Nothing is both as rewarding and as stressful as traveling. With that in mind we have assembled the be-all and end-all list of travel tips to keep in mind as you both plan and execute your next vacation. From when to book travel to get the best deal, to how to travel like a local, these tips aren’t to be missed.
101. It is always important to read up about your destination’s rules and regulations before you travel. That way there will be no misunderstandings once you arrive. Visit the US Embassy website where you can get the latest advice and alerts on any country.
100. “I always travel with a tube of Kiehl’s,” says musician John Mayer, who knows the importance of keeping your lips hydrated on those long haul, air-conditioned flights.
99. Be sure to pack plenty of water and nutritional snacks to keep energy levels up. L.A. Nutritionist Valerie Waters explains, “my clients like to keep coolers in their cars filled with low-fat yogurt, apples, raw almonds, and bottled water.” Don’t let a long journey leave you resorting to eating junk food.
98. “Pack a lot of white. It’ll work with anything!” — Vanessa Williams, actress
97. When choosing an outfit to travel in you shouldn’t have to pick between what’s comfy and what’s stylish, find an outfit that’s both! A maxi dress is just as comfortable as wearing sweats but makes you look effortlessly chic.
96. Eva Longoria and Nicole Richie have been spotted at the airport with their own pillow in tow. And why not! It’s more sanitary than using the pillow given to you by the airline, and it will definitely make any journey more comfortable! If they can get away with it then so can we!
95. If being super organized is not your strong point then be sure to write a list of all the items you need to take with you, that way you’re guaranteed to remember to bring important everyday items such as underwear and a toothbrush (they’re easy to forget).
94. Jet lag can put a dampener on the first few days of your vacation if you’re crossing between time zones. Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol completely. Use the ‘Jet Lag’ calculator courtesy of British Airways to calculate the best sleep pattern to follow to reduce the effects of jet lag.
93. “Eliminate the shoes that only work with one outfit and go for the pair that works with multiple!” — Rachel Bilson, actress
92. “I learned my favorite travel tip from my Dad, who was in the military for many years. He taught me that rolling your clothing instead of folding it is a much more economical use of the space in your luggage. Plus, in my experience, rolling your clothes leads to far fewer wrinkles, especially in delicate fabrics like silk, linen, and chiffon.” — Meghan Blalock, Associate Editor at StyleCaster
91. A useful trick to know when booking a hotel room is to call the local hotel number instead of the generic 800 number. That way you can speak with the reservation clerk directly and your special requests (such as a sea view or a high floor room) are more likely to be granted.
90. If you’re not restricted to flying at a certain time of day, then always choose one of the first flights of the day. It is likely to be one of the cheaper flights and shouldn’t have any delays.
89. Keep an eye out for mid-week flight deals. Most airlines start their sale on a Monday and by Tuesday other airlines have brought down their fares to match.
88. “Always save your little fun beauty samples from ‘specials’ and sample boxes for your trips. While hotel beauty products may be improving, they’re simply not the same as the brands you’ve grown to love— hoard those products and bring them with you when you vacay, you’ll be much happier.” — Rachel Adler, Beauty Director at Beauty High
87. A sarong can double up as many items: a picnic blanket, a fast drying towel, a traveling pillow, and a great beach accessory! This lightweight item is so versatile and lightweight that it would be stupid not to pack it.
86. One of Jessica Alba’s favorite items to travel with is hand sanitizer, “because you’re exposed to so many germs while travelling…even better it comes in the TSA- approved 2 oz. size and kills germs without drying your skin.”
85. “I always get dressed up to fly and bring a Hermès scarf on the plane. It is a quick way to glam up before an immediate meeting.” — Laurie Ann Goldman, CEO of Spanx
84. Pack a spare pair of underwear and clothes in your carry-on just in case your luggage goes missing (it has been known to happen), that way you won’t be completely stuck without your belongings for a couple of days.
83. In many cities, business travel drives hotel prices on certain days of the week. In New York City’s Financial District, hotel occupancy and rates are high from Monday through Thursday nights. But once the business travelers leave, hotels in the Financial District have increased availability, making a Friday through Sunday getaway much more affordable. This same trend applies to cities coast-to-coast, according to the experts at Travelzoo.
82. To combat seasickness on a cruise, try popping 1,000 milligrams of dried gingerroot (available in health food stores) before setting sail, and, if necessary, again four hours later.
81. Organizing expert Julie Morgenstern suggests keeping lists of essentials for each type of trip including that business overnight, the one-week island vacation, a ski trip, and so on. Edit each time you travel, deleting things you didn’t need, and adding what you wished you had.
80. “I have a ‘just add clothes’ suitcase that has all my toiletries, workout clothes, pajamas, a flatiron, and other daily necessities, so when I pack I can literally just add clothes.” — Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!
79. Consider Tingo.com. If the hotel you booked lowers its price before you arrive, you get an automatic refund on your credit card.
78. Take a range of see-through plastic bags with you. You can use them for keeping your dirty clothes separate, replacing lost make up bags, storing souvenirs, and just generally keeping your bag organised without having to empty it every time you want to find something.
77. “I treat getting through an airport like George Clooney in Up in the Air. Save the layered jewelry and boots or sandals with 100 buckles for when you’ve arrived, not for wearing at the airport.”— Michael Kors, designer
76. “Every time I fly I bring a box of chocolates,” to give to a gate agent, says John DiScala, who runs travel website JohnnyJet.com. Upgrades are sometimes a case of “who you know,” DiScala says. If a gate agent recognizes you, the chance of getting an upgrade increases dramatically. So get to know one or two. “A gate agent can do anything,” he says.
75. There is a difference between “direct” and “nonstop” flights, and you need to know the difference. Direct flights can touch down at other airports on their way to the ultimate destination, which can mean delays.
74. Buy your airline ticket with the same name that appears on your ID. Using a nickname can mean being held up by a desk agent or security officer.
73. Double-check the foreign documents you’ll need to travel with. Some countries―like Chile, Kenya, and India―require a visa for entry. Others, like South Africa, won’t allow entrance unless a traveler’s passport contains at least two blank, unstamped pages.
72. Buy a suitcase in an unusual color like blue or red to set it apart from the pack.
71. Bring your own blanket and disinfecting wipes for the plane. Tray tables are rarely cleaned and blankets and pillows are only washed when they look dirty.
70. “Time when you eat when you’re traveling, keep your body clock in sync with the local work requirements. Lots of people say ‘No, I’m not hungry, I’m not going to eat.’ I eat to live and eat to work.” — Katie Taylor, CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
69. If you miss a connection at the airport, don’t stand in line to rebook with a gate agent. Instead, use your cell phone to call the airline’s customer-service number. You may speak to someone faster, giving you a better shot at a seat on the next flight.
68. Use a soft bag or even a duffel as a carry-on because you won’t be as likely to be forced to gate-check it, because it can more easily squeeze into overhead bins.
67. “Learn what you can about a country’s habits, pet peeves, ingrained ways of being, before you go.” — Ruth Yunker, author of “Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Ways”
66. “To prevent clothes from wrinkling in a suitcase, I always wrap them in the plastic from dry cleaning bags—it really works!” — Perrie Samotin, Senior Editor at StyleCaster
65. Never join the security line at the airport with kids in it. Go for the one with business travelers (look for suits). It will move much quicker.
64. Memorize a handful of words of the local language, and have the courage to use them! It’s amazing how just a few words will go a long way as locals tend to warm to those who have made the effort to communicate with them in their own tongue.
63. If you are in a country where it is unsafe to drink the water, keep your mouth shut in the shower.
62. Don’t travel with more cash than you’ll need for a few days. It is rare to travel somewhere these days that doesn’t have an ATM.
61. Instead of using a guidebook, search out a local guide to give you a tour of the cultural monuments. You’ll be sure to learn something unexpected.
60. “Travel with an open mind. It’s the only way you’ll discover something new and exciting.”— Donna Karan, designer
59. Forget to pack a toothbrush or deodorant? Instead of rushing to the nearest pharmacy call reception at your hotel. Most have a supply of the basics.
58. Many airlines, travel agencies such as Expedia, and other travel vendors, offer coupon code discounts on flights or packages, which can be substantial. You can find these coupon codes by signing up for the airlines’ e-mail lists, or just searching online. Rental car agencies and hotels have these too.
57. A site called Autoslash.com will check your car rental reservation and alert you if the price has gone down since the time you originally booked. It is a great resource when you are renting a car.
56. When packing, pick one basic color around which to create your “fashion palette” so you have plenty of mix-and-match outfits to choose from.
55. Before flying check with FlightCaster.com, a website that uses an algorithm to predict flight delays based on historical and real-time data.
54. Reach out on social media to get travel suggestions from friends and associates. Ask in your status update: Does anyone know a great boutique hotel Paris? What is the best beach in Bali? You’ll be surprised at the number and variety of suggestions you’ll get.
53. Utilize a meta-search site that scans the fares of multiple airlines and travel booking sites simultaneously and sends you to the source to book the fare you want. Kayak.com is a great place to start.
52. Unless your travel dates are absolutely set in stone, use flexible date searches for flights when booking online. Just about every airline’s website offers the feature, as do major travel booking sites like Travelocity.com. It tends to be cheaper to fly on days other than Friday and Sunday, but don’t assume anything. Flying just one day earlier or later than your ideal date could mean saving an easy $100.
51. Keep looking at prices even after you’ve booked your travel. That $60-a-day rental car you reserved might end up being $30 the week before your rental date, or you may get an ocean-view hotel room for the price of the garden-view you reserved. Always review the cancellation policy first, of course.
50. “Unpack [when you arrive at your travel destination]! I love to have everything in its place. Then I check out the bathroom product freebies. It’s a great way to try new brands.” — Rebecca Taylor, designer
49. Always reserve your airplane seat at the time that you are booking, and if the airline or booking engine won’t let you, keep revisiting until you can. Don’t like the seat options? Select one anyway, then check back every spare minute to change it, including when you’re on the plane.
48. “Always pack a pair of sneakers. Even if you don’t plan on running or hitting up the hotel gym, there may be a museum or park you want to visit just a short walk away.” — Shannon Farrell, Editorial Assistant at Daily Makeover
47. Having frequent-flier memberships can earn you more than just free flights on your airline of choice. If you fly often enough with a particular airline, you can earn elite status, which often starts at 25,000 miles, and can bring you a wide range of perks. Frequent-flier credit cards are another way to add miles, too.
46. Fly on a Boeing 767 when you can. These aircrafts have fewer of the dreaded middle seats because the economy rows are in a two-three-two configuration, not three-three.
45. If you absolutely have to check a bag at the airport, take a digital photo of it (which will help you describe the bag if it gets lost) and a close-up of the airline’s baggage tag (so you have a record of the airline’s routing info).
44. “A woman should never travel without a beautiful pair of sunglasses, and Bottega’s aviators frame my face well.” — Iman, model
43. Learn the three-letter airport code for your destination and make sure your bag gets labeled properly if you are checking it. The codes aren’t always intuitive (for example, New Orleans’s Louis Armstrong Airport is MSY), so check the list at Airport-Technology.com.
42. “Pay for your checked bags online. It’s cheaper than at the airport.” —Alexa Von Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest
41. If you booked your hotel on a travel site like Expedia, chances are your hotel will know you booked based on price. But there is a way to get around that: Establish a connection with the front desk. If you call ahead, you can get lifted out of this pool of discount-seeking masses and that can dramatically improve your stay.
40. If you’re planning to try for a free hotel room upgrade, don’t book the cheapest room and then ask to be upgraded. The more you pay for a room initially, the more likely you are to be upgraded. Even just booking the second cheapest room will improve your chances.
39. Every major city has bloggers who are experts on where they live (and love showing that particular place off). You can use Google Blog Search to find bloggers in whatever city you’re visiting and contact them for personal recommendations. Flattery will go a long way in getting a response.
38. If you are traveling out of the country bring a copy of your passport. You’ll probably never need it, but if you lose your passport, having a copy greatly expedites the process of getting a new one. A scanned copy that you e-mail to yourself works fine.
37. “I work through my email inbox with wi-fi when it’s available onboard [a plane]. When I arrive at my destination I will have caught up on some work, which feels good.” — India Hicks, entrepreneur
36. If you’re still not sure whether to buy a ticket with airline miles or cash, here’s a quick equation to help: the value of a frequent-flyer mile is about 1.2 cents, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports, and most airlines charge at least 25,000 miles for a round-trip flight within the U.S. That adds up to $300 at the 1.2-cent rate, so figure that you should pay with cash if your flight costs less than $300 and with miles if it costs more.
35. “Never go to a beach without baby powder. Sprinkling some on your feet and legs will allow you to instantly brush off any sand you may have stuck on you.” — Augusta Falletta, Associate Beauty Editor at Beauty High
34. Order your drinks without ice on airplanes, the water onboard is teeming with bacteria.
33. “I always bring my pyjamas and my cashmere blanket onboard [a flight]. I also wash my face regularly.” — Liv Tyler, actress
32. “[To avoid jet lag] I avoid doing the math to figure out what time it is back home. It’s too stressful! I try to adjust immediately to the local time and work through the day until at least 10 p.m. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I try to resist the urge to check the time or read emails. I also try to be extra healthy by working out, eating well and drinking lots of water.” — Katie Stanton, Vice President of International Sales and Development at Twitter
31. Get up and walk around once an hour when you are flying. Humans weren’t meant to stay in a sitting position for too long.
30. Hotel star ratings don’t mean as much as you think. Before you book, read multiple reviews, and demand that the hotel show you pictures of the kind of room you’re going to stay in, not just any room.
29. The first thing you should do in a hotel room: peel back the bedding and check the seams of the mattress for traces of bedbugs—bloodstains or actual bugs.
28. If you are going to a museum or an amusement park, check if you can buy tickets in advance, you may have to pay a $1 or $2 per-ticket fee, but that sure beats standing in line. Timed entry is even better, because it means you avoid both the ticket-buying line and the admission line, if there is one.
27. When you’re asking around for sightseeing or dining advice, avoid hotel staffers unless you are at a hotel known for its concierge service. They’re often on the take. In fact, many hotels license out their concierge operations to companies that get commissions on bookings for certain attractions and restaurants.
26. If you are traveling alone, find a restaurant where you can eat at the bar. You can talk to the other people and to the bartender. Better than reading at a table by yourself, and you’ll get to know the locals.
25. No matter where you are when you are traveling, ask people around you where to eat. Ask the guy helping you at the museum, or the person checking you out at the store. Ask lots of people. If you ask people at your hotel, ask them where they personally like to eat.
24. If you’re in a non-English speaking country, avoid places with English menus or other gimmicks (like a guy standing outside ushering you inside).
23. “I like to read or sleep on a flight. I take advantage of the quiet ‘me time’ and rest.” — Jessica Stam, model
22. Be sure to weigh all your baggage before arriving at the airport, airlines love to charge for any bags that weigh over the recommended limit. Not worth the extra charge!
21. “The first thing I usually pack is really good facial cream to keep my skin moisturized.” — Gwyneth Paltrow, actress
20. Set your watch to your destination time as soon as you board the plane. Then, try to eat your meals in accordance with the time of your destination.
19. “ If you’re traveling with someone, bring a splitter and extra headphones. Movies are more fun when watching together.” — Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
18. If it is night when you arrive at your destination, do your best to sleep or at least rest. If it’s morning do everything you can to stay awake. If you find that you are totally exhausted, try to hold out for a short afternoon nap.
17. When you’re flying to another country, it’s very important to get off the plane first because a five-minute delay getting off the plane can add 40 minutes to going through customs.
16. If you’re traveling on a budget, look for free activities in your destination. Convention and Visitor Bureau Web sites are great resources for listings of parades, festivals, fairs, art shows, outdoor movie screenings, parks, museums that don’t charge admission, and more.
15. Your hotel’s location is essentially your neighborhood for the duration of your stay, so it’s important to scout it out when you’re traveling. Search out what the local shops and restaurants are to find out the vibe of the neighborhood.
14. The Ultimate Guide to Worldwide Etiquette provides a nice quick overview of customs, etiquette, and tipping standards around the world. If all else fails, just follow the lead of people around you.
13. Hotel pool closed? You may have grounds for a room credit. Ask nicely at the front desk about receiving compensation for amenities that were promised but not delivered, just remember to be realistic.
12. Don’t volunteer right away on an overbooked flight to get off, wait to be bumped, when the compensation is richer—up to $1,300 to cover meals and overnight accommodations. Keep in mind that volunteers can negotiate perks but are not entitled to anything until the airline has no choice but to deny a seat.
11. Read your hotel bill carefully. If there’s something on it you don’t recognize, talk to a manager. Once you leave the hotel, fixing your bill gets much harder.
10. “I’m a huge fan of yoga and Pilates, so I’m always exploring the studios in the cities I visit.” — Allessandra Ambrososio, model
9. Rather than taking the entire copy of a travel guidebook, just photocopy the pages you need, then discard after you have used them. It saves space and weight.
7. To avoid being charged by your bank abroad, why not purchase a currency card instead. This will give you free cash withdrawals and make it easier to buy and sell currency.
6. “GateGuru is an app that has every airport and restaurant and terminal. If you don’t want to eat plane food, you can see your options. Also, my phone has a Mophie Juice Pack [rechargeable battery]. It’s a life-changing thing to not have to worry about your phone dying.” — David Gilboa, Co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker
5. “Nuts are great for the road. They have protein and keep you energized.” — Rebecca Minkoff, designer
4. If you want to dig into the weirder side of a city, few sites are better at chronicling oddball tourism spots than Atlas Obscura. The site lists off bizarre restaurants, strange architecture, tiny museums, and plenty more.
3. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s new PreCheck program fast-tracks travelers in exchange for undergoing a voluntary prescreening. Bonus: Shoes stay tied and your laptop stays in its case. PreCheck is currently available for certain frequent fliers at more than a dozen U.S. airports.
2. Memorize the 3-1-1 rule for acceptable carry-on luggage: 3-ounce bottles or less, in a one quart plastic bag, one bag per passenger at the checkpoint. If you have to bring a medical exception to the 3-1-1 rule, declare the item, which will then be inspected and most likely allowed through.
1. “Try to get a window seat so you can lean against the wall if you want to get some sleep.” — Rachel McAdams, actress