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For This "Smart Traveler's" Guide To All Things Vacation

A good travel tip is the best free advice you can get. It is as good as gets in my world. I never pass up the chance to learn how to travel smarter. As with anything there is always room for improvement.
I take my education wherever I can get it. I am always playing the role of both the hunter and gatherer. I come across so many items of interest on the internet and from television and I check out every lead to see whether or not I will incorporate it to my life.
When it comes to traveling and planning my vacations I take that very seriously. I have my rituals and I don’t change my ideals easily. So when I find something worth my attention it is also appropriate that I share the information.
The list below details the tips I have flagged and loved from a book I recently read called “The Smart Traveler’s Passport”. The author is a former editor for Budget Travel magazine and he has written a book based on a section that used to be popular called “20 Tips”. They are tips that people wrote into the magazine and the best were compiled and filed based on the nine categories you will read below. I found this to be such a creative way to divide and conquer all there is when it comes to travel of any kind.
Overall there were three hundred and ninety-nine tips included in this book. I have chosen to represent only twenty-six here but there are among the best and most useful. I have broken them down by chapter so you will know where to find them in this book. Of course at the end of this blog is all the information you will need to get your own.
I have my own rituals when it comes to these categories and so it had to be special or brand new information for me to be wowed enough to include it. I have included the links to my “For a Game Plan” series below, which will provide you with many additional tips that I swear by.
So without further ado, lets dive in!

Chapter I Planning Your Trip
·     Splurging Account- Taking a dollar a night from your wallet and putting them in a special spot. After it accumulates you deposit it in a bank account purely for travel and saving. This way you are saving without even trying.
·     In Flight Advisors- Ask your flight attendants for dining, lodging, and sightseeing advice. Most have been to these destinations before and had time to spend during layovers. You can count on them for budget treasures.
·     Weather or Not- Check out to find monthly average temperatures and rainfall for thousands of cities worldwide. Great help when it comes time to pack.
·     Googling for Dollars- Before traveling to any city to a search on the Internet for the city name and the word “coupon”. You will be surprised how many great deals you will find.
·     Coupon Central- supplies free discount coupons for all cities all over the U.S. and the world. Print them out and begin saving before you even leave home.
·     Low-Fare Finder- is a site that lists by city, which budget airlines serve which cities. Then to find links for Europe’s entire railways visit, both sites feature travel planners and English language options.
·     Solo, So Low- Sometimes better airfare rates come up when you search for the price based on one traveler instead of two.
Chapter II Before You Go
· Split Up Your Stuff- If you are traveling with someone pack half of your belongings in their suitcase and vice versa so if one gets lost you still have things to wear.
· Paper Plastic- Recycle the long plastic bags that your newspaper gets delivered in and use that to pack your shoes in your suitcase so that your clothes don’t get dirty.
· Wax Fix- If you zipper is getting stuck on your suitcase use some wax or lip balm on the teeth to loosen it.
· Baby Yourself- Carry travel size baby wipes on you and use them to kill germs on toilets, phones, and also as a way to get stains out of clothing.
· When Cheaters Prosper- When overseas carry a cheat sheet that includes exchange rates and metric conversions. Currency is available at
Chapter III On The Journey
·     Bookmark It- On international flights you will be required to fill out custom forms with passport information as well as hotel information.  To prevent having to go through your belongings mid-flight write all of the necessary information on a bookmark or piece of paper to keep on you or in the book you are reading so you will be less stressed and prepared. Don’t forget to bring a pen.
·     Pillow Talk- Therm-a-Rest’s Compressible Pillow is perfect for the plane. It comes in three sizes, packs smaller and expands bigger than any other pillow, and is machine washable. Find them on
·     Blank Check/ Expiration Situation- Make sure you have enough blank pages for the appropriate stamps in both directions for an international trip and that your passport is renewed in time. Some countries will not let you travel if it expires in six months etc.
Chapter IV Safety and Security
·     1-800-WONT-WRK- Before international travels look at your health insurance card and if you only see 800 or 888 numbers for hospital administration many cannot be dialed from foreign countries. Call ahead and get a number for the area code you will be in.
·     Cold Call- Paramedics now look for emergency contacts in cell phones to assist their patient. Store the word “ICE” (in case of emergency) in your contact list so that anyone who needs to can call on your behalf. For more than one entry use ICE1, ICE2, etc. Be sure to tell the people you have listed about this and that they are aware of your medical conditions and allergies so that they can better inform any medical teams.
Chapter V Home Away From Home
·     Bright Idea- Always bring a small flashlight with you in case of emergency and/or loss of power so that you may reach the nearest exit.
·     Auto-Dial- Save the words “hotel” and “taxi” and each time you go away enter the correct information so that it will be at the touch of your hand.
Chapter VI Getting Around
·     Strike Up a Conversation- If you visit a country where you don’t speak the language pick up a business card or set of matches that has your hotel and it’s address on it so that you may give it to a taxi driver when you want to return to your hotel.
Chapter VII Spending Wisely
·     Making a Point- Now in most travel stores they sell picture books that have all sorts of food and everyday items so you can point to what you need when you are not sure how to say it in a foreign language. It is also a great way to find dishes you are sure to like in a restaurant.
Chapter VIII Out And About
·     Seize the Day- Don’t wait to your day last to do what you consider your most important activities you never know if you will run out of time and have to cut back on your schedule.
·     Ask Questions First Shoot Later- Before pulling out your camera, especially in historic and religious locations, make sure you are allowed to take pictures so that you do not get your camera confiscated.
·     Keep ‘Em Separated- Keep magnetic hotel keys, mass transit passes, and magnetic sunglass clip-ons away from each other so that neither get erased or deactivated.
·     Brolly Bag- When carrying around an umbrella also carry a Ziploc bag so that you can put the umbrella back in your bag without getting anything wet.
Chapter IX Personal Connections
·     The Joy of the Text- If you have a cell phone that works overseas even if you don’t want to pay to call or text while traveling, a few days before your trip sign up for free text alerts for weather and travel adversaries for where you will be so that you will still have access to the same information at the touch of your fingertips and in English.
Where do you get your best travel tips?
What are your pre-travel routines?
What are your favorite new tips from this list?
I encourage you all to share your ideas and methods to your madness because we can all stand to learn a thing or two. Even the most seasoned traveler can always learn a new or better way to pack, plan, photograph, and participate in the world as a visitor one trip at a time.
For My Planning and Vacation Tips:
For This Book and It’s Author:
For My Favorite Travel Magazines:


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