Top Travel Tips For New Or Occasional Travelers
Thousands of people spend time traveling, whether they enjoy visiting new locations or must travel for work purposes. Traveling can be exciting but it can also be stressful if you don’t have the right supplies or gear with you. These ten items can make your next trip, whether for business or pleasure, go more smoothly and help protect you from frustration.
Luggage is an important part of any trip as it keeps your belongings safe. If you are traveling by plane, luggage becomes even more critical as baggage handlers are not usually gentle with your suitcases. You want to choose luggage that is durable yet lightweight as most airlines have weight restrictions for each bag. You also want to be sure the closures are sufficient to keep the bag from opening as it is tossed around. Today, you can find many different styles of luggage, from soft-sided to hard-sided versions as well as suitcases with various compartments to make traveling easier. You can even purchase luggage with charging ports for electronic devices.
2. Carry On
When you travel by plane, there are items you need to have at hand, like laptop computers, books or other materials to keep you busy during the flight. Carry on bags are strictly regulated as far as what size they can be as well as what you can carry on the plane with you. The carry on must fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. Many people choose nice laptop backpacks to carry on the plane as they can be carried over the shoulder or on your back, making them easier to manage as you get on and off the plane. Most backpacks also have easy-to-access compartments so you can get to anything you must clear through security.
Unless you are traveling internationally or want to pay an exorbitant fee, most airlines no longer offer meals on flights. They may offer a tiny bag of peanuts or pretzels but even this is not guaranteed. Snack bars are the perfect snack to carry on a plane as they fit in a backpack or a purse. They are also perfect for long car rides if you are traveling that way. Protein bars give you a quick burst of energy while also curbing your hunger until you can get a good meal in your travels.
4. Travel Insurance
Despite best laid plans, things can happen that may delay or cancel your trip. You could become ill or a family member may have an emergency that requires you to remain at home. One of the best ways to protect your trip is to invest in travel insurance. This type of insurance can cover your plane tickets, hotel and rental car reservations plus other things that could go wrong with your travel. There are some travel insurance policies that will cover the cost of an additional stay should something happen that cancels your flight while you are away. Travel insurance is also fairly inexpensive and well worth the peace-of-mind it brings.
5. Parking Spot Reservation
During peak travel periods, it can be difficult to find a parking spot at the airport. Many airports now offer parking spot reservations which allow you to pay in advance in order to be sure a spot will be available when you arrive. In some areas, off-site parking areas offer valet parking which allows you to arrive at the parking area before your flight where an attendant drives you and your car to the departure area. You get your bags and the attendant takes your car back to the lot during your trip. When you return, you simply call and they bring the car to you at the airport. Load your luggage and drive away with no need for a shuttle bus or ground transportation.
6. Rental Car Reservation
When you arrive at your destination, you will need a way to get around the area, especially if you are traveling somewhere that doesn’t offer public transportation. During peak travel periods or at heavily visited vacation destinations, waiting until you get to the airport to rent a car could mean there are none available when you get there. A rental car reservation guarantees that you will have a car available when you arrive, helping you avoid unnecessary upgrade fees when the vehicle you want is not available.
7. Discount Hotel Reservations
You can’t always stay with relatives or friends when you travel and that means you will need to find a hotel. Depending on where you are going and how long you are staying, hotel rooms can get expensive. If you choose a location near an airport, you may find that weekday rates are much higher than weekend rates while tourist areas may have higher rates on weekends than during the week. The best way to reserve a hotel is to look for discounts on rooms. If you join a hotel chain rewards program, you can often get reduced rates but only if the chain has a property where you plan to travel. You can also find discounts through travel sites, club memberships or by using a specific credit card.
8. Ground Transportation
There is the possibility that you will not need to use a rental car, especially if you are traveling to a resort location. However, you will still need to get to the resort and not all of them offer ground transportation. Booking ground transportation in advance is the best way to be sure you have a way to get to your resort. In addition, booking the transportation in advance may be safer and less expensive than if you wait until you get to your destination.
9. Virtual Doctor
There is nothing worse than becoming ill on a trip, especially if you are traveling out of the country. Using an emergency room outside your insurance coverage area or in a foreign land can be extremely expensive. Today, it is possible to use telemedicine services through sites like My Virtual Doctor to address any medical problems you may have. These types of visits allow you to talk to a doctor through video conferencing where they may be able to diagnose minor problems, such as an allergic reaction or an upset stomach. Many insurance companies cover the cost of telemedicine which means you won’t be facing a bill which could reach hundreds of dollars if you visit a doctor outside your plan.
10. Identity Protection
According to a study by Experian, 20 percent of consumers have had a driver’s license, passport, credit card or other personal identification document stolen while they were on vacation. Of those people, 40 percent have become the victim of identity theft. Your identity can be stolen while eating out at a restaurant where 18 percent of identity theft occurs but as much as 24 percent of the cases reported actually happened in hotels. Although there are tips you can follow to help protect your identity while traveling, such as only carrying the credit cards you will use, avoiding Wi-fi hotspots and choosing ATMs carefully, you can also protect yourself by investing in an identity protection service that will notify you should something unusual occur on your accounts.
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