This blog post was updated on August 2, 2019.
Your flight is booked, your bags are packed, and you’ve hired a sitter…now what? You won’t find the answers you need by ooh-ing and aah-ing over thousands of breathtaking travel photos on Pinterest. We turned to the seasoned pros to get the tips and tricks you’ll need on the road.
Lisa Niver Rajna, We Said Go Travel:
“My best advice for new travelers is just to start! I was often afraid to go on my first trips but I went anyway. I even made travel my work at Club Med and on cruise ships. I went on dive trips with a group. Eventually, I made it to six continents and after that started backpacking with [my husband] George.”
Amber Wilson, Wilson’s Where-to Guide:
“Always do as much research about your destination as possible; you can never know too much! Read travel articles and guides, know the current news there, learn about the history, look at maps of the areas you plan to visit, find activities to do (both for locals and for tourists) and if you know anyone there–or know someone who knows someone–definitely reach out to them in advance to get insider insight and see if they might be available to link up with you during your trip. The more information you have ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be, and the richer your experience will be as well. From tiny details like knowing the weather so you know how to pack, to more complex issues such as being aware of your destination’s political and socio-economic climates, everything you find out will help make you a savvy, informed traveler who will get the most out of your experience.”
Glen Tibaldeo and Laura Berger, Life Leaps Program:
“Do whatever you can to truly immerse yourself in the culture when you travel. During your tours and when they’re over, invite your tour guides/drivers/etc. to lunch. These people are in the business because they are proud of their heritage and the place they live, and the discussions will be animated, fun, and educational. On our last big trip, our tour guide had us over to his modest home in Aswan, Egypt for lunch. He invited his entire family (four generations and as many family units), and we saw people and had conversations we never would have known possible otherwise. We even saved his little nephew’s life when he tried to climb over the balcony rail!”
Nat Smith, Publisher of ‘House Sitting World’ Digital Magazine:
“Look at house sitting as an option for your travels. You can enjoy free accommodation in many countries around the world these days in return for looking after someone’s home and pets. Then there is the other myriad of benefits to enjoy: ‘living’ like a local for a period, connecting with the community, giving you a true experience of a place, and traveling at a slower pace.”
Ryan Lile, Frequent Flyer Academy:
“Don’t disregard the value of frequent flyer programs. Saving $20 on a flight isn’t worth it if you could be earning elite status (and hence free upgrades and bonus miles) in a single airline’s program. I advise clients to use my 20% rule: If the price on your primary airline is less than 20% higher, go with it. The benefits you’ll earn in the long-term make it worth spending the extra money now.”
Jenny McIver, RTWin30days:
“Expand your idea of the traditional, single-destination vacation. Multi-destination airline tickets (especially Round-the-World tickets) are an incredible value. For example, if you’re planning a trip to Paris, why not split up the itinerary to include a night or two in nearby London or Amsterdam while you’re there? For those with a lengthy travel Bucket List, multi-destination trips are the most efficient way to see the world.”
Jessica Dawdy, Ways of Wanderers:
“Accept that you’re going to go at least a little over your budget. I often spend more than I expected to, and these extra costs might seem like a big deal at the time, but I’ve realized they never actually make any noticeable difference in my long-term finances. Stressing over every dollar is the quickest way to ruin any travel experience and it’s not worth it. Spend wisely, but don’t let money become the focus of the trip.”