CHARLOTTE, NC: For some odd reason, many travelers, even veterans, have a tendency to check their brains just before going through security at the airport. Savvy travelers suffer far fewer hassles, however. Thus resulting in a significantly more rewarding travel experience by applying a some common sense and a little preparation.
Here are some travel tips beginning with some basics and ending with a few odd twists that can save considerable discomfort.
Sixteen Travel Tips for travel success
Back Up Critical Documents:
It only takes a few minutes to copy important travel documents such as your passport, plane tickets, hotel information etc., but it may save hours of frustration later on. Place those papers in a separate accessible place so if something gets lost or stolen, you can expedite the recovery process.
Empower your Cell Phone:
Before you travel, call your carrier and see if you have worldwide travel options. On AT&T, for example, for ten dollars a day you can use your phone almost anywhere in the world (there is service) as if you are home.
In Case of Emergency (ICE):
Have an In Case Of Emergency (ICE) listing in your phone contact that includes the name and number of someone to contact in case of emergency. Apps, like the ICE ap, allow you to add information from your blood type, allergies and whom to contact in case of an emergency.
A feature includes the Lock Screen Emergency Contact. For a scant .99 cents, you can add an emergency contact to your locked home screen that anyone can access.
Another ICE application can be is ICE Contact. This is a great app for the adventurous of solo travelers as it will send your GPS coordinates to your ICE contacts.
Pack One Complete Outfit in Your Carry On:
It’s always best to travel lightly, but if you do check luggage, pack one complete outfit in your carry-on bag. This way if your luggage gets lost or delayed you have a back-up. Don’t worry so much about lost toiletries. After all, they brush their teeth and comb their hair in other countries too.
Use your cell phone, once again, to take photos of your luggage, open and closed. If lost, you have a record on what was inside. If a conflict at the carousel, you have a picture of your bags for identification purposes.
Learn the Language:
You don’t have to be fluent but if you learn some basic phrases like “Please,” “Thank you,” “Excuse me” and “Where’s the bathroom” you’ll be ahead of the game and the locals will appreciate the effort. You can also download numerous translation apps, but do not, ever, stick your phone in someone’s face. Translate for your use, then try. If it does not work, you can laugh and ask, would you look?
Here is a secret. Most people are very happy to have you visiting their country. Offer them basic respect and you will get the same back.
Take a business card from the hotel when you go out:
It may sound silly but even if you know the name and address of your hotel, chances are you will not pronounce it the way a local does. If you take a card from the hotel when you leave, you can show it to a cab driver or shopkeeper who can then assist you with your return. You can also snap a picture of the hotel and or the cross streets.
Purchase Travel Insurance:
Insurance can be expensive and is not typically included in a travel budget. On the other hand, if and when you need it, it will be well worth the added cost. There are many options so spend a little time and get the policy that suits your travel plans the best.
Be Nice to Gate Agents:
We’ve all seen the horror shows at airports on the news when weather or other malfunctions cause delays. Keep in mind that the first people you will likely encounter in such an event is a gate agent who is dealing with hundreds of equally frustrated passengers. It may be hard to do, but gate agents wield a lot of power and the nicer you are to them, the better chance you will have at getting an expedited solution to your problem.
Renting from a company that has their office a short distance away could be a big money saver from those that have airport facilities. It is probably best to make a reservation on-line in advance so you can negotiate the best price, especially if you are traveling during a period when demand is high.
Airport Currency Exchanges:
ATMs are one of the greatest travel innovations of the 20th century. Get a credit card that has no transaction fees and always take your cash in local currency. ATMs are everywhere and you can use them at odd hours when banks are closed. Never exchange money at your hotel unless it is absolutely necessary.
Be a Local:
Good travel is not always sightseeing and grand restaurants. Go to supermarkets and shop where locals go if you want to immerse yourself in a destination. It may not sound exciting at first, but you may be surprised at what you will learn and the people you will meet.
Never eat chili peppers for breakfast:
Avoid outrageous onboard prices for food and liquor:
First of all, airplane wine is not very good. Secondly, now that airlines are charging for food, bringing your own wine is an easy thing to do and it will taste better. You can purchase a glass or two at the bar and pour it into your recyclable water bottle. Just remember, you cannot take liquids through security (3.5 ounce, or 100 ml, limit.)
And you probably can’t uncork a bottle bought in the airport on the plane. Maybe a screw top will work?
Also, companies like Blackwells Wine & Spirits sell 50ml bottles. Whatever you choose a glass of wine or a cocktail can make a long flight more enjoyable, however, be responsible. Don’t become the next viral video of a drunk being tossed from an airplane.
There are plenty of “food” options in every grocery store. Convenience packs of healthy foods are readily available.
With food, like alcohol, consider that what you do influences the entire plane. Stay away from highly fragrant foods or foods that are common allergens, like peanuts. And before you leave, clean up your litter and either toss it onboard or take it off the plane to throw out.
For those who hate conversing with the total stranger in the next seat:
Carry a sign that says, “I’m not being rude, I cannot hear you.” Words to the wise. Just be careful they don’t speak sign language. Or sit down, put in your earbuds, and wear a sleeping mask. Both effective deterrents.
If you have a tendency to be gassy, don’t eat cabbage or drink Weissen beer before flying:
You know who you are, and you can trust me on this! You might have the right to fart, but really? Not farting is on the list with not picking your nose, clipping your toe (or finger) nails or doing anything else you would normally do in your bathroom.
Getting rid of hawkers and hustlers:
These people know how to sell you anything, in any language. Just speak gibberish as a response. Shrug your arms and say something like “pooka dwab jerka flig .” They will leave you alone quicker than if you say “go away!”
If you’re going to hit a moose, don’t swerve:
Silly as it may sound, folks in the wide open spaces out west will tell you that if a huge animal such as a moose, elk or even a buffalo crosses your path, just keep driving. If you swerve you will likely do more damage, and it’s less dangerous to stay straight, even though your natural instinct is to get out of the way.
As with opinions, travel tips are in abundance, but now and then some top-notch suggestions arise. The less experienced you are at the art of travel, the more small bits of useful information you acquire can turn an everyday itinerary into the adventure of a lifetime
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world.
Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up