After 14 years of globetrotting as a Flight Attendant, I learned over the years how to really streamline the process so I could make the most of the time I had while on the ground. Here are some my top savvy travel tips - part one!
1. Always pack a towel
It’s plain common sense. You never know when you will need it, whether it’s at the beach, on a picnic, or just to dry off. Carrying a small towel won’t add that much weight to your bag - especially if you use a slim foldable one that packs into its own carry bag! We have these and they are PERFECT when you travel.
2. Buy a small backpack/suitcase
By purchasing a small backpack (I like something around 35/40 liters), you will be forced you to pack light and avoid carrying too much stuff. Humans have a natural tendency to want to fill space so if you pack light but have lots of extra room in your bag, you’ll end up going “well, I guess I can take more” and then definitely regret it. We carry a beautiful and very unique collection of backpacks, weekenders and carry on suitcases. See the collections here:
3. Pack light
It’s OK to wear the same shirt a few days in a row. Take half the clothes you think you will need…you won’t need as much as you think. Write down a list of essentials, cut it in half, and then only pack that!
4. Travel by yourself at least once
You’ll learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Traveling solo taught me how to fend for myself, talk to people, and handle unfamiliar situations with ease. It’s made me comfortable with myself and helped me learn about what I’m capable of. It can take some getting used to if you’ve never done it before but do it at least once.
5. Don’t be afraid to get purposefully lost
Wandering aimlessly through a new city is a good way to get to know it, get off the beaten path, and away from the tourists. You'll be surprised by the hidden gems you find. I like to wander around and try to find my way without using Google Maps!
6. Make extra copies of your passport and important documents.
Don’t forget to e-mail a copy to yourself too. You never know when you might need to have some sort of documentation with you and might not want to carry your original. Additionally, if your passport gets stolen having a copy will come in handy for your police report.
7. Learn basic phrases in the native language of your destination
The locals will appreciate it and it will make your interactions easier. You don’t need to master the language but learning a few things like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Thank you!”, “Where’s the bathroom?” will go a long way to endearing yourself with the locals. They like that you tried.
8. Always get behind business travelers when in security lines - or airline crews!
They move fast since they are usually in a rush and travel light. They know the drill. Line up behind them as much as possible. You’ll speed through the line!
9. When you check in to the hotel, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade.
They have a lot of flexibility when it comes to assigning upgrades at check-in. It never hurts to ask. Often times they can accommodate you if the hotel isn’t full. Just be super nice!
10. Lunchtime is the best time to visit historical sites.
Be a contrarian. You’ll have fewer crowds getting in your way as big tour buses, groups, and most travelers head to lunch. It’s always best to visit an attraction super early, late, or when people eat. You’ll have even the most popular places to yourself!
11. Carry a basic first-aid kit.
Accidents happen so be prepared. I've had every sickness you can think of on the road, so take a mini version of everything so you can avoid trying to find a pharmacy in desperation!
12. Book flights minimum 3 months in advance to get the best price.
Don’t drive yourself too crazy trying to get the absolute cheapest fare. Spending five hours to try to save $10 will cause you a lot of stress.
13. Avoid taxis.
They are always a budget buster. Never, ever take a taxi unless you absolutely have too!
14. Take an empty metal water bottle through airport security and fill it up at your gate.
Drink from the tap when you can — you’ll save money and help the environment. If you’re going somewhere where you can’t drink the water, be sure to get a water bottle with a filter. See our bottles here, they are regarded as some of the best for travel.
15. Take pictures of your luggage and clothes.
If your bag gets lost, this will help identify it more easily and speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.
16. Get good shoes.
GAMECHANGER.... You walk a lot when you travel. Don’t beat up your feet. Love them as much as they love you, and they’ll take you to amazing places.