Traveling anywhere is an exciting but stressful endeavor. In order to create the most amazing memories around the world with the least amount of stress, you’ll spend weeks or even months comparing hotel prices, finding the cheapest air fare, googling up the “must-do” things to do while visiting, and so on. In the middle of this frenzy of planning, here are some money-saving, time-saving, and stress-saving tips to help you on your trip:
1. Check the Refund Policy For Your Excursions
Because travel excursions make up the highlight of your vacation, you may not even consider that you might not actually end up doing them. Nonetheless, you never know if you’ll wake up sick on the day of your excursion, if you’ll be too late to your excursion’s meet-up point (travel guides will leave, with or without you), or if you decide that you don’t want to do the excursion. Excursions can allow you to cancel them as
late as 24 hours prior, but in case it becomes a “day-of” issue, find a travel insurance for your trip that would cover cancellation expenses.
2. Know Your Area’s Transportation Options
Even if you plan on renting a car or buying train tickets, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up travel plan. You might find that it’s difficult to get to certain places on your trip. There may be times when you’re tired of walking more. Or, you may not be comfortable driving in the place that you’re visiting. This tip is particularly useful if you plan to visit a foreign country or a big city. Every place is different. For example, to use public transportation, you’ll use Oyster Cards in London and tickets in Berlin. Check if the place you’re visiting has Uber or Lyft services, too. If you’re going somewhere rural, like a National Park, then get an AAA membership for potential car troubles and research how you can contact help otherwise.
3. Find an Anti-Theft Travel Purse
Yep, these exist. These purses are designed to prevent pickpockets from cutting the purse off of you or unzipping the pockets. With RFID lining, they can also protect your passport or credit card information from people trying to electronically steal it from afar. Their size also makes them practical for carrying a lot without being bulky. Cross-body travel purses are best for securing your belongings on your person. To find a travel purse, check the luggage section of where you shop, go to a specialty travel store, or find one online.
4. Know About Restroom Customs
This goes beyond learning how to say, “Where is the bathroom?” in French (although in case you need to know: “Où se trouvent les toilettes?”). While knowing how to ask for a restroom in your visiting country’s language is a common-sense must-know, understanding restroom customs will help you. For example, some cultures have a toilet for doing your business and another toilet for cleaning yourself up. I’ve also seen
some situations where you’ll have to pay a turnstyle gate to get to a public restroom — so, keep change on you. While you could figure out the toilets when you get there, you’ll be thankful that you understand beforehand how to use, say, a Swedish public water closet.
5. Remember the Hotels in Your Area – Not Just the Place Where You’re Staying
Two stories of mine prove why this is true: when I was twenty, I was traveling alone in Vienna and found out that I booked myself a hostel room alone with a bunch of strange men — and the front desk wasn’t letting me change it. Stressed out and not knowing the area’s hotels, I FaceTimed my mom in the lobby, who found me a place not far from where I was that provided me an affordable, one-person room. Another time, I was driving around Halifax, Nova Scotia in the rain trying to look for my AirBnB after my phone’s GPS stopped. Panicking, I went to a hotel and got a map from the concierge who helped me get my bearings. That map was a lifesaver in that moment. If you have basic knowledge on the hotels in your area, you’ll know where to stop in for important information about the city (places to visit, train schedules, etc.) and also, quickly find a back-up place to stay. Sometimes, we can’t plan for everything.
As exhilarating and eye-opening as traveling can be, it can also certainly be unpredictable. Taking these tips to heart, you can navigate your destinations with a little more ease than before.
Explore the world, and have fun doing it.
Guest Author: Allison Wonchoba
Allison Wonchoba has traveled to over 10 countries and has lived in 3. Her travel experiences include a radio internship in Dublin, Ireland, cruises in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean Sea, and a solo road trip to Nova Scotia. She currently lives in Minnesota and is developing her writing career.
Check out Allison’s Portfolio.