Have you ever walked into a room for the first time and thought “These are my people”? That was my reaction to joining the popular Facebook group Girls Who Travel, now called Girls Love Travel. This dynamic group of nearly 25,000 female travelers has some seriously great advice, and plenty of tricks you pick up after traveling often. These jetsetters are always kind enough to share some of their best travel tips, so now I’m sharing them with you! From booking your flight to documenting your trip, these travel tips will help you solve some of the biggest problems and little annoyances associated with traveling.
- Get an inflatable travel pillow. They take up very little space in your suitcase!
- A sarong has about a hundred uses, from skirt to picnic blanket. (via Arnette of Round the World Girl)
- Keep a pack of tissues or wet wipes with you to keep your hands clean, or in case a bathroom doesn’t have paper. (via Michelle of She is Going Places, and plenty of others who seconded the need for wet wipes!)
- Pack less than you need. Traveling light was unanimously declared as the way to go!
- If you tried packing light and still have a bulging suitcase, try using a compression sack.
- Rolling your clothing was the most popular way to save space and limit wrinkles. Bonus: you can pre-plan outfits and put them in the same roll to make getting dressed simpler.
- Bring an extension plug like this one. Another popular solution was 4-in-1 charger cables – they allow you to bring just one plug instead of several.
- Always pack a swimsuit. Even if you are not traveling to a warm location, you may need it for the spa, hotel pools or even on occasion for hot springs. Most swimsuits take up very little room in your suitcase anyway! (via Olga of Dreams in Heels)
- Travel with a large tote bag or lightweight purse almost empty as your personal item on a flight. If by any chance your luggage is overweight, you can transfer some of it. I usually keep a small cross body purse inside a larger tote so I can easily pull it out and hit the streets after dropping off my luggage.
- Leave shampoo, conditioner, hairdryers, toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap at home. Hotels often give them away for free, and if they don’t you can usually buy them from a store at a small price. (via Ashima of The Logical Traveler)
- Ziplock bags, grocery bags, and hotel laundry bags are all great for separating shoes and dirty laundry in your suitcase.
- If you’re backpacking, bring clothing you would be okay with throwing away. Halfway through my two month backpacking tour, I was simply tired of my pack being heavy and I ditched a bunch of clothes. On that note, arranging destinations from coldest climate -> warmest will let you ditch clothing along the way and make room for souvenirs.
- Use a binder clip to wrap and secure wires so they remain tidy and untangled when not in use.
- Stuff your shoes with socks and underwear to take advantage of every bit of space.
- Prevent your pressed powder or bronzer from shattering during travel by sticking a cotton ball inside the case prior to flying.
- If you leave your car in long-term parking at the airport, snap a picture of the location. It’s going to be the last thing on your mind after an amazing trip and long day of travel!
- When searching for flights, tickets or any kind of booking online, enable your private browsing before you begin. Bots track your searches and often will raise the price to match sites you’ve already visited or will predict what you are capable of spending and adjust its price accordingly. (via Dezi of DeziStyle)
- Drink a TON of water in flight and you will arrive looking and feeling better. I bring an empty reusable water bottle through security and fill it up after (note: it’s easier to get safe, free water in some airports than in others).
- You might be surprised how cozy socks can upgrade a long plane ride or bus trip.
- Screenshot maps, save PDFs of train or bus timetables, and useful info on your smartphone for offline retrieval.
- To save a map in the Google Maps app, type “ok maps” and it will save the shown area offline.
- Don’t count travel days as actual days at your destination! Delays, jet lag, or other transportation issues can create chaos. Make sure you have at least 2-3 full non-travel days for each place you visit.
- If traveling with a partner, reserve the window and aisle seat on a flight. Most people won’t want to reserve a middle seat, so you could end up with a whole row.
- Learn some words in the native language, no matter how poorly you say them. Your effort will go a long way.
- Try taking a trip with someone you love. Seeing a place through their eyes is a powerful experience (via Lauren of The Constant Rambler)
- Always ask at least one local where the best food/beach/attraction is – they might have a better answer than any guidebook.
- Also do some research on local customs for your destination. Things like tipping, hand gestures, and table manners can differ quite a bit!
Food and Health
- Bring your own tea bags – you can get hot water nearly anywhere, and it’s budget friendly!
- Carry peppermint oil to eliminate nausea or get a natural jolt of energy. This one is a lifesaver on winding bus rides or in crowded markets! (via Chantal of Voyaging Vagabond)
- Bring “activated charcoal” tablets to take after eating sketchy food that doesn’t agree with you. It absorbs the “bad” bacteria without destroying the good bacteria like antibiotics do. When you don’t need to take them, you can pull the plastic casing off and use the activated charcoal powder in your beauty regimen. You can brush your teeth with some toothpaste to whiten teeth naturally or to give yourself a facial! (via May of Roam to Wonder)
- Buy a supply of sunscreen before going to certain tropical destinations, unless you want to spend a ton on it ($20-30 in Ecuador, according to Marta of Vegan Beauty Travels!)
- Bring Tiger Balm – the salve is great for rubbing on bug bites to relieve itchiness, muscle pain relief, rubbing on temples to relieve headaches, a scent for nausea/motion sickness prevention, to mask out strong odors, or to inhale or rub on chest to aid in breathing issues from colds. (via May of Roam to Wonder)
- Use disinfectant wipes to sanitize hard surfaces in your hotel room, like the remote or alarm clock.
- There are so many great apps to help you travel, some of which can be used without internet access. Try Google Maps, My Maps, Google Translate, XE, Trip Advisor, SkyScanner, and Duolingo to get you started.
- Document your trip more than you think you should. Take pictures, take a coaster/napkin/matchbook, and keep a journal. You might be surprised how much you want to remember the streets you shopped on or that great coffee shop.
- Use a unique luggage tag, washi tape, or colored duct tape to clearly mark your suitcase.
- If there’s a restroom available, use it! You don’t necessarily know when another one will be available.
- Adopt a “try anything once” attitude unless you’re sure you will be fine with possibly never doing in your life. The opportunity may only come once.
- Take a picture of your passport and visa and save it to Evernote – just in case.
There you have it – travel tips from the very best! I hope these little tricks make your next trip easier. Do you have travel tips that aren’t on the list? Leave them in the comments!