Common Sense Travel Tips

By now, I am pretty sure you all know how much I love to travel. If it weren’t for monetary restraints, lack of time, or family obligations, I think I would travel all the rest of my life. I need to start thinking of how I can make it my job! And of course write about it all!

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My travel adventure series last summer seemed to be a hit with you dear readers, and so I am taking it as a sign that I should write some more about traveling, especially since travel season is starting soon.

My cousin and fellow travel buddy, Jen, also loves to travel. In fact, we both went to England together a few years back. (Jen and her family recently went to Ireland, Scotland, and England, and I was so very jealous!) It helps that Jen is both adventurous and practical, and loves all things Harry Potter just like me. So together, we wrote this post about some good travel tips.

1. Take lots of photos!

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Some people are all about living in the moment, but maybe you’re like me and have a bad memory. Photos can be framed for your fireplace mantel, compiled into beautiful albums via companies such as Shutterfly, made into things like a mug or set of coasters, etc. Every time you open your refrigerator to take out the eggs, you’ll see your fun magnet with the awesome photo you took in Thailand!

2. Try to be adventurous with the authentic, local cuisine.

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When in France, order a traditional French dish! Heading to New Orleans? Eat some spicy Cajun food! Not knowing the language can be a bit scary, so perhaps before you leave for your trip, research some things you’d like to try. If you have no food allergies, just be brave and pick something at random off the menu. There are so many new, unique, and unusual things to eat around the world. Variety is the spice of life!

3. Here’s a tip from Jen:

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It’s great to have an itinerary of places you’d like to see/visit, but allow yourself the flexibility to edit it while you are there. Didn’t have a chance to scratch something off of your list? It will give you a reason to go back and visit again!

4. Be okay with getting lost.

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As long as you aren’t lost in the woods or lost down some scary back-alley, everything should turn out fine. You might discover a place that only the locals know about. You might find an awesome  souvenir at a cool shop right around the corner from the more touristy shops. You might have a great adventure! Isn’t that one of the reasons why we travel?

5. Another one from Jen: Scout out public restrooms and have change in the local currency for them.

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In London, the public toilets require coins to access them. Otherwise, you’ll have to be a customer at a café or store, which isn’t so bad, but might start to add up in costs if you always take that route. Jen even found an app that helps you locate public restrooms nearby! It’s called “Where is Public Toilet.” It might also be wise to carry a small stash of tissues or toilet paper, for just-in-case. Better to be prepared than not. 

6. When in doubt, see that you are current on all of your vaccines, and be sure to carry any pertinent health information with you.

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Sounds like a drag, but it’s wise to consider your health and safety while traveling. If you have a prescription medication, you should take the original packaging/paperwork along with you. My husband and I hopefully will be traveling to Brazil next year, so we will be consulting our doctors for advice regarding vaccines that we should probably get before our trip.

7. Inform your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling and give them a time frame of your travels.

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It would be really inconvenient (and embarrassing) to have a transaction denied because their system flagged your account due to “suspicious activity.” If you travel abroad, check that you won’t have to pay any extra fees for using your cards, and keep in mind the local currency exchange rate. You don’t want any surprises turning up on your statement. Take along the bank’s phone number, as well as the credit card company’s, just in case your cards get lost or stolen while traveling. 

8. Schedule in a “down” day.

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What Jen means by this is try to reserve some time, such as a whole day or an afternoon, for giving yourself a chance to rest. If you travel in the same manner that she and I do, then you try to pack in as much as you can! However, that can sometimes lead to feeling a little worn out or frazzled, so take it easy when needed! For me, I like to sit in solitude in a quiet church with beautiful stained glass windows to regain my calm. For you, maybe it means taking a nap in the hotel, or sipping a nice glass of wine from a bistro as you people-watch.

9. Take photocopies of your passport and any other important identification/documents with you.

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Although they won’t be considered valid documents, it might help in a pinch to have them. As with anything that contains your personal information, keep everything in a secure place while you travel, and shred the photocopies once you’re back home.

10. Be respectful of others’ cultures, laws, and lifestyles.

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You are a visitor when you travel, especially when you travel abroad. Be mindful of the local laws, because being ignorant and breaking one can still get you into a lot of trouble. Travel with an attitude of respect, caution, and awareness, and have an open mind. The world is rather grand, and that’s part of what makes it so beautiful to experience when traveling.

Jen and I wish you happy and safe travels! Feel free to comment below with any upcoming travel plans, or even destinations on your list of must-sees.

Thanks for stopping by. ❤

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