There are eight million Pinterest posts that tell you how to build the picture perfect capsule wardrobe for your trip, and a million travel hacks to help you travel the globe on $6 a day or less. These are five lessons that I have learned through trial and more errors than I would like in my travels! Realistically, while you want to enjoy your trip to the utmost, you also need to come out on the other side in one piece and preferably not broke. These tips will keep you happy, comfortable, safe, and leave you with a little bit of money!
1. Check the weather of your layover cities and final destination.
Theoretically we all get to where we need to be without any hiccups but unfortunately that is not life. You might end up with a 12 hour layover or even stuck for a day or more in your layover city(ies), and you don’t want to be caught without appropriate clothing. Check the weather in your final destination(s) for the entire duration of your trip (if possible)- having to buy a rain coat because you didn’t check the weather to know it would be raining is a waste of your money! You will be far more prepared and will be better able to streamline your wardrobe if you take a few minutes to check the weather beforehand.
2. Budget $100 (€/£) extra.
You can’t predict that you will suddenly need to take a cab to make it to your flight because your tube line is down or your Uber didn’t arrive, or that you will have to pay to reprint your boarding pass because you somehow lost it. Keep that cash hidden and only use it in the most dire of situations! Do whatever you have to do to stop yourself. When you do need that cash immediately, there is a 99% chance that there will not be an ATM nearby. The worst that happens is you take it back home with you and either keep it for your next trip or redeposit it back into your bank account.
3. Do not bring anything that you would be heartbroken to lose.
Cardigans are left on buses, chargers are left in hotel rooms, heels break on cobblestone streets, and make up can be confiscated by TSA at the airport. Don’t bring anything with you that you can’t bear to lose. If it would absolutely ruin your day (and possibly tomorrow, and the next day) if you were to suddenly lose it, leave it at home. Ditto for any clothing that you cannot imagine life without- something may rip or be stained and you might not be able to attend to it for several days. Something that may be the most adorable blouse at home may actually end up being a trap for tears or stains, and suddenly you’ve got a very expensive and previously loved rag. If you do decide to bring it home for fixing/stain removal, you are holding room for a useless piece of clothing.
4. Pack your carry-on strategically.
Pinterest has a plethora of infographics telling you how to pack your carry-on to fit the most amount of items in it. However, that may leave certain items buried way down there. Keep your laptop and liquids easily accessible- you will have to pull them out for security, and you don’t want to be the person who takes forever to pull out their items for inspection. If you have planned ahead and arrived at the airport with enough time, repacking your carry-on after security should not be crushing. If you look surprised when they tell you that you do in fact have to remove them from your bag, the rest of us will assume that you a) have never travelled, b) have never spoken to anyone else who has travelled, or c) seen television. If you are checking a bag, put all liquids possible into your checked bag. Travelling is stressful and difficult for all of us; do your part to keep things moving smoothly!
5. Stay calm, polite, and positive!
Freaking out and being jittery not only doesn’t make time move faster, it also irritates everyone around you. We all have connections to make, we all want to get exactly where we need to be in the shortest amount of time possible, and that is just how it goes. Bouncing on the balls of your feet while you wait for people to exit the plane won’t get them out of the way faster. Stay calm, be polite and friendly to everyone around you, and stay positive! Airport and airline staff are much more willing to help you if you are friendly and understanding, especially if it is in a dire situation. Other passengers will also be more willing to let you go ahead if you don’t snap their head off! Keep a cool and collected smile on your face!
Fellow travellers, what is your number one travel lesson?