Travel is constantly evolving. There are new pitfalls to avoid, new apps to help us find good prices, and new skills to make travel as pleasant as possible. Here are some tips you might not already know that will make your summer travels easier.
- We are advised to pack photocopies of important documents we will need for our trip in case the originals get lost. The photocopies can also get lost or stolen, or in my case of over-stuffed suitcases, crumpled beyond recognition. Instead, take pictures of the documents on your phone or iPad and you will always have them safe and handy.
- Pack some essentials in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost – a change of clothes, medications, phone charger and anything else you wouldn’t want to spend a night without.
- Browse hotel room books and magazines to find things to do, special events and places to dine, and maybe coupons and discounts.
- I like to carry jewelry on the plane with me in a pouch so it doesn’t get stolen. It ends up in a heap and sometimes pieces get damaged and tangled. Security isn’t enthusiastic about things that look like a wad of metal so I am often pulled out of line and my carry-on bag searched. They have advised me to separate the jewelry if possible so the scanners can identify what it is. One way to both protect and separate jewelry is to latch necklaces through an empty toilet paper roll to keep them untangled. For link bracelets and necklaces, lay them on a piece of toilet paper, fold the sides over the necklace then wrap around your finger to create a coil. Then place them in a jewelry pouch or roll. From my favorite shop, Stars Jewelry in Damariscotta, ME, comes the suggestion of using a hard-shell eyeglass case. You can separate the jewelry inside if you like, but it protects it from damage. It also conceals it from snoopy people who might not suspect what’s inside.
- Pack an empty water bottle to refill once you get through security. You won’t have to buy water bottles at exorbitant prices and you are reducing plastic waste.
- If you forget your charge plug, most modern TV’s have USB ports in the back.
- Use the Foursquare app to find the passwords at local WiFi places: If you visit a coffee shop or other location with Wi-Fi, there’s a good chance someone has listed the details on Foursquare. Just check the comments on that location. Even if you aren’t really a Foursquare user, this is a great reason to keep the app around. Just remember to take the necessary precautions to stay safe on those public Wi-Fi networks.
- When you are booking flights, hotels or anything else online, clear your browser cache or use an anonymous browser window. Booking sites keep track and if you don’t buy right away, then return to purchase, they will often raise their prices. It happened to me! I couldn’t believe it. JetBlue doubled the price on flights I was looking at when I came back to buy them. I then used my husband’s computer, and got the original price I’d seen a couple of hours earlier.
- Great travel apps are Hipmunk (a comparison app) and Foodspotting. Hipmunk not only finds the cheapest hotels and flights but finds the best option using a range of criteria including layover, plane changes etc. It also included Airbnb and HomeAway listings. Foodspotting finds you places to eat wherever you are. It suggests good restaurants and cafes and authentic food all over the world. You can filter results based on location, rank or category, etc.
- Save the hassle of trying to reach your credit card company from a remote location when they decline your card by calling them ahead of time to tell them where you are traveling. It doesn’t always work, but is worth a try.
- On the Google maps app, use the OK Maps feature which allows you to save the map and make it accessible when you are in an offline location.
- Stash extra cash in your luggage in case you lose your wallet.
- Pass traveling time quickly by listening to podcasts.
- Experience the locals’ favorites wherever you go. Localeur is a curated community of locals who want visitors to experience the best of their city.
- Customs vary in different countries, so download the Global Tip Calculator which has tipping advice for over 140 countries. For iOS and Androids.