As we ring in 2018, we have the promise of new and exciting adventures. Many countries around the globe are going to receive a surge of tourism. Popular tourism spots for Americans in places like Europe will have record numbers since it is one of the least expensive times to visit in recent memory. To make the most out of your next trip, here are some of our favorite 2018 travel tips.
Carry Spare Cash
One of the best tips to adhere to while traveling is never store all of your cash and cards in a single place. Instead, find a safe place to keep a small stash of emergency cash and a spare credit card. This is a smart move for two reasons.
First, it gives you peace of mind that you are prepared for the unexpected. Secondly, it doesn't leave you empty handed if your wallet or purse gets stolen. To this day the first thing I do when packing for a trip is to sort out my emergency stash.
I always try to pack minimally yet, when I return home, I still find some items that I never used. It is mind-boggling. Over-packing makes your luggage cumbersome, leaving you worn out, frustrated, and can put an unneeded strain on your trip.
In 2018, pack smarter. If you have the slightest doubt about packing an item, then leave it at home. If you find that it becomes a necessity while traveling, just pick it up at a local store.
Of course, having the right insurance is one of the smartest choices you can make as a traveler. It has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years as well as helped me sleep soundly through the night.
For a long time, I never traveled with insurance. Like many people, I never thought I would get hurt or sick. After a couple of hospital visits cut into my budget, I wised up. Now it is one of the first things I do when planning a trip.
Travel Longer in Fewer Places
The anticipation of seeing every inch of a new country makes it easy to get excited and over plan. One lesson I have learned over the years is that overextending yourself and planning to visit too many places sucks the joy out of a journey. Spending hours packing, navigating airports, or sitting on trains every few days gets old fast.
After a while, I learned that taking my time, traveling slower, and staying in the places I loved longer is the best way to see a country. It’s true you might see fewer places, but you really get to know the cities you explore and overall, you get a more well rounded experience. Plus, you are not exhausted from the wear and tear of jumping from place to place the entire time.
Smile and Talk to the Locals
Getting to know the local people gives you an edge over other travelers as well as inside advantage that will help you travel smarter. Locals can steer you towards non-touristy sites, authentic restaurants, cheaper places to shop, and unexpected adventures.
Making friends with locals also lets you feel the heartbeat of the city. These people are the lifeblood of the place you are visiting. They know the local stories, history, and culture. If you want to discover an area, the locals hold all the secrets that most tourists never hear.
Earn Bonus Miles
I've earned dozens of free flights all over the world because I focus on collecting as many miles as possible. One of the best ways to earn miles quickly is to get a travel credit card that offers a high mileage bonus plus extra miles on travel purchases.
Some of the credit cards come with awesome perks like access to airport lounges and global entry which lets you travel in style. Credit cards are also great for earning free hotel points.
However, the key to having a travel credit card and traveling smarter is paying off your entire balance at the end of the month to avoid interest. If that is something you don’t think you can do, then you are better off not getting one.
Transfer Miles Between Partners
In the airline world, there are a couple of alliances, groups of airlines that work together. Two of the most significant are Star Alliance and OneWorld. Airline alliances allow for some exciting opportunities for collecting miles.
For example, if you are trying to earn miles on United but are booking your next flight on Thai Airways then you are in luck. Both of these airlines are in Star Alliance so you can enter your United frequent flyer number into Thai Airways and earn United miles. You can also transfer miles to different partners easily and usually without a penalty.
Travel is about trying new and exciting things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. In 2018, try not to conform to one type of travel. If you usually stay in hotels, then try something different and book a couple of nights staying with locals in an Airbnb or try a night in a hostel.
I often switch my travel style depending on where I am and if it is the peak tourist season. Overall, it has made me a better and well-rounded traveler.
Research City or Country Passes
Many tourist hotspots have country or city passes. These passes cost a lump sum and give you access to many different sites around the area. If you are planning on visiting the major tourist attractions, then a pass like this can save you hundreds of dollars. It is easy to discover these passes by doing a quick Google search.
Keep Your Receipts
It amazes me how few people keep their receipts when traveling. However, many countries pay back taxes to tourists who have their receipts. It doesn't work on all purchases like hotels, or meals, but it does work with many souvenirs, clothes, and gifts. Ask shop owners if they offer tax back options or look for a sticker in the shops saying "Tax-Free".
Every year we should aspire to travel smarter. This list of ten travel tips has saved me hundreds of dollars, and countless headaches while traveling the world. If you take these tips to heart then this advice will help make 2018 your best year of travel ever.
Fun is part of any travel experience, but so is staying protected. Learn more about our policies here!