30 Expert Travel Tips (to Avoid Vacation Nightmares)

Get insider advice on planning, packing, and traveling to make the most out of your global adventures while avoiding common pitfalls.

Traveling the globe may look like the glamorous life, but anyone who travels regularly will tell you that’s far from the truth! Here are 30 tips for your next adventure that will have you looking like a seasoned pro—no matter what gets thrown your way.

Avoid Vacation Nightmare

1. Don't schedule your itinerary too densely.

Leave time for surprises—both good and bad. You never know what quirky treasures you may stumble upon or what unexpected delays you may encounter.

2. Pack anything vital in your carry-on bag.

“Vital” includes a change of clothes. If your checked bag ends up on another continent, this tip ensures you have all your medications, chargers, and important documents on your person. Disaster averted!

3. Know how to access your money.

Are you looking at currency exchange? A travel credit card? A travel money app? Whatever you choose, make sure you know how to use it before you fly.

4. Research local customs and culture.

Knowing the people of your destination always makes for a safer and more enjoyable trip! Plus, you’ll be better prepared to avoid faux pas.

5. Use a packing list.

Never assume you can toss your closet in your bag last minute. You don’t want to show up at the airport and realize you’ve forgotten your passport!

6. Double check your chargers.

International travel requires international chargers and outlets. Make sure you buy the right adapter before you travel.

7. Use Travel Insurance

Just trust us. Pay the extra.

8. Opt for non-liquid toiletries.

Traveling with liquids is not only a hassle, it can also cause a huge mess. A soap bar works just as well as body wash. 

9. Digitize all your important documents.

Make sure you have digital copies of your plane tickets, passports, IDs, and any other important documents. We don’t have to spell out the consequences of losing your ID in a foreign country!

10. Use a water filter bottle.

Depending on where you're traveling, water quality isn’t guaranteed. Use a bottle with a filter for a safer and fresher experience.

11. Learn essential language phrases.

You don’t have to be fluent, but it’s always a good idea to know how to say, “Where’s the bathroom?” in any language.

12. Ask your hotel concierge for insider tips.

Hotel workers are not just locals; they also interact with a lot of tourists—meaning they know the good, bad, and ugly of the travel experience. Embrace their wisdom!

13. Use the best credit card for the job.

If you’ve never traveled before, invest in a travel rewards credit card. You’re going to be spending a hefty amount of money anyway, so you might as well get something in return!

14. Throw in a small laundry bag.

Laundry bags take no space and make it easy to keep your clean clothes smelling fresh.

15. Wear the right shoes.

A blister on Day 1 is an even worse blister on Day 5. Skip the glamor, wear the comfy (and appropriate) shoes.

16. Give yourself a day to adjust.

If you’re traveling to a new and exotic location, take a minute to get used to altitude changes, time zones, and anything else that might sour your experience. 

17. Fully download your maps.

Google maps are only useful if you have service. Make sure your maps are fully available offline! 

18. Check to make sure your IDs are up to date.

Check your passport and driver’s license expiry date. Many countries won’t allow you in if your passport expires within 6 months.

19. Call your bank.

Let your bank know you’re going away. Always. Nothing ruins a good time like an unexpectedly frozen credit card.

20. Pack a towel.

Towels are the all-in-one travel hack. Use them as pillows, wrap them for warmth, or bring them poolside. No matter what, you’ll be glad you have one.

21. Leave the valuables at the hotel.

You don’t want to lose valuables in an unfamiliar city. Leave the pricey goods in the hotel safe and enjoy your day.

22. Don't be ashamed of the familiar.

If you’re missing home, there’s nothing wrong with finding an international Starbucks or McDonalds to ease the soul.

23. Avoid touristy restaurants.

Recommendations are great, but any restaurant in a two block radius of a major attraction likely charges “tourist prices.” Walk a few blocks and see where your nose leads you!

24. Book your flight several months in advance.

There’s no such thing as a last-minute flight discount. If you want to save those dollars, book at least 2-3 months ahead. 

25. Take advantage of free walking tours.

Most places offer free walking tours of various neighborhoods or historical sites. They’re a great way to explore your new surroundings!

26. Try new foods.

You’ll never have better local food than when you’re, well, local. Allergies aside, throw caution to the wind and try everything. You never know what new spices and tastes might delight you.

27. Always pack a Jacket.

It doesn't matter if you’re headed to Death Valley in the height of summer: pack a jacket. Vacationing harbingers odd weather faster than a summoning circle, so be prepared.

28. Find balance with photos & social media.

Vacation photos make incredible memories and enviable social media updates—but you also want to stay present when you’re on vacation. Find the balance that’s right for you.

29. Wear suncreen.

Nothing ruins a trip like lobster skin. Stay safe and look fabulous!

30. Use a virtual mailbox or mail forwarding service.

Worried about missing an important check or losing a package to mail thieves back home? Never stress about your mail on vacation again with Traveling Mailbox’s virtual mail and mail forwarding services! 


At Traveling Mailbox, we’re your mail’s home away from home. We’re happy to keep your letters and packages safe while you adventure, or send them on to wherever your journey takes you. View your mail in real time, toss what you don’t need, open what you want, and even deposit checks with the click of a button. 

Try Traveling Mailbox today and experience how reliable mail services make your travel experience a breeze.