10 tips for traveling like an expert

Written by Julie K.

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Here are some of my favorite tips for traveling like an expert.

These are especially helpful when traveling to new countries and when trips have complicated logistics involving tight connections or tricky transfers.

I remember being caught in a Mediterranean downpour on Gibraltar which is also a very tricky place to drive and park.

Or coming home from Paraguay where I had to clear immigration in Miami airport and then transfer to the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

And finding the ATM broken in Havana, trying to buy train tickets in Danish, and selecting a guesthouse in one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Dublin.

I also seem to remember both driving the wrong way on a one-way street as well as driving through a pedestrian street in Switzerland. Oops!

The luckiest was talking my way into an immigration appointment when I had accidentally scheduled it the day before and missed it, unbeknownst to me.


All of these experiences have elevated my travel expertise and provided some hilarious memories. Life is a journey. Plan well, pivot with the surprises, and have fun.

Julie K. walking with camera towards hangar door at sunset

#1 – Luck favors the prepared.

When scheduling tight connections and tricky itineraries, carefully calculate the risk. Evaluating logistics, schedule, mobility, and goals will help determine if the risk is worth it. Be willing to accept the inconvenience if it doesn’t quite work out as planned.

 #2 – Carry duplicates and extras.

Put a copy of your passport, ID, bank or credit card information, and any important phone numbers in a different bag just in case the original gets lost or stolen.

Take along an extra bank card and keep some currency on your person. It can be critical redundancy in an emergency.

#3 – Get documents and insurance.

The basics are driver’s license, passport, tickets, and boarding pass. But for some international travel, you will need additional documentation such as visas and declarations. Have traveler’s insurance as well as know what is covered by your credit card, medical, or car insurance policies.

#4 – Pick luggage and lodging for mobility.

Luggage with hardy wheels that you can maneuver in all conditions allows for quick and smooth movement.

Find suitable lodging within walkable proximity to the city center or tourist sites along with proximity to either train station or parking.

#5 – Pack for variable weather.

Hot, humid, frigid, wet, thunderstorms, snowstorms, and wind. You can see it all in one trip. Study the seasonal weather patterns of your destination ahead of time. Utilize appropriate layers to be prepared and able to adjust on the fly.


#6 – Know your logistics.

This includes the time between flights, the distance between terminals, location, and availability of trains or cars, day of the week, traffic, events or holidays, and available maps. Basically, know how to get from point A to point B efficiently.

#7 – Utilize efficiency tricks.

Travel in the off-season. Utilize airline MVP lines and lounges with concierge. Get TSA pre-check or Clear or Global Entry. Pre-arrange for drivers, taxis, or pick-up services. Ask hotel reception for local tips.

#8 – Take care of your personal(-ity) needs.

Stay hydrated and move around. If you tend to have low blood sugar, keep snacks handy. Rest or catch a nap when you can. Bring your favorite comfort items such as fuzzy socks, a blanket, an inflatable neck pillow, or blue light glasses.

If you like a lot of activity and social interaction, travel with friends, download movies, or find a busy bar or lounge with people to chat with. If you are more of an introvert, find quiet spaces and utilize noise-canceling headphones with calming nature sounds.

#9 – Expect surprises.

Surprises happen. Be prepared to adjust quickly. Have a plan B if possible. Stay calm.

Sometimes the unplanned adventure becomes your favorite part of the trip.

#10 – Be Kind.

Be kind to everyone. Look for the humor everywhere. Everyone has a story and most people want to help. Serendipity and irony happen along with silly accidents. Part of the joy of travel is finding that we are all imperfect humans searching for joy and meaningful experiences.


Now you are ready to travel like an expert. So get going!

Read some of the stories of testing my travel expertise here.

feet in plum stilettos walking with shadow in sunlight

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