You live and you learn — and same goes for travel. The more you do it, the more you realize mistakes you’ve been making and ways to make travel much easier the next time you do it. In order to save yourself money, stress, and more, develop these 12 travel habits to use for your future trips. You’ll wonder how you ever traveled without practicing these routines before and during your adventures.
1. Create a travel checklist.
Create a travel and packing checklist to help you remember every item you’ll need for your trip.
2. Ask friends for travel advice if they’ve been to your destination.
Talk to friends and family who you trust to suggest places to eat, museums to visit, areas to stay, transportation to take, and more. They know you best, and if they’ve already been to the destination you’re visiting, they’ll be able to curate your trip for you and offer advice based on their own experience.
3. Pack ahead of time.
Get into the habit of packing at least a night before your trip, ideally even more in advance. If you start packing slowly in the week leading up to your travels, you’ll be able to throw things into your bag as you think of them, which means you’re less likely to forget something. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack, or you’ll start your trip stressed, and there’s a great chance you’ll forget something important.
4. Always make multiple copies of your important documents!
It’s a good idea to leave photocopies of your ID, travel insurance, passport, and itinerary with friends or family at home so that if you lose anything, someone can send you copies. It’s also smart to keep your real passport and important documents in a lock box at your hotel and carry photocopies with you when you’re out and about exploring.
5. Always keep a water bottle with you.
Bring a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go so that you can always refill and stay hydrated throughout your flight and throughout the entirety of your trip. You never know when you’ll be away from a place to get water for a while, so fill up before you head out on any long adventures.
6. Always keep your devices charged up!
Carry adapters and chargers with you wherever you go, and if there’s an outlet available when you sit for a drink or to eat, always take advantage of it and charge up. Charge all your devices overnight while you sleep so that when you leave in the morning for your adventures, you have full battery that will last as much of the day as possible.
7. Get everywhere earlier than you need to be.
Get to the airport early. Get to the train station early. Get to your dinner reservation earlier. When you’re in an unfamiliar place, you never know where you might get turned around, so it’s always smart to leave earlier than you need to in case of any hiccups along the way. Especially when air travel is involved, earlier is always safer.
8. Keep your money out of plain sight.
You should never flash your money around, whether in your own city or in a new one. It’s a smart travel habit to always keep your money on you and hidden from plain sight. Never stick anything valuable in your back pocket — it’s the easiest way for pickpocketers to walk by and quickly snag it out.
9. Download Google maps you can use offline.
Google offers a feature that allows you to download maps of the area you’re in so that when you’re without WiFi and cell service, you can still navigate the same way you’d be able to with service. This is a lifesaver when you’re in foreign countries or remote areas where reception is spotty or nonexistent!
10. Take photos of important details.
Take photos of your hotel’s address, your travel itinerary, important ticket numbers, parking spot information, flight confirmation numbers, receipts you want to keep track of, your hotel room number, etc. Don’t rely just on your memory alone for the important details of your travels; you’ll be glad to have backup images on your phone to remind you.
11. Know your passport’s expiration date.
Don’t let an expired passport date — or one that is about to expire — creep up on you. Many countries won’t allow you to travel to them if your passport expires between three and six months of your travel date, so make sure you know how much time you have left with the document and be majorly on top of renewing it.
12. Learn to pack light.
A great travel habit to develop is learning how to pack as efficiently as possible. Use minimalist packing tips to ensure that you’re bringing what you need and only what you need. If possible, stick to using only a carry-on throughout your travels; this will make transportation so much easier.