As I made my way from Asia to Australia to the Middle East and then to Europe a little while back, I always had a small notebook in my bag to jot down everything. Here are 25 of my top travel tips

1.  Carry a small notebook & pen when you’re traveling

(or actually…just always have one with you no matter where you are).  It only takes up a little space and its great for jotting down notes, directions, peoples names and phone numbers. And if you’re in a restaurant taking notes, waiters may mistake you for a food critic and give you better service.

2. Check in On Line

Once, when I was running ridiculously late for a flight, the only thing that saved me was the fact that I checked in on line ahead of time.  The gate attendant had told me that I arrived too late and would not be allowed on the flight.  I begged and she only relented when she saw that I had already checked in on line.

3. Avoid the bulkhead row on international flights

This is often where families with babies and toddlers are placed. Wailing babies and Cheerio encrusted floors are not a recipe for a relaxing flight.

4. Check if the country you are visiting is “toilet paper in the toilet” or “toilet paper in the trash can”

 Unless you want to get to know the local plumber, its important to know.

5. Always ask for that upgrade (hotel, airline, rental car)

You just never know…

6. Ask for your hotel room to be away from the elevator

In older hotels, the elevator shaft can be noisy and even in newer hotels, the constant traffic from guests can be disturbing.

7. Avoid leaks from shampoo bottles

Remove the bottle’s top, place a small bit of toilet paper or tissue inside the top then place the top back on the bottle. This way even if the cap opens, the tissue will reduce the amount of product that leaks out.  Note: Be careful not to use too much paper otherwise the top will not fit back on tightly and leaks will occur.

8. Visit local food and antique markets

They are always great for soaking up local culture, customs and foods.

9. Assuming its safe, take a ride on a local bus

See parts of the city you don’t see on a metro, amongst people you won’t meet in the back of a taxi.

10. Always carry a packet of tissues  

They are cheap and the pennies you spend on them will be more than returned by the thousands of ways you can use them.

11. Take pictures of museum plaques

Great way to remember interesting facts about the artists/artwork later or the names of pieces that you like.

12.  Don’t badmouth McDonalds or Starbucks

In a pinch, their bathrooms and wifi are priceless.

13. Wake up early and stay up late

Take naps during the day when locals are either working or taking a siesta.

14. If you’re going to splurge on a nice meal, do it at lunch…and get a glass of wine

You’ll get more bang for your buck.

15. Hotel room floors are nasty

Wear socks or flip-flops at all times.

16. Random tidbit: The island of Cyprus has the best selection of salads of anywhere I’ve traveled.

17.When in Japan, try the Green Tea Kit-Kat bars

You won’t be disappointed.

18.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It is nice to be self-sufficient, but trying to struggle through it alone will often cost you time and in some instances, money.

19. Carry mints or gum

Fresh breath fast and they can be a quick burst of energy when you’re feeling sluggish.

Ladies, the next two are for you. When approached by a stranger:

20. The answer to the question “Are you married” is always ‘YES’

21. The answer to the question “Are you traveling alone” is always ‘NO’

(You can always change those answer later if you need to.)

22.  If you’re using your credit card and the vendor asks if you want to charge with your home currency or the local currency, select the local currency? Why?…check out this article.

23. Invest in a good adaptor for your electrical appliances

And often the ‘all-in-one’ versions are too heavy to stay in the wall sockets securely.

24. It may not be environmentally friendly, but

when in a room that requires you to leave the key card in a holder to activate the electricity and air conditioning, any piece of cardboard will do. That way you can keep the room cool and appliances charging even when you’re out.

25.  Keep your pajamas under the pillow on the bed

…so you don’t have to fumble in your suitcase for them when you’re tired.


What are your top travel tips?


This story was curated by Nailah Hayward