10 travel tips for the smart traveler

By no means would I consider myself a travel expert, but we do enjoy traveling and making the most of our travel budget and time off. Over the years, we’ve learned a few things so I’m sharing them today with 10 travel tips for the smart traveler! Just like at the office you should work smarter not harder, the same applies to traveling!

  1. Want all the amenities? Stay in the cheapest room at the nicest hotel. Make the most of the amenities resort pool, location, spa, etc. with the lowest price tag.
    • We did this in Hawaii when we went to the St. Regis Princeville on Kauai. Our view wasn’t spectacular, but we spent all our time at the pool and on the lanai by the live music
  2. Planning a long weekend getaway? Consider departing on a Friday night or Saturday morning. For a 4 day trip, you’d be “off” the same number of days and potentially save money on flights
    • Last year we went to Sonoma from Saturday-Tuesday instead of Thursday-Sunday and it allowed us to use miles for our flights for the last minute getaway.
  3. Renting a car? Consider if you need rental car insurance or if your credit card already covers you. No need to double cover!
    • Our cards focused on travel rewards typically include rental car insurance coverage so check yours and maybe you’ll save some money!
  4. Not spending much time in your room or at the property? Consider using Airbnb for a no-frills place to sleep.
    • We do this when going to touristy places like Paris or London where location is key and we won’t be in our room other than to sleep

      Agra, India | a weekend getaway to see the Taj Mahal

      San Francisco, CA | overlooking the Painted Ladies houses

      Wiltshire, England | visiting Stonehenge

  5. Do you want bread with dinner? Bread in Europe isn’t free with your meal. Be upfront with the waiter or decline it when brought to your table.
    • Bread can be in the neighborhood of 2 euros per person added to your check
  6. Packing for the beach? Pack a swimsuit and a change of clothes in your carry-on.
    • This isn’t a new tip, but speaking from experience, it can make a big impact on your trip if your luggage is lost.
  7. Long journey home? Consider a stopover during your journey break up the travel and visit a new place for a couple of hours
    • We just recently stopped in Zurich, Switzerland, on the way home from Greece. We had 8 hours to see the city and we squeezed in sightseeing, a boat ride, and brunch.
  8. Not sure how much to tip? Don’t assume the same rules apply around the world. Each country is a little different! You might miss a tip or over tip if you are not informed.
    • In Europe, the gratuity is included in their waiter’s wages so a tip isn’t expected unless exceptional service. In Mexico, you tip when you open a tab to get good service.
  9. Traveling to a sightseeing destination? Check the national holiday schedule. Showing up on a holiday in Europe and you won’t be seeing any museums and a lot of places will close as the locals celebrate.
    • In 2010, while backpacking in Europe we found ourselves arriving on the day the soccer club champions returned to their home city, Munich. The main square was filled with celebration and the rest of the city was basically closed for a holiday. We joined in to celebrate and quickly learned how to “Prost!”, but it could have been a different story.
  10. Heading abroad with your credit card? Plan to hit up an ATM shortly after arriving as many countries still prefer working with cash. You’ll want to monitor your debit card transactions after getting cash out, but you will also get the best exchange rate at an ATM.
      • We stick to cash, except for large expenses like excursions or hotels which usually require a card to make the reservation.

        Queenstown, New Zealand | you’d never know this was our rainy day plan

    Maui, HI | celebrating our wedding at the Old Lahaina Luau

While all these tips can make traveling a little less stressful or cheaper, the best advice I can give is to be flexible and adaptive. Research some rainy day options before you go so you are prepared and able to adjust should the weather not be in your favor. Your trip might go a little different than planned, but you’ll still have a great time either way!

What are your most helpful travel tips? I’m always up to learn more!

 

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