Go Ahead traveler Viola—who is about to embark on her sixth tour—knows a few things about exploring the world. After we saw her share some of her tips on our Facebook page, we reached out to see what other helpful hints she’s picked up along the way. Read on to see her top travel tips!
Use a base color (like black) for your travel wardrobe and add color with accessories. You can pack fewer clothing items and choose lightweight accessories, such as scarves.
Take a small bottle of Febreeze and a small bottle of Downey Wrinkle Release on your trip to refresh and de-wrinkle your clothes. This means you can look great every day and you can pack less! Most of the time, our clothes are not really dirty, they just may not smell as fresh as they could.
I like to take Command hooks on international trips. European hotels are notorious for not having any place to hang things. Use these hooks to hang your hand-washables to drip dry. You can take the hooks down as you move from hotel to hotel.
I take a small bottle of liquid detergent with me on trips so that I can wash out my quick-dry underwear. If you take quick-dry clothing (I like ExOfficio), you can wash in the hotel and pack lighter.
Air travel tips
Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks on long flights. You will be dehydrated, bloated and may retain fluid. Stick to plain water as much as possible.
Resist the urge to watch every movie available on overnight international flights—you need to get some rest. Even if you don’t sleep, having your eyes closed will help prevent fatigue and you won’t be quite so impacted by jet lag.
Before you go
If you are visiting a non-English speaking country, take the time to learn “hello” and “thank you” in the local language. This is especially useful in Paris, where it is customary to greet someone before asking for what you’d like. Most of the people there understand English, but they appreciate the effort to speak with them at least a little in their own language.
Make photocopies of your passport. Put one inside your suitcase and keep another extra copy with you. If you lose your passport, it will be easier to deal with the State Department or local U.S. Embassy if you have a copy. Pretend your passport is your baby, never let it out of your sight.
While on tour
Use the Tube in London for easy transportation that is also inexpensive. London’s subway line is easy to learn and you won’t spend the money and time in traffic you would by using cabs.
Slow your pace down to match the country you are visiting. Americans are in too much of a hurry and we need to slow down and enjoy our vacations. The citizens of the country you are visiting will appreciate it.
Be willing to try the foods that are favorites of the country you are visiting. On a recent trip to Paris with Go Ahead, we were visiting a restaurant for lunch. One of the offerings was rabbit, the other was salmon. I had the rabbit and it was delicious! When in Scotland, try haggis at least once.
Follow the clothing customs of other countries. If you are visiting the Vatican, modest clothing is appreciated and if you are visiting the Middle East, you may need to have a scarf for your head. Look up the customs online or check with your tour company so that you can be dressed appropriately.
Don’t make yourself look like a tourist when you are traveling—you know the look, just don’t do it. There are pickpockets everywhere. I’ve never had a problem with them, but you have to be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t take flash photos of paintings in museums. It can harm the paintings.
If you are a solo traveler, use a company that specializes in group tours. You can have the best of both worlds: traveling solo and meeting new friends.
What do you think of Viola’s travel tips? Do you have any to add? Share them in the comments below!