15 Not So Obvious Travel Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

If there’s one thing travelers appreciate, it’s helpful travel tips that make their journeys easier. Seasoned travelers share their thoughts on travel with other explorers often, and everyone can learn a lot from those who have come before us as we embark across the world.

1. Plan Your Itinerary

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Write out your itinerary in a document or your notes app, including phone numbers, addresses, contact names, information for where to get tickets, and booking numbers. Add your local embassy if you’re traveling abroad in case of emergencies, and leave or share this itinerary with a close friend or family member to know roughly where you’ll be each day.

2. Check for Bedbugs

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A lot of travelers will speak from experience on this one and say you must check the baseboards, under the mattress and headboards, and for small stains on the bed sheets. If you find any resemblance of bedbugs, leave that accommodation and throw your clothes into a dryer right away.

3. Order Tea if You’re Thirsty

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Order tea if you’re in a developing country or unsure of the water. It’s often safer to drink tea as it’s been boiled and is usually cheaper than bottled water.

4. Passport Case

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Purchasing a passport case to take with you when you travel is essential. Keep your passport and cash in your case and wear it under your clothes to protect your valuables.

5. Taking Photos

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If you want to stop walking to take a photo, make sure to step out of the way of other people walking by first. Keep walking until you find a better spot to take the shot. Locals are okay with tourists who step aside to take pictures but not ones who stand in the middle of foot traffic.

6. Try Not to Look like a Traveler

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Scammers target travelers, so try not to act too much like one. Don’t pull out expensive possessions or big wads of cash in public places. Avoid grabbing your guidebook or looking at a map in touristy areas because people will notice.

7. Watch Out for Scams

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There will always be scammers, even when you avoid looking like a traveler. Research common types of scams in the area you’re visiting by using credible resources like Lonelyplanet before your trip.

8. Put Your Belt into Your Carry-on

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Empty your pockets, and place your phone, watch, belt, jewelry, etc., into your carry-on before reaching airport security. When going through the X-ray machines, you save time this way, and it won’t set off the detectors.

9. Don’t Check into Your Hotel Early

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For those hoping for a hotel room upgrade, try to wait to check into your hotel til the last minute. Hotels sometimes keep their best rooms available until the last minute, so if you’re patient and ask politely, you’ll have a higher chance of getting that upgrade.

10. Keep Your Wallet and Cell Phone in Your Front Pocket

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Remember not to keep your valuables in your back pockets as it’s much easier for pickpockets to grab your valuables. Instead, keep your cell phone and wallet in your front pocket, as it’s harder for people to steal your things that way.

11. Learn the Basics of the Local Language

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Refrain from assuming that the locals will know how to speak English. Instead, spend some time learning basic phrases in the local language, like greetings and “excuse me,” “please,” “thank you,” and “where is the ___.” Learning the phrase “Can you speak English?” in their language is also helpful.

12. Try Packing Only a Carry-on

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If you want an easier time traveling, try packing only a carry-on. You can buy toiletries in the country you’re visiting and wash your underwear in a local laundromat or the hotel sink if you must.

13. Use Steam to Iron Your Clothes

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Although this will only partially straighten out your clothes, there is a way to iron your clothes if you desperately need to and you’re without an iron. Hang your garment on a hanger in the bathroom and crank up the hot tap until the bathroom is steamy. Most of the big wrinkles should come out.

14. Emergency Cash

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Always have some emergency cash in the local currency if your wallet gets stolen or lost. Avoid walking around with too much money, but have enough for a bus ride/ train ride back to your hotel.

15. Book an Emergency Exit Seat

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Try booking a seat by the emergency exit as you have much more foot room and fewer people want to sit there. Emergency exit seats are also far from the toilets, which is a bonus.

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