Let’s face it; traveling can be stressful. However, there are some small preventative measures that can be done to help deal with things like lost luggage, money stolen and missing travel documents.
Below are 8 tips that I’ve picked up along the way or learned from other travelers. They’re not placed in any particular order, but I thought they would be helpful for some of my readers.
Knock on wood; I’ve never had anything catastrophic happen to me while traveling. I’ve lost luggage, but it’s always been delivered within the next day or two. I would like to think my tips below are what helped locate my lost luggage 🙂 I guess we’ll never know.
Without further ado…..
Travel Hack Guy’s traveling tips:
1. Place dryer sheets in your luggage.
Even though I pack clean clothes in my luggage, it always seems like after a long flight overseas will causes my luggage to smell “different” after just a day or two. I may go overboard, but I place about 4 dryer sheets in my luggage to keep it smelling fresh for the entire trip.
Towards the end of a 2-week trip the dryer sheets start to lose their smell. If you’re looking to keep that clean smell longer, you could pack a few extra dryer sheets in a zip lock bag and use them as a replacement.
2. Print an extra copy of your itinerary and place it inside your luggage on top.
In case your luggage does get lost, you want to make sure you have tags attached on the outside with your contact information written down. Not only that, but I would print a copy of your itinerary and stick it inside your luggage on top. This can help the airline even further to track you down in case the tags somehow fall off. The airline will also know exactly what flight number you were on and where your final destination is.
I think it’s also useful to have an extra copy of your itinerary in case you lose the first one. As smartphones become more common it’s easy to look that information up via your e-mail, but if you’re in a foreign country and don’t have a data plan, you can become SOL.
3. Take a picture of your passport and your driver’s license.
Should you lose your U.S. Passport or your driver’s license, it would be handy to have a picture of the documents. While a picture of an ID won’t be a valid form of identification, it can definitely help speed up the process should you find yourself at the nearest U.S. Embassy.
4. Buy tickets in advance.
This may seem like an obvious one, but I didn’t take my own advice last summer when I was in London. The main attraction that I wanted to see was the London Eye. We decided to show up the day of and the line to just buy the tickets was at least a 30-minute wait. After we purchased the tickets we had to go wait in another line for 3 HOURS just to get on the London Eye.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t go on vacation to wait in line. Sometimes you can save money by booking in advance, while other times you may end up spending a little bit more to skip the lines and have your own tour guide. When I leave for Italy and Paris next month, I booked all our activities through CityWonders.com so we don’t have to wait in line.
5. Carry all valuables and cash with you on the plane.
As much as we like the think the baggage handlers are not going through our personal items, it does happen. There have been many reports on airline workers stealing valuable items from customer’s luggage. Workers find an area that is not covered by cameras and that’s when they begin rummaging through the luggage.
I was talking with a cashier last year when I was buying Visa gift cards, and she talked about how when she goes to Vegas she puts half her cash in her purse and the other half in her luggage. No! I told her she’s just asking for it to be stolen. Once the items are stolen, there’s not a whole lot the airline can do.
6. Use a travel credit card when booking your reservation for the extra protection.
I won’t get into what travel card to use, because there are so many options out there. This topic is for another blog post sometime in the future that gets into the nitty-gritty details. However, I will mention a couple cards I have and why it may be beneficial to carry a travel credit card.
For instance, I have the American Express Platinum card. This card comes with lost and damaged luggage protection if you charge your entire airfare to the card. I also receive access to the Amex Premium Global Assist Hotline if I’m more than 100 miles away from home. They provide legal, financial, medical and other emergency coordination assistance.
There are other travel cards that offer similar assistance for less than $100 per year. Even cards such as the Citi Hilton Reserve come with luggage protection. I think it’s worth it to double-check your credit cards to see what travel benefits it comes with (if any.)
7. Watch your Uber driver to make sure he ‘s not taking advantage of you!
I often times will turn my phone on silent and bring up Google maps to make sure my Uber/taxi driver is not taking me on a long route to my final destination. If the driver is picking you up from the airport, chances are the driver is betting you’re not from the area. They may be dishonest and take a longer route to earn extra money.
You have rights! You can tell your Uber/taxi driver which route to take. If you do discover that your driver is taking you on a very bizarre route, contact Uber customer service immediately to be credited. Luckily this has never happened to me, but I do know someone who was credited his entire fare because his driver took him in the opposite direction.
8. Look up a country’s customs on tipping.
I’m so used to tipping 20% or more for good customer service when I go out to eat. Last year when I took my friend and his brother out for a nice lunch date at a German restaurant, I ended up tipping about 23%. The waiter made a noise when he picked up the check and I immediately thought something was wrong. Little did I know that 20% is NOT common in the rest of the world. Waiters typically make a fair wage in other countries, so they don’t survive on tips like they do here in the United States. Later I asked my friend what the custom is and he mentioned roughly 10% or whatever you feel the service was worth. Why did the waiter make the noise? I can only imagine it was because I left a $40+ tip!
Traveling to Japan? Tipping can be considered offensive in this country! I’ll be sure to research each country I visit going forward on tipping customs.
Did I miss something?
Obviously I didn’t get every travel tip on this list, but these are my top 8 tips that I use when I travel. Let me know in the comments below what you find useful when you’re traveling!