1. Use travel apps to manage your itinerary, and monitor your flight for delays, gate changes and cancellations. I really like Tripit. When I make a reservation for airlines, hotels, cars, trains etc I merely forward the confirmation email to Plans@tripit and those plans are automatically entered into my “trip” in the correct order. The entry includes all the necessary information, but I can add more as needed. Ultimately I have my whole itinerary in one place and Tripit monitors any changes in the air, for instance, and sends me notifications.
2. Pack Smart. I do the things that all the packing sites recommend, like picking a color scheme (black, brown or blue) so you can match tops and bottoms easily, limiting the amount of clothes you have pack. I also am strict about the old pack everything then take half out! Before closing my suitcase I really scrutinize each item asking myself ‘do I really need it’, ‘could I get along without it’?. Its amazing how many things get tossed out. This is especially important when traveling by trains and buses.
3. I always pack a small bottle or package of laundry detergent. I can wash out light weight clothes, roll them in a towel to get all the moisture out, give them a good shake and hang them either in the closet or over the shower curtain. When I spent 2 weeks in Peru living out of a carry on size it was a god send. We were in very dusty areas and clothes I would regularly wear a few times were a mess after one wear. I ended up washing a few things every night.
4. I keep a bag packed with travel toiletries, pjs, and a few other items I always need when traveling. Great for frequent travelers and for last minute overnights or weekends.
5. Check in to your flight as soon as online check in is available and check seats, very often airlines release better seats and you can grab one.
6. When you arrive in a new city – head out to a local watering hole or coffee shop and ask locals for good suggestions on what’s happening or what is a must see or do. Skip the guidebooks and go where the locals go.
7. Before you go check deal sites for possible coupons at your destination, things you want to do anyway – like eat out, or activities that look cool. Groupon, for instance has deals in cities around the world,, check and you may be surprised what you find.
8. Call your credit card company before you go. If not you may find yourself without credit card access due to a security block.
9. Leave down time in your schedule, you’re on vacation, don’t come back so tired you need another vacation!