Top Secret Travel Tips
By Art Robinson, Contributing Editor
There’s nothing like having an inside look at the life of the pros. In this case, travel writers can give you the most valuable insight into how to travel well, save money, and make the most of your experiences.
Travel writers encounter the same nuisances that every other traveler does — like language barriers, airline fees, lost passports and the eternal struggle to have the best possible trip at an affordable price.
That’s why we asked 35 writers and bloggers to share their hard-earned travel wisdom from their lives on the road. Ranging from the practical to the profound, the travel secrets they reveal offer insights and ideas for every type of traveler.
“Trying to get into a sold-out hotel? Find out when cancellation penalties set in for the date you want to arrive, then call the property on the morning of that day. You can scoop up rooms made available by people who’ve just canceled.” — Wendy Perrin, WendyPerrin.com
“I put almost every dollar I spend on my American Express Gold card that gets me Membership Reward points — even my mortgage company takes it for monthly house payments! When you use the points at American Express Travel (online), they’re good on any airline, hotel or car rental. Because almost all of my spending goes on that card, I have enough points to travel (nearly) free all year long. I have another airline credit card (Visa) for those few places that don’t take American Express.” — Trisha Miller, Travel Writers Exchange
“It’s harder to receive than to give. We’re naturally suspicious of local people’s motives when offered friendship or shelter. Be open-minded.” — Graham Styles, Brainrotting
The secrets discovered by these expert travelers run the gambit from philosophical, to tangible, to seemingly mundane. But they all matter! Sometime when you’re traveling, the smallest tip can make the biggest difference.
“Always pack zip-lock bags. They are ideal for packing things tighter, separating wet from dry and managing small items like batteries. I always pack a few bags in a variety of sizes before every trip.” — JoAnna Haugen, Kaleidoscopic Wandering
“Connect with locals living in your destination via Facebook, Twitter or blogs, and make a point to meet them for coffee or even couch surf with some of them. You’ll find yourself getting deeper under the skin of the country, and understanding a bit more about local culture and lifestyle than you usually would.” — Nellie Huang, Wild Junket
“Don’t assume your way is the only way.” — Melanie Mize Renzulli, Italofile
Often the best travel tips from these experts come down to respect – Remembering that you’re entering someone else’s homeland can help to maintain a sense of respect when you approach people and spaces. If you treat them and their home with respect and care, it will endear you to the local community and likely earn you better, more in-depth experiences along the way.
“Saving money on a rental car has to be the most mundane and least thrilling secret I could offer, but there’s nothing dull about saving a dozen to a few hundred dollars every time you travel — money that can be put toward something a whole lot more exciting. A few years ago I learned that rental car rates behave unlike almost any other sale in the travel biz — almost like a transaction at the Beijing silk market. Whatever price you are quoted at first, you can work the system such that you pay a mere fraction of the quoted price.” — Ed Hewitt, Traveler’s Ed
What secrets have you discovered on your travels? Do you put any of these expert tips into use when you’re out exploring the world?
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