Experienced Travelers Do These 5 Things...

Experienced Travelers Do These 5 Things Before Leaving Home

Travels are something we all look forward to, and spend out hard earned money on. However, a few rookie mistakes could turn your holiday into a slight nightmare.

But you’re a smarter cookie than the rest, right? So heed the rules of experienced travelers and you’ll be happily skipping through fields of tulips in Holland in no time!

1. Buy Tickets Smartly

Flight Passes: When making frequent round trips between two destinations, certain airlines have passes for exactly that. Just like a frequent traveler monthly or annual pass on a train or bus, you can do the same for airlines. Some come as packs 6 to be used in a certain period of time, or however many flights you want in a 3 or 6 month period.

Second Hand Flight Vouchers: People are given expiry dated flight vouchers for a variety of reasons; customer service issues, having connections to those in the industry, cancelled and overbooked flights, etc.

When the expiry date is nearing they’re often put up online to be sold for a portion of their value. This is especially helpful if you have to book a rather last minute flight, which is often pricier than buying well in advance.

A search on craigslist.com, searchtempest.com and kijiji.ca should turn up a few results any time of year.

2. Documents

You were prepared, you made paper copies of all your travel documents, and kept them in your carry on, separate from your passport in your purse. At the train station your carry on and purse were snatched, and now you have no passport or visa, and no paper copies.

While this is an extremely rare occurrence, it could happen, and just what are you going to do with no documentation at all?!

Put a copy of your passport, visa, and any other important travel documents somewhere secure electronically. A password protected email, or a secure dropbox account are my preferences.

3. Predict Flight Delays & Cancellations

Don’t be at the mercy of the airline updates, they often come very late, or not at all if the flight is within a half hour of the original departure time. However, if you have a connecting flight, that half hour could be very important!

For most short-haul flights the crew, and plane do loops between the two locations. Say from Charlotte to Memphis, and back again.

If the first flight from Charlotte to Memphis is late, there’s a high chance the Memphis to Charlotte will be delayed too. Similarly, if it’s cancelled, its probable your return will be cancelled too as whipping together a new crew and plane at last minutes notice is hard.

Search the arrivals section on your airports website, and look for flight from the city you’re heading to. If there’s a flight coming in from the city you’re heading to with your airline, you can bet it will be the same crew and plane. Now plan accordingly as you’re much more informed than all the other passengers!

4. Rewards

 Basically every airline has other airline friends, they group up into airline cliques and call it an ‘Air Alliance.’ There’s 3 major ones you need to know about: SkyTeam Alliance, Star Alliance, and One World Alliance.

I avoided picking one for years because I couldn’t determine which one I should pick, and which airlines I would fly with most often. When I started having to fly to school and back I ended up signing up for all 3, so no matter which airline I took, I would be getting points somewhere. There’s no cost to join, and I hear that you’re more likely to get bumped to First if you’re a member.

You can sign up online in under 5 minutes for each of them.

5. Culture

In France its rude to approach a stranger to ask a question without properly greeting them first. It’s hot as hell in Italy in the summer, but you must cover your shoulders and knees when going into a church. (And you’re probably going to be visiting a lot of churches in Italy).

Learn the cultural ways, and glide through the country effortlessly like the travel pro I know you can be. Great resources include blogs, travel guides, Pinterest, friends, and acquaintances.

People love to share their travel experiences with everyone and anyone. Even an acquaintance will likely be more than happy to tell you all about their experience in a location, and their culture related tips.


Do you have a travel hack that's not on the list? Leave it in the comments.