Though many people consider travel to be stressful and unpleasant, it doesn’t have to be that way. Getting outside of your normal daily activity can be a rewarding experience, and one that can change your life in large or small ways. Over the years, I have traveled a lot. And I put together these steps to successful and “no-fuss” travel. It’s just a matter of little preparation and good advice.
Many out of the way destinations are often overlooked for vacations. For example, while St. Thomas in the Caribbean is incredibly popular, with very little extra effort one can make a trip to Vieques off of Puerto Rico instead. It has many of the same amenities, is much less crowded, and will make your vacation seem much more special!
Purchasing an entertainment package when visiting a city with many attractions can save you time and money. An entertainment package purchased in advance usually includes tickets to several area attractions, often at a discounted rate. This will take much of the stress out of a vacation, allowing you to walk past the long lines at the ticket counter when you arrive and get straight to the fun.
A useful tip for travelers is to make certain to have sufficient health insurance in place to cover medical expenses in case of injury or illness while abroad. It is often the case that domestic health insurance policies do not provide extensive coverage for treatment and hospitalization in foreign countries. Therefore, it is important to procure such coverage for the entire duration of your trip.
If you plan to be travelling for more than a week, make accommodations for your pets. Your neighbor or sister-in-law may assure you that stopping by is not a hassle, but you should not place that obligation on them for any longer than a week. There are many kennels and vet offices that will be glad to feed, play with and even, bathe your pets.
During the winter, in particular, it is smart to keep a couple of blankets, some boots, some matches and a large candle, in the trunk of your vehicle. These could come in very handy if you happen to skid off the road and find yourself lodged in a snow bank with no chance of immediate rescue.
In addition to making a photocopy of your passport before you leave on an international vacation, write down your passport number and place of issue. Store this information in your money belt or wallet, separate from you passport. The more copies of this information you have, the easier it can be to recover lost or stolen passports.
When packing for a cruise, be sure to bring along a pair of slip-resistant rubber soled shoes. These will work when you are walking across wet, slippery decks, as well as for most of your shore excursions. The fewer pairs of shoes you can bring, the easier your luggage will be to store.
Always carry extra passport photos of yourself and your family. That way, if someone loses their passport, you can walk straight to the embassy prepared to get another. Make sure these are the high-quality photos of the original, because they will not accept a photo taken for any other reason.
If you are traveling by air, select your row carefully to ensure that your carry-on bag can fit in the overhead compartment. Planes are usually boarded in a group of five or ten rows, so a row with a higher number may get on first. Also try to get in the boarding line as quickly as possible; once the group in front of you has stopped joining the line, go ahead and stand behind them. Your group will probably be announced before you get to the front. The faster you are able to get on the plane, the more likely it is that there will still be room for your bag.
When staying at airports for longer layovers, it can be useful to be a member of special members-only lounge. Some examples are shown here. Sometimes, if you have a high-end credit card, that will get you into these clubs for a small fee. Then you can kick back your feet, have a drink and snack or meal, and refresh yourself before the next leg of your flight.
This video is where I learned a couple of more tricks about getting in.
Research and prepare for any communications costs that you might have, in regards to computing while traveling. Knowing where you will have access to Wi-Fi and what equipment you will need to connect at your various destinations, will make your journey easier and avoid on the fly purchases when you need to communicate. Make sure you have your passports and visa in a safe and secure place, and have the documents with you in case some local authority or hotel requests them.
A lot of car rental companies require their renters to be at least 18 years old, and some even require them to 25. If you’re under that age, you may need to pay a higher rate with a credit card. It’s important to know that in certain cities senior citizens can’t rent a car. Always ask when you call about any special restrictions. You probably don’t need the extra insurance; check with your existing insurance to see what is covered and what is not on your next rental car.
Armed with the knowledge from these tips, you can now go out into the world with more confidence and less stress. Take the time to enjoy your new surroundings as you travel and learn from the people you encounter along the way. You’ll return to your everyday life refreshed and with a new appreciation for the things you normally take for granted.