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35 Travel Tips For The Lusty Who’ve Yet To Wander

1. Purchase ALL airfare ahead of time. Inter-country flights are usually less in comparison to airfare in the US, but they are by no means cheap. Why pay $500 to get from Zagreb to Florence when you can pay $300 by booking three weeks earlier? I recommend either edreams.net, skyscanner.net, or Skiplagged.com. Each have a setting that allows you to register your desired flight and receive periodic notifications as the price drops.

2. Try not to check luggage! If traveling with a friend, pack a foldable duffle. Consolidate items so that the duffle and one backpack are small enough to carry on, so you only need check in the other backpack.

3. Train/Bus Tickets: Train ticket prices rise seemingly exponentially, so I recommend purchasing train fare as soon as you land in the country from which you wish to depart. Tickets are usually non-refundable if you miss the train/need to change the time, so be mindful! Most bus ticket prices never rise, so purchasing one at the time of arrival is doable.

4. Packing: back-packing back packs are the best! Amazon often has reasonable prices. As outdoorswomen know, there is one right way to pack a backpack and MANY wrong ways. Note: this fork in the road may be life-changing.

5. If you’re not exactly sure where to go, I recommend choosing a  “Most Beautiful Places…” list, such as the following: http://www.escapenormal.com/2012/06/23/the-100-most-beautiful-places-in-the-world-in-pictures and sticking to it. I’ve hit 16 places on this list, and not once has it let me down.

6. Hawaiian shirt, Fanny Pack and Fat Camera, or no? Viator.com lists the top tours in every country, so check it out to find must-sees. Many travelers regard tours as reputation-degrading; arranging individual transportation to get to the Cliffs of Moher might be more affordable without the summer-camp feel.

7. Get a Charles Schwab account and debit card, or register at any bank that allows fee-free ATM withdrawals.

8. Airport sleepovers: if you have an early morning flight, sleeping at the airport can save quite a bit of money. Hunt for a restaurant with nice, inviting booths or bench seats.

9. Pack a light sleeping bag and a quick-drying towel to avoid hostel linen fees.

10. Purchase several yummy spreads, like peanut butter or Nutella and a package of crackers to snack on and avoid unnecessary meal costs.

11. Screen shot your walking directions when you have WIFI.

12. Check for student discounts (bring your PolyCard- represent!)

13. If you’re bringing a nice camera, DO NOT pack it in an electronic name-brand bag. A camera-shaped bag that says SONY is begging for a new owner. I recommend a lunch box as many are water-proof, un-camera-like shaped, and have adequate insulation. If you have a smaller camera, a hard soap case is a perfect SONY bag substitute!

14. Pack your shoes in shower caps to separate them from your clothes

15. Bring a dryer sheet to put in your dirty clothes bag so it doesn’t smell up your suitcase.

16. Wear heaviest clothing on flights (think clunky hiking boots, chunky sweaters, heavy jewelry…) to avoid overweight baggage fees.

17. Use clever containers so you don’t need to dig through all your stuff to find that one hair tie (ex. Tic-Tac container for bobby pins, sunglass case for power cords or jewelry, a contact case for makeup and an empty Chapstick tube for extra cash).

18. Make your hostel reservations when you purchase airfare as the highest rated tend to fill up quickly. Hostels.com or Hostelworld.com are common booking sites. AirBnB.com is nice for the occasional night alone (stay only at those with the highest ratings and many reviews).

19. Renting bikes is an incredibly fun, cheap transportation alternative. In many northern European cities(Amsterdam, Copenhagen…) there are more bikes than cars!

20. Picnics are the best (and often the cheapest option!). Stop at a local grocery store for bread, lunch meat and cheese and head over to the closest park!

21. Pre-game: 8 Euros per beer adds up!

22. Local tourist card: very often cost-effective(ex. SeeOslo, IAmAmsterdam, Salzburg card)

23. Take advantage of free walking tours! Many are donation-based.

24. USE LUGGAGE LOCKS

25. Bring a camping tupperware container/utensil and light weight food, like oatmeal, tea bags, just-add water noodles.

26. The plane seat with the most leg room is the exit-row aisle seat.

27. “Store important travel documents, including itineraries, airline tickets, passport copies and insurance details, in an online cloud storage system such as Dropbox or Google Drive, so you can access them on all your devices or even from a computer at a hotel.” -Nathan Wedding, founder of Seven Skies.

28. Make it a point to meet locals, and you’ll discover inumerable local secrets and get a more honest feel for the culture. Chat up the bartender, compliment the tour guide’s fedora, ask the hostel worker for directions. Make eye contact. Smile. Wear your manners like you brush your teeth (all the time, I hope) or at least like you put on clothes.

29. Apps to download: Tripadvisor, AirBnB, Viber, What’sApp, JetLagRooster (designs a jet lag-minimizing plan), Blacktomato.com (recommends less-common destinations based on personal likes), Contexttravel.com (thurough list of tours), Trover.com (combination of TripAdvisor and Instagram), Foodspotting.com (find affordable food), TripIt (reservation organizer), a currency converter app

30. GoogleMaps is an awesome way to plan your trip! You can trace locations and enter times/dates of flights.

31. Download Podcasts! I quickly tire of listening to music on 9-hour bus rids… Current top podcasts are: Serial, Invisibilia, This American Life, Radiolan from WNYC, and TED Talks. There are even travel-specific podcasts!

32. Pack ZipLoc bags. They ALWAYS tend to come in handy (i.e. Dirty clothes bag, snack bag, muddy shoes bag, toiletries bag, stationary bag, important documents bag…)

33. Other important websites: Seat61.com (find alternate, less obvious transportation)

34. Put a FRAGILE tag on your bag… Baggage carriers will put yours on top of the others, so it will come out first.

35. “ Fun Fact: To use Google Maps offline, type “OK Maps,” in the destination search bar and the visible area will save if you need to access the map later during your trip.” – Jessica Benfield

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