- Pack light. The less you stuff into your suitcase might allow you to avoid those checked baggage fees. Plus if you really need an extra sweater, buying one in Italy or Switzerland is a great souvenir.
- Learn and use some of their language. They might speak English, but making an attempt in their language is courteous and shows them respect.
- Maintain flexibility. Problems or changes do happen; use them as an opportunity to add a serendipitous moment to your trip.
- Frequent flyer programs are valuable even for the occasional traveler. Miles and benefits accumulate even if you travel only once a year. Try to stick with one airline or at least within one of the three major airline alliances.
- Carry an empty water bottle (with filter) through Security; then fill it. Don’t buy the overpriced bottles in the airport store.
- Your choice of airline seat can make that transoceanic flight more enjoyable. I use and recommend seatguru.com.
- A zip-up pouch bag with straps becomes an “instant suitcase,” a sturdy grocery bag, or a handy tote – and it folds up compactly within itself.
- Splurge on what could de-rail your trip first; for most people, it’s their feet. Wear comfortable shoes that provide sufficient support.
- Safety: be safe with your money (use a hotel safe and/or wear a money belt for your large amounts and extra credit cards); don’t wear flashy jewelry; inquire about the area where you’re going to be sure it’s safe; travel in groups when in unfamiliar areas.
- Remember what we were taught in Kindergarten – Be nice to others.
Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels, sends out a monthly newsletter, is an avid TripAdvisor reviewer, and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com. You can also connect with him and other travelers on his International Travel Expert page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/International-Travel-Expert-147321228683651/
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