Updated June 1, 2020.
People travel differently, and that’s a wonderful thing! Some people go at a fast pace and think they’re doing it “right” by seeing everything. Others take it slow and think they’re traveling in superior fashion because they’re taking it all in and living like a local. Some travel by car, some prefer flying, still others take trains, sail, cruise, or even walk! But no matter how you travel, there are just some things that absolutely every traveler should know!
10. How to Check for and Get a Visa
Sometimes, you need a visa! Did you know Americans need visas for Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and more? It’s extremely important to know those things before you get too deep into planning your trip. Some have to be applied for months in advance, while others can be obtained on arrival at your port of entry (airport, cruise port, etc.). Travelers do their research!
More here: How to Get a Tourist Visa
9. How to Pack light
Tight connections, public transportation, going carry-on only… there are lots of reasons to pack light, and wise travelers know its value! And they also know how to do it. They’re not afraid to re-wear, they pack a couple of scarves or kimono cardigans, they pack basic neutrals with a pop of color to change things up.
Read on: Packing for Pros
8. How and When to Renew Your Passport
That expiration date on your passport is a little deceiving. It’s really only good until six months before that expiration date! Savvy travelers keep track of that timeframe and send their passports in for renewal 6-8 weeks before that six month mark. They don’t plan travel during the time their passport is in limbo, but if they need to, they know to send in proof of their trip and mark it for expedited renewal!
Read on: Your Ultimate Guide to Passports
7. How to Enjoy Traveling Solo
Travelers do not give up on travel. So when friends, family, or other travel buddies bow out, they will inevitably opt to travel solo! Or maybe they just want to travel solo. It’s a real thing. And real travelers not only know how, but they love it! Solo travel can be intimidating at first, but it’s incredibly encouraging, liberating, and enlightening for everyone who takes the chance. Not to mention it’s a ton of fun!
Read on: How to Travel Solo
6. How to Use Your Airline’s App
Generally, your airline’s app will be better than traditional travel practices. You can check in 24 hours in advance on the app, whereas at the airport you’ll have to wait until just a few hours before your flight. Your boarding pass will be on the app, and if your gate changes, your flight is delayed, or your seat changes (hello, upgrade!), the app will know before the announcement is made. And that paper ticket will definitely not update in real time! Your app will also let you know if your incoming aircraft is delayed or already waiting for you at the gate. There’s a lot that handy little app can do, from serving as your boarding pass to tracking your checked luggage!
Read on: Tips for Flying United
5. How to Look Out for Yourself
Travel is and should always be fun, but all travelers know we have to be careful out there. Have self-awareness. Let your friends and family back home know your plans. Post to social media so they know you’re safe. Don’t leave your drink sitting around unattended. Dress appropriately. keep track of your stuff. Just generally look out for yourself.
Read on: How to Stay Safe on Travel
4. How to Be Your Own Advocate
This can be the most frustrating of all the things travelers know about traveling. Sometimes you have to do more than just look out for yourself; you have to be your own advocate. Those miles you earned didn’t make it into your account? Gotta call the airline. Flight got cancelled? Gotta do better than just stand in line at the customer service desk. That airline owes you compensation for that flight they cancelled? They won’t give it up without a fight! Be proactive, know your rights, keep your receipts! Be your own advocate.
3. What to Do when You Get Sick
It happens to even the healthiest of us. We all get sick, and travel is sometimes a nasty business. But experienced travelers know to pack their own little pharmacy, and they practice strategies that will help keep them healthy. From cough drops to immunity boosters, from ibuprofen to the local pharmacy, travelers figure out what to do when they get sick.
2. How to Accrue Points and Miles
The “travel bug” is a real thing. Once travelers start, they just can’t stop the wanderlust that follows. They want to travel more and more with every trip, so it’s not long before they figure out how to travel more for less with points and miles. They play the credit card game, the frequent flyer game, and the hotel loyalty game, and then they make the game work for them!
Read on: Beginner’s Guide to Using Credit Card Points to Travel
and Beginner’s Guide to Using Airline Miles to Travel
and Beginner’s Guide to Hotel Rewards
1. How to Google
No really, this is probably the most important skill a traveler can have! Travelers Google where to travel, what to see and do when they go there, what to eat, where to stay, etc., etc., etc. They read blogs, they read articles, they watch videos, and they keep searching when they’re traveling, too. They Google restaurants nearby, how to use public transportation to get to their accommodation, how much tickets to various attractions cost, and more! If you want to travel well, Google it!
Love this post? Pin it for later!