When you think of the practicalities of travel—security lines, airplane food, long delays—you might get stressed out. As much as you might look forward to vacations, reaching your destination can feel like a slog.
Here are some tips to keep you worry-free on your next adventure.
1. Wake Up Early
Not early enough to go to the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. No. This tip refers to hours before sunrise that allow you to get photos of famous landmarks or experience a city not yet awash with millions of tourists.
With this tip, you avoid crowds and experience a serenity that only comes before (or during) sunrise. Unless they work graveyard shifts, locals are unlikely to stroll the streets at 5:00 am or start their sightseeing adventure before sunrise.
2. Buy a Hat
Hats spark up your personality. Hats give locals something to recognize you by. Bedazzling a hat with pins or stickers elevates that personality further. If you’re saving a seat for someone, place your cap on the seat next to you instead of struggling to utter a language you don’t know and aggravating a local.
If you need to save some items, place them in your hat while you sleep. Plus, hats provide sun protection and shade in hot or humid weather.
3. Pay Attention On Public Transportation
If you’ve been to an airport, you’ve run into that person who won’t remove their headphones, no matter the reason. Whether they need to go through additional security screening, they need to move over a seat in a plane, or a TSA agent needs to talk to them, there is always one person cemented to their headphones.
This delays the line and prevents other travelers from continuing with their itineraries. Imagine if every traveler waited until seated on a plane (in their correct seats) to place their headphones atop their head and delve into their musical preferences. We’d have far fewer delays and late arrivals.
4. Bring Clips
This tip is perfect for those who struggle with light while sleeping. Bring a few chip clips on your trip to fasten the curtains closed. If you’re like me, any shrivel of light bothers my sleeping routine.
When I got to Iceland, it was light outside, and I struggled to fall asleep. The curtain kept letting in streams of light while I tossed around. If only I had a clip with me. Use the clips to hang up clothes if you don’t have hangers.
5. Wait Before Renting a Car
I cannot stress this tip enough.
I hopped off the plane in Iceland at 6:00 am local time, 2:00 am Florida time. My dad fell asleep on the five-hour plane ride, ensuring him some fabulous shut-eye while the rest of the passengers listened to his snoring, and he drooled on my sweater. We grabbed our bags and headed to the rental car area when we arrived at the main international airport in Iceland.
Because Iceland’s one main international airport is a landing pad for millions of travelers, the rental car companies get backed up. In addition, our hotel sat about an hour from the Keflavik airport, a distance that didn’t seem daunting until we all piled in the car.
6. Bring Chapstick
It doesn’t matter where you are. Flying on an airplane dries out your lips and mouth. To avoid cracked corners and chapped lips, bring chapstick. If you forget, buy some at the airport. You won’t regret it.
7. Check Hot Water When You Arrive
Once checked into the hostel, hotel, or AIRBNB, check the outlets, water, and light switches. If any of them don’t work, report to the lobby, or phone the front desk so they send out a maintenance worker to correct the issue at the beginning of your stay.
8. Read Books First
The best way to learn about other places (besides exposure) is to read about the area. Check out a library book or purchase a travel guide set in your destination. Travel writers specialize in finding the best attractions and destinations for tourists through experience. Reading about your desired vacation destination may open your eyes to events not prevalent on Instagram or the internet.
9. Single Use Soap
Public transportation is effective, but it is not all that sanitary. One way to combat the dinginess of public transit and public restrooms is by carrying single-use soap sheets. These inexpensive cleansers come in packages equipped with a few dry sheets.
Wet your hands and rub the dry sheet to use the cleanser, which will transform into soap. Dry soap packets aren’t heavy, and you never know when you’ll need them.
10. Hotel Business Card
This tip works if you get lost, or your phone dies, and you can’t access—or, let’s be honest, read a map here. Show a store owner or local the business card, and they can direct you toward your lodging. They can call the hotel and ask for assistance if they don’t know where the lodging is.
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