A while back, I asked my Travels with Kev’s Facebook Page followers: What are your favorite travel tips (including products and whatnot)? And from those answers came this article. Over the years, it has been updated and still has a lot of value. I hope you learn something from these quick travel tips.
The podcast episode that covers these travel tips
1) Get a travel buddy!
One of my first responses was from Robin, my mom. Her favorite travel tip is to get a travel buddy, especially one who knows what he is doing.
Travel buddies are helpful, especially for those travelers with travel anxiety. They can also help those who need reassurance that they can travel.
Sometimes, travel buddies are there to help make travel more fun.
Sometimes, travel buddies can be remote.
Someone who can text or call you to help you
Travel buddies aren’t always alive!
Travel buddies can come in different forms, not just humans.
Many travelers I know have fun with a faux support animal, such as Betty, a podcaster who brings Herman, a plastic turtle with suction cups on its feet. A buddy of mine has a stuffed shark, but I think you can get a non-sea creature.
I used to carry a stuffed Target dog with me (past employer) and would take photos of him at different places I visited. He appeared in my pictures, which helped me share my journey with my team and guests at my old store. Since I no longer work there, I stopped traveling with him.
Sometimes, having someone or something to talk to or hold as you travel is excellent, even if they are not real.
2) Use A Kindel or e-reader
This suggestion comes from Paula, my sister; yes, I have a lot of family support with this endeavor!
A travel podcaster I follow also talked about bringing a Kindle e-reader instead of an iPad when he travels.
At first, I thought it was excessive to bring both, especially from a minimal traveler like him, but Travis had a good point. A Kindle e-reader has less glare than other tablets. It eliminates many distractions like push notifications, the tempting Facebook button, and the Travels with Kev Webpage.
Compared to books, e-readers take up less space and weigh less. If you are an avid reader, this could be a great way to entertain yourself during the downtimes.
Paula also mentioned bringing an old-fashioned book; I often do that or the latest issue of Trains Magazine. One book does not take up too much space, but if you pack several, they do.
3) Bring A Tablet
This next suggestion is from Kev, a blogger and a traveler; okay, this one is mine.
I used to think iPads and tablets were overrated and a waste of money. I am now on my third one.
iPads and tablets are excellent tools for travelers. A tablet can replace a computer for many applications if you need to send emails or work as you travel. I use mine to store movies and documents like Amtrak Route Guides.
I also use mine to store and play movies and TV shows. At the same time, I travel—more about that in this article about entertainment on Amtrak.
4) Grab Your Passport!
Solé, my brother-in-law’s aunt, an extended family supporter woot-woot, brings us the next suggestion!
She said her favorite travel tip is always to bring her passport; this means she is ready to travel the world!
Even domestically, bringing your passport with you doesn’t hurt when you travel. Having another form of ID never hurts, just if something happens with your other ID, like expiring, getting lost, or stolen.
You do not need a passport if you are flying domestically. After May 3, 2023, you either need a state-issued REAL ID or passport to fly domestically or out of the country.
Maintain your passport. Ensure that it and all your other IDs will not expire during your trip.
Don’t keep all your identification in one location. If you keep your IDs somewhat separated, there is a chance you will not lose both. For example, if you place your passport in the pocket of your bag and it falls out, you still have your license in your pocket.
Having a copy of your IDs can also help in case something happens.
You can apply before you book your first trip!
If you want to travel internationally, you can start with your passport. You do not need to have a trip coming up to get one.
In most cases, a passport costs around $180, and the process takes 8- 11 weeks.
5) Ship Instead of Carrying
Ship your luggage
This tip came from Greg, a non-relative but my barber (Slade’s Barbershop). He brought up sending excess luggage home via USPS, FedEx, or UPS.
Mailing extra luggage is a great idea to save you time and money.
With checked bag prices, sending your luggage home can sometimes be cheaper. Budget airlines always charge for checked bags or carry-ons; some Legacy airlines charge $30 or more for checked baggage. So, it could be worth checking out.
Plus, sending your luggage can save time by eliminating waiting at the airport and standing in line to check your bags.
There is a slight twist to this point.
I sent my dirty clothing home for a few trips to lighten my bag and make room for souvenirs. It is fun to get packages, but getting a box of my dirty clothing isn’t as exciting.
Send your basics instead of packing!
To save money, instead of buying those tiny travel-size products, send them or buy them when you get to where you are going.
Several companies offer free shipping, so why not use that service? Or, if you are staying with someone, you could order products ahead of time and see if they could pick your products up for you if they are already going to that store.
If you stay with people often, ask them if you can keep some basics at their place. I have left some of my basics at my sister’s in the past.
Alice’s (once again back to a family member; she is my brother-in-law’s aunt) travel tip is to bring great snacks, an excellent suggestion many people forget.
Snacks are necessary for trains, buses, and road trips, but you can also bring food when flying. If you are flying, check with the TSA’s regulations or buy snacks at the airport (for first-time travelers, everything costs more at airports or stations)
Alice’s favorite snack to bring is Checkmix, one of my favorites. I like to get jerky and granola bars because they do not take up too much space.
7) Travel Credit Cards & Point Programs
Bobb is a non-relative (yay, but we went to high school together) and brought up getting points with credit cards.
Travel-friendly Credit Cards
There are many credit cards out there, and it makes sense to have a card that works for you if it is financially wise.
Chase Saphire is a favorite card for many travelers because you can use the points in several ways. There are also brand-specific cards that can help you.
Many travelers use American Express as well.
If you want to travel internationally, look for cards with no foreign transaction fees.
Most major transportation carriers such as Delta, Southwest, Amtrak, hotels, resorts, and cruise lines have credit cards that quickly earn rewards. So, if you like one carrier, it could make sense to have their branded card.
My folks did that with Amtrak and received several free trips plus other bonuses.
Some of these cards have an annual fee to help you earn points faster, so research them to determine if the cost is worth it.
Joining point programs
If you don’t get a transportation credit card, join the point programs as early as possible to earn points from the start.
Travel tip: Check with the rewards programs you are involved with to see if you can earn points when you shop online. I gained over 36k Amtrak points from doing this, and if you use a rewards credit card and shop through the rewards program, you quickly bank points.
8) Be Organized
This suggestion comes from a former boss (that I replaced after she quit), Lizzy. Her favorite travel tip is also one of mine: packing cubes.
Being organized is not my strong point, but it is different when traveling.
Two hacks changed how I stayed organized when I traveled: packing cubes and a travel folder.
A travel folder is just a simple pocket folder.
I have a plastic folder with ear tabs on the top that keep paper from falling out. I like this folder’s small pocket for small travel documents like tap cards for public transport and boarding passes.
I learned about packing cubes a few years ago, and they changed my travel style.
Packing cubes are cloth bags where you place your clothing or other travel accessories and zip them up. Not only do they keep you organized, but they can compress your garments a little to squeeze in an extra shirt or pair of socks.
Consider getting a set or two immediately if you are a beginning traveler. They come in many brands and price points.
What to look for when you are buying “the cubes.”
- Avoid all mesh ones because they are not as durable. You want some mesh to see what is inside and ventilation, but you want to ensure you have a durable product.
- Small and medium cubes are more flexible than bigger ones. Having a different size will give you more flexibility.
- When traveling with others, you can get everyone a different color, making it easier to tell everyone’s belongings apart.
- Look for quality; a cube that does not hold up wastes money.
9) Take care of yourself.
Dr. Ben, a Travels with Kev Supporter and friend, reminds us to care for ourselves.
Sometimes, we open ourselves up to many things when we travel, so make sure your vaccines are current. Also, make sure you don’t overdo it. I thought I was in better shape than I was.
You also need to ensure that we drink plenty of water, especially if we walk in warm areas and when we fly.
When you fly, you can bring a reusable water bottle, but it must be empty or solid ice when going through the TSA. He also suggests that you avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks when flying or don’t go crazy.
He also suggests packing your medications in your carry-on and making sure you pack extra if your trip goes longer than expected. This way, if your luggage gets lost, you have your necessities.
Also, do not forget to wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer. It does not hurt to wipe down trays and armrests to ensure they are as clean as possible.
Thanks for joining in on our fun and Learning the Quik Travel Tips!
If you want to join the fun, join the Facebook group! I like to ask the group questions, and you could be featured if you respond to your suggestions!