This post was originally posted in January 2015. When I travel there are certain thing I made sure I don’t leave home without. Currently, I’m on an extended vacation. I’ve been away from home for over 3 months. This seems like a good time to update and reshare these travel tips. Here are my top five travel tips.
Tip #1 Notify financial institutions of travel plans
I can’t leave home without notifying my bank and credit card companies. Financial institutes track spending patterns and anything out of the norm is a big indicator of possible fraud. Notifying them in advance keeps you from having to call them while you’re trying to make a purchase. Every time I have ever forgotten to notify them I have had my card frozen for suspicious activity after a couple of uses. One of the bank’s customer service reps was kind enough to let me know that I could avoid this just by letting them know in advance.
Tip #2 Carry an empty water bottle through airport security and refill at a water fountain
I can’t leave home without an empty water bottle…especially when I fly. I hate paying the high prices in airports for bottled water and I hate waiting for the busy flight attendant to bring me an ounce of water. I just carry an empty water bottle through the security checkpoint and fill it up at a water fountain. Many airports are now offering filling stations for just this purpose.
Tip #3 Carry plastic bags
I can’t leave home without plastic grocery bags and plastic zip lock bags. California’s prohibition against plastic grocery bags went into effect this year so it is harder to come by those bags. I’ve switched to small trash bags. Plastic bags serve as trash bags, motion-sickness bags, and wet bags. Zip lock bags can be used for keeping electronic cables together, small objects corralled, and food storage. They are great for putting your Kindle or iPhone in when you are near water.
Tip #4 Traveling can eat up your data plan
I can’t leave home without a prepaid data plan. For a trip less than 10 days I purchase 120 MB. For longer trips around 30 days 300 MB. This is not a ton of data and I use a lot of data when traveling. I use GPS in unfamiliar cities. (I use it in familiar cities also.) I use my phone to look for hotels and restaurants, attractions and fabric stores, museums and fast food places. I use it for Travel Advisor and Yelp reviews so I have an idea of what people are saying about places. I can’t always wait until I’m back at the hotel to use WiFi.
Before I learned this little trick I was returning home to high cell phone bills. So now I have learned to purchase before I go and monitor my usage while I travel. On my iPhone I can track my data usage by going to Settings>General>Usage>Cellular Usage. (My 14 year-old granddaughter taught me this.) Before I leave home I hit Reset Statistics and I track what I am using on my trip. When I get home I just cancel the plan.
Tip #5 Stinky luggage has a simple cure
I can’t leave home with a package of dryer sheets. This is not because I use them for doing laundry on the rad. I put one into my suitcase and another into my tote bag. My clothes are always smelling fresh. Believe me, this is especially appreciated on long road trips. And if I forget the dryer sheets I just use the travel-size soap from my hotel room.
I hope you can use these tips on your trips. Traveling is a wonderful adventure. There is just one other thing I want to share…what I do leave home is judgment. I travel because I want to learn new things and meet new people. I want to have new experiences and new adventures. If I give in to my personal prejudices I am not able to do that. Instead I approach new things and new places with an attitude of “That’s interesting! Tell me more.” I wish you happy and safe journeys.
Leave a comment below with your best travel tip.