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I’ve travelled to a lot of countries, and I like to think I’m an experienced traveller by now. When you travel a lot, you start to pick up tips to help your trips go more smoothly. As a beginner, you can struggle with some things and come up against problems. But if you know what to do and how to behave, you can make sure everything goes to plan. In the event of something going wrong, you can be much more prepared to fix it. So here are my best pieces of advice for ensuring that your next trip goes off without a hitch.
Look After Your Important Documents
The first thing I pack when I go away is a folder of essential documents. Although, now I do prefer to have some of them on my phone instead. The number one important thing to have is obviously my passport. Before I book any trips, I check that it isn’t about to expire. If you need to renew your US passport, you can use US Passport Online, LLC 866-737-1344. Every country has its own service for dealing with passports. I also like to have details of my flights and other transport, hotel booking and information about my travel insurance.
Have a Plan
Sometimes I like to be spontaneous, but a solid plan is best if I want things to be easier. If you don’t want to have to make last-minute decisions, it’s always best to plan things in advance. At the very least, I like to have transport and accommodation ready to go. If I can, I also like to have some activities lined up. Sometimes I’ll check out some local restaurants and bars too, so I know where I can hang out.
Have a Backup Plan
If you want to make doubly sure, have two plans! You don’t have to create two full itineraries, but I find it’s a good idea to think of what you’ll do if something doesn’t work out. For example, if you want to try out a particular restaurant, what will you do if it’s too busy? What happens if you miss your flight, or it’s raining too much to do the activity you had planned? Don’t spend too long worrying, but consider your options.
Know the Local Laws
It’s always a good idea to find out if there are any laws you need to be aware of. In most places, “I didn’t know” isn’t an acceptable defense if you break the law. There can be some quirky rules that you need to follow which could catch you out. For example, if you drive in France, you must have a breathalyzer in your car.
Don’t Look Like a Tourist
My number one rule when I’m travelling is not to look too much like a tourist. That means not carrying a huge camera or walking around with a huge map. If it’s clear that you’re not local, people can try to target you and take advantage of you. You don’t have to blend in completely, but try to look confident and like you know what you’re doing.
A well-planned trip is more likely to go off without a hitch. So don’t leave things until the last minute whenever you go away.