It's taken some of us many years to learn the hacks, loopholes and tricks that make traveling way easier. But lucky for you, you won't have to wait that long to improve your travel skills.
Your travel bootcamp starts right here!
From saving money to saving time, here are our top 10 tips for smart international travel.
1. Pack lightly and wear the bulky stuff. It's always more convenient to pack lighter wardrobe options, but if you must bring that really cool (heavy) jacket and those super nice (heavy) combat boots, then make sure you're wearing them on the plane to save space in your luggage.
2. Leave it behind or buy it locally. If you're not sure that you'll need a specific item and it can be purchased locally (like an umbrella), then don't bring it with you. (A quick Google search will tell you whether that item can be purchased at your destination.)
3. Take clothes you can donate locally. Take some clothing items that you're willing to donate, that way you can make more space in your luggage for souvenirs.
4. Pack a reusable / laundry bag! No one has ever regretted a light, reusable laundry bag. Use it to separate dirty shoes and clothes, keep wet bathing suits out of the way, and use it to compartmentalize your luggage as you move stuff around.
Tips for Saving money
5. Flights: Utilize price-watch apps! Rather than buying a ticket directly from an airline, flight apps like Kayak and Skyscanner will almost always provide cheaper flight options along with information on which seasons are good for traveling to any particular destination.
6. Food: Book a "breakfast included" accommodation. You can save a significant amount of money during your travels if you plan your stay to be at hotels, b&bs, or hostels that include breakfast. It all adds up!
7. Extra Perks: Check your credit card perks. Check your credit card for travel perks, like travel insurance, car rental insurance, booking options / credit, and help with cancellations. Most major credit card companies will offer some mix of travel perks and it's up to you to find out what those are.
8. Activities: Book bundled activities. Rather than booking activities individually, try to find local bundle offers, like city passes, which often offer several activities at a discounted price. Of course, you want to make sure those included activities are something you're actually interested in doing!
Ways to Enjoy the Journey
9. Allow for some buffer time. Oftentimes, us travel-lovers plan to squeeze in five activities in one day, but if you've ever been to Los Angeles, for example, you know you can't see the Hollywood Sign, go to Beverly Hills, attend a concert, check out the cute neighborhoods, AND go to the beach all in one day... It's just no fun! Instead, choose two daily activities, prioritize / plan for one, and go from there. You'll probably find that you'll enjoy your travels more by embracing a "slow travel" approach.
10. Look for same-day booking activities. Find activities that don't have to be booked in advance. This will help you stay flexible in case of changes in plans or weather (or mood!). Once you're there, you can decide if that's an activity you still want to partake in.