I love to write about travel and I like traveling even more. That’s one reason I enjoy reading tips from other avid travelers.
Over the years I’ve collected tips from experts… among them, travel agents who have traveled the world. There are hundreds if not thousands of worthwhile tips. I’ve merged five of the best here.
Planning is the first step
The best travel experience begins with planning and that most often is months before you head out of your front door. Research your destination. Avoid the peak season – the most expensive in terms of travel. Plan to travel during the “shoulder” season, the weeks immediately before and after peak season. You’ll likely discover you’ll save on transportation and hotel costs and most often deal with smaller crowds.
Plan midweek travel to your destination. Airfares almost always are cheaper on flights departing on Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Forgo the room with a view. That ocean or mountain view room will cost more. Realistically how much time will you spend in your hotel room? Spend that savings on tours you might otherwise skip, or splurge on a fancy dinner.
Don’t drink their water
Even with domestic air travel avoid drinking their water. Pack an empty bottle in your carryon and refill it once through security. You’ll save money immediately by not buying those overpriced bottles of water from the airport concession stands.
The same goes once you reach your destination. That old rule makes sense – don’t drink the water. When traveling out of the country carry your own water bottle and refill it from large, commercially bottled water you buy from local stores. Always avoid drinking water bought from street vendors. All too often, especially in developing countries, unscrupulous street merchants retrieve used bottles and simply refill them with local tap water.
You can save money on packing treats too. Why buy those expense candy bars and snack packs at the airport when you can pack them in your carry on. If you have room in your checked luggage you can pack your favorite snacks to enjoy at your destination.
Get to know your destination
Once at your destination get to know your surroundings. A great way to do that is with a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. It allows you to see key areas of the city and take notes on where you want to spend more time later in the trip. The tours are a terrific way to familiarize you with the city.
Check to see if the city you are visiting offers free walking tours. Local guides offer great information about sites you may want to visit and also recommendations for restaurants and other attractions. Remember though, while the tour may be free you should tip your guide.
Before leaving home check to see if the cities you will visit offer a “city pass.” Buying the pass online could save you money, but even if you buy the pass once you arrive you’ll likely activate many perks. Most allow you to use a special entrance so you’ll be able to skip the long lines at the main entrance for attractions.
Know when not to tip
Americans, unfortunately, are changing the way the world tips. At home we face a barrage of people with open hands waiting for a tip. That’s not the case everywhere in the world.
But that’s changing. Other cultures are getting used Americans leaving tips along the way so now, in many countries, service personnel are expecting gratuities.
Check before you travel. Know whether or now tips are expected in the countries you visit. In some countries a tip can still be an insult.
Check with your own travel agent about tipping and other customs in the countries where you will travel.
Protect you passport
When traveling out of the country, make sure to keep your passport locked safely in your hotel room. When away from your room, carry a photocopy of the identification section with your picture in case you lose the original. Having this copy can also expedite replacement if your passport becomes lost or stolen.