Planning a Trip? Here Are 7 Essential Travel Tips You Need to Know

Travelling is fun. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t tricky.

Take for example Kate. She made a spur-of-the-moment decision to pack her bags and spend a few days in Bali to “de-stress.” So she booked a flight and jetted off the country to the exotic locale. It’s not her first time to go to Bali. And previously, the package came with accommodations. Because it was a bit quick, she didn’t realize immediately that her ticket didn’t come with anything else. She landed in Indonesia without any idea where to stay.

After several hours spent looking for a cheap hotel, she was free to relax. A few days later, she was ready to go home. Only her relaxed state only lasted until she got to the terminal. She found out that airline tax fees have changed and she’s short a few hundred dollars. How the heck will she get home now?

As you can see, vacations can be very nice. But one single mistake and you could end up with the stuff of nightmares (or a Lifetime movie, at least.)

If you want your trip to go without a hitch, therefore, you have to make sure you make all the right moves.

1. Plan it right.

Obviously, Kate missed this entire part.

Planning could include any and all of the following:

  • reading traveler reviews
  • looking for the best flight rates
  • researching accommodation
  • checking write ups and suggestions on tourist spots and tourist traps
  • saving enough cash for the entire trip, including for unforeseen events

It might help to join travel forums, too. It will let you read first-hand accounts of other travelers who have gone before you. They usually have the best tips about where to stay and where to buy food for cheaper, too.

2. Check in at home.

Once you have planned and booked everything, make sure to check in for your flight while you’re still at home. Ideally, you should have your boarding pass printed and ready at least 24 hours before you’re set to fly. If you have bags to check in, you might want to do it even earlier. After all, airport check in lines are notoriously long.

3. Pack light.

While we’re on the topic of luggage, packing lightly will let you bypass the whole check in process. You can just pack a carryon bag so you can speed through customs. That means for domestic flights, you can just be at the airport an hour before your scheduled flight. For international flights, you can be there 2 hours before.

Here’s another tip: Put your carryon bag in the compartment above or in front of you. Putting it behind means waiting for whoever is behind you to leave their seats before you can pull your bag out.

4. Planes are like buses, except on air.

What does that mean? Simply that you cannot expect a lot of leg room. Oh, and every little thing you ask for will cost you extra. So if you’re prone to chills or can’t sleep without a pillow on a long flight, consider bringing a blanket or small pillow with you. Asking for them will cost you.

5. Take a picture.

If you’re checking a bag (or bags) in, know that it will get thrown around. Your bag can get lost and damaged. I know a guy who got his suitcase back all held together by duct tape because it “burst while on air.” So take a photo of your bag before checking it in.

6. Walk fast!

The faster you get off the plane, the faster your vacation can start. There will be people ahead of you in customs and immigration. The faster you can get in the line, the quicker you can leave the airport.

7. Save money by using the cell phone parking lot.

Many airports already have cell phone parking lots. You can wait to get a call before circling the arrival strip in search for a passenger. This saves you gas money and the effort of having to circle round and round while waiting.

Travelling is one of life’s many great adventures. Don’t mess it up by being unprepared.