No matter how many times you travel there are always improvements that can be made to make the trip run smoother. I have been inspired by so many awesome bloggers and also discovered many hacks myself and I am constantly testing out new ideas to make travel even more pleasurable.
I wanted to share some of my tips that I use on every trip so you can also enjoy stress free travel.
Unless you are an extreme minimalistic traveller (watch the videos where people just take a change of underwear) there are always things you can cut back on when packing. I have travelled for many years with carry-on only and I love the challenge of taking less each time I leave for a trip. The best time to reflect on how much you actually need is when you return home. Whilst unpacking make a note of what you wore and want you didn’t wear. Keep these notes for the next time you pack.
There are so many benefits to taking less, these include:
- No extra charges for check-in luggage (on budget airlines)
- Easier to move around on public transport
- Zero chance of getting you baggage lost
- Easier to repack each time you move to a new place (see my tip on packing cubes)
I also avoid taking anything sentimental or very valuable.
I am totally in love with packing cubes, they have made travelling so much easier for me. I have several different brands, some very cheap, some expensive and I’ve even sewn some myself. I wouldn’t recommend the really cheap ones though as they do not last long.
The reason I love packing cubes so much; they allow you to organise everything into different cubes so you don’t have to rummage through everything. They allow you to condense your clothing into a smaller space and it’s very quick to repack as you can leave things organised in the cubes for shorter trips.
Pack a large ziplock bag, it can be used to store your dirty clothes and also wet swimwear. The smaller bags are great for you cosmetics and toiletries and other small trinkets.
Keep a Copy of Your Itinerary
I usually create my own itinerary using Microsoft Excel with all the important details. I have three columns including the date, details and notes. The date is self explanatory, under details I include flight details, hotel names, train times etc and under notes I include booking numbers, phone numbers and terminal numbers for flights. I like to take a picture on my phone so that all the information is easily accessible at any time.
Imagine you are on your flight and the attendants come around with an immigration form that needs to be filled out. The last thing you want to do is fumble around in your carry on luggage for all those details that need recording. For many years I have created a small information card with all the necessary details.
For our next trip I have saved it on my phone in a secure file. I include the following details:
- A picture of my passport (and other members of my family)
- Flight numbers
- Address at our destination
Don’t forget to keep a pen in your personal bag so you can actually fill out the form!
Personal Items for the Flight
There’s nothing worse than having to squeeze past fellow passengers to access things you need from the overhead luggage compartments. I always carry a small personal bag that fits easily under the seat to store all my flight essentials. My flight essentials:
- Warm socks
- Toothpaste and toothbrush (toothpaste placed in after security)
- Small drink bottle – fill it up after you go through security
- Phone and power bank
When I travel on budget airlines where only one bag is allowed I place my personal bag inside my carry-on and simply take it out once I have boarded the plane.
Understand the Liquid Restrictions
At the time of writing there are still liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage. This includes liquids, gels and aerosols and they must be 100ml or less and able to fit into a one litre (or quart sized) clear bag. When you go through security you will need to place the liquids into one of the plastic tubs. Always make sure that they are easy to access so you don’t hold up the line. There are no restrictions for liquids placed into a check in bag.
Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
Sometimes this is easier said than done when you have just arrived in a strange place and you are extremely tired. Some things you can do to minimise getting overwhelmed:
- Learn a few key phrases/words. Just knowing a few things will show the locals that you are trying to make an effort and they are more likely to offer assistance.
- Have the details of your accommodation (also in the local language) with you at all times. If you get lost it’s easier for people to help you find your way back.
- If you do start to feel overwhelmed find a place to sit down and grab a cold/warm drink so you can gather your thoughts and reassess the situation. Remember you are on holiday, you have the time to relax!
Let your Bank Know About your Travel Plans
Before setting off make sure that you ring your bank and credit card company to let them know when and where you are travelling. This avoids having your card or accounts suspended by the bank when you are overseas.
Preparation and Research
For me the preparation of a trip is almost as exciting as the actual trip. I like to find out the opening times and prices of the tourist attractions we wish to visit. I will research good restaurants and hotels before we leave so once we arrive we don’t have to use up precious time finding good places. I also research the local transport and find the cheapest way to travel so we don’t get confused by the different systems. It’s always lovely to read a few books or articles on some of the countries or places you are visiting, it just adds to the excitement.
And finally…….enjoy every minute, you are on holiday!