We’ve all seen the traveler who looks completely at ease and put together. The one that breezes through security, arrives in ample time, and isn’t weighed down with tons of luggage. And during the trip, this traveler always seems to have what they need, keeps calm in all situations, and can truly enjoy their trip. If you’re anything like us and you strive to be this traveler, we’ve got just the tips for how to become a savvy traveler.
Use a Travel Advisor
We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two. Your Travel Advisor can help with anything from selecting a destination that checks all your boxes to getting the best restaurant recommendations! You still get be a part of the planning process, but you don’t have to deal with the endless (and time consuming!) logistics and details. Plus, when you use a Brownell Travel Advisor, you are privy to exclusive amenities, perks, upgrades, and VIP status that you can’t get anywhere else. In the words of Beyonce, let us upgrade you! (Need more reasons? We’ve got ’em!)
Buy Travel Insurance
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it one thousand times: purchase travel insurance! It doesn’t just protect you if you need to cancel your trip – it can also cover trip disruptions (who hasn’t had an airport delay?), lost luggage, and much more.
Book Ahead of Time…
Talk to your Travel Advisor about booking tours, activities, and reservations ahead of time to make sure you don’t have to miss out.
…But Don’t Over Plan
Leave a little flexibility in your itinerary so you’re not chained to a schedule. With a little more freedom, you’ll have the time to explore the neighborhood, go to that local shop you keep passing, or even (gasp!) sleep late and relax.
Step one to becoming a savvy traveler is to stop over packing. A suitcase under 50 pounds does not equal packing efficiently. Make it easy on yourself and the baggage handlers, and bring only the essentials. (Use our packing tips to make packing a breeze!)
Technology is Your Friend
Forget the days of printing from MapQuest; we have all the information we need at our fingertips! Check out this list of helpful travel apps and download them before you travel.
Do your research. Learn a few key phrases in the local language, look over a map to get oriented with the area, or simply read a book or watch a movie set in the destination to get excited for your adventure!
Walk a Mile in Your Shoes
Take shoes you will be comfortable wearing! Ordering a new pair specifically for your trip? Make sure you have plenty of time to break them in.
Avoid Tourist Traps
There is a time and a place to enjoy the perks of being a tourist, but buying an overpriced bottle of water is not one of them. Try to find places that seem frequented by a more local crowd as opposed to hordes of visitors. Not only will you save yourself the “tourist surcharge”, but you get to experience an insider’s look at local life.
Immerse Yourself in the Culture
Don’t be afraid to dive into the culture for a more enriching and authentic experience. Grab some street food or go to a local festival. When in Rome!
Shop around in a local market, but don’t always take the first offer. Follow the lead of the locals, and haggle a bit!
Carry Cash – but Not Too Much.
Always carry a little local currency. While most places accept credit cards, it’s important to have cash in a pinch. You never know when your cab driver will announce cash only!
If it looks like a tourist and pulls out a map like a tourist, it’s a tourist. Get a feel for the vibe and go with the flow to get the most out of your adventure.
Try Public Transport!
When safe, of course. Not only is it cost effective, but it can be an experience in itself! Take a ride on the tube, but don’t forget to mind the gap.
Take Photos of People, Places, and Things!
Be sure your photos include a little variety. While scenic pictures are beautiful, it’s nice to have pictures of people as well.