11 Travel Expert Tips: Basic Tricks and Secrets

The best travel expert tips come from those who travel every day. Whether they are writers, photographers or entrepreneurs, these travel professionals know how best to explore the world. They have experienced successes and failures, and learned from them all. We reached out to some of the top travel experts and asked them for their No. 1 tips. The results are invaluable, so before you plan your trip, read these essential travel expert tips:

Book It

Such a hard question because I don’t have one tip, I have a zillion! However my first tip: Just book it. Once you’ve booked it, you are working to a deadline, which will make everything happen that much faster. And with that much certainty.
Erin Bender, Family Travel Experts/Entrepreneurs

Sign Up for Airfare Deals

If there’s one valuable tip that any traveler should take note, it’s to sign up for airfare deal websites so you can score the cheapest flight tickets you can get your hands on! It’s no news anyway that airplane tickets can take a huge toll on your travel fund, so it’s best that you take advantage of any deals. My favorite websites for this would be SecretFlying.com and AirfareWatchDog.com. I once scored a $300 round-trip ticket from Europe to Japan – Imagine that!
Aileen Adalid, Travel Entrepreneur

Roll Up Your Clothes

Try to travel as lightly as possible. Also, when packing, roll your clothes tightly rather than folding them. They take up less space this way. Not only that, but they won’t tend to be wrinkled as much either. Stuff footwear with rolled up clothes, too, be it underwear, socks or whatever. You might be pleasantly surprised by the extra space next time you pack!
Dr. Paul Johnson, Luxury Travel and Marketing

Use Packing Cubes

Use packing cubes when you pack your bag. Packing cubes help you stay organised and pack lighter. Use a separate cube for tops, bottoms and underwear. You’ll be able to find what you need in a flash without having to dig through your bag. Packing cubes are also great for family travelers. Use a different coloured packing cube for each member of the family.
Bethaney Davies, Family Travel Experts/Entrepreneurs

Make Short Itineraries

Researching your destination can be loads of fun, but make sure you don’t plan your itinerary down to the last minute. Some of the best travel memories are created from unplanned adventures and impromptu experiences. I like to plan where I’ll rest my head at night and make a short list of must-do activities for each city, while still leaving time for spontaneity and flexibility. You never know where you’ll find yourself: Perhaps enjoying live music with locals along the Brisbane River, at a food festival in Frankfurt or at a private winery in Tuscany. The possibilities are endless!
Crystal Anderson, Travel Expert

Invest in a Camera, Backup Storage

Make sure to save your travel memories by taking quality photos and having a good backup system for storing your images, whether it is via cloud or an external hard drive. I have been traveling for over 20 years, and I regret not investing in a better camera when I first started, followed by not properly saving many of pictures that I took along the way. My advice is to invest in a quality digital camera. Pick out your favorite images upon arrival, and create a photo book or frame your favorite shots. If you’re traveling with friends or family, have the group share their photos on a Dropbox folder, so you can see all the different angles of your travel memories.
Jessica van Dop DeJesus, Freelance Travel/Food Writer

Have a Small Emergency Kit

Beyond traveling with an open mind, going with the flow, and leaving a contact trail behind, my most practical travel trip is this: In your carry-on luggage, always have a small emergency kit of toiletries, medicine and change of underwear. Many times, your luggage may not arrive when you do or, worst-case scenario, get lost forever. While many countries provide easy access to stores where you can quickly shop for replacement toiletries, many countries don’t. I’m not just talking a spare toothbrush or deodorant. Your (very small) emergency carry-on kit should include everything from pain relievers and cough drops to feminine products, antibacterial wipes, basic makeup (if you need it), and that very handy change of underwear. I carry mine every day now even when not traveling.
Lola Akinmade Åkerström, Travel Expert/Entrepreneur, Founder/Editor

Use a Hybrid Backpack-Roller

Ditch the backpack and take a hybrid backpack-roller. A lot of backpackers feel like they need a backpack so they’re ready for any situation when, in reality, there are very few situations where a backpack is really necessary. But there are a lot of situations where it is not that useful. Instead, try a hybrid backpack roller. I travel with an Eagle Creek Morphus, and it’s great. Ninety-nine percent of the time it stays in roller mode. But in situations where a backpack is necessary – such as riding a motorcycle or walking over rough terrain – I just pull it out and clip on either the backpack or duffel strap, and continue on my way.
Matt Gibson, Travel Writer/Photographer

Make Travel Your Career

My most valuable tip for travelers is to consider how they can earn money and travel at the same time. We’ve followed a working holiday strategy for 18 years, which means our life has been one consistent travel journey. We now follow that same principle, but through running our own online business rather than working for someone else. Combining work and travel means you don’t have to save as much, you can travel longer, plus you have deeper and more enriching travel experiences.
Caz and Craig Makepeace, Travel Entrepreneurs

Learn a New Language

While packing light is always the first travel tip that comes to mind, I’ve recently decided that something else trumps traveling carry-on size: Learning a language. When we first started traveling in 2006, we only spoke English. We’d learn a few words of the language of each country we visited to make it easier to order beer and find the toilet, but we couldn’t hold a conversation. In 2009, we started learning Spanish and are now fluent. It has made all the difference. Haggling in markets, talking with Uber drivers, discussing the plight of minority groups with Couchsurfing hosts – it’s all possible now, and we get a much deeper experience from the places we visit.
Linda Martin, Online Publishers/Travel Entrepreneurs

Carry Multiple Cards

One of the worst feelings is watching an ATM eat your card when traveling overseas. That is why I carry multiple ATM cards. I suggest you carry cards that refund your transaction fees such as Charles Schwab or Fidelity. Banks don’t typically like to issue multiple ATM cards. I inform the bank that my card is “bent” so they issue me a backup card. Make sure you alert your bank when you travel overseas so they do not freeze your account. I also take scans of my cards and store them in Dropbox in case the card is lost.
Ric Gazarian, Travel Writer

Stay tuned for more travel expert tips! And if you’re ready to book a trip, browse our beautiful vacation rentals in more than 100 destinations!