Tips on traveling abroad for the first time

Traveling to a foreign country for the first time can be both exhilarating and anxiety inducing: have you considered all the required information, devices, social protocols and social etiquette? How about finances, security and insurance? Much to consider. Here are some tips on how best to navigate.


10 Things You Need to Know About Traveling Abroad for the First Time

DECEMBER 26, 2019

By Megan Grant
Parade

Remember that one time I went to Paris and brought my blowdryer so that I could look #fabulous while strolling down the Champs-Élysées, but forgot that the outlets are different and I couldn' t use it so my hair was a giant ball of frizz for eight days?

Fun times.

There are so many details we forget when traveling abroad' some minor (see: the great hair frizz of 2018) and some much more crucial. If you' re planning on boarding a plane and adventuring to a faraway place, here are 10 things you need to keep in mind about traveling abroad.

10 Things to Know About Traveling Abroad

1. Figure Out How You Can Pay for Things Beforehand
"l just swipe my card, yeah?" Maybe. But maybe not. Michael Turtle of Time Travel Turtle tells Parade.com, "When you' re in a different country, you may not be able to pay for things in the way that you' re used to. I normally always just tap my credit card at home, but there are quite a few countries where you still need to use your PIN, so make sure you remember it if you' re planning to use your card. There are some countries (particularly in Scandinavia) that are moving to a cashless economy, so they may have no option but to use a card."

If you plan to use a card, one more word of caution: Fees. Watch out for them. "Your bank may charge quite high fees so look into this in advance and investigate your options," Turtle advises. "You can normally find a credit card offer that will have zero international transaction fees and I would recommend signing up for one of them if you' re going to be doing a lot of travel. On the other hand, there are still a lot of countries that mainly use cash' even Japan, despite its very modern reputation' so it' s also wise to have a card that will let you make cash withdrawals without a huge fee."

Cash always works too, but again, there' s one caveat you have to be careful of, according to Turtle: "Bringing your own country' s cash and exchanging it is also a good option, although I rarely do that because you' ll always lose a bit of money on the conversion and I prefer not to travel with a lot of money on me."

2. Dress Accordingly
You may be a stranger in a completely foreign place, but try not to look like it, okay?

"One of my suggestions would be to try to blend in with the locals. You don' t want to stand out too much by looking like a tourist because not only can this be embarrassing but it can set you up as a target for pickpocketing or theft," says travel writer Reannon Muth. So, what should we do to avoid this?

"To blend in, I' d suggest wearing muted colors or dark colors and avoid wearing sneakers (especially white ones!)," she explains. "In the US, people wear sneakers all the time, but in Europe and most of the other countries I' ve visited (I' ve been to over 40), people only wear athletic shoes when they' re working out. Sneakers are usually a dead giveaway that you' re a tourist. I' d also recommend wearing clothing that' s somewhat stylish (or at the very least fits well and isn' t overly baggy or wrinkled). In the US, a sports hoodie, yoga pants, and flip flops (athletic leisurewear) is perfectly acceptable attire for wandering around town, but I' ve found that in many other countries, people aren' t as casual with their attire."

3. Invest in a Pair of Good Noise-Canceling Headphones
Flights are long. Planes are loud. You won' t be able to sleep, read, watch movies, or do anything else with the sound of jet engines numbing your ears. "Good noise-canceling headphones for the flight are a must," says international speaker Adnan Kukic. He recommends the Sony WH1000MX3.

4. Don' t Assume People Speak English
This one is tough, I know. What the heck else are you supposed to speak? Before you go to another country, though, you should brush up on the basics, at the very least. Muth explains why:

"It can be rude to just walk up to a sales clerk and start speaking English. Even if you' re in a touristy area and are 99.9% positive the person speaks English, it' s still polite to greet them in their own language and then ask them if they speak English. At a minimum, you should take the time to learn how to say " hello,' " excuse me,' " please,' and " thank you.’"

5. Check Your Phone Plan
During my frizz-filled trip to Paris, I made another startling discovery: Apparently, the phone towers in Las Vegas don' t reach to France. Who knew?

You might be able to use your phone overseas. You might also be charged an arm and a leg for it. "Most plans will charge exorbitant fees to use your phone overseas," explains Turtle, "although some do have good deals about international roaming, so it' s worth investigating whether your provider does. For most people, though, you' re not going to want to have long conversations or text message conversations on your phone while you' re away."

Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives for staying in touch with people' when you have WiFi, that is. "I find it' s quite easy to avoid doing that if you just make calls with something like Skype or WhatsApp when you have WiFi at your hotel," Turtle says. "The problem is data. We have become so accustomed to using our phone to look at maps, search for public transport timetables, check opening hours, and find reviews of restaurants, that you may be lost (literally) without data on your phone. So, in this case, I recommend buying a local SIM card that has enough data for your stay."

It' s always good to err on the side of safety, though. "… you shouldn' t assume that you' ll always be able to get an internet connection while you' re traveling," continues Turtle. "Perhaps the hotel WiFi is dodgy or you can' t get a data signal on your phone. I always make sure to download maps for offline viewing on my phone and I screenshot any directions or public transport timetables that I need. I also take photos of signs at train stations or ferry ports that I might need later on. We are so used to knowing that any information we need is right at our fingertips at home, but that' s not always the case when we' re traveling so it' s better to be prepared."

6. Take a Nap ASAP
Jet lag is brutal. Your body has its own internal clock, and when it' s disrupted, weird things can happen. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can go beyond sleepiness and even affect your mood and concentration and give you, ahem, stomach issues. No thanks.

Thankfully, there' s a little trick. "As soon as you land in your abroad destination, take a nap, even if for just a few hours," advises Kukic. "It helps greatly to adjust to the different time zone."

7. Respect Mother Nature and All Her Creatures
While on an exciting trip, we understandably want to do things we' d never do at home. But there' s a reason to pause and think before you take part in typical touristy activities: It might be to the detriment of a living creature.

"Never ride an elephant (or support animal tourism)!" says Dani West, elephant advocate for Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants. "Interested in getting up close and personal with our majestic wildlife? Support and visit sanctuaries around the world … but do your research! Never ride, bathe, or pay to see them in zoos or circuses."

Have all the fun you want on your trip, but still be mindful of how your activities impact others.

8. Remember That You Might Not Be in a Service-Based Country
"… the US is unique in that we' re a " service industry country,’" Muth tells Parade.com. "In nearly every other country I' ve visited, this isn' t true. Americans' version of " good customer service' doesn' t exist. Shopkeepers may not greet you when you walk into a store and waiters might not come and refill your water glass. They aren' t being rude; that' s just the norm in their countries. You' ll often find that you' ll have to hunt down a salesperson or waiter in order to purchase something or put in an order."

Muth explains that this extends to ordering food at a restaurant. You might not get as much special attention as you would in the US: "Similarly, when you order in a restaurant, it' s customary in most countries that you don' t ask for substitutes with your meal. You order what' s on the menu and that' s it (no " dressing on the side' requests or " Can you add almond milk instead of regular milk?' ). This really isn' t done unless you have an allergy and it' s actually considered rude. It' s a quick way to earn a reputation for being a " demanding crazy American.' Obviously, you can ask for substitutes if you really need to. But I' d just try to keep it to a minimum. If you have to change the entire order to fit your tastebuds, you might be better off ordering something else."

And while we' re on the topic of food…

9. Be Prepared to Change Your Eating Habits and Meal Schedule
"Eating and drinking can be very different in another country and it' s important to be prepared for things to not be the way you would normally expect," says Turtle. "In Spain, for instance, dinner is always eaten very late so you may often not find restaurants open at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. But I' ve also been caught out in smaller towns in Europe where they' ll stop serving dinner at 9 p.m. In countries like Morocco or Malaysia, you' ll rarely find alcohol served with meals for religious reasons, so don' t expect you can have a glass of wine with dinner. And in Japan, you may come across the restaurants where you have to order all your courses from a vending machine at the entrance before you sit down."

Tipping also varies from country to country and culture to culture. "In North America, it' s expected to leave a considerable tip for every meal, while most places in Europe just expect a small token of a couple of euros, while many Asian countries find a tip to be rude and you shouldn' t leave anything," adds Turtle.

10. Stay Aware of How Much Space You' re Taking Up
"Unless you grew up in a crowded city like New York, you may not be accustomed to maneuvering through cramped subway cars or crowded marketplaces, but in many other countries, space is more limited than it is in North America and locals are experts at taking up as little space as possible," says Muth.

"This also applies to your voice' talk quietly in public. Although it' ll differ depending on where in the world you' re traveling to, I find that in most of Europe and many places in Asia, people speak quietly and remain more reserved when talking to strangers," continues Muth. "This is partly cultural but also because people in, say, Tokyo, are used to moving among thousands of people every day and are conscientious about not disturbing people around them by speaking too loudly."

Traveling abroad is exhilarating and eye-opening. Just do your due diligence before you go and always be mindful of your behavior.

Parade

Read More

Looking for travel inspiration?

New year, new travel adventures. Looking for a unique destination and fresh adventure can be a challenge. You can always take a volunteer vacation which will immerse you in a community and culture completely new to you. Or you could travel to a destination you had preconceptions about only to be amazed by discovering an untapped world of wonder. Here are a few suggestions from travel writers that may pique your interest. 


See Ya There! Here Are 10 Places That Travel Influencers Recommend Visiting in 2020

DECEMBER 17, 2019
By Jessica Sager
Parade

If you made a New Year' s resolution to travel more in 2020, get packing! From stateside locales to foreign lands that haven' t gotten much tourism yet, we' ve asked the experts where the best places to travel in 2020 are' and some of these options will surprise you. Whether or not you have a passport or wanderlust beyond our own borders, we' ve got a place for you.

Here Are 10 Places That Travel Influencers Recommend Visiting in 2020:

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The Traveling Newlyweds can' t get enough of Hilton Head Island, S.C., whether for a vacation or a staycation. It' s just a 45-minute drive from Savannah, Ga., and about two hours from Charleston, but has all the trappings of a tropical getaway' white sand beaches, warm temperatures, 12 miles of breathtaking coastline, 50 miles of scenic trails, 250 restaurants and numerous award-winning resorts. There are a ton of family-owned eateries and businesses and a lot of live music and dining by the water. It' s also largely dog-friendly!

Pakistan

Michael Gerber and Lora Pope of Explore With Lora both recommended Pakistan for upcoming adventures thanks to its amazing nature and mountains' and its lack of crowds from other tourists, unlike nearby India and Nepal. You' ll need a visa to go, but Pope says it' s worth it. "Most people think that Pakistan is an extremely dangerous country that you cannot visit, but this couldn' t be further from the truth," she said. "I spent a month there in August and it completely changed my views on the country. The hospitality in Pakistan is world-class. The locals are genuinely so happy to have you there and will go out of their way to make sure you have an amazing time."

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic is an underrated gem. Dangerous Business travel blogger Amanda Williams notes that while the Faroe Islands aren' t nearly as famous as its neighbors Iceland and Norway, its landscapes rivals both of them' without the crowds. "Getting to the Faroes is easier than many people realize (you can catch direct flights from several European cities)," Williams says, "and the infrastructure is on-par with any other destination in Scandinavia. The islands are easy to get around with a rental car, there' s tons of great hiking and the nature is pretty mind-blowing."

Newfoundland

Want to go Ireland without actually going across the pond? Try Newfoundland, Kate McCulley of Adventurous Kate recommends, noting that the Canadian province boasts similar craggy cliffs, picturesque seaside villages and friendly locals with lilting accents who tell stories and welcome you as one of your own. "But the best part is that Newfoundland feels a thousand times less tourist-ed than Ireland," she says. "When traveling in Newfoundland, you' ll be welcomed warmly by everyone you meet."

In terms of specific activities and excursions, McCulley recommends seafood cooked on the beach in Twillingate, a treasure hunt for art installations during the Bonavista Biennale, and, for the adventurous, she says, "You can become an honorary Newfoundlander by getting "screeched in" in a bizarre province-wide ceremony involving alcohol and kissing a codfish."

Bonus? McCulley adds, "Newfoundland is an Instagram fan' s paradise, from the brightly painted homes of Jelly Bean Row in St. John' s to the unusual geologic makeup of Gros Morne National Park to the fishing village of Trinity that looks plucked from a storybook."

Thailand

While all of Thailand is lovely, Veronika Primm of Travel Geekery loves one particular island the most: Koh Phangan. "It' s a tiny paradise island near Koh Samui, which got famous thanks to its regular Full Moon parties," Primm told us. "The island is so much more than that, though. It' s a unique spiritual base for many, with yoga and mindfulness courses and retreats in abundance. It' s a place where Thai people still outnumber tourists. It' s lush, it' s green and has miles of gorgeous beaches." One thing to note, Primm says, is that Koh Phangan isn' t accessible by car or plane, so you' ll need a ferry to get there' but it' s well worth the trip!

Myanmar

Becca Siegel and Dan C. Gold of Half Half Travel told us that Myanmar is the hottest destination for 2020' possibly literally also' for its affordability, safety and natural beauty. "Before going there, travelers should know that some parts of Myanmar get very hot, especially the tourism hot spot of Bagan," the pair told us. "It can feel 100 degrees Fahrenheit most days between 9 and 3 p.m., so all of your sightseeing should be done at sunrise and at sunset. The middle of the day is for chilling out by a pool at your hotel!"

Boise, Idaho

You weren' t expecting that one, were you? Travel vlogger Jessica Hirsch of Cheatdayeats recommends Boise, Idaho, for 2020' especially if you' re a foodie and love carbs.

"With a focus on potatoes, they have a restaurant dedicated to friends and a large focus on sustainability and farm-to-table. There' a major emphasis on where your food comes from and they' re majority passionate about food waste," Hirsch says. "This concept also applies to their beverage scene with mile markers to inform visitors on how far the brewery is located from where you' re enjoying a drink. There are many beautiful parks and outdoor activities to work off thee food to make it a very active trip as well. Also, for a fresh air and for views of the beautiful state, we recommend the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic for a full hot-air balloon ride."

Emily Mandagie of The Mandagies agrees, adding, "Downtown Boise also has incredible locally sourced restaurants, breweries, and even its own wine country (Snake River Valley AVA). One of our favorite restaurants is Diablo & Sons Saloon, which is a tastefully wild-west themed bar with clever drinks and delicious tacos."

Japan

Because the Olympics are coming to Tokyo in 2020, so will travelers. Cat Lin of For Two Plz tells us, "The Japan Tourism Board, along with smaller regional- and city-level tourism boards, are incentivizing travelers to visit before and after the Olympic periods with cheap travel deals. Those who' ve had Japan on their bucket list, 2020 is a good year to make that dream trip happen. From a cost-saving perspective, don' t restrict yourself to just the Tokyo area. There is more to see, do, and explore when you expand your radar to nearby cities like Hakone and Nikki."

Amanda O' Brien of The Boutique Adventurer recommends Kanazawa in particular, which is about a 2.5 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. "Kanazawa has all you want from areas like Kyoto without all the tourists, from samurai houses to geisha villages to dressing up in a kimono to stunning modern museum dedicated to DT Suzuki, who brought Zen Buddhism to the world," she says. "It is also home to Japan' s third most beautiful garden, Kenrokuen, and the production of gold leaf." Kanazawa is also just a 30 minute train ride from the Kaga thermal spa region and its Nadatera Temple and incredible art.

The Kii Peninsula is also a great spot, Retha Charette of The Roaming Nanny says. "It' s off the beaten path and holds all the ancient beauty one can think of about Japan' home to the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage the Kii Mountains stretch out towards the horizon ending at the ocean," she told us. "Temples dot the mountainsides with plenty of ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) to stay in!"

Slovenia

Slovenia has a little something for everyone' and you can brag to all your BFFs that you found it first. Foodies should hurry to explore the many culinary gems found across the 24 distinct gastronomic regions, and there is a lot to do in Slovenia all year long.

Jonathan Look, Jr., of Life Part 2 tells us, "Bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, Slovenia stands on its own, but is influenced by all of these rich cultures. Alpine landscapes, charming cities and hospitable people are in abundance. The food and wine, which is largely unknown outside the region, is truly world-class. There is even a small coastline with beaches and scrumptious seafood."

Travelers will love the Festival of Kurentovanje, one of the oldest celebrations of Carnival in Europe. Featuring parades of costumed monsters and characters, Kurentovanje is recognized on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. In the summer, visitors can enjoy 14 wine regions, including the world' s oldest active grapevine (over 450 years old!) in Maribor.

Lake Bled is great for scenic paddle-boating in fall. In winter, Slovenia is decked out for the Christmas season. Postojna Cave transforms into a winter wonderland, adorned with festive decorations and more than 2,100 colorful lights for its annual Christmas experience, a live performance featuring 16 biblical nativity scenes reenacted by more than 150 performers along the cave' s one-of-a-kind railway system. Additionally, avid skiers will delight at the fabulous slopes of the Julian Alps, particularly the eighteen different slopes at Kranjska Gora, a frequent host of international slalom competitions.

Alaska

Grab a coat and hit up Alaska! So many influencers sang the praises of the state: Louise Sattler loves Girdwood for its charming shops and cafes' and spectacular views of the Northern Lights.

Visitors can also enjoy Glacier Bay National Park to see the 200-year-old sheets of ice breaking away from the faces of glaciers before they melt away. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve can only be reached by plane or boat, with many air connections from Juneau, Skagway or Haines via commuter air taxi service. Visitors can take the Glacier Bay Day Boat Tour for views of snow-capped mountains, tidewater glaciers, whales, sea lions, rare birds, coastal bears, eagles and more' plus close-up views of the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers that cruise ships can' t match. Visitors can also enjoy kayaking, whale watching and authentic Alaskan experiences at the local Tribal House with hand-carved Totem Poles' each one telling a "story." Glacier Bay Lodge is the only commercial overnight accommodation in the park, Glacier Bay Lodge offers 48 rustic rooms nestled among Sitka spruce trees on the shores of Bartlett Cove, with the National Park Visitors Center on the second floor lobby, or Bartlett Cove Campground, which features bear-resistant food caches, firewood and a warming hut.

Julie Leventhal recommends the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, Alaska' s first via ferrata climbing route with endless activities from helicopter-accessed fat tire mountain biking to world-class salmon fishing.

Self

Surviving Holiday Travel

Holiday travel is hectic: busy airports, overwhelmed airline staff, weather delays, high ticket prices are but a few of the challenges. Katherine Parker-Magyar writing for Forbes shares some collected wisdom from popular travel writers on how best to survive and thrive during the Christmas and holiday travel season.


15 Travel Writers Share Their Best Tips For Holiday Travel

Katherine Parker-Magyar, Contributor Travel

It’s the most wonderful (and chaotic) time of the year. As hordes of travelers descend upon airports nationwide to journey home for the holidays, the prospect of December travel strikes both excitement and anxiety in the hearts of many. We decided to consult the experts for travel advice for the upcoming season (including tips on how to make your economy ticket feel like business class.)

To that end, 15 travel writers shared their hard-earned wisdom on everything from travel rewards programs to appropriate-airport attire. (“Air travel is a horrific slog, it’s every man for himself, and you should wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable,” Todd Kingston Plummer offered on the latter.)

To check or not to check, that is the question. Or, one of the questions, at least. And while some writers we interviewed were vehemently against such profligate packing habits (“the cardinal sin of traveling,” according to Leila Najafi), there is something to be said for the mantra that more is more. Often, the things we’re likely to forget are those that are most obvious. (I surely am not the only one who has found myself in a foreign country sans passport… Twice.)

With that in mind, remember to stash your everyday essentials in a carry-on before boarding (preferably in a pre-packed travel case to minimize your likelihood of forgetting.) Offers Merissa Principe: “You never know when you might have to borrow your receptionist’s motorbike in the Thai jungle at 2AM to find some Advil.”

Read on for our list of the best travel tips, sourced by the ultimate industry experts, to avoid that same fate. But if you do encounter some (inevitable) mishaps: Fear not. In the words of Lesley Chen: “Boring trips don’t make for good stories anyway.”

airport

Todd Kingston Plummer (Daily Beast, Los Angeles Times, Vogue, etc.)

I’m so sick and tired of people perpetuating this myth that airplane travel should somehow be glamorous, and that you should dress up for the plane. That is unequivocally false. I don’t care if you’re taking JetBlue to the Caribbean or flying in Singapore Airlines Suites Class' air travel is a horrific slog, it’s every man for himself, and you should wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable. If I’m flying to the tropics, you can bet that I’ll be wearing shorts. And if you think wearing pants somehow makes you immune to all the germs floating around on airplanes, you’re living a lie. Live your truth. Wear your comfiest shorts on the plane. Never apologize.

Jillian Dara (DuJour, Hemispheres, Travel & Leisure, etc.)

I hate creating expectations, but I like to be educated on a destination before a trip, so I do a certain level of pre-trip research. Part of this is to scope out popular attractions, restaurants, and bars, but more importantly, it’s to anticipate and understand a new culture’s customs. Additionally, I try to incorporate free time into my itinerary; the best way to discover a new place is to get lost, I’m overly curious, but always respectful.

Teddy Minford (Fodor' s Travel Guide)

I used to roll my clothes, but now I only roll wrinkle-resistant fabrics and fold anything that might wrinkle' I hate ironing, and I don’t like to travel with a steamer. The amount of space saved by rolling your clothes is not worth the wrinkles! My general rule for not overpacking is that your clothes should only take up half your suitcase. The rest should be free for shoes, toiletries, and everything else. This is where packing cubes come in handy, but they’re really not necessary if you’re using a clamshell-style suitcase (like every travel writer’s best friend, the Away bag).

Gemma Price (Condé Nast Traveller, Departures, Wall Street Journal, etc.)

Ok, the thing I can’t live without is my plane pack. Flying long haul in economy every other week isn’t the most comfortable, so I have a selection of little pouches that contain everything I need for the journey. I pack Clorox sanitizing wipes for the armrests and table because they hardly ever clean those things. Plus, some medications against a dodgy tummy (loperamide, Pepto Bismol, etc.) because there’s nothing worse than getting the trots at several thousand feet… And having the cabin crew yelling at you to go back to your seat and put your seatbelt on when you just can’t.

I have a Cabeau eye mask and memory foam head pillow ' it scrunches up quite small and is super comfortable ' and some heavy-duty earplugs that shut out screaming and snoring equally well. To keep me from looking like the crypt-keeper on disembarkation, I also bring a sample pot of my favorite moisturizer (Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Day Cream), and a little bottle of Evian face spray that I swiped from a Maldives resort gym. Is it bougie? Absolutely, but it works.

Josh Laskin (Outside Magazine, The Points Guy, Travel & Leisure, etc.)

For me, I always make sure I don’t have to check a bag. It gives me one less thing to worry about ' whether or not my belongings are going to make it where I need them to ' while traveling. I always watch people pulling huge luggage bags behind them, trying to get them up and over curbs, tripping and falling in the process, and think to myself, “man, that’s really not for me.” I bought a large 65-liter backpack, which can fit as much ' if not more ' than a large suitcase, and bring it as a carry-on. It also allows me to walk around hands-free, which is a pretty liberating feeling when traveling long distances or for longer periods.

Chelsea Davis (Forbes, Insider, TravelPulse, etc.)

Some of the things that have helped me on my travels are writing out five or so common phrases that I may need to know if I’m chatting up locals and having pre-loaded webpages with important info on the sights I want to see or maps if I can’t get WiFi.

Another thing I try to do when I get to a new place is to jump on a free walking tour with a local! You get the lay of the land and, hopefully, some insider tips on what to see, do, and eat. When it comes to packing, I try to think worst-case scenario' physically. I bring meds for allergies, itch cream & bug repellent (mosquitos love me!), Advil, Neosporin just in case… you get it. And when it comes to airports, I make sure that the second I get off the plane, I make sure I know what the local time is (not just trusting my iPhone to recognize the different time zone)' especially when I have a tight connecting flight.

Leila Najafi (Eater, Thrillist, USA Today, etc.)

I never check in a suitcase. It’s the cardinal sin of traveling in my book. Time is your currency when you’re traveling, so you want to be as efficient as possible. I’ve been able to go to Europe and Australia for three weeks with just a carry-on. You learn to get good at packing a wardrobe that you can mix and match, and if I’m staying at an Airbnb, I’ll do laundry.

Ramsey Qubein (AFAR, BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, etc.)

International travel is much more comfortable when you take advantage of the perks of airline and hotel elite status like upgrades, early check-in or late checkout at hotels, and airline and hotel lounges. Even those that don’t travel as frequently can take advantage of special benefits like lounge access, priority boarding, and fee waivers through certain credit cards. It certainly takes the hassle out of constant travel, and actually, kind of makes it more fun!

Merissa Principe (CBS Local, HelloGiggles, etc.)

If you want to travel like a travel writer, you need to have the right apps! I always download the app of the airline I’m traveling with, so I can get mobile updates as well as terminal and gate information. The rewarded miles don’t hurt either! My other must-have app while traveling is Mobile Passport! When I’m arriving stateside, I always use my mobile passport app to breeze through customers. I fill out the customs form on the app while we taxi to the gate and have found that it’s saved me hours over the past few months.

I’d also recommend having a pre-packed in-flight bag that has everything you might need ready to go for your flight so you can pull it out of a backpack or carry-on before finding your seat. That way, you’ll have all the essentials, like laptop, charger, book, Chapstick, headphones, snacks, just to name a few, all in one place so that you don’t have to hassle in the aisle and boarding can continue efficiently.

Finally, if you’re traveling via carry-on, which is very travel writer-esque, roll your clothes to save room, pack easy mix-and-match layering clothes, and don’t forget to pack pharmaceutical essentials like Advil! You never know when you might have to borrow your receptionist’s motorbike in the Thai jungle at 2AM to find some!

Amanda McCoy (POPSUGAR)

For me, it’s all about surviving the long-haul flight to make sure I don’t arrive completely wiped out with sore muscles. I essentially turn that coach seat into my own little spa oasis. A gel sleeping mask, lavender essential oil, cucumber under-eye masks, and' most importantly' an inflatable footrest (which is still the best damn $20 I’ve ever spent). Even flight attendants constantly comment on how I’ve turned my economy space into a pseudo-first class seat… Just minus the champagne.

Sandra MacGregor (CNN Travel, National Geographic, NYT etc.)

Noiseless headphones, my Kindle full of books I’ve been dying to read but put off until I am on an airplane, and my Seed facial serum by Canadian luxury vegan brand VERDURA are my travel go-to’s. Oh, and a person in the seat next to me who is affable (and doesn’t snore) is a nice bonus.

Lesley Chen (Brit + Co, Parade, etc.)

 My toiletry bag has a second set of everything I use (face wash, toothpaste, floss, lotion, etc. in miniature size). So, I can just grab it and go without having to worry about if I remembered to pack my face wash from the shower or my contact case from the counter. Things I always pack: a pair of black jeans (it’s a 2-for-1 because you can go dressy or casual!), a pair of running shoes (because I know the one time I don’t bring them will be the time I actually motivate to go to the gym), and flip flops.

This is kind of a terrible tip, but this is how I avoid jet lag: When I fly to and from international trips, I force myself to stay up on the plane and watch as many movies for as long as possible, and then when I land, I power through/keep moving until nighttime. By bedtime, my body is usually so tired (and probably disoriented) that I just go to sleep, and it kind of resets itself. Also, coffee helps.

Amber Gibson (Forbes, Hemispheres, WestJet Magazine, etc.)

If you’re making a long journey and worried about jet lag, get a spa treatment the first evening you arrive. Book it for as late as you can in the evening and go to bed right after. There’s no better way to prime yourself for a good night’s sleep.

Claudia Laroye (Flight Network, The Globe and Mail, Twist Travel, etc.)

‘A gelato a day keeps the tantrums away.’ This travel tip works wonders for kids but also adults too. It keeps the ‘hangries’ at bay, incentivizes good behavior while traveling, and gives everyone a boost when spirits flag due to jet lag. And hey, it doesn’t have to be gelato, it could be cake, cookies, wine, etc. We live by this motto when we travel, and I know it works in real life as it’s saved us from more than a few meltdowns.

Kelsey Ogletree (Modern Luxury, ROBB Report, WSJ, etc.)

As tempting as another round of late-night cocktails' or hitting up just one more cool dance spot' might sound, I’m a big fan of calling it a night as soon as you (politely) can. When you really want to learn about the culture of a destination and squeeze in as much as possible when you’re staying in a place for a short time, you don’t have time to feel tired or hungover. Early to bed, early to rise, has always suited me well whenever I’m traveling for work!

Forbes