Traveling is a muscle.
The more you do it the easier it gets. But we’re all a bit rusty after the past couple years!
This vacation season, it will definitely pay to be prepared. Read on for a few tips!
Seasoned travelers know the most important thing isn’t to stuff your bag with everything you might possibly need. The most important question is what not to bring. You don’t need to take multiple jackets to the tropics just in case.
A pro traveler can bring everything they’ll need in a short trip in a carry-on.
Unless you’re going into the absolute wilderness you can always go into a store and buy what you really need.
That said you really shouldn’t skip on some things. Bring good underwear. Actually, bring extra underwear. Then bring some more. Bring your A-game undies too, like our Boxer Briefs.
As for outer clothes, bring multi-use items. Maybe your walking sneakers can double as workout shoes. We love The Sweatpants because they’re comfy enough to lounge in but perform on a nighttime jog. Our Nicer Pants are great for all-day walking or going out to eat.
Why is all this so important? Because most likely you’ll be flying.
We’ve all been on the flight from hell. You have dry, recycled air, bad food, screaming children and seat companions who don’t understand personal space. You have the sudden realization that this is all terribly unnatural. Apes were not meant to huddle cramped in a stinky metal tube hurtling forty thousand feet above the ground.
Most flying tips come around to either avoiding these situations or getting a bit more comfortable. You’ve probably heard a few of these before: Tuesdays mysteriously have lower prices, beware of cheap airlines who get you in the bag fees, bring noise-canceling headphones to drown out the babies… These are all good tips. But our number one is to avoid checking a bag if you can.
Every time you check a bag it increases the risk of losing that bag. This doubles whenever you change planes.
To that end it’s also usually worth it to do a nonstop on a better airline if you can.
Your goal should be to minimize your time in an airport or airplane. Your holiday time is valuable and probably rare. Spend the extra money if you can to avoid spending it in a concrete rat-maze. If you can afford a better airline, do it. Mental stress is cumulative on a long trip. Being treated a little more human really adds up.
It’s also worthwhile to get Global Entry or TSA Precheck. Being able to skip long security lines makes a huge difference.
You wouldn’t think a little extra time in line would matter… until you’re late for your flight.
You’re frantically taking off your shoes and belt and removing your change, wallet and cell phone all while somebody who’s apparently never even heard of a plane before is slothfully unpacking their laptop.
Also, try bringing an empty water bottle with you through security so you can fill up on the other side of the gate. Having a dedicated water bottle will help you stay hydrated in the dry air of a plane. Plus, it’s much cheaper and less wasteful than the alternative.
As for what to wear on a plane, we have two solid options. You can be a full-comfort marshmallow person in total denial that you’re not in your own bed. Or, if you’re traveling for business, wear your anti-wrinkle Nicer Pants and Nicer Polo on the plane.
Your aim should be to spend as little time traveling as you can. If you have a week, don’t hit up three cities. Hit up one. You’ll actually get to know it.
While researching great restaurants and things to see is obviously a good idea, plan for some flexibility, too. You’ll never know when an opportunity for a new, amazing experience might come in.
If you’ve booked every second of the day, you won’t be allowing the best parts of your trip to happen.
Plus, with a bit of flexibility, you can work around sudden shifts in weather. You did check the weather, right?
With regards to food, it’s important to find out where the locals eat. Getting out of really touristy spots will not only put you around locals who aren’t sick and tired of tourists but it will get you much more interesting, unique grub. Just make sure it’s well cooked and be wary of tap water, depending on where you’re vacationing.
If you’re traveling with a companion it’s worth it to sit down before your trip and talk about what your goals are and how you both like to travel. It helps to have a similar budget in mind to avoid later awkwardness, too.
We tend to assume other people think like we do (you know, the reasonable, correct way), but don’t assume your bestie or significant other is on your same page. That’s a quick way to strain a friendship. If you love museums and your travel partner doesn’t, let them know ahead of time that you’ll want to kill a day in the Louvre while they drink on the Seine.
If you’re nervous about going to a place where you can’t speak the language, don’t be. Most people around the world are basically the same. They just want to be treated like humans. There are exceptions, of course, and dangerous places, but that’s why you do your research.
That said, if you are arriving somewhere totally new, try arriving in the morning. That way, if something goes wrong you’re not trying to find food and shelter at night.
As for crime, most countries want to protect tourists.The danger in most places isn’t being kidnapped or hurt - it’s being scammed or robbed. But that’s true in most cities.
Don’t leave your phone or wallet easily visible and be aware of your surroundings.
Because most places use rideshare apps now, it’s also much easier to get around. You can use an app instead of haggling with a taxi. The prices are set, the driver knows exactly where to go, and you don’t need to speak the language.
Learning a bit of the language is always a good idea. Basic phrases won’t impress people but they’ll definitely appreciate the effort. It’s a sign of minimum respect, even if you need Google Translate or similar apps to do anything more intensive.
Remember, in a foreign place, you represent your home. You want them to walk away with a good impression. Your goal should be to make new friends.
Finally, bring a few little things for emergencies. A little prepaid credit card hidden in your luggage can’t hurt. A first aid kit with some basic medications won’t go awry either. An external battery charger, an outlet converter and a protein bar or two can be lifesavers.
Store copies of critical info like ID’s, passports and credit card numbers in a safe place.
If you do check your bags make sure you have a photo of them in case they get lost, as well as identifying information inside. Consider travel insurance too.
Make sure your bank, credit card and cell phone companies know you’re traveling. Your carrier may have a travel plan that’s way cheaper than roaming once you’re there. Also, if you need to cancel a hotel, don’t try to cancel your reservation in the last minute. Have them move it a week or two ahead, then cancel. It doesn’t always work but it’s worth a try.
Finally, let your friends and family know where you’re going! Good luck, and safe travels!