12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 7: Holiday Travel Tips

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12 Days of Christmas Tips – Day 7: Holiday Travel Tips

Let’s face it, traveling is exciting, exhausting, wonderful and horrible. Sometimes, the difference between amazing and catastrophic is all about how you prepare. As I sat down to share travel tips, I realized there are literally 1000’s of good tips that could be shared, and many of them depend on what type of trip you are taking, where you are going, and who you are going with. So I have narrowed it down to a handful of what I believe to be key Travel Tips for the Holidays.

Suitcases with wheels. This is number one on my list. It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, taking a car trip, traveling alone or with your family, taking a 30 minute commuter flight or flying to Europe. Suitcases with wheels. Period.

If you just bought new clothing at the store, wear it at least once BEFORE the trip. Two minutes in the dressing room is not enough. Make sure it fits and performs the way you want it to after wearing it for hours. Otherwise, the day you wear it on your trip you will be miserable if it doesn’t feel as great as you expected. This is even more true about shoes.

Some things should never be in a checked bag. For example your prescriptions. Imagine you are stuck in an airport terminal for 24 hours. Or in a plane on the tarmac for 8 hours. It happens. It sucks. Be prepared.

Carry some cash. Not all in the same place. Sometimes, there is no substitute for cash. If you are flying, consider a money belt. If you are going out of the country, know the exchange rates. Be familiar with the local money. There are many apps that can help you with that, which brings me to my next tip.

Download apps before you go. There are many apps related to travel: airlines, rental car agencies, hotels, mass transit, and more. Download apps, and set-up accounts and log-ins, before your trip. Research the places you are going and find out what apps might be useful ahead of time. Make sure you have a good weather app, and add the location of your destination(s) a week before you leave, and check the weather everyday. It will help you pack appropriately. Need some app ideas? Check out this list from Condé Nast Traveler website!

Make sure you have chargers for everything. Phone, tablet, computer, handheld games, camera. If you are flying, pack them in your carry-on. If you are driving, consider a usb charger for the cigarette lighter. There is nothing worse than a 5 year old who can’t finish his movie in the car, a teenager who can’t text, or a parent who can’t escape with earbuds or a good eBook! If you are at the airport, and need to charge something, you often will find that someone else has already found the one available plug before you. If you carry one of these with you, you can turn one plug into three and be a hero for someone else to boot! Is the only plug in the waiting area being used and has a line three deep? Look around, and think like a janitor. Seriously. At two in the morning the cleaning staff comes through and vacuums. There are plugs situated throughout the terminal so they can plug in the vacuum. Find those.

Pack that old pair of shoes that are so comfortable. I know, they look a little iffy. You usually only wear them when you need to run an errand, or when you feet hurt after a long day. Your feet will hurt at some point during your trip, and all you will be able to think is “I wish I had packed my favorite comfy shoes.” Then you will remember, “I did!” You’re welcome.

Alert your credit card company that you will be traveling. If you are going any significant distance from home (another state that you are not routinely in, or certainly another country) call your bank/credit card company and tell them when you will be traveling and where you expect to be. Credit cards are routinely denied these days when a purchase doesn’t fit the user’s normal patterns. Alerting the bank ahead of time will help you avoid embarrassment and hassles of having a card rejected, and will also help prevent fraud that might happen after you have left the places you visited. (See my post on credit card fraud for more tips.)

Pack tissues (the travel pack variety), band aides, and your pain reliever of choice. They take up very little room, but when you need them, you really need them. If you are traveling with children, expand the list, and include baby/handy wipes. Even if they are older children. They clean up lots of messes.

Be nice. It may sound trite, but realistically, you set the tone for your own trip. If you are determined to have fun and enjoy yourself, the world will have to work harder to completely ruin your trip. If you are already unhappy and stressed when you walk out the front door, the world doesn’t have to do anything. Relax. Know that something will probably go wrong. Roll with the punches a little. Be nice to those you are traveling with, those who are facilitating your travel, those you encounter on your travels, and to yourself. I really believe you will be amazed at the difference it will make.

So those are my top ten. They probably aren’t the 10 most important of all time, but I think they will make a difference in your trip!

I have also linked to several good websites with even more travel tips in case you just can’t get enough. You may want to bookmark some of these sites, because there are some great tips!

The US Department of Homeland Security’s TSA website. If you are flying, read it.

If you are traveling abroad, the US State Department also has some important tips.

Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door has a ton of great tips and suggestions. Read these if you are going on an extended trip.

The AARP website has many tips and articles for seniors and non-seniors alike.

The Everywhereist has 55 great tips if you want a longer list than mine!

Delta Airlines has their own set of travel tips here.

 

So what are your best travel tips? Please share them in the comments below so that we can all learn a little something. Happy travels!

 

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Keith Owens is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations.

 

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