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Here are a collection of travel tips collated from reader suggestions and experiences.

Chances are you'll find some invaluable ideas for your next trip here.

 
 
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Essential Travel Tips

A compilation of the best travel advice from ourselves and our readers
 

Wherever you're traveling, however you're getting there, and whatever you're doing upon arrival, the information in this series will help make your travels simpler and better.

 

 

When you're traveling, you're out of your usual 'comfort zone' and routines.  This can make for unexpected problems and can also make it harder for any types of problems to be resolved.

Worst of all, if you're traveling for business, you probably do not have spare time built in to your schedule to resolve problems, and if you're traveling on vacation, the whole concept of your (often expensive) travel is to have a relaxing time free of worries and problems!

For all reasons, it is prudent to do all you can to minimize potential problems when traveling.  Hopefully these tips will assist.

Travel Tip Topics

Click any of the hot linked topics below to immediately jump to that section of this series.

Topics that aren't yet hot linked are due to be added but haven't yet been published.

If you have tips of your own, please pass them on.

 

Vacation Planning Strategies in General

Packing and luggage (on two pages)

Money

Technology

Traveling Methods

Flights

Hotels

Cars

Trains

Cruises

In unfamiliar places

In Case of Emergency

When things go wrong

Medical

Crime

Security, Immigration, Customs and Duties

General and Miscellaneous

 

Vacation Planning Strategies in General

1.  Cheaper is usually not better when on vacation : the whole concept of travel is to give yourself a wonderful set of happy memories.  A slightly better hotel and slightly better hotel room, a nicer meal at a nicer restaurant, etc etc are more likely to give you such memories than are less expensive alternatives.

2.  Keep in mind the cost of each 'quality hour' of your vacation.  Work out the total cost of your vacation - the air fare, hotels, other transport, meals, entertainment, attractions and admissions, souvenirs, and so on, and then divide that by the 'quality hours' you're away.

A quality hour is a free hour not spent traveling, sleeping, or doing essential things such as washing, eating, etc.

Chances are the cost of each quality hour ends up being not much less than $100, and potentially considerably more.

2.1  So if spending an extra $50 gets you an extra quality hour, and the current cost of your quality hours is $75/hour, that $50 is money well spent.  An example of this would be spending an extra $50 to get a hotel more conveniently located in the center of the city, rather than in an outlying district that adds to your travel time each day to get into and back out of the city, and which also makes it harder to return to the hotel during the day for a rest, or to drop off shopping, etc.

2.2  Another example would be upgrading theater tickets to better seats.  The time cost of visiting the theater is way more than the ticket cost, so spend a bit more on the tickets to get truly good value for your time cost.

3.  If traveling to an unfamiliar destination, consider using a travel agent who specializes in that region.  They can help you enormously, and can probably also save you money on your air travel due to having special contracts with consolidators to that region.

3.1  Booking online is rarely the best strategy when it comes to international travel.

4.  A travel package can sometimes – but not always – be cheaper than a flight and hotel (and/or car) purchased separately. And because sometimes tour packagers will have their own special blocks of airline seats, you might find a vacation package has cheap space on flights that are showing as sold out everywhere else.  Sometimes – rarely, but sometimes found with, eg, Hawaii packages, you’ll find an airfare and something else (rental car or hotel) is cheaper than the regular airfare by itself. In such cases, you don’t need to use the included other items – ignore them, but take advantage of the discounted airfare.

5.  Don’t put things related to your travel off until you travel.  Research whatever you need to know before you start your travels.  Your travel time is precious and you don’t want to unnecessarily waste it on administrative tasks.  Furthermore, at home you have all your familiar local support resources at hand; while traveling, you have none of these.

6.  The prices of some travel items fluctuate widely, and seemingly unrelated to if you are booking well in advance or at the last minute.  But the prices of other things tend to steadily increase - travel at peak holiday times, and hotel rates in general (although watch also for last minute specials in the last one to three weeks).

7.  Lunches are better values than dinners.  Consider having bigger lunches and smaller dinners if trying to maximize your travel and food budget.

8.  If you see something you like somewhere, buy it immediately.  The chances are you might never see it again during the rest of your journey.

9.  Looking for a better value alternative to airport parking?  Consider the "Park and Fly" option offered by many hotels, and call around to arrange the best deal.  You'll sometimes pay less for a night's accommodation and a week or two of free parking at the hotel than you would just buying parking at an airport lot by itself.  See also our article on discount airport parking.

10.  Make a list of people and their addresses to who you plan to send postcards.  Having this all in one place makes it easy to get postcards written and sent.

11.  Take half as many clothes and twice as much money!
 

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Originally published 26 Aug 2005, last update 15 Oct 2013

This article is copyrighted by David M Rowell, The Travel Insider LLC.

 
 
 
Related Articles
Vacation Planning Strategies
Packing Tips part 1
Packing Tips part 2
Fire Safety Tips - Preparation and Planning
Fire Safety Tips - Responding to a Fire
 
 

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