Top 10 travel tips and tricks

Last updated: January 1

Mulling over travel costs and anticipating potential mishaps goes with the territory when it comes to any trip. A little preparation can go a long way in terms of nabbing good deals and recovering quickly if the unexpected rears its head.

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Top travel tips for family

From airlines to hotels, planning ahead of time could help you save money for your next family trip, plus ensures you have a plan B if any issues arise. Here are some things to consider.

1. Book refundable accommodations ahead of time

Booking a hotel at a refundable rate can assure you avoid cancellation fees if plans fall through, according to Forbes. Booking through third parties may land you a lower rate, but they’re often non-refundable. However, booking hotels directly ahead of time may help you land the best rates with generous cancellation policies.

2. Purchase flights in the off-season

There’s typically lower demand for travel around late summer and early fall, according to Reader’s Digest. This means you could nab reduced airfare prices if you plan on traveling around September or October.

3. Consider travelers insurance

If you do have non-refundable costs, travel insurance may help recoup them. Depending on the type of coverage you choose, travel insurance can help reimburse you for everything from trip cancellations and baggage delays to COVID-related illnesses and medical evaluations.

Learn what travel insurance covers and how to choose coverage.

4. Plan food and meals months in advance

You may want to make restaurant reservations months in advance – just in case they sell out, says Forbes. This is especially true in major cities, adds The Atlantic, and for reputable restaurants. Some restaurants even require booking reservations at least one month in advance.

5. Make sure to pack any necessary medications and necessities

Keep your medication, credit cards, passport and other necessities, like kids’ snacks and a change of clothes, in a backpack or carry-on, advises Forbes. If you’re on a flight, they’ll be close by, and you won’t run the risk of losing necessary items that are checked in.

Top travel tips for solo travelers

Traveling solo may come with fewer costs and less compromise. But even so, there are still things to consider when it comes to avoiding fees and hassles along the way. Keep these tips in mind for your next solo trip.

1. Again, consider travelers insurance

Even if you’re traveling alone, travelers insurance can come in handy. From missed flights, to stolen luggage, to medical emergencies – travel protection can help you quickly recover if things go awry.

2. Pack light

Packing lighter makes for less overwhelming – less complicated – travel. Even if you’ll be roving around for weeks on end, there are ways to still lighten the load without running short on clothes, according to Travel + Leisure.

For one, consider washing your clothes during your trip – even if it’s by hand. Sound inconvenient? It may be easier than having to heft a bulky suitcase from place to place – not to mention having to wait at baggage claim if it’s too heavy for carry-on.

Another thing to consider are heavier items like shoes, adds Travel + Leisure. Think about what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going, then narrow down the absolute necessary shoes to bring with you.

3. Consider shared accommodations to cut costs

The sharing economy can do much in the way of cutting costs, says Insider. Homestays, for instance, may be cheaper than hotels. Also, interacting with locals hosting you could help clue you in on cheaper places to find meals, buy groceries and book tours.

4. Share travel plans with emergency contacts

Keep close friends in the loop with your travel plans – especially if you’re traveling abroad, according to the U.S. Department of State. Also, make sure there’s a way of communicating with them in case of an emergency, whether it’s via social media or email, just in case phone lines are down.

5. Don’t attract unwanted attention

Don’t draw attention to yourself, advises the University of California. Things that may draw unwanted attention include expensive clothing or jewelry, looking at maps or anything else that may make you look like a tourist. Be mindful of what you’re wearing and consider looking up directions in more secluded areas or before you head out.

Always have a plan B

Sometimes even with all that planning, things may go awry. So, it bears mentioning again – travel insurance can help cover you for certain non-refundable costs you already paid for. Find out which travel insurance coverages are right for you and your next trip.