Life Hacks: Traveling Tips

Category:  News
Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 11:16 AM
Life Hacks: Traveling Tips by Anna Ashcraft
Photo: MCT Campus

Road trip anyone? Studying abroad or backpacking Europe, whatever your dream is, go for it. From someone who travels a lot, here are some travel tips any travel guru should know.

Make sure you have pre arranged plans for where you’re going to stay. If it’s a tent, then don’t forget your tent and items to sleep and cook with. If you want to stay in a hotel or you want to travel around to a homey cottage in Germany or a quaint bed and breakfast in California, book it ahead. Lots of places are booked months in advance and you don’t want to get all the way out there to find you don’t have a place to stay.

Plan your trip around national parks and landmarks or sights. Don’t get caught in tourist traps or attractions. National Geographic wrote a guide to planning a road trip around national parks in the U.S.

According to the blog site Expert Vagabond the article “My 30 best travel tips after 4 years traveling the world” has a lot of good advice for travelers. They advise a good way to ensure a smooth trip is to stash extra cash. Make sure to have a substantial amount of money available in case of emergency. Keep some money in a bank account and some in cash, because who knows what kind of situations you’ll find yourself in while being adventurous in an unfamiliar place.

Meet locals. Don’t be a tourist. Interact with the native people and observe their daily life. This will teach you more than any classroom can about life and culture. Even when traveling abroad, English is taught and spoken in most places, making communicating easier than you would think. “Learn from those who live in the country you’re visiting. People enrich your travels more than sights do,” as quoted from the Expert Vagabond article.

If you want to get a real feel for a place, sit in a park or by a street for a few hours. Watching the people and interactions while listening to the sounds of a city brings life to the otherwise invisible mask of urban sprawl. 

Back files up. When you're traveling, especially for extended periods of time, it is important to have your passport, ID, photos, health insurance, credit cards, birth certificates and any other documents backed up on an external hard drive.  Keep copies of both physical and digital in case your computer or wallet gets stolen.

Forget about looking like a tourist or looking stupid, traveling is for your pleasure and yours alone. Take pictures of everything for memories that will last you a lifetime.

Make sure to pack light. Don’t pack overly heavy luggage because chances are you will be moving around a lot, no matter how or where you travel. Only pack the essentials and things you know you will need.

Traveling on a budget is important to ensure that you can stay as long as want. Don’t splurge on tourist trinkets the first day and spend half your budget. That will ultimately cut your trip short. However, every once in a while splurging on a nice hotel room or a fancy dinner out at a foreign restaurant is fine.

Time Magazine has some great travel sites to use for efficient travel planning. They recommend Trip Advisor, TravelPost. Citysearch, Yelp, and Yahoo Travel and OpenTable are all review sites for local restaurants and businesses. 

Wherever you decide to travel, make sure you do it smart and safe. Plan your trip in advance and go over every possible outcome while packing. Spend time with locals and visit national parks or famous landmarks instead of tourist traps. Be mindful of others and don’t be culturally ignorant. Most importantly have fun, relax, and create an adventure: that’s what traveling is all about.

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