12 Tips for a Great Vacation
With the summer travel season upon us, here are 12 tips to make your vacation a memorable one.
1. Make a list.
Before traveling write down what you want to take. Start the list a week before you leave because inevitably, you’ll think of new items to add. Forgetting little things like your phone charger can really make the start of your vacation stressful!
2. Travel light.
Try hard to pack just one carry-on suitcase. Being able to carry your luggage on to the plane will reduce the likelihood of theft or loss. In addition, you’ll be happier not having to drag so much weight around during the trip. Rick Steves, the famous travel writer, suggests people pack for the best-case scenario rather than the worst case. Bring layers, for instance, rather than a heavy jacket. To maximize space consider using airless baggies or a clothes compressor.
3. Pack smart.
Unless you’re traveling solo, pack some personal items in a travel companion’s suitcase. If one bag gets lost, at least you won’t lose all your personal possessions.
4. Take photos.
As a precaution against theft or airport mishandling, take photos of your luggage and the contents of your bags.
5. Use points.
An easy way to get free flights is to use award points from your credit cards. You can rack up impressive award points if you divert most of your spending onto these cards including utilities, cell phone bill and cable service. This strategy can be valuable if you pay off your balances monthly.
6. Minimize cards.
Only bring the credit cards you need. And when traveling overseas, ideally you will want to keep them in a money belt to protect yourself against pickpockets. When you return home, make sure all the charges were legitimate.
7. Call toll-free.
If a card is lost/stolen, contact the credit card company immediately. Visa, MasterCard and American Express all have toll-free numbers.
8. Use Wi-Fi.
If you’re traveling overseas and your international cell phone options are too expensive, there are apps that can make staying in touch free. WhatsApp is a popular application that only requires that you find a Wi-Fi connection. There’s also Skype, Apple FaceTime and Google+ Hangouts. Nonetheless, be careful to use Wi-Fi connections that are secure (password required and from a reliable source).
9. Pack batteries/chargers.
You’re about to capture the most amazing sunset on the beach and you discover the battery is dead. Not good.
10. Take copies.
Make an extra copy of your driver’s license and passport (if applicable). It will make life easier if they get lost. Keep them separate from the original documents.
11. Ask locals.
Rather than eat at the places where tourists gather, ask locals for recommendations.
12. Leave time for spontaneity.
Planning is great but leaving time for spontaneous activity and discovery can be wonderful.