just look around you. Watch the people and listen to the noises. Embrace and absorb.
- Cipro is a great drug to take for bacterial issues from unclean water, etc.
- Do not let stress ruin your trip. Shit happens; attitude is everything.
- ALWAYS listen to your gut. If something feels “off”, it probably is. Don’t gamble with your safety and well-being.
- Don’t get drunk before you are supposed to catch a bus, flight, or taxi.
- Always bring your entire medicine cabinet! You don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country needing NSAIDS, stomach medications, laxatives, or Neosporin.
Extra Travel Advice
- Never be afraid to travel alone.
- Always register with smart traveler (or your country’s equivalent). If shit goes down, your government knows you’re there.
- Smile! It’s always helpful, and people will treat you more nicely.
- Go with the flow. Be open, but be yourself.
- Watch out for falling coconuts… yes, this actually happens to people.
- You’ll never starve if you always carry a jar of peanut butter in your luggage. You can almost always find something to cheap to spread it on, or you can eat it by the spoonful.
- Look at travel.state.gov before going to any country. This will be updated for any travel bans and visa requirements.
- The best adventures are often those that are unplanned.
- Journal: Write in it every day. It doesn’t matter what it is. Doodle, draw, write.
- The free two-week visa for European citizens in Vietnam does NOT include leaving the country within this time period… so, if you re-enter, you have to buy the three-month visa…even if it’s just for getting straight to the airport!
- Sometimes when things go wrong, it’s a different path you were supposed to take. Don’t hold on too tight.
- Don’t try to do too much. You can’t always see and do everything, and that’s okay.
- If you don’t like a location, leave and go somewhere else. Don’t waste your time trying to like it, but give it a chance in the first place.
- Do your research before departure. You might miss a great concert or a free museum day.
- Always take time to research scams or political unrest in the area you’re visiting.
- Do your washing whenever you have an opportunity and drying time.
People & Relationships Advice
- Don’t wait around for that boyfriend you left home and who doesn’t like travel.
- Traveling will really bring out the best and worst in a person. Choose your travel buddy wisely.
- If you are out in public and someone asks if you are travelling alone, do not say yes. Tell them your friends or boyfriend or whatever is going to be back in a few minutes.
- Trust no one, but accept kindness. You’ll know the difference.
- If traveling with other people, don’t miss out on doing the things you want to do just because they don’t want to or you’re afraid to go it alone.
- Don’t travel with people who have a tendency to complain a lot.
- If you’re going out at night, make sure that you find a trustworthy and reliable group.
- Don’t wait to travel until someone can do it with you. You’ll die waiting!
- Get a few souvenirs/traditional items from your country to give as a gift to the kind people you meet along the way.
- Don’t leave stuff with someone along the way, thinking you’ll have time to return for it.
- You’ll need patience- a lot of patience and knowledge of the culture you’re visiting.
- Pub crawls run by Australians are a mistake; but it’s a fun mistake.
- Don’t whine to your concierge or travel professional about “bad” weather, they can’t change it; global warming is real people, and no season is perfect. There is plenty to do inside. Roll with what you get.
- Never compromise your travel style just so you can travel with someone else!
- If a Latino guy promises you heaven on earth… RUN!
- Don’t eat in restaurants where waiters are outside trying to get you into their restaurant, and the menu is in 15 different languages.
- Research the local do’s and dont’s. Every country and city has its own culture of showing respect and disrespect. Be clever, and you will get respect as a tourist.
- You don’t need to take photos of everything – sometimes the best memories are the ones without any technology.
- Bring a printed version of anything you rely on your phone for… Telephone numbers, addresses, bank information, etc.
- Email a copy of your passport to yourself.
- Take screenshots of everything, especially directions or addresses and maps for metros and around the city! You never know when you’re going to get wi-fi!
- Download Google Maps of the area you are in so you can use it offline.
- Email copies of all your important documents to a friend or family back home- ex. Scanned copy of passport, travel insurance docs, hostel names/bookings, flight itinerary, etc. That way, if something happens to you, someone at home has everything at their fingertips to find you or help you.
- In Europe, the easiest places to find wi-fi are Starbucks and TopShop.
- If you’re not going to use your phone data while you’re out and about, map places you’re going from the wi-fi at the hotel/hostel, and screenshot the directions.
- Get the app Rome2Rio. It tells you all the ways to get from point A to B for the cheapest, it’s invaluable.
- Get Maps.me and pre-download the places you’ll be traveling for offline use.
- Never book with Travelocity/Orbitz, etc.
- Take a photo where you rent your scooter from and where your hostel/hotel is so you don’t spend ages riding around trying to find it.
- Get a sim card in the airport; the data is almost always cheaper than your roaming charges.
- Put your finger over the top of your phone while you’re using it in public; this keeps thieves from snatching your phone.
Do you have any travel advice to add?