15 Tips, Tricks And Hacks That Seasoned Travelers Swear By

travel tips

1. Don’t fall in love with a place you are vacationing at. You are seeing that area for a week or two, when you are not working and you are under less stress than you would be at home. I’ve seen too many people uproot their lives to move to “paradise” only to find out it’s not what it seems.

Also, on that vacation, most of the stuff you do and the places you go are designed to give you an experience that isn’t like normal, everyday life.

If you wanted to know what it’s really like to live there, you would do the same types of stuff you would do at home, like go to the bank, make a trip to Walmart, and eat at the same restaurant for the 20th time (where, even though it may be a good restaurant, the novelty has worn off).


2. Stop Using Your Address for Lyft/Uber

I shared a Lyft ride with my female friend. The Lyft driver immediately started hitting on her. When he asked who was being dropped off first, I told him she was first stop. He started berating me for scheduling a ride and having her as first stop, started yelling about why he could not drop me off first…. During his tirade he got lost and when I tried giving him directions he just yelled at me. It was not amusing, it was scary – because now this drunk/high/creepy a-hole knew her address and mine.


3. If you have a bad experience at a hotel, calmly and politely explaining the situation to a manager will get you a lot more of a discount than throwing a fit or threatening a negative review.

I have found over the years that if I have a complaint talking it over with someone in authority in a calm, reasonable manner is so much more effective. Generally, the employee either did not mean to do it or has a history with management. Either way know not being a jerk is a Pro move.

Also, threatening to call the brands corporate line will get you absolutely nowhere. Majority of hotels are franchises and the brand will just call the hotel and ask what they want to do. They can’t do anything without the hotels permission.


4. If you’re staying in a hotel and need to iron your clothes, send the first few puffs of steam into a towel. It may have been a while since the last time the iron was used, and the steam holes may be filled with nasty brown mineral deposits which you don’t want heat-blasted into your clothes.

It also applies to those coffee maker machines in your hotel room. Always run a few cups of water through it before using it. I used one once that had a hair in the water after using it as well as bits of black stuff. I never use the coffee maker in hotel rooms after that incident.


5. Whenever you travel abroad bring a new soundtrack for each place you visit, preferably one you have never heard before. In the future, every time you listen to each soundtrack again they will bring you vivid memories of the places you have visited.

Music is key to unlocking memories. I did this on a month trip to Japan listening to Random Access Memories by daft punk when it just came out. It’s now my stress reduction soundtrack for the very reason it brings me back to that amazing place.


6. If you’re planning a camping trip or a national park trip or anything of that nature, check the moon cycles and try to go during the new moon phase. You’ll see way more stars.

Or go the other way: pick an area with “safe” ways (no dangerous wildlife, no cliffs or slopes you might fall down) and do a night hike during full moon. Of course no artificial light (that would spoil thew whole thing) – just moonlight, starlight and athmospheric backscatter (you’ll be amazed how much “light pollution” of a city you have even 10 miles away)


7. When traveling with a friend or family member, don’t be afraid to suggest breaking off to each do your own things for a day. Going solo can be enjoyable (eat/go wherever want at your own pace), plus it reduces you being sick of each other by the end of the trip.

My college buddy and I travel the world once a year. Every time on the trip, I’ll break off for a day to explore and do my own thing. Clears my mental state and makes me not hate him.


8. Pack your toiletry bag the night prior to traveling and only use that travel bag when getting ready the morning that begins your travels. This way, you will identify anything you may not have packed the night before and will have time to add it to your toiletry bag before setting off.


9. Have a hard time finding a restroom while in a city? Walk into a hotel lobby like you know where you’re going and go to the restroom.

If you can’t find it quickly, find an employee and say “ I need to use the restroom really quick, but don’t want to go all the way to my room. Can you point me to the lobby restroom?”

As long as they have one and you don’t look homeless, it will work nearly every time. I’ve used this all over the US and Canada in many, major large cities.


10. If you’re traveling use the big chain truck stops, Loves/Pilot/Flying J/TA

Before I was a trucker I knew they existed BARELY, but I had no idea how great they are. These big truck stops are always well lit at night. The restrooms are always very clean.they still have the normal snacks gas stations have and they even have some better choices like fruit cups and small salads. There’s also different fast food places attached if you’re more into that. Hell they even have clean hot showers if you’re in need of one for like $12.


11. If you decide to volunteer to give up your seat on an overbooked flight, don’t just take the offer. Tell the gate agent “toss in another $200 (or more/less depending on your best judgment), and I’ll go for it.” They’ll almost always say OK, because a willing volunteer is worth it.

The reason is, if they don’t get someone to volunteer and have to force someone, they are entitled to 2x the value of the ticket IN CASH. Cheaper to buy someone out with airline vouchers that don’t cost them real money.

Also, if they offer to give you a meal voucher, ask for a day pass to their first class club. There will be food there anyway, and they’ll have nice seating and other amenities.


12. Don’t share photos or videos while out on vacation, you are potentially setting yourself to get robbed while being hundreads of miles away.

I know some of us really want to share the views and experiences while on vacation but it’s best to just post those photos/videos after you’re back home.


13. Before leaving an Airbnb or vacation rental, do a video walkthrough of how you’re leaving the unit to avoid being scammed!

I recently stayed at an Airbnb and the host tried to claim I left a mess and destroyed furniture. They filed a complaint with Airbnb about it and tried to milk me out of money. Jokes on them because I took a video of the unit before I left and was quickly absolved of any wrong doing. Do it! People are scumbags! Save yourself the hassle!


14. When scheduling a vacation, plan your return on Saturday instead of Sunday (or whatever is two days before your return to work date) so that you have a full day to decompress and get back in the rhythm of being home again.

Or, be like me and get back to work at noon on the day you return. Then, continue hating yourself as you’ve always done.


15. On vacation? Don’t eat anywhere near tourist spots. The food is rarely authentic and twice as expensive. Walk a few blocks away, usually about where there aren’t anymore signs subtitled in English, then eat there.

I used to work at Rockefeller Center in NYC and had to walk away from the tourist trap every day to eat good food at a reasonable price. Took that lesson with me to Rome, Italy. Instead of eating next the tourist spots (Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, etc), we’d always walk a few blocks away to where people stopped speaking English. Food was waaay better than the obviously frozen pasta we had our first day, before I realized what we should’ve been doing.

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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