I’ve put together for you some of my best travel tips that I’ve come up with over the years through experience and trial and error. Feel free to share some of your own!
1) Pack a Pashmina/Shawl
Technically pashmina is a type of fine lightweight cashmere, it is also used as the name of a long wide scarf made from this wool and often silk too. No one wants to lug around a jacket or coat if there’s only a possibility of chilly weather. A pashmina is light, warm, and can fit in your handbag if you don’t need it. I have often used one as a blanket when flying. In a pinch it can be used as a head covering. They come in almost infinite colours and patterns and there are many, many ways to wrap them.
2) Roll Your Clothes
Rolling your clothes when packing can save you a lot of space. It also keeps your things less wrinkled. I also like to use packing cubes to keep items separated and in one spot in my suitcase. I also use a shoe bag as well as a laundry bag. The laundry bag is so helpful when you have access to a clothes washer; just dump it in.
3) Back it Up
Use the cloud, take a flash drive, however you do it, back it up. Nothing is so disheartening as losing precious travel photos to loss, breakage or theft. If you use a flash drive, keep it separate from your other electronics.
Get lost. Take the road less travelled. Turn off the GPS. Stop to smell the flowers. Some of the best things can happen when you separate yourself from the crowd. And if you get really lost you can always turn the GPS back on.
5) Sleep on the Plane
If you arrive at your destination a sleep-deprived wreck, your first 48 hours are going to be a mess. I find the best thing for me is a good neck support pillow. I have the Cabeau Evolution Pillow which does a great job of support; no startling neck drops to keep you wide awake. I’m looking forward to trying the Face Cradle on my next long-haul trip. I also take a mild sleeping pill. If this is something you need to do as well, don’t take the pill until you are at cruising altitude. I bring a sleep mask too. It’s good for the plane as well as at your destination. You never know when the curtains or blinds will let in too much light to sleep properly. Some people swear by earplugs, but I don’t particularly like using them.
6) Get up Early
Get an early start. Not only can you beat the crowds but the lighting for your photos is going to be the best it will be all day.
7) Take Lots of Photos
Pretty self-explanatory. I also recommend taking extra memory cards for a camera or external memory for your phone. For my iPhone I like the HooToo. You can take photos directly to the drive via the lightning connector and it can also plug into your computer via the USB. Phone cameras are getting better all the time, but I also like to bring an ultra-small digital camera for those shots you just can’t take with a phone.
8) Take Notes
Even if you just jot down a quick list of what you did that day it will help you remember later if you want to be more thorough. Sit down at the end of the day and journal it; tap in notes on your phone on the go; and always carry a pen. It’s also nice to have a nicely bound journal to write in.
9) Wifi On The Go
Even if there’s wifi at your destination, it may be very slow or patchy. I like the Skyroam. For about $10 a day it provides unlimited wifi (within a small area) to up to five devices. Set it up before you go. You can rent or purchase (approx $150) the device which is approximately the size of a pack of cigarettes (PS: smoking is bad for you).
10) Take an External Charger/Voltage Converter
I like the Anker. Lots of charge on the plane if you need it. If you are travelling to Europe, chances are you’ll need a voltage converter to charge your North American items. The BESTEK will convert European 220V to 110V North American. Don’t use it for your hair dryer or curling iron/straightener. It has three spots for plugs and four USB slots.
11) Have Fun
Make memories. Explore. Meet people. Eat anything you want. Buy that goofy souvenir.