Try traveling, they said, it will be fun, they said. Except when you get ripped off in a tourist trap disguised as a local restaurant, or when you realize your hotel doesn’t accept your credit card, or when you board the wrong train and end up in the bad part of the city, or when you get tricked into thinking you made a generous donation for a good cause except it was not a cause at all.
You see, things like that happen all the time when you travel. But the more experience you have, the more places you have been to, the more likely you are to actually enjoy your time and not worry about all that can go wrong.
So this online thread is a great place to start. “What is your best travel tip that most people don’t know?” someone asked on Ask Reddit and we wrapped up the most useful and interesting pieces of advice below. From rolling everything up to fit into your luggage to asking the right people for opinions when abroad, to canceling reservations to get your money back, this is some solid know-how you are likely to be using on your next trip.
Nobody wakes up early. Like you can wake up before dawn and get fantastic golden hour pics when the city is empty then go back for breakfast and a nap before heading out for lunch.
Like the best city for this is Rome. No one is around and you can get wide shots that would never happen during the day and the lighting is better.
If you are a pet owner, the chances are you may be reluctant to travel if you don’t have someone you trust to leave your furry friend with. But traveling with pets is a whole new fun adventure, and we reached out to Haley Adams, the creator behind Olive The Travelier, who was happy to share some tips and tricks when traveling with pets. Haley’s dog has been on over 60 flights in just 5 years, more than some people in their whole lifetime!
“The word ‘Travelier’ is a combination of the words ‘cavalier’ and ‘travel’. I am passionate about sharing my everyday dog mom lifestyle, along with dog-friendly traveling tips & adventures for pet parents wanting to live a more intentional life with their dog,” Haley said.
Three things; 1.) bring an orange. If someone you are sitting next to smells bad you can open the orange up as a natural deodorizer. 2.) Bring a spare pair of socks and change socks after you are settled on your flight, train, etc. Put the sweaty socks away in a plastic bag. Dry socks after a long day of travel feel luxurious. 3.) Stupid and Cheerful. A cop stops you in a foreign country? Stupid and cheerful. Never be belligerent. A border guard says your papers aren’t in order? Stupid and cheerful. The airline says you are too late to board? Stupid and cheerful. Cheerful always works better than aggressive. And it transcends culture. I knew an elderly couple who literally drove across the whole of Africa and “stupid and cheerful” was their advice. It’s far harder to punish someone if they simply claim ignorance and are smiling.
I don’t travel much but I book travel for a living.
If your plans change and you need to cancel your hotel reservation against the hotel’s cancellation policy, don’t call and cancel. I’ve tried to barter with hotels many times, but truthfully unless you have a good relationship with the hotel, they have no reason to refund you.
Instead, call the hotel and move your reservation to next week. Even if it is against the cancellation policy, most hotels will allow you to alter a reservation without issue. Then (usually a few hour later to guarantee you talk to a different hotel rep) call and cancel your “new” reservation.
The first mistake people make when traveling with a pet, a dog in particular, is not allowing enough time to train their dog in their travel carrier. “Expecting your dog to be comfortable and anxiety-free in their travel carrier after only a week of training isn’t quite realistic (especially if your dog isn’t used to being in a carrier, kennel/crate, etc…).”
Haley argues that it’s best to start practicing the travel carrier with your dog. “Even if you haven’t booked a flight, you want as much time as possible to naturally and consistently let your dog become comfortable in their travel carrier. It’s not too early to start training your dog in their carrier for carrier recommendations,” she said.
Have a distinct hat.
* Meeting up with strangers / couchsurfers / tour group? You’re the person in the hat.
* When talking with officials, the act of taking off a hat shows obedience to authority and will make the interaction just that much smoother.
* When you’re tucking in for the night, putting keys, coins, that new bus pass, &c. in the (upside-down) hat so they don’t get misplaced in a new place.
* Similarly, the (upside-down) hat can be used to store pocket junk before you go through an x-ray checkpoint.
* Does all the normal hat things. (Keep warm / cool, less sun, covers eyes, &c.)
* A hat soaked in water can feel amazing on a hot day.
* You can tuck a handkerchief (or even a napkin) up into a hat to give your neck and ears cover from the sun.
* A rolled travel towel (don’t panic and […]) can be folded into a hat to make an impromptu pillow.
* A hat on a chair or similar can help hold a spot when customs (or languages) are unfamiliar.
Finally, this is not a *travel* tip, but post-travel: if you buy a hat for a trip and limit souvenirs to pins & patches, you have created a little display that’s a bit more interesting than “here are photos on my phone”.
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, but whenever I travel i go to the subreddit for the city I’m traveling to and search for a “best food in the city” thread. Never let me down before. I’ve found some amazing hidden gems that way
Haley also said it’s important to remember her “B.A.R.K.S.S.” acronym for carrier training.
“Begin Early: The more time you have, the better! Awareness: Let your dog become familiar with the carrier, don’t force them inside. Let them enter as they please, try using treats to help them go in the carrier. Reward: Be sure to reward them with treats. Keep Increasing Time: slowly work on increasing time they’re in the carrier, with it open and closed. Switch It Up: Once your dog is comfortable in the carrier, take them out to a pet-friendly store, road trip, etc… in their carrier. Get them comfortable in all different kinds of environments. Stay Consistent: Keep practicing, don’t stop because you think they’ve gotten used to it, it needs to be normal.”
Take a plastic bag with you. Put dirty clothes in it, it keeps clean and dirty separated throughout your stay, plus when you get home it’s easier to take all the clothes in the bag and put them in the washing machine.
The best room in a cheaper hotel is often better than a standard room in a more expensive hotel. When looking for luxury on a budget, don’t overlook the cheaper hotels – they often have fantastic suites for what you’d pay for a standard room somewhere pricier.
Another common mistake people make when traveling with dogs is letting them walk in the airport after a long travel day. “The reason you should avoid this is because walking can activate their bladder/bowels after a long travel day. Next thing you know, your dog is popping a squat in the middle of the airport…” Instead, Haley recommends keeping them in their carrier until they have the opportunity to relieve themselves.
If you’re asking for an opinion, don’t ask the opinion of someone who’s being paid to provide it.
Want to know where the best meal near your hotel is? The cleaner isn’t getting a kickback from the nearest steakhouse, but the concierge probably is.
Want to know the easiest way to get to the airport? The front desk clerk is going to tell you to hire the hotel preferred transfer, but the barman will probably tell you what train to catch for 1/20th of the price.
Chill at the airport. We are trying to get somewhere. Keep moving in lines. Take your friggin earphones out for flight/gate announcements. Know what documents you need for checking in (passport), security (your ticket), customs (passport and sometimes ticket), gate (passport and ticket).
Be a d**k and you will get treated like a d**k.
Make sure your shower gets hot when you get to your room…. not after you come back tired from exploring and all you want to do is take a hot shower, but it’s after midnight and there’s no maintenance person around
“Try to not sit towards the back of an aircraft when flying with a dog. It is a lot louder and bumpier! Thus, increasing your dog’s likeliness to become more anxious and distressed,” Haley said about another faux pas.
She reminds dog owners that during take-off and landing, it’s 100% normal if your dog begins to become slightly anxious, confused, and/or scared. “However, certain aircrafts have louder acoustics because they’re older and the engines are bigger. The newer the airplane the quieter it’ll be (ex: 737 Max 8- more quiet). Knowing what aircraft you are flying can help you prepare!”
Haley’s advice is to sit closer to the front of the plane or in front of the plane engines, which will help diminish both sound and bumps.
If you are alone and don’t know where to go or what to do in a non English speaking city, go to the Irish pub, they will be kind and helpful and you can have a pint.
* Never eat where you see other tourists eating. Look for a place jammed with locals.
* Never let anyone “take” you anywhere. This applies especially to taxi drivers and random strangers.
* Don’t bring anything you “might” need and can acquire locally if you do.
* Pack n+1 pairs of underwear, where n is the smaller of the number of days you will be away and 6.
Travel with good company that wants the same as you do. Having the wrong people around you on a trip can make you scared for life with them and never make you wanna go again no matter if it was only 1 person who did the whole group wrong.
Make a safe out of a toothpaste tube for your money. Cut off the end, rinse it out, keep the cap on, roll up your money and put inside and roll up the tube to hide the end that you cut. Most likely won’t get toothpaste stolen.
Try searching for flights in the airline’s original language. I once saved $700 booking tickets in Peru by using Spanish rather than English.
Grab one of the mini sized bar soaps or bath gel from your hotel and bring it with you when you go sight seeing. Often bathrooms won’t have hand soap (more likely in international destinations) and you will want to wash your hands with soap. Especially before a meal. I wrap the bar soap in a small plastic bag or a plastic hair cap that it often provided at hotels.
No one cares about you wearing the same thing more than once. Pack light and wash your stuff every few days.
Do not entertain people asking questions in other countries.
Know the rules/laws/currency exchange rates for the country you are going to. Ignorance is not a get out of jail free card.
While you’re standing in the security line, take the stuff in your pockets and put it in your bag. You won’t be holding up the line to gather your stuff from the container.
1) Allow time for things to go wrong.
2) If travelling long distance don’t leave ‘just in time’, better to arrive early. The further you’re travelling leave even earlier. eg. If your friend is getting married on Saturday and it’s a four hour drive, leave Friday lunchtime not Friday evening. If it’s a transatlantic flight away leave Wednesday or Thursday morning, not Friday.
3) It’s going to cost more than you think.
1. Learn basic words/phrases of the country’s language you are traveling to. This will help you more than you think.
2. Make sure you have a universal adaptor. And a portable charger
3. (speaking for the US) You most likely have an e-passport, it’s that little Pokemon ball looking emblem at the bottom of the cover. Utilize those e-gates at the airport.
4. Don’t convert your cash. Just use your debit/credit or withdraw money from an ATM when you get there.
5. Call your bank in advanced if you’re traveling internationally unless your bank app has a feature where you can automatically turn on international purchases.
6. If you land early in the morning and check-in isn’t for another couple hours, ask your hotel/hostel if you can drop your bags off until check in.
7. Get shower shoes if you’re staying in a hostel.
8. Free up phone storage before you leave for your trip.
Pack light, you need fewer things than you realize. Buy things like shower gel at the destination, don’t bother carrying cheap stuff you can just buy again easily.
Pack flexible outfits that all go together.
Dress comfortably especially shoes.
I bring old underwear, socks, clothes the kids are about to outgrow, etc, and then throw them out before we leave to make room for souvenirs.
Also, if you are bringing water bottles or travel coffee mugs cut a kitchen sponge into pieces, soak with dish soap, then toss in a Ziploc bag. You can use the sponges to wash water bottles/tumblers in the hotel sink.
Note: this post originally had 57 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.