Do you want to travel like an expert? No problem! We’ve got you covered from planning to dinner with these 25 travel tips from the pros.
1. Save the Best for the Last Day
“When possible, I always try to leave the last day in a destination free, so that I can revisit a place I loved, catch a place I missed, shop for souvenirs, or just spend a day living like a local! That way, I never leave a destination feeling like I missed out on a desired experience.” – Brownell Independent Advisor Amanda Watkins
2. Create Allergy Translation Cards
It’s important to make sure the crucial details of allergies are not lost in translation. “I highly recommend allergy translation cards, either homemade or purchased,” says Brownell Independent Advisor Jen Berg Ogilvie .
3. Purchase Travel Insurance
You never know what *mayhem* may arise right before a big trip! Talk to your travel advisor about the benefits of purchasing travel insurance.
4. Get Excited!
Find books and movies set in the destination you’ll be visiting! The weeks leading up to your trip will be even more exciting and you can learn more about where you’re going.
5. Check Your Documents Once, Twice, Three Times
Double check that you have all the appropriate documentation before traveling AND that is it valid. Check the expiration date on your passport (remember: even if it expires a month after you travel, you still may not be able to visit some countries!), make sure you have a visa if necessary, and review your flight and hotel dates and print confirmations. And triple check that you have it all in your bag before jetting off to the airport!
6. Leave Your Clothes in Dry Cleaning Bags
“I leave my dry cleaning in the bags and on the hangers, then just fold them over once in my suitcase.” Says Brownell’s Vice President of Marketing and frequent flyer, Haisley Smith , “Pop them out and hang them up in the hotel, wrinkle free!”
7. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Packing Cubes
Bowden Sarrett , Brownell Vice President, swears by packing cubes saying, “I never leave home without them!”
8. Bring Shoes That Are Made For Walkin’
Pack shoes you can rely on for those long days of endless cobblestone streets. Kristen Meckem , Brownell Independent Advisor and fashionista, suggests, “When you need a slightly more elevated look than runners for a full day of walking, Allbirds wool runners tick all the boxes. They are lightweight, walk-all-day and still have happy feet!” We’re sold!
9. Put a Pen to Paper
Make an outline of planned outfits. Take it from Brownell Independent Advisor, Susan Whitson : “It sounds overkill, but it really helps you prevent over-packing. I actually put the list on top of my packed clothes so I know what to wear that day. One less decision for me to make on vacation!” Win-win.
10. Save Some Space
Leave a little wiggle room in your suitcase for laundry and souvenirs! Take it from Brownell Independent Advisor, Amanda Watkins , “I always pack an empty large packing cube. They take up virtually no space, and are great for dirty clothes.”
11. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket… or Suitcase
Susan Whitson sticks to better safe than sorry, “Pack half of your things in your companion’s suitcase and vice versa. In the event that one suitcase is lost, each person will still have some clothes to get him/her through a few days.”
12. Prep Your Wallet
Alert your bank and credit card company to where you’ll be traveling and avoid the dreaded words: transaction denied.
13. Let Me Upgrade Ya
Ask about upgrades at check-in. You may strike gold on an undersold flight!
14. Cashmere Carry-On
Sarah Richardson, Assistant to Brownell Independent Advisor Martha Rhodes , relies on her well-traveled sweater: “I always pack a cashmere sweater. It dresses up or down easily, and I’m always cold on an airplane – even in summer.”
15. Time to Snooze
There is no better time to start prepping for the inevitable jet lag than on the flight. Try to get some shuteye, even though binging those in-flight movies is oh-so-tempting, so you can hit the ground running!
Related: Top 25 Travel Mistakes
16. Snap a Picture Each Morning
“Especially when visiting theme parks, take a photo each morning of your child so in case they get lost. You can let others know what your child is wearing so they will be easier to identify.” – Brownell Independent Advisor Karen McAlpin
17. Pick a Souvenir Unique to the Destination
Keep your eyes peeled for mementos you can’t find anywhere else. Brownell Independent Advisor Marisa DeSalvio opts for textiles: “They are so unique to each country and can be used in so many ways at home. I always purchase them no matter where I go and they easily fold up in my luggage to take home.”
18. Stay Organized
Avoid the feeling of panic while you rummage through your bag in search of your passport by keeping items in their respective places. “I like to know exactly where all my things are in my carry-on,” explains Winn Harris , Brownell Independent Advisor and Organization Extraordinaire. “I use the same pouches for the same items on each trip, that way I can find anything in a flash and not have to constantly dig thought my carry-on!”
19. No Shoe Left Behind
Hot tip from Brownell Advisor Deborah Barth : stash a shoe in the safe. You’ll be less likely to forget valuables hidden in the safe if you’re on the hunt for that second shoe.
20. Learn a Little Lingo
We’re not talking a full Rosetta-Stone course, put knowing a few words in local language is not only polite but also useful!
Enjoy at least one big splurge, whether it’s a fancy dinner or something that caught your eye while out shopping.
22. Take a Food Tour or Cooking Class
There is no better way to experience the different cuisine each destination has to offer than learning to prepare it yourself! Put your skills to the test and take a local cooking class. And remember: calories don’t count on vacation.
23. Get a Second Opinion
Do a little restaurant recon beforehand to get an idea of what’s out there. Then take recommendations from the locals or your concierge. It’s all about the magical meals when restaurant review stars align!
24. When in Rome, Eat Dinner at 10:00 PM
For a more immersive travel experience, eat like the locals! Eat a late dinner or try a local dish you’ve never tasted.
25. Visit the Market
Treat your senses to a stroll through a local market. Check out all the regional produce, local spices, and pick up a few treats to keep in your room.