To really get a feel for where you are vacationing, follow the locals. Many top vacation spots start to feel very generic and touristy. By asking around and finding where the people who live there hang out, you will get a more authentic feel for the area, and as a bonus, avoid the price markups that plague tourist hot spots.
To avoid being the victim of a pickpocket, keep your hand on your belongings. Nearly every large tourist destination has its share of less savory residents, who seek to take advantage of unwary travelers. Prime targets are crowded areas, where people may be bumping into one another and therefore, may not feel the pickpocket. To prevent this, if you are heading into a crowded situation, keep one of your hands on your belongings at all times. This makes it impossible for someone to steal without your notice.
When traveling to many areas of the world, be aware of the nature of the plumbing. For example, toilet paper is not meant to go into the sewer pipes in much of the world. Instead, there will be a small basket next to the toilet to hold the paper.
When planning to fly for a trip, don’t forget any frequent flier miles you might have racked up. It does you no good to hang onto those once you’ve already gone on your big vacation. Even if you don’t have enough miles to cover the whole trip, many airlines will allow you to discount your rate using your miles.
Pack some plastic bags when going on a longer trip. Plastic bags always come in handy when you spill something, for toiletries or if you have some dirty laundry. Meanwhile, some places have laundry opportunities, so it is always useful to carry a plastic bag with you to keep your dirty laundry in.
If you are traveling to a hot country, remember to pack insect repellent. Insect bites can be not only annoying. They can be also painful, and many countries won’t stock the industrial-strength repellent available back home. While abroad, apply a liberal amount of insect repellent as night approaches to ensure you get an undisturbed sleep.
Make sure you check your credit card statement after you stay at a hotel. Even if your bill is correct when you pay at check out, extra fees may find their way into your payment. Sometimes rooms get charges twice by accident or another guest’s expenses will get put on your account. If this happens, call the hotel’s billing department right away.
If you’re traveling with kids, buy each child their own disposable camera. Tell them to take pictures of anything they find interesting. If they fill it up before the trip is over, you can get them another one fairly cheap. Then they’ll have something to remember all the things they liked – you’d be surprised how different the pictures your kid takes are from yours.
Do not put a sightseeing attraction into your travel plans without researching it a little. While the idea of such an attraction is straightforward – go to a landmark and look at it – in practice, many popular destinations will require entrance fees or advance reservations. Being prepared for such requirements will keep you from getting disappointed.
When you get to your location, check with the locals for things to do. Locals will know all the best places to go for recreation or for food. This can help you avoid going to less than thrilling places or places that are going to be extremely crowded.
Sometimes the cleanliness of the linens in your hotel room is questionable. Rather than risk it, use your t-shirt as a pillowcase. After a long day of business meetings or sightseeing, turn your shirt inside out and use it over the hotel pillowcase. You can wash your shirt later, and it’s infinitely more appealing than putting your face on suspicious linens.