30 plus years in the travel industry has led to compiling these travel tips. Along the way we have made some mistakes and learned from them. We have also learned from others. If you've got a tip you think we should include, message us on our contact page.
I make a list of items I don’t want to forget — which I WILL forget if I don’t write them down. It’s easiest for me to have a travel list saved on my phone, because where I go, my phone goes. So I can access it online and edit it as needed.
Some things are beyond our control. Weather delays, traffic jams, unusually long lines or customs delays at the airport etc. Patience is key when traveling. If you miss a flight or other travel obligation don’t let it ruin your entire vacation. Work with your travel agent to get back on track and enjoy the rest of your travel adventure.
You’ll be glad you invested in this device. When you’re traveling you never know when you might have an opportunity to charge your phone. Some planes don’t have USB ports, and many airports have limited areas to charge phones because everybody is trying to use the few that are available. Also, remember to CHARGE your charger before you leave! We try to keep ours charged at all times so if we need to grab it and go, it’s ready to power our phones if needed.
We also take photos of our passports and driver licenses and keep them in our Google Docs and in files on our phones. You just never know when you need a backup.
You never know if your luggage will get lost or your flight gets canceled. Having a change of clothes in your carry on is an easy insurance policy against the unexpected.
This is important in case there is a family emergency or if something happens to you while traveling. We tell a family member or close friend where we will be and how to reach us. If we are on a cruise we let them know the name of the ship and the ships itinerary.
Seems like a “no-brainer” to have your money and cards hidden in several spots, but surprisingly many get lazy about doing this. Don’t keep all of your cash and cards in one spot.
If your credit card company sees an attempt to make a charge in a foreign country they may reject it in an attempt to prevent you from fraud. This can be avoided if you make them aware of your plans. The same holds true for using your bank especially if you want to use your ATM card.
Many travelers go to ATMs to get local currency instead of going to currency exchange places because the fees are usually better. Look at the back of your card and there should be at least one logo. Find an ATM that’s associated with a large bank, like ING. You can also find out if your bank is affiliated with a large international bank. This way you can avoid extra fees when withdrawing cash.
Many public restrooms in other countries, particularly European countries, charge a fee to get in and often use machines that take coins. It’s no joking matter to be scrambling for coins so you can get in the restroom.
Your credit card company will automatically do the conversion into dollars so there’s no need to pay in dollars. If you say you want to pay in dollars, you will likely be overcharged because the stores may use a higher conversion rate.
Stay up to date on the forecast for your destination. The more sources you check the more accurately you can predict what you will need. Be sure to include a small packable umbrella. Be sure to check the forecast on your departure day.
Weather forecasts are much better than they used to be, but you need to be prepared for big deviations.
Think – what’s possible not probable.
Layering is the key to being comfortable. I try not to wear anything thick that I can’t take off. Weather I’m on a long flight or at my destination I try to dress in comfortable coordinating items to layer. I usually pack a lightweight jacket if I’m going to a place where it’s cool during the day or in the evenings. Again what’s possible and or probable.
Want to save some room in that luggage? Bring some items you can wear more than once. Try to ensure they are also hand washable. Pack a small bottle of laundry detergent. Or you can wash the items with shampoo.
Most of us don’t want to look like a typical tourist, and if you care about clothing trends, head over to Instagram to find out what the locals are wearing. On Instagram I look for certain hashtags regarding street style, like #londonstyle or #amsterdamstreetstyle, and then I buy a few items to take along on my trip. One of the main reasons is that I don’t want to stick out as a tourist, because tourists are easy targets. The more we blend in with the locals the less vulnerable we are as turists.
Pack several light weight containers you can take on the go.
You want to avoid buying it while on your trip. Tourist shops make you pay dearly for it.
You will likely be walking a lot more than you think, and even if the sun isn’t literally shining, you can get sunburned. And then there’s that whole lounging on the beach thing or hanging out on the ship deck in the sun.
In addition to band aids and related wound treatment think about the stuff in your medicine cabinet at home. I kike to include the following: Benadryl (which doubles as an anti-nausea med because it’s antihistamine), Tums, Sudafed/cold meds, Imodium, powdered electrolyte mix (Emergen-C brand or Pedialyte), antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, senna laxative pills, and Band-Aid Blister Relief pads for raw spots from walking a lot.
Zip-lock storage bags are so handy for many things. We always pack several sizes in our checked baggage as well as our carry-ons. We need some anyway to put travel-sized liquids in at the TSA line. We find we always use these while traveling. Best of all they are light weight and inexpensive.
The most popular excursions sold by the cruise line will book up fast. If you didn’t purchase your excursions before you boarded. Make that one of the first things you do when you get onboard. See our Services page on this web site for more shore excursion info.
Many cruise ships now offer an upscale dining experience at premium on board restaurants. We have found that many guests are interested in this upscale dining, therefore we’ve found that time slots at these restaurants get filled quickly.
If you like on-board entertainment my advice is to check the entertainment schedule and book early.
Both the free and paid shows can fill up quickly. You should be able to get assistance at the customer service desk.
Check with your travel agent or check with the cruise line ahead of time. Most cruise lines don’t allow you to bring bottled water on board. Many passengers have been caught trying to sneak in alcohol.
Most cruise lines will not allow you to bring your own alcohol on-board. One of the biggest money makers for the cruise lines is selling adult beverages to passengers while on-board, so you can see why they want to restrict passengers from bringing it themselves. Oh, by the way, if you try to bring it on in your baggage you probably won’t succeed. They x-ray baggage for such items.
Your best bet if you are traveling abroad is to use your phone carriers international plan when you are ashore. If you can’t get service on your phone while at sea you can ship call , but it will be excessively expensive. On board internet is usually very slow and expensive. We wait till we are ashore and can use free wifi. Remember Don’t enter passwords or other sensitive info while on public wifi.
A convenient service that is usually included with your cruise package is automatic tipping. This service usually includes your room steward & dining staff. Tipping is most likely going to be automatic for food & beverages you purchase on-board as well. You may be able to opt out of automatic gratuities, check with your travel agent or cruise line.
Some of your destination ports are simply not capable of accommodating the mammoth cruise ships.
When this is the case, the cruise ship will anchor off shore and smaller boats called tenders will transport you to and from the ship. If you have booked a ship sponsored excursion, they will tell you which tender boat time to use. If you have booked shore excursions yourself try to get one of the first tender boats available.