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Five Tips For Trouble-Free Travel

We’ve all been there: you just arrive at the airport only for your suitcase wheel to pop off or for your phone charger to go missing when you notice your battery at 5%. You’re struggling to find your travel documents in the array of products and random items in your carry-on. You find yourself paying extra fees that you thought weren’t going to be a problem. You get to your destination only to find that all the taxis for the evening have been booked and the public transit has stopped running for the night. What more could possibly go wrong? Since becoming an active and avid traveler, I’ve made it my mission to forget all my woes at my front door and travel trouble-free. Here are five tips I’ve started incorporating into my current travel routine that’ll make your trips away hassle-free.

Be prepared.

This might seem obvious, but that’s what makes people overthink and disregard it sometimes unintentionally. Before any trip, I make a very lengthy to-have and to-do list and make sure that everything is crossed off before I arrive at the airport. Do I have my headphones? Does my passport have extra empty pages? Is my suitcase sturdy enough for the environment I’ll be traveling to? Do I have extra cables, USBs and chargers in case something happens to the first sets? Am I able to check in before arriving at the airport? Being prepared makes the prospect of traveling a little less daunting, especially if you’re not the best flyer like I’m not. Channel everything about the before into something positive, so that the during and after can run a lot more smoothly.

Stay organized.

Staying organized doesn’t just apply to everyday tasks or schoolwork while at home. Staying organized whilst traveling is also a MUST, especially if you’re a student traveling abroad, finding a job away from your home country or if you’re becoming an expatriate. The first time I left the country, my mom prepared a folder of all the documents she’d think I’d need for when I was abroad. It included all the flights that were booked, addresses of my university and student accommodation, my passport details/other ID cards, my health records, bank account information (both hers and mine), passport information, embassy addresses and of course, copies of EVERYTHING. Now when I travel, I make sure to always carry a folder, too. Having it will not only make it easier for when you’re at the airport, but it also comes in handy if you’re ever unsure of anything while gone. Just be sure to not to lose the folder. For all intents and purposes, it’s your life.

Have a back-up plan.

Even with the first two tips, unfortunately not everything will always go as planned. That’s just the nature of the travel beast. While it is frustrating for things not to pan out the way you want them too (especially with all the preparation and stress beforehand), it is necessary to have a solid back-up plan. If you arrive to your destination for the ride to your accommodation nowhere to be found, make sure you have the public transit route handy. No WiFi? Have everything you need written down in your Notepad. Nowhere to get cash? Good thing you decided to get some at the bank at home before leaving. If things don’t work the first time around, keep calm and go for option #2, just because you have one.

Go with your gut.

Never underestimate your intuition. Traveling trouble-free doesn’t mean that there won’t be trouble elsewhere, when most times, it has nothing to do with you. Trusting yourself and your intuition goes a long way when you’re somewhere unfamiliar and unknown to you.Traveling can be scary sometimes and you may not know who the right people to trust are. However, the person you trust and know best is always yourself, so be sure to ‘trust your gut’ enough to know what to do even in the most unfortunate or unpredictable of circumstances. And if you sense at some point that there is someone you can trust in the midst of it all, don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help! 

Practice makes perfect.

No one is born knowing anything, especially not the right or best ways to travel (because it honestly differs for everyone). It might sound a bit cliché, but practice does make perfect. When I was younger and traveling with family, I had to settle for the ways my mom went about traveling. And that was all well and good until I started venturing on my own and finding what worked better for me. I found that I like checking-in online and having a barcode on my phone instead of printing tickets. That I like taking the train rather than paying for cabs. The way I travel differs from everyone else’s way. And that’s okay! As long as every time you do, you’re being cautious, careful, organized and prepared for the way that works for you, you’ll make the experience of getting there, being there and leaving there all the better. Find what works, what doesn’t, and the rest will follow, no trouble included. 

Anything I missed? What tips or tricks work best for you when you travel? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Diana Figueroa

Diana Figueroa is a New York City native and gradute of Fordham University, where she graduated with a degree in Communications, concentrating in journalism and creative writing. She is currently pursuing freelance writing projects and has recently launched her own website, nativevagabonds.co, dedicated to her passion for travel and her life in the Big Apple. She is off to pursue her Master's degree in Berlin, Germany at the end of this year. You can find her on route to the next music festival or curing her wanderlust as she plans her next adventure abroad.


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