How can you travel better? Easier? Faster? And can you actually (really) enjoy the journey?
Here are some top tips from this expert full-time traveler on how you can save money, time and stress and always have a good journey instead of a sucky one. It's time to take the flight attendant's advice - and have a pleasant flight. Here's how.
Save your time, money and sanity by packing carry-on only and never checking bags. Traveling light allows you to pack less stuff, carry less weight around, avoid lost baggage, and save tons of time at the airport by skipping the checkin counter and the baggage claim.
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
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You don't need specialty travel accessories to travel. Avoid the airport shops. Tear your eyes away from the shiny new Sharper Image whatever-it-is. You don't need an inflatable travel pillow, travel socks, travel eye masks, or even special travel earphones.
It's just extra disposable crap you don't need, and even if you think you do, there's still no need to purchase any of it because long haul flights will give you all of that stuff for free anyways.
Instead be kind to the environment by carrying only re-usable eco-friendly travel gear.
"Everything you own must be able to fit inside one suitcase; then your mind might be free."
Instantly make your life easier and pack all your belongings in one bag so you can avoid the overhead bins on planes. Overhead bins are time wasters that just aren't worth the stress, and airlines are now charging passengers more to use them.
A carry-on traveler with one personal item can simply just sit down and slide their bag under the seat.
A bin user, however, will create a bottleneck while boarding by stopping to locate an empty bin, fight for bag space, take more time stuffing their bag into the bin, all before settling into their seat, where they'll get up several times during the flight to move stuff in or out of the the binned bag. And finally, they will hold everyone up yet again when getting off of the plane by taking time getting their bag out of the bin.
This wastes so much time and if less people used them, we could all board and deboard so much faster. Skip the bins and sit down.
Use apps from airlines, trains, and buses to navigate routes, purchase tickets, and display mobile boarding passes. There are many great apps to breeze through immigration, translate languages, book hotels, go out, take a tour, track your visa, and most importantly - find food anywhere worldwide.
Remember to download your airlines' app ahead of travel in order to be able to access inflight entertainment and wifi while onboard!
"The journey is part of the experience - an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca."
Bring your digital entertainment along so you have something to do. Don't rely on any inflight entertainment or wifi to either be free or to actually work. Somebody always gets stuck with the broken screen or the non-working volume.
Whether you're into books, movies, or documentaries, pre-load media onto one or more of your devices so it's ready to use when you need it.
Take some time to plan ahead before traveling. Get details organized so you have them when you need them, like travel documents, accommodation plans, and other important details.
Need to make phone calls? Carry a global data sim for calls and data. Need data roaming? Carry a global data sim. Don't rely on expensive, unreliable, or limited public wifi. Bring your own.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”
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Since travel is full of changes, delays, and cancellations, even if you plan ahead, things will often change. Don't fret. There's always another route, another way, and another plan.
Worrying about details that are out of your control will only stress you out. Missed your bus? Maybe you can just walk. Walking makes you happier anyway. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Travel better by being prepared for the worst case scenario. One of the best ways to be prepared is to have medical insurance so that you're covered if anything happens. Make sure you choose an insurance provider that covers any special conditions you have, such as travel insurance for people with heart conditions, because most travel medical insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions. Get the right coverage for your specific needs.
Sometimes the best way to be a better traveler is simply by being a better traveler. A bit of consideration, kindness, and plain old fashioned good manners can go a long way.
Treat others as you would want to be treated. Don't recline your seat back and restrict the person sitting behind you to an even tinier area of space. Don't turn on your overhead light and shine light in all your neighbors' eyes. Don't blast loud music that can be heard outside of your headphones. Be considerate to your fellow travelers so everyone can have a pleasant travel experience together.
Being nice can also improve your travel karma, and get you helped faster, served better, and maybe even score an upgrade or a freebie along the way. Niceness counts.
“Travel is as much a passion as ambition or love.”
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