My Best Travel Tips
Here you would find everything you need to know before you embark on your journey: travel tips and do’s & don’ts. You would find destination-specific tips, specific to a State/City in US, in the respective travel guides.
Over the last few years, I have traveled a lot and have learned a few things; some the easy way and some the hard way. So without further due, let me summarize my best travel tips for you:
First Things First
Passport & Visa: If traveling to a foreign country, ensure to have a valid passport and visa. This can be time-consuming, would advise starting the process as soon as you can.
Valid ID: Even for domestic air travel, within US, you would need to carry a Real ID-Complaint ID Card. Read More
Travel Insurance: This is a must-have, I recommend World Nomads, but whatever company you want to use, make sure you have a comprehensive coverage
Research & Plan
Planning ahead can save you a lot of time and money. If looking for destinations within US, you can use my Destination Page or Pinterest to explore other destinations. Once you have finalized your destination, it’s essential to plan your Flights, Accommodation, Rental Cars, Attractions, and Tours. You will find some helpful resources in my Travel Resource Page.
Create a Budget & Try And Stick To It
I recommend allocating a fixed budget and sticking to the budget while traveling. It’s essential to have fun and okay to buy or indulge into something that you didn’t plan for but try and compensate for it, like – You like a sightseeing tour that you didn’t plan for, it’s okay to do it but maybe cut down on the gala dinner that you might have planned.
Get a Travel Reward Credit Card
If you have decided to spend that money on travel, why not get a travel reward card and get excellent sign-up bonuses, travel miles/points, and most importantly, some superb travel insurance/protection benefits.
There are a lot of cards out there, but I recommend only three, if you’re in the US, check my travel reward credit cards guide where I compare some of the best travel reward credit cards.
Be Smart While Booking Your Flight, Accommodation and Rental Cars
I recommend being flexible with your destinations and dates. This can save you a lot of money. While searching for flights, have a list of places that you plan to visit, begin your search on Skyscanner/Kayak with the destination set to – Anywhere in USA (Or a different country), for your specific date range. Or search for a particular destination for an entire month and then select the dates that fit your schedule and budget. It’s also a good idea to book your accommodation and rental cars as soon as you’re done with the flight tickets, find more tips and recommendations in my post – how to find the best flights, accommodation, and rental car deals.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs, Earn and Use Points and Miles for Free Travel
Most airlines, hotel chains, and rental car companies offer free loyalty programs, do not shy away from those. Over time you can accumulate a good amount of points and can use them for free travel.
Rent a luxury car
When on a road trip or driving long distances, don’t hesitate to rent a luxury car, it makes driving more fun and easy.
Buy Travel Insurance
DO NOT travel without comprehensive Travel insurance. Whether traveling international or domestic, a short trip or an extended vacation, comprehensive travel insurance is a must-have. Traveling should be joy & fun for you and your family, and knowing that you are covered in an unforeseen unfortunate event gives you immense peace of mind. Look for insurance coverage that provides primary medical coverage, theft, trip cancellation, and delays. I personally rely on World Nomads and the travel protection benefits offered by my Travel Rewards Credit Card.
Learn to Survive and Enjoy Your Flight
Long flights and layovers can be very irritating and, at times, can take a toll on your body. I try to keep up the spirits and take care of my body by doing the following while flying –
- Pay a little extra and get an aisle seat, it allows me to stand up and stretch
- Keep sipping water; flights can really dehydrate your body
- Keep myself entertained, download shows from Netflix on my iPad, or play some games.
Read More: Check out my Ultimate Carry-On Packing Guide for a complete list of everything I recommend bringing on your trips.
It’s essential to make your flight fun and enjoyable for yourself, but at the same time, one should be courteous to others. I find few things very annoying, and so I always make sure that I don’t do those things to cause similar discomfort for anyone else. These are very simple few things that can make a huge difference:
- Once you’re at the gate, the flight won’t leave without you, so avoid standing in line or rushing until your zone/class is called to board
- Once onboard, quickly put away your bags to let others board the flight. You can always get to your bag later and take out your pill, purse, headphones that you may need in the flight
- Talk softly with your partner
- Wear headphones while playing music or watching a movie/show
- Place your handbag under your seat and not in the overhead bin
- When deplaning, please do not get up until it’s your turn
Know The Airport
Get to know the airport you’re flying to, Rental car – location, shuttle services, timings, restaurant & lounge – timings and locations; Inter-Terminal transportation, hotel shuttle – location and schedules and ground transportation options. I have tried to capture the airport details, where ever possible, in the respective city guides.
Buy The Right Luggage, pack light and avoid overweight luggage charges
Baggage policies vary from airline to airline, try to get the right luggage dimensions and weight requirements, from the airline’s website, before you start packing. I am a minimalist when it comes to packing, can’t emphasize enough on traveling light read more: Packing Guide. It’s a good idea to invest in a good quality bag that would last for years, read more: The Best Luggage, Bags, and Accessories for Travel.
Pack essential electronics and of course the chargers!
Pack all your essential electronics, including phone, camera, iPad, laptop/mac book, and their chargers. I have been in situations where I didn’t carry my charger and landed up buying at the airport. I recommend having a separate bag for your electronic items and leave your travel chargers in the bag after returning.
Take advantage of Local Sightseeing Tours
Local sightseeing tour is the best way to explore a new city: You can cover more places in less time, learn about history and culture from local tour guides. I love the hop-on-hop-off bus tours offered in most of the major cities in the US and always try to find a good tour company while planning my trip.
City Tourism Cards: Use City Pass, Smart Destinations or some kind of combo attraction tickets
You can save a lot of money by purchasing combo tickets for attractions, City Pass and Smart Destinations are quite famous in the US.
Learn about traffic laws and signs
If you’re planning to drive or walk the streets in a foreign country, it’s a good idea to spend some time knowing the traffic laws and regulations. Here in the US, traffic laws are strictly enforced, and you will be penalized upon violating them. This can include a citation, traffic tickets, and or hefty fines.
TIP – In the US, Jaywalking, when a pedestrian walks in or crosses a roadway that has traffic, other than at a suitable crossing point, is also an offense and can draw fines.
Take lots of Photos but first see for yourself
I see a lot of people getting to their desired attraction and start clicking pictures, and once done taking photographs, call it a day. I strongly suggest that upon reaching the attraction, you see around, learn about the place get indulged. Taking photos is important, but exploring the place, feeding the soul is more important!
Be courteous, smile and greet people
Be friendly and courteous, greet people, be social but make sure not to intrude anyone’s privacy.
Tipping is customary in the US, and it isn’t polite to walk out without tipping. There is no hard and fast rule around the tip amount or percentage, but generally, for a proper sit-down meal in a restaurant or food delivery, it’s 10 -20% of the total amount. If you take a cab, Uber, Taxi or private tour, it’s 10- 15%, and when staying at a hotel, do tip your housekeeper depending on how many days you stay.
Notify your Bank
Set travel notice on your credit card and your bank account, so that they don’t block your transaction, thinking of it as suspicious activity, taking place away from your home location.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I personally use these companies and products for my travels, and based on my experience, I recommend them. Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission that helps me run this website and keeping it free for everyone to use. There are several other resources to help you plan your travel, including My Travel Planning Checklist, Best Travel Reward Credit Cards, Must Have Travel Gear Guide, My Best Travel Resources, Best Places To Visit In USA By Month, Ultimate Collection of Inspirational Quotes & Sayings, and more.