Travel can be an excellent opportunity to expand your horizons and refresh your world-view. It can also backfire on you if you don’t take the time to prepare for the inevitable culture shock, whether your journey is domestic or international. Follow these tips and tricks to get the most out of your travel experience.
When traveling, travel as light as you possibly can. If you can, avoid checking baggage. This will help speed things up when you’re getting on and off planes. The less you take with you, the less chance you have of something getting lost or damaged in transit. If you can, try and travel with only a carry-on bag.
Don’t over-schedule your vacation. While it is important to plan some activities, especially ones which require tickets or additional travel, leave yourself plenty of free time. There is no better way to see a location than to just wander around. Take the time to explore and see where you end up.
If you are a student planning travel to a foreign country, consider getting an international student identification card before you leave. Many restaurants, museums, and tourist stops offer discounts when you show student identification. Although the card costs money to obtain initially, the savings you achieve are often far greater than the base cost.
Be sure to confirm your reservation at the establishment you will be lodging in. Hotels are well within their right to give your room to someone else if you do not confirm your reservation. A quick phone call can ensure that you don’t find yourself without a place to stay, when you arrive.
If you are worried about traveling with a large carry-on bag, plan ahead. Airlines usually board in groups of five or ten rows, so pick a seat in row 11 or 21, not row 19. Also, as soon as the airline calls the seat block ahead of you, go get in line. This way you’re waiting at the front instead of the back.
If you are traveling on a budget, make use of the in-room amenities to cook your own food. The coffee maker that is usually provided in even the cheapest hotel rooms can double as a hot plate. You can heat plain water in the carafe for ramen or soup, or use the hot plate itself to make bacon.
When considering the purchase of travel insurance, check to see if you might already be covered by your own insurance provider’s policy. Some benefits to look for that might be exclusive to travel insurance are cancellation reimbursements, coverage for interruption of the trip, ambulance coverage, and coverage of your lost belongings.
Book your reservations and flights with the exact name shown on your government identification card. Although you may typically go by a nickname or middle name, for the purpose of ticketing, use your given name. Small name differences can be a huge headache when trying to get through security, especially abroad where it isn’t obvious that Bill is short for William.
Make the traveling process a little easier by ensuring that you always reserve your seat when you book your flight. If you aren’t allowed to, keep going back to the airline or booking engine until you can. You may not like your choices but still select a seat and keep going back to see if you can change it. Also, keep in mind that you are more likely to get an exit-row seat if you check-in early at the airport, because they are not available online. Following these steps will help you get the seat that you desire for your flight.
If you are using traveler’s checks, cash them in before you go to shop or eat. While it is true that most places accept traveler’s checks, they are difficult to work with. You may find yourself getting shorted if you use them, so play it safe and get the local currency before you spend.
Now the choice is yours, so get out there and enjoy finding new places and people to challenge your preconceptions. Armed with a little extra knowledge now about the experience of traveling, you can expect a few less bumps on the road to your destination. Share this article with friends and family, who may be heading out with you or on journeys of their own.
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