Traveling is all about the details. While the following tips may seem small, they can make your trip a much more pleasant experience.
1. Lip balm and mints. If you’re flying anywhere, then you are going to battle dehydration due to the low humidity levels in plane cabins. The negative effects of this are many including intensifying jet lag and making yourself susceptible to catching a bug. To help combat this, do not drink alcohol and try to drink as much water and juice as possible. It is also important to have lip balm and candies/mints on hand.
2. Dryer sheets. That’s right, dryer sheets. If you are spending more than a couple of days on the road, your clothes are likely to start smelling not so fresh. A good way to alleviate some of this unpleasantness is to put dryer sheets in your walking shoes at the end of the day and in bureau drawers. You can also place them in your hotel closet as a way to keep your shirts and pants smelling their best.
3. Plastic bags. This is not a new idea, but it bears repeating. I always take a variety pack of plastic, resealable bags for use on the road. They’re great for organizing items in your day pack and the larger ones make repacking dirty socks and undergarments a breeze. You can even use smaller ones to store snacks for a long day of touring.
4. Spend your change. If you’re traveling out of the U.S., then you will be privy to the phenomenon of valuable change. While the United States refuses to let go of the $1 note, most other countries have replaced their lowest denomination note with coins. This can be difficult for the casual tourist to get used to until you empty your pockets at the end of the day and have the equivalent of $20 in coins in your pocket. So when you’re out and about, always try to spend your change first. Not only will it help you lighten your load, but it may help you financially. When trying to exchange foreign money you won’t be able to exchange coins if you’ve already left that country. So don’t return home with a coin jar of 1 Euro coins, spend them while you have the chance.
5. Breakfast. Your mom always told you that this was the most important meal of the day, and she was right. This is especially true when traveling. When selecting a hotel, be sure to check to see if breakfast is included. In many places around the world, it is common to find this. If it is not included and you still want to stay at your hotel of choice, then look for good local eateries around town. Skip the pricey hotel meal and look for nearby establishments that seem to be drawing in steady crowds. If locals eat there, then you know it is both good and well priced. Here is a review of just such a restaurant in Dublin, the Elephant & Castle.
Some of these tips may be new to you, but others may be old hat. Regardless, they are little improvements that will help you make the most out of your trip.