My 65 Best Travel Tips To Save Money & Travel Like A Pro!
After 15 years of traveling the world, I’ve gathered the best travel tips and tricks to save money, avoid mistakes, and travel like a pro!
I’ve definitely learned my fair share of lessons while traveling – like the time I was robbed on a train because I let my guard down or the time Scott and I showed up at the Bozeman Airport only to find that we no longer had a car rental.
Some of these travel mishaps can be avoided and some of them are just a part of traveling. You simply cannot plan for everything. However, keeping a few important things in mind will make your travels much easier.
People often ask us, “What is your top travel tip?” so we put together the do’s and don’ts of traveling with these 65 travel tips that every traveler needs to know!
Best Travel Tips For 2023
1. Be Flexible
We always plan for delays and try not to get upset when things inevitably go wrong. Patience is extremely important when traveling!
2. Make A List
About a week or so before each trip, I make a mental list of items I don’t want to forget — which I WILL forget if I don’t write them down. I’ve learned that when I think of something, I need to write it down.
Packing lists are essential! Read more: The Ultimate Carry-On Packing Guide and our Road Trip Packing Guide.
3. Learn Common Phrases Of The Local Language
A simple “Please,” “Thank you,” and “I’m sorry” in the local language goes a long way. I also like to learn the word for beer, but that’s just me.
4. Don’t Forget An Extra Camera Battery (Or Two)
Have you ever gotten to that epic sunset photo spot and realized your camera battery is dead and you don’t have a back up? I try to bring at least three camera batteries on all of our trips so that we don’t miss out on that perfect shot.
Read more: The Ultimate Packing Guide for Travel Photographers
5. Always Bring A Sarong
Sarongs can be used as a wrap when you are cold, a towel, a curtain, or a piece of clothing that can be worn dozens of different ways. Solid colors are great, but if you want something that stands out, I love this sarong.
6. Always Buy Travel Insurance
A medical emergency can wipe out your savings — or even worse. We use and trust Visitors Coverage for travel insurance.
7. Make Photocopies Of Important Documents
In my early twenties, I was very good about keeping a copy of my passport in a separate bag from my actual passport. Then I got lazy.
Recently, a friend of mine lost her passport at the airport. She was told that if she had brought a copy of it and extra passport photos they would have let her travel. Since she didn’t, she was forced to forfeit a $2,000 flight and a week in Europe. I now carry a copy with me.
8. Pack Extra Underwear
Undies are small and it’s always a good idea to have a few extra pairs in case of emergencies. Another option is to pack these quick-dry underwear so you can easily wash them on the road.
9. Pre-Plan Your Outfits
I’m a lazy, last-minute packer, so I’ve spent too many trips with all black or all grey outfits because I didn’t plan my outfits before packing. I look back at photos and wish I had put more effort into packing.
Read more: How to Stay Stylish While Traveling
10. Put Important Items In Your Carry-On
A few important items should always go in your carry-on, like your electronics, medications, toothbrush and an extra pair of underwear. A swimsuit is also a good idea if you are going on a beach vacation. You can buy most of these things if your bag gets lost, but having them in your carry-on will save you money and time if your luggage gets lost in transit.
11. Ask About The Price BEFORE You Take Public Transportation
It’s a good idea to ask about the price before you hop on a bus, guagua, or other form of public transportation. We learned our lesson in the Dominican Republic.
Read more: 10 Best Tips for Traveling Europe
12. Bring Lotion In Your Carry-On
I fill both sides of a contact lens case with hydrating lotion (I use this all-natural hydrating lotion) because they rarely have it in the lavatories and airplane cabins are exceptionally dry.
13. Stay Hydrated On Planes
I know it’s fun to get drunk at 30,000 feet, but it’s also much easier to get dehydrated. Staying hydrated — especially on long-haul flights — makes it easier to get over jet lag too.
14. Put Your Room Number & Hotel Address In Your Phone
Am I the only one who can’t remember my hotel room number?? There has to be others out there like me.
15. Ask The Locals
We always ask the locals to point us to the best restaurants, awesome spots to watch the sunset, the best coffee shops, etc. I do like to tell people what type of food I’m craving though. I’ve been led to some interesting restaurants that wouldn’t have been my first choice.
16. Beware Of Free Public WIFI
I always try to avoid logging into bank accounts or entering any passwords while I’m using free public WIFI at a place like an airport. I’m not as strict about it once I’ve gotten to my hotel, especially if they have a password for their wifi.
17. Alert Your Bank And Credit Card Company Of Your Travel Plans
This is a great habit to get into if you don’t want your credit card company or bank to put a hold on your card while you are overseas.
18. Wear Sunscreen
My face moisturizer has SPF. This is just something I do every day, but it’s especially important while traveling.
19. Book Early For Cheap Flights
Flights are always the first thing I book when planning a trip — sometimes I do this nearly a year in advance! For the most part, the earlier you book, the better price you will get. Airfare rarely goes down in price unless there is a sale (or an airline pricing error).
Skyscanner is the first place I check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines. The calendar (or “map”) feature shows the cheapest days to fly in your preferred month of travel!
I also sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights alerts and have saved thousands of dollars on their secret flight deals.
Read more: How to Book the Absolute Cheapest Flights to Anywhere
20. Keep An Open Mind
Don’t judge other customs. You are a visitor. Be respectful.
21. Leave Room For Spontaneity
Don’t plan your entire itinerary ahead of time. It’s tempting, I know, but those unplanned moments while traveling can be the best memories.
22. Let Someone At Home Know Your Plans
This is extremely important when traveling solo, but it’s still a good idea no matter how many people are in your travel group.
Read more: 10 Common Travel Scams & How to Avoid Them
23. Separate Your Personal Items
When Scott and I travel together, we mix our personal items into each checked bag (assuming we have more than one). That way if one of our bags gets lost, we both still have some clothing and personal items.
24. Separate Your Sources Of Money
Don’t keep all of your cash and cards in one spot. I usually hide some cash and a back up credit/bank card in a separate bag — not the same bag as my wallet.
Read more: 10 Best Jobs For People Who Love To Travel
25. Travel First Aid Kit
We pack up a small first aid kit with aspirin, Benadryl, cold meds, Tums, cough drops, bandages, Activated Charcoal pills (these are a lifesaver for traveler’s diarrhea and minor allergic reactions), Neosporin, and other things that we may not always have easy access to when traveling. J&J sells an inexpensive mini first aid kit.
26. Book Refundable Hotel Rooms In Advance
Some travelers prefer to book their travel last minute, but I’m not one of them. I believe this was easier years ago when travel was not nearly as popular as it is today. If you’re going to a well-known and popular destination, you’ll want to plan at least 6 months in advance — especially if you’re traveling during the busy season for that destination.
The earlier you book your hotel, the better chance you will have at getting your choice of location at an affordable price. We use booking.com to book our hotels as we have found them to have the best price and most reliable review system.
27. Purchase Durable Luggage
Nobody wants to end up in the middle of their trip with broken luggage. After 15+ years of travel, I’ve put together a list of the most durable luggage on the market.
28. Pre-Book Activities And Tours
Similar to hotels, if you’re traveling to a popular destination and you know you want to take a specific tour, book these in advance. Places like Antelope Canyon and activities like swimming with pigs book up fast during the busy season!
29. Check In For Your Flight As Soon As It Opens
I set a reminder in my phone to check in as soon as that particular flight opens. This is especially important if you’re traveling with a buddy.
30. Bring Earplugs
I always carry a pack of earplugs — you never know when you will need them. Sleep is so important when traveling!
31. Pack A Small Quick-Dry Towel
A travel-size microfiber towel that dries quickly is important to have on hand. I even carry one of these in my car when I’m at home.
32. Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are great for keeping your suitcase organized as well as saving space. My favorite packing cubes come with a lifetime warranty.
33. Bring A Scrubba Bag To Wash Your Clothes
I’ve done my fair share of laundry in a hotel room sink or bathtub, but this Scrubba Bag invention makes things so much easier.
34. Carry A Small Bag For Dirty Laundry
I always travel with a small laundry bag that keeps my dirty clothes separated from my clean clothes — or you can use your Scrubba Portable Wash Bag as your dirty clothes bag. I like to put a dryer sheet in the bag to help with the smell as well.
35. Use A Packing List
It’s helpful to use a packing list from other travelers who have been to that destination before. We have tons of guides for packing, here are a few:
36. Bring A Universal Adapter
This universal travel adapter has everything you will need and it includes dual USB charging ports.
37. Wake Up Early To Beat The Crowds
My favorite time to explore a new destination is at sunrise. It’s also the best time for photos in many cases!
Read more: How to Take Amazing Travel Photos as a Solo Traveler
38. Bring A Small Foldable Backpack For Sightseeing
I personally bring a huge camera bag that I don’t want to carry around on long day trips, so I bring this small foldable daypack in my suitcase to carry whatever I need for the day once I get to my destination — including camera gear.
39. Bring A GoPro
GoPros are great not only for underwater photos, but for selfies as well. They are super light and don’t take up much room in your bag.
Read more: The Best Travel Cameras & How To Choose
40. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Lost
Sometimes getting lost while traveling ends up leading you to things you wouldn’t normally see. Now, I’m not advocating to get lost in the middle of the desert without water or getting lost in an unsafe neighborhood. Safety first!
41. Ask Permission To Take Photos Of Locals
This should go without saying, but I feel like I should say it just in case.
42. Carry Hand Sanitizer
Travel-size hand sanitizer bottles are great when there’s no washroom available.
43. Rent A Car When Possible
Public transportation is a great option when you’re on a budget or when you’re visiting a city. However, there are some places you’ll want your own set of wheels to explore more off the beaten path.
44. Carry Snacks
I ALWAYS carry snacks. This keeps me from missing meals and having some healthier options on those long travel days.
45. Make Breakfast At Your Hotel Or Vacation Rental
If I’m staying more than a day or two in one location, I’ll buy a few items like oatmeal, granola, or fruit to have on hand for an easy and cheap breakfast. This saves me both time and money!
46. Travel During The Off Season For The Best Deals
You can find some great deals during the shoulder season. However, if this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and you want the best likelihood of good weather, sometimes it’s better to spend a little more rather than having your entire vacation ruined by weather.
47. Bring A Light Jacket
A light water-resistant jacket is great for unexpected (or expected) rain and wind.
48. Bring A Handpresso
A handpresso is such a fun little invention. I obviously don’t bring this on all of my trips, but it’s great for camping or road trips.
49. Visit The Local Tourism Office
The local tourism office is such a wealth of information. You can grab local maps, they can suggest free activities or special events happening during your stay, and they can even offer discounts on attractions and transportation.
50. Bring Your Own Water Bottle
I always bring my own travel water bottle. Most airports these days have water bottle filling stations so it’s great for airports too. Let’s use less plastic!
51. Use Google Translate
Download the Google Translate app on your phone and you’ll be able to speak to locals as well as translate signs and menus.
52. Carry Small Change
Not having the correct change for things like public transportation can cause you to pay more. Always carry small change and separate it in your bags.
53. Use A Portable Luggage Scale
A small portable luggage scale is useful if you’re worried about over packing on your way home and you don’t want to pay expensive luggage overage fees.
54. Roll Your Clothes
Rolling your clothes keeps them free of wrinkles and helps to organize your bag. You can find your clothes much easier than the traditional folding and stacking method.
55. Download Offline Maps
You can’t always count on having wifi available. This is especially useful for road trips, but necessary during all types of travel.
56. Keep Toiletries Within Reach
You don’t want to be digging through your bag to find your toothbrush.
57. Don’t Pack Full-Size Toiletries
Even if you’re not flying, I recommend buying leak-proof travel bottles (these are are made of food-grade BPA-free silicone) and filling them with your favorite products.
58. Listen To Your Body
It’s easy to try to pack too much into a trip. Listen to your body and rest when you’re not feeling well — and remember to eat your veggies.
59. Download Safety Apps
Popular safety apps include bSafe, ICE, Shake2Safety, Kitestring, Smart24x7 and many others. These apps offer features such as 24/7 monitoring, emergency alert, location-based services and can deliver instant or delayed messages. Many of these apps also worked with a locked phone screen and without internet access.
60. Keep Your Phone Charged
Our phones are used for so much these days that it’s important to keep them charged. Consider investing in a portable charger power bank. These are incredibly small and can fit in your pocket or bag. They can hold quite a bit of charge and are great for when you’re out exploring and do not have access to a standard charger.
61. Pack A Headlamp
Ever since I visited Nepal — where they have random power outages every single day — I’ve always kept a good headlamp in my bag. It’s come in handy more times than I can count. Having something hands-free versus a flashlight is helpful in many situations too.
62. Use No-Fee Bank And Credit Cards
Make sure to bring credit and debit cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee or an ATM fee. Those charges can add up especially now that we rarely use cash when traveling.
63. Use Facebook Groups To Meet New People
Facebook can be a great way to meet new people while on the road. Search for various groups such as “Things To Do in (City Name)” or “New To (City Name),” join a few groups, and post a request to meet up with other travelers.
64. Take Free Walking Tours
Walking tours can give you a good orientation and background of the city you are visiting. Do a search on Google or Facebook groups to find options for the destination you’re visiting.
65. Use Points And Miles For Free Travel
I always look for credit cards that will give me points and miles towards travel. I figure I’m going to be spending the money on my card anyway — and the points really do add up!
Travel tip FAQ
1. Scan or photograph your passport, credit cards, driver’s license and any other important documents.
2. Check the travel requirements for your destination (including visas).
3. Make sure you have your boarding passes and itinerary in several different places (printing it out and easily accessible on your phone).
4. Buy travel insurance.
5. Check your prescriptions and make sure you have enough for your entire trip.
Our number one travel tip is to be flexible. Travel will rarely ever go as planned. If you go into it with an open mind and prepared for unexpected changes, you will be able to flow with the changes with more ease.
Love to Travel?
Want to know how to travel the world? I’ve put together a page full of useful travel resources with tips and tricks I’ve learned after consistently traveling for over ten years. Learn how I make a living while traveling, the best travel hacks that will save you money, how to find cheap flights and accommodation, how to choose the best carry-on luggage, how to start a travel blog, and more.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? Share them in the comments!
I have gone through the travel tips and I find them extremely useful. However, I would like to add that you download travel apps before you travel.
Such travel apps like google translate and google maps will come in handy. Google translate in case you’re visiting a country that speaks a language different from your mother tongue. And google maps so are able to locate places on your travel list especially if you’re using a car rental or public transport.
These are very useful tips. I am planning to take a trip very soon and these will surely be handy. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.
If you travel twice a year or more there are travel insurance companies that sell yearly travel insurance that is cheaper but with good coverage for travelers. Read the small print, always. Carry a convertible plug, there are several that have all the necessary types of plugs for various countries. Make sure that they have at least two USB ports. If you forget the converter there is generally a USB port on the back of the tv in your room. Always carry spare camera battery and card and portable charger for when you take more pictures than you though and drain the battery and you are away from power. Always get a hotel card when you head out so you can show it to a driver to get you back home. There a walking maps available for phones that are great for finding places. A great way to get to know a foreign city is to take a foodie tour where you try different foods and get a history of the area with stories. Always ask hotel people where to eat to get authentic local foods. Shop in local markets to learn about foods in area. Don’t over plan because many new things show up for one to discover and make memories.
Such good advice! I already do lots. The ones I haven’t, I will now.
One more: pack your old clothes for travel. If you lose it, it’s not a big loss. And you might need to make space for travel acquisitions.
Stunning photos of beautiful people and daily life from around the world. Look forward to your travel updates.
Thanks Christy for the wonderful travel tips. I am new into blogging and I really find your blog amazing, as how you detailed all the important things to have when travelling. Take care.
Amazing tips guys. It will really help the travelers to get the best traveling experience. Thank you for sharing this post with us.
Thanks for all this great information. If we have a little less then a couple of weeks-wondering how much time we should give ourselves for the Ultimate Utah trip. I know two weeks is too long. Trying to figure out where we can go form there-don’t mind driving and maybe we can fly into one city and out of another.
Hi Karen. We actually have a guide on traveling in Utah. Check it out here: https://ordinarytraveler.com/road-trip-guide-utah-national-parks
this is so amazing ,thanks for the amazing tips ,its so great and amazing ,well done .
sometimes we use free public wifi unconsciously,
and this is the starting point of the theft of our important financial data.
I set up a VPN to my home computer so if I need to do anything it’s safer than depending on local wifi to be safe. I also send my pictures home every night so if I lose my camera or SD card I’m covered.
Travel insurance is one thing that’s always missed by people..one of the most important things and poly bags, sanitizers or paper soap…one of the best tips I’ve come across! Cheers!
very informative and useful, thanks! I’d add some useful websites to the paragraph “ask the locals”. if you don’t want to communicate with locals or you don’t speak their languages, you can use “like a local” website or similar to know best places beforehand.
Useful tips for everyone! Finally discovered roadeavour water bottle and soap sheet to add on my things-to-bring list!
I think it’s critically important to take care of your body when traveling. It’s so easy lose track of what you’re eating when you are moving around, but it’s hard to enjoy what new places have to offer when you’re vomiting or lethargic.
amazing tips!thanks ..hope we will enjoy our journey with more comfort.pack your lauguage as small as possible and learn mimimum basics of local launaguage..
When in USA I alway use the app “Crime and Place” (iOS). I plan a hotel stay by entering address to see crime level of neighborhood I’m looking at, or when out walking I can see what the area is going to be like. It’s a great app for solo female travelers, especially….but really for anyone…..trip planning, roadtripping……et.
I peel the prescription label off meds bottles and put in a tiny plastic bag (Hobby Lobby/bead bags). I keep the paper info sheet from the pharmacy in my travel doc envelope separately in case I need to refill etc.
I take 2 phones.
I use PacSafe products, money belts, etc.
Yes I’m cautious, one bad experience won’t ruin my future travel plans!
This is a great post. One of my favorites was being respecful with the culture. I always love being totally present in the moment and be aware of what I’m living.
Visiting Varanasi was an amazing experience, I think I’ll never forget that experience not even a second
Thx! Great tips. Besides, bringing some medicine is very important. I always make sure i bring along paracetamol, Axe Medical Oil, Handy Plus Plaster and Po Chai Pills especially when I am travelling with kids. We just don’t know when we might need them.
Great tips Christy. I also love travel different beautiful destinations of the world. I keep such tips in mind when i make a trip MCleodganj, India. These tips are really helpful for all travelers.
Nice tips but photocopies of your passport do nothing. We experienced this today when TSA in Orlando lost our 8 year old daughter’s passport during screening. We had a connecting flight through New York and she was able to take that flight because it is domestic but was denied access to our Westjet flight home to Calgary because a photocopy is not valid documentation. TSA and Westjet did very little to help but give us phone numbers to a Canadian Embassy. The Embassy is useless because they are only open 5 hours a day Monday through Friday. My wife stayed behind with our daughter and had to rebook a flight at our own expense to a US destination closer to our home so I can drive down with my daughter’s birth certificate to bring them home. Moral of the story, don’t let anyone touch your passport and photocopies are useless.
Sorry you had to go through all of that! I personally bring a copy of mine because it can make it easier if you need to get a new one in another country.
I wonder if bringing your ‘expired'(old) passport would work as a backup. Anyone know?
I think it couldn’t hurt but I would also bring a copy of your current one. 🙂
Love this one “Always Bring a Sarong” ..in my country, we call it “sarung”.
This information is very useful.ilove this post.these tips are very easy to understand for new travelers to travel without any problem
Love the ‘always bring a sarong’ tip. Thats a personal tip of mine too..they can be turned into so many things.
This is so true about transportation! Once in Venice we took a local bus for 6 euros! Then we’ve counted that it’d be much cheaper to rent a car for a whole day!
Thank you so much for sharing tips for travel backpacking, After reading this blog its is very easy for new travelers to travel around the world without any problem.
Wow, those are truly some great tips! They are very helpful!. “Alert Your Bank and Credit Card Company Of Your Travel Plans” is , in my opinion, one of the most importants things one should think about when travelling. Without money or credit card you can barely do anything on your trip. I hope to travel around the world someday, it is one of my dreams and when that happens i will remember your tips.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
Don’t judge other customs. You are a visitor. Be respectful.
I have a friend who is a former travel agent and she always puts the address of the next hotel she is going to if it’s a multi destination trip along with the dates she will be at that destination. That way if luggage gets lost along the way it doesn’t get sent home but gets sent to your next destination. Obviously you should also include your home address and cell phone too but I thought this was a great idea.
That’s such a great idea! Thank you for sharing!
I pre-print the luggage tags at home ahead of time with the destination of each stop as a separate tag. Every time I check into a place I change the tag to the next place. I also have my home specs printed on the Inside of the bags incase they get lost at the airport and they get opened. Ever bag has a photocopy of my itinerary and all phone numbers and res # etc… I also take pictures of my bags just as I am about to leave incase I need to ID them (or the lost & found does) I used to use their Airline Baggage ID chart numbers but few use them any more. My phone also has a universal (sort of) printer driver so I can print out those pics anywhere I can.
Great list of tips Christy! The most important I would have to say is Travel Medical Insurance. I’ve always said, if you can afford to travel, you can afford travel insurance. Don’t leave home without it! Rob
It is a beautiful complete and really good post. We’ll share it with your permission
What wonderful advices .I am currently working in the beginning stage of planning my own 1 trip around the world and I can’t wait to read what else you have learned on your travels and I would love to share my experience after coming back from my trip.
Amazing information. Finding the balance between adult and child, friendly activities are most important to make sure everyone is happy and their needs are met accordingly. Always have a family planning meeting before going to trip and let everyone choose one activity they want to include in the trip.Try this its very helpful.
I always carry a washcloth in a plastic bag in my carry-on. Good for emergency clean-ups and just in case your hotel doesn’t provide one.
Amazing tips/ideas. I think every travel must try these tips. Thanks for sharing such informative blog. Sunscreen with SPF 40+ are THE BEST.
Hubby loves trying different kind of food and often gets upset stomach during travel. He started taking Probiotic about a week before the trip and during the trip. Problem solved!
I love this post. I have learned a lot from traveling and make sure I make a copy of my passport, DL, medical cards, a copy of our eyeglass prescription (just in case) credit cards, etc. My husband had his wallet stolen on our honeymoon in Cancun and we were so frazzled that something easily remembered goes out of your mind (like a phone number) Hotel and room number were a great idea. Again, thanks for all the wonderful tips!
These are awesome tips. I especially like the activated charcoal and the sarong, as neither of those are ones that would have made my list!
Activated charcoal has been a life saver for me. haha
Also, 2 other tips-
– tell your government that you’re away. The US State department has a little form that’s quick to fill out. Just in case.
-meds – they’re important. I inevitably get a cold while traveling, so it’s much better to have it handy. Also, foods in foreign countries are different, and sometimes that means taking precautions. In more dicey areas, I had little pepto chewable tablets, which are surprisingly helpful at getting your stomach ready for potentially food that might not be as clean as you’d expect at home.
Very helpful tips, Stunning photos of beautiful people and daily life from around the world. Look forward to your travel updates.
Good list Christy. “Be Flexible” is the most important for me so I’m happy to see it at the top of your list. I’m obsessive-compulsive and too often plan everything to a T, which sometimes leads to frustration and disappointment when things don’t go as planned. On a trip, that can be often. My wife is always telling me to relax and she’s absolutely right. I’m getting better though. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! I completely agree, letting go of expectations on trips can be tough. For me, bad weather is a big one. Is it wrong that I always want it to be sunny?? 🙂
I use contact cases for lotion too! Though on my last trip home I sleepily put my contacts into the lotion case and woke up to lotion-covered contacts. Luckily, one of my MY travel tips is to always, always have an extra pair of new contacts, so I was able to just rip open a new pack and toss the lotion covered ones haha.
That sucks! Contact cases are great, although, I’ve had hair oil leak out of them. Everything else seems to stay in.
Great tips. Telling the bank to me is one of the most important. There’s nothing more frustrating then getting to your hotel, and your card is denied because you are in New Delhi!
Ahh. I forgot to include another tip about credit cards. I only brought my Mastercard to the south of France and not everyone would take it!
Great tips. I recently started using activated charcoal at home (as a teeth whitener, looks funny but it works), so I’ll definitely consider packing some of these on my next trip.
I had no idea it was a teeth whitener too! Yeah, I’m allergic to Cypro, which is what docs give for stomach issues when traveling, so I had to find another solution and this stuff is MUCH better for you than antibiotics.