If you want to become an expert traveler, or even just make sure your future trips all go smoothly and efficiently, there are plenty of ways to transform any travel experience from a merely acceptable one to a great one. Read the below tips to find out how to make your trips effortless and enjoyable.

Travel can be a good way to get away from it all, but sometimes it is necessary to get in touch with the rest of the world. For this purpose, make sure your cell phone works wherever you are going or purchase a prepaid phone in your destination country. You will be glad you did if you lose your credit cards or passport and need to contact your bank – or embassy! – right away.

To avoid any awkward confrontations, do some research if you are traveling to a foreign nation. This includes looking up standard phrases such as “thank you,” “how much” and “how are you.” You should also look around for standard customs of the country, such as gestures, so that you can avoid offending anyone with gestures or body language that seem normal to you.

Whatever mode of transportation you choose, when traveling with a toddler, be sure to bring along lots of activities to keep him occupied. Try to bring along a few favorite toys. You may also look into purchasing something new for your child to keep them occupied much longer as they get used to their new toy.

If you know you have to fly, do yourself a favor and wear shoes requiring minimal effort to take off. Don’t pick that day to wear your eyelet wingtips with hard-to-tie laces. Women can wear clogs or slip-ons; men should choose a casual shoe style that can be easily slipped on and off with one hand.

When traveling on an airplane, always be sure to have everything you would need for the next day in your carry on. Since your carry on is always with you, you can be sure that if they will loose your luggage that you will be able to get by on the next day. In most cases, airlines should have your luggage to you by then.

When traveling by air, conceal a store of emergency money in your carry-on luggage. This stash will be useful if you run into a worst-case scenario, like a mugging or pick-pocketing. Make your stash as large as you feel comfortable with, but remember you may need it to purchase food, transportation or even an overnight room.

Packing for trip is really a process of balancing out the column of what you absolutely need against what would be nice to have. You only have so much room in your luggage. One way to make your trip so much easier is to only pack the bare essentials. Buy anything else you might need once you are at your destination!

People who travel for a living learn to use a lot of little tips and tricks, like the ones above, to make sure all their trips are simple, pleasant experiences, whether they’re leaving home for a day or a month. With these insider tips, you’re well on your way to being an expert traveler, too.

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