15 Not-So-Obvious Travel Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Visiting London, UK

If there’s one thing travelers appreciate, it’s helpful travel tips that make their journeys easier. Below are 15 not-so-obvious travel tips from seasoned travelers that you may not have considered.

1. Plan Your Itinerary

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Write out your itinerary in a Word Document and include phone numbers, addresses, contact names, information for where to get tickets, and booking numbers. Add your local embassy in case of emergencies and leave an itinerary for a close friend or family member to know roughly where you’ll be each day.

2. Check for Bedbugs

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A traveler with first-hand experience said you must check the baseboards, under the mattress and headboards, and for small stains on the bed sheets. Leave that accommodation and throw your clothes into a dryer if you find anything resembling bedbugs.

3. Order Tea

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Order tea if you’re in a developing country or unsure of the water. It’s often safer to drink as it’s been boiled and is usually cheaper than bottled water.

4. Passport Case

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It is worth purchasing a passport case to take with you when you travel. Keep your passport and cash in your case and wear it under your clothes to keep these valuables safe.

5. Taking Photos

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If you want to stop walking to take a photo, first make sure to step out of the way of other people walking by. Keep walking until you find a better spot to take the shot. Locals are okay with tourists who step aside to take pictures.

6. Try Not to Look Like a Tourist

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Scammers target travelers, so try not to act too much like one. Don’t pull out expensive possessions or big wads of cash, a guidebook, or look at a map in touristy areas or places people will notice. 

7. Watch Out for Scams

Sad (tired) woman sitting in the airport

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No matter where you are, there will always be scammers. The best way to prepare yourself is to research common types of scams in the area you’re visiting by using WikiTravel, Lonelyplanet, or Reddit. 

8. Put Your Belt in Your Carry-on

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Empty your pockets, and place your phone, watch, belt, jewelry, etc., into your carry-on before reaching airport security. That way, you save time going through the X-ray machines, and it won’t set off the detectors. 

9. Don’t Check-in Early

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For those hoping for a hotel room upgrade, check into your hotel at the last minute. Hotels keep their best rooms available until the last minute, so if you’re patient and ask politely, you’ll have a higher chance of getting that upgrade. 

10. Keep Your Wallet/Cell Phone in Your Front Pocket

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First-time travelers must remember not to keep their valuables in their back pockets as it’s much easier for pickpocketers to pickpocket you. Instead, keep your cell phone and wallet in your front pocket, as it’s harder for people to steal your belongings that way. 

11. Learn the Basics of the Local Language

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Refrain from assuming that the locals will know how to speak English. Instead, spend some time learning basic phrases in the local language, like greetings and ‘excuse me,’ ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘where is the ___.’ Learning the phrase ‘can you speak English?’ in their language is also helpful.

12. Try Packing Only a Carry-on

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If you want an easier time traveling, try packing only a carry-on. You can buy toiletries in the country you’re visiting and wash your underwear in a local laundromat or the hotel sink.

13. Use Steam to Iron Your Clothes

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Although this will only partially straighten out your clothes, there is a way to iron your clothes if you desperately need to. Hang your garment on a hanger in the bathroom and crank up the hot tap until the bathroom is steamy. Most of the prominent wrinkles should come out.

14. Emergency Cash

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Always have some emergency cash in the local currency if your wallet gets stolen or lost. Avoid walking around with too much money, but have enough for a bus or train ride back to your hotel.

15. Book an Emergency Exit Seat

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Try booking a seat by the emergency exit as you have much more foot room and fewer people want to sit there. Emergency exit seats are also far from the toilets, which is a bonus.

Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.

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Jordy Johnson

Jordy gave up her home base to travel South Africa and experience more of her country. From that decision, she’s landed work as a travel writer for a magazine that showcases southern Africa and has grown her Instagram travel page, WeTheWests. She enjoys showing locals and foreigners all the beautiful and unique places and experiences South Africa and the rest of the world have to offer.