With any type of travel comes the anticipation, the planning, and also the hecticness. Occasionally, you forget something and only realize once it’s too late or a delay causes a change in your plans. To help you avoid any unnecessary problems, I’ve put together a list of easy travel hacks you can use for your next trip. Take a look...
For International Travel (From the US)
- Register your trip with the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program. If you’re traveling long-term, you can create an account and update your destinations as you go. Enrolling with the program will alert the nearest US Embassy or Consulate to look for you if there’s an emergency within the country you’re visiting.
- The Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) is also another great program for frequent travelers because it will help you save time at customs.
- Are you a frequent flyer between the US and Canada? Sign up for the NEXUS program to receive expedited processing when entering between these two countries.
- Checking on the country warnings before booking a trip or flying to a new country is also a wise thing to do. There’s no need to accidentally stumble into unsafe waters.
- Don’t fly to another country without first signing up for a credit or debit card that won’t charge you international ATM fees. Chase offers the United MileagePlus credit card for travelers and you can also try Charles Schwab’s debit card.
- Going somewhere adventurous for your next trip? Consult with a doctor beforehand to see if you need any travel vaccinations.
- Lastly, if you’re going abroad...don’t forget a converter (or you’ll be bummed when you can’t take pictures with your phone to send to family and friends).
- Pack lightly - Is your extra pair of shoes really necessary? If not, dump it. Packing lightly will allow you to bring a carry-on instead of checking your bag. Wearing layers to the airport will also allow you to bring more clothing with you and stay warm on the plane. Pro-tip: If you want to fit more clothes into a small suitcase or backpack, try rolling your clothes.
- Money and IDs - Scan your passport, ID, and any credit or ATM cards you’ll be bringing with you. Email a copy of each to yourself and a trusted family member. Don’t worry about converting money to another currency before your trip. You can use an ATM card with no transaction fees to exchange money when you arrive.
- Always check-in before you arrive at the airport.
At the Airport
- Bring an empty water bottle through airport security. Fill it up from a water fountain inside. Drink it on the flight to counteract dehydration.
- Enjoy this list of free WiFi hotspots in airports around the world. If that list fails, look for a McDonald’s or Starbucks at the airport.
- Looking for the best restaurant or place to relax in the airport? See where the flight attendants go. They’ve spent more time than you at this airport and probably know the top spots for delicious food and quick bathroom lines.
- If you arrive to the airport early, find your gate first and then explore or look for food afterwards.
- If you happen to have a dating app on your phone (*cough* Tinder), set it to a one mile radius. You’d be surprised how many attractive people are bored swiping at the airport.
During the Flight
- Bring your handy neck pillow along for those longer flights.
- During my flights, I’ve requested vegetarian options and been upgraded to meals meant for business class fliers. Lesson learned: It doesn’t hurt to ask for other food options if you’re unable to eat what’s offered due to dietary restrictions.
- If you’re on a flight with screens and your screen doesn’t work, alert a flight attendant and you’ll most likely be bumped to a better seat if the flight isn’t packed.
- Drink lots of water.
- Take off your shoes for more leg room.
- When getting off a plane and walking through the airport, avoid the first restroom you see. You will certainly come across another one soon that will be much less crowded.
- If you’re in a completely new country and you don’t speak the language, it’s a good idea to take a moment to take in your surroundings. Being unaware and rushing to leave the airport can put you at risk of a scam or worse. Sit down for ten minutes and give yourself a moment to become accustom to this new space as you try to plan your transportation away from the airport.
- Avoid currency exchange counters (the exchange rates are always terrible) and get money at an ATM.
Although this is a load of information, I hope you’ll find some of it useful as you set out on your next adventure. Bon voyage!