Emma Marie's Top Travel Tips
I have gathered these travel tips from my experiences over the years. If you follow these super simple things, you'll be a pro traveler just like that.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.
The first thing you must do as soon as you nail down a destination and date is plan your trip! Itineraries and lists are your best friends (trust me here). Here are some things to remember to do beforehand so you don't have to worry while you're sitting poolside.
Call the concierge at your hotel way before your travel date and ask for recommendations of things to do. They're locals, so they know! And many times you need to make reservations ahead of time to avoid waiting in line at attractions.
Contact your bank and/or card companies to notify them of your travel. Don't go all the way to Europe for VISA to flag your card.
Make copies of important documents (passport, license, affidavit, etc.) to keep with you in case you lose the real thing. Put a copy in your suitcase and keep the original with you.
Give a copy of your important documents and all of your travel information (itineraries, hotels, etc.) to a trusted someone(s) back home. You never know what could happen, but you want someone at home to know what's going on when it does.
Make a travel folder that has anything and everything in it. I suggest including your itinerary, a list of what you packed (at least important and meaningful items), a list of all of your passwords (can't tell you how many times this has been a lifesaver), and a list of everyone's information (medicines, date of birth, social security number, etc.)
Planning may seem like overkill but like they say, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." I have never had a bad travel experience when things were planned. I do want to say, though, over-planning is possible and discouraged. Make time in your itinerary to explore and be spontaneous. Just make sure everything is in order.
2. On to number 2! BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE
It's always offered. It seems like a scam, but it's not. It is a lifesaver when you need it. Just bite the bullet and buy travel insurance, especially when planning a big and expensive trip.
3. ROLL YOUR CLOTHES
Marie Kondo didn't become a star for nothing. She knows what she's doing, and it works in suitcases, too. You'll be surprised how many more clothes you can fit now that you've rolled all the other pieces! And you may be asking yourself about the wrinkles that may happen. Most hotels provide an iron or steamer for that, and if they don't, hang your clothes in the bathroom while the steam from the shower irons them for you.
4. WEAR HEAVY CLOTHES ON THE PLANE
Most airlines have a checked bag weight limit of 50 pounds. Yeah, I've reached high 40s before, and I won't do that again...or maybe I will. I'm an overpacker and can't help myself. Anyway, you need to wear your heaviest clothes on the plane so you don't overdo it in your suitcase. I make sure to wear my Chacos, jacket, and jeans on the plane. They can't tell me I weigh too much! Someone would probably get sued for that.
5. THE CARRY-ON ESSENTIAL
Pack that carry-on like nobody’s business. Be sure to include your swimsuit or whatever you need when you arrive at your hotel. Hotels usually have a certain time in the day that they allow guests to check in. If you arrive beforehand, you give your luggage to them and sit around for a few hours until your room is ready. My suggestion is to have your pool stuff ready in your carry-on for easy access and go enjoy as soon as you get there! This is also important if you are arriving in a different climate than when you started. Bring shorts on the plane with you and change mid-air or when you land. You’ll thank yourself for this one.
6. PACK MORE BAGS
Pack Ziplocs and grocery bags in every nook and cranny you can find. These are perfect for dirty clothes, liquids, shoes, literally everything. When I went to Italy, I brought back freshly ground coffee and double-bagged it in a Ziploc, and I kid you not that my clothes still had a faint smell of coffee on them (not that I'm complaining). If you bring back souvenirs, you do not want your clothes to smell like them, so bring the extra bags.
7. BE (SOMEWHAT) EXCITED FOR LAYOVERS
Learn to love your layover, and consider it your moment of peace. This is the perfect time to stretch, read a book, listen to a podcast, grab a cup of coffee, or just walk around the airport for 3 hours. This is your time to people watch and enjoy almost being on vacation.
8. JET LAG DOESN'T EXIST
Okay, some may disagree with this one, but I really think jet lag is a myth. If you are traveling where jet lag could happen, here is my advice. Schedule how you sleep. When I went to Italy, our flight left Detroit in the late evening and arrived in Rome at 8:30 a.m. It was going to be a 9 hour flight. You want to get off the plane with your body on Italian time or wherever you're going. To do that, you have to wake up with Italy, so that would be 8 a.m. To do that, you need to sleep when Italy sleeps, so that would mean you need roughly 5 hours of sleep...but it's a 9 hour flight. What about the first 4 hours? Watch a movie! Delta Airlines has individual TVs for every person on the plane. Watch 2 movies, go to sleep for 5 hours, and wake up refreshed and feeling like an Italian. It seems a little tricky -- and it is -- but with just a little, you guessed it, planning, you can easily conquer that first day you arrive!
9. TRAVEL JOURNAL
Bring a travel journal everywhere you go! It can be something super small or even your phone. You just need something to write down every detail of what you experienced, because I can guarantee you that your memory will slip on that really cool thing you did in Kansas last summer. I take pictures throughout the day with my phone, which has a handy dandy time stamping feature. At night, I go through all the pictures to reflect and then write down every detail. This is a fun and free memento I can bring home to keep forever. I love randomly rereading mine!
Wew. That was a lot. A lot. A lot. That is every piece of travel advice that I follow every time I go on a trip, and I hope it helps you travel like a boss! If you ever have any questions about travel, feel free to contact me here!