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Whether you’re a seasoned world traveler, or you’re thinking about heading out on your first big trip, there’s always something new to learn. After all, traveling is an art. Use these expert travel tips on your next trip and start becoming a true travel artist.
1. Bring duct tape.
You never know when your backpack strap or sandal might just give out. My sandal broke at a very inopportune moment when I was wandering around Viña del Mar, Chile, and I ended up having to hobble around with a broken sandal. Don’t be like me – carry duct tape so you can fix things when they break.
2. Email copies of your passport.
Most travel guides will remind you to always carry copies of your passport, credit cards, and other important documents. On top of that, it’s a good idea to scan them and email yourself a copy. Then if you manage to somehow lose the original and your copy, you can still access another backup copy of your documents. If you do lose your passport, this tip can save you a lot of headache.
3. Bring a scarf and earplugs.
When I was traveling in India, my scarf and earplugs were my lifesavers. A scarf is basically the best accessory you can bring on any trip – use it as a blanket, a buff, to cover your head, whatever you might need. With my scarf over my eyes and my earplugs in, I could sleep anywhere – including the loud and aggressively-lit Delhi airport waiting area.
4. Carry a Steripen.
If you’re traveling somewhere where finding water suitable for drinking is a challenge, forget buying tons of plastic water bottles. It’s expensive and not environmentally friendly. Instead get a Steripen, which lets you sterilize local water so that it’s safe to drink. Travel experts Lesh and Jazza of Nomadasaurus recommend it.
5. Bring a microwave on your road trip.
If you’re taking a road trip, food costs can add up since you really have nowhere to cook your own food. You might end up spending a lot more than you were planning eating out. Well, not if you stuff a microwave into the backseat of your car, as travel expert Megan Jerrard recommends. Then anywhere you stay that has electricity becomes your kitchen, and you can save on food costs by buying microwaveable meals.
6. Keep power cords in a sunglasses case.
If reaching into your bag to get your phone charger usually becomes a disaster of tangled cords and chargers, this tip is for you. Wrap those cords up nice and tidy and pack them in your bag in an old sunglasses case. Goodbye, knotted cord disasters.
7. Wear your heaviest shoes & coat on the flight.
Airlines are getting more and more strict about weight and size restrictions on baggage. You can avoid having to pay overweight fees by packing smart. One smart move is to make sure you wear your heaviest shoes – maybe those awesome boots you love – and coat during the flight, leaving room in your bags for lighter objects.
8. Book flights through discount sites.
Flights are usually the most expensive thing you pay for when you travel. Make sure you get the best possible deal on your flights by booking through discount sites. You can find cheap prices through sites like the ITA Matrix and Cheapair.com. Make sure to use a coupon code to get an even better deal.
9. Always bring underwear in your carry-on.
I’ve had my luggage lost a couple of times, and let me tell you, it’s a bummer. When I first arrived in Istanbul, my luggage didn’t arrive with me. All I had in my carry-on were a couple of books, my wallet, and my coat. I had to buy some basic toiletries so I could take a shower, and ended up having to wear the same clothes (and underwear!) for a few days. Don’t make my mistake. Make sure you always have at least a couple pairs of spare underwear and some basic toiletries in your carry-on, just in case your luggage gets lost.
10. Check out free walking tours.
Most major cities have some type of free walking tours available. Usually these tours are guided by local hosts and you can donate at the end if you liked the tour. I went on free walking tours all over Spain, and they were really fun and informative. Ask the staff at hostels to find out where and when free walking tours start in the city you’re visiting.
11. Carry travel toilet paper.
You just never know when you’re going to need it. Charmin’ makes compact travel toilet paper packages that are perfect to carry in a purse or backpack. Take a few – we ran out on our third day in India!
12. Try to stay for free.
If you want to travel for an extended period of time, trying to find a way to get free accommodation is a good way to stretch your travel budget. Many hostels will let you stay for free in exchange for work, and WOOFing lets you stay for free on a farm in exchange for work. You can also find ways to become a house-sitter like travel expert Nora Dunn, or try out Couch Surfing.