Traveling can be one of life’s greatest experiences, but if things go wrong, you might wish you had stayed at home.
In this article, world traveler Michael Wiener of Albuquerque New Mexico reveals ten travel tips that will allow you to see the world while maximizing the quality of your journey.
- Make two copies of your Passport photo page!
Carry one copy in your luggage and leave the second one with a trusted friend back home. In the event your passport is lost or stolen, having a copy easily available will help you get it replaced at the nearest U.S. Consulate.
- Be Cautious When Using Wi-Fi Networks!
Many public wi-fi networks you will find available when traveling are unsecured. In high-traffic areas used by tourists, hackers know how to access the information you send or receive over an unsecured network. Secured networks are much safer than open networks, but it is a good idea to wait until you are on a trusted network to access any banking or personal information on your laptop or mobile device.
- Sign Up For STEP!
When traveling internationally, U.S. citizens are eligible to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This program is free and allows you to customize alerts and information related to the specific places you will be visiting. STEP provides information that American travelers need regarding emergencies, weather and natural disasters, and any dangerous condition along with instructions on how to obtain help and stay safe.
- Make Finding Your Car When You Return to the Airport Easy!
We all know that getting there is half the fun, and the rush when arriving at the airport to depart often leaves us confused about where we parked our car when we return. You can jot down the lot and aisle where you park to make your return trip stress free when looking for your car. Even better, you can just take a picture of the sign in the lot where you park to be sure you won’t lose your parking location.
- Seal the Liquids in Your Luggage!
We have become accustomed to the small-sized 3-ounce (100 ml) containers for liquids we must use when traveling. However, we never get used to the frustration of having a container leak out perfume, sunscreen, or other travel liquids over all of our packed luggage. Use a dual safety seal: pack liquids in a zip lock bag and also seal each container with plastic wrap between the container and the cap.
- Tag Your Luggage for Easy Identification!
When you have a fairly ordinary-looking piece of luggage, waiting for it to arrive at the airport’s baggage claim can be frustrating. You will spend time looking at almost every bag, and it is likely that other travelers might mistake your bag for theirs. Use a brightly colored tag or ribbon with a distinctive pattern and you will be able to confidently spot your luggage quickly.
- Keep Your Clothes Wrinkle-Free!
Travel can be very difficult on your garments, and no matter how carefully you pack you may wind up with wrinkled and creased clothing. For items that normally need to be pressed, fold them carefully and then pack them near the top of your case with tissue paper placed below and above each piece of clothing. The tissue will absorb a significant amount of stress and help keep items from getting tangled up.
- Explore Credit Card Travel Benefits!
Especially if you travel regularly, credit card companies have become very competitive in offering travel benefits. Bonuses often include flight vouchers, hotel stays, and even cash back. If you have a need for a credit card when traveling or for business, check out which card provider offers the most bang for your travel bucks. Notify your credit card companies of your upcoming international travel.
- Unfortunately, Pickpockets and muggers are everywhere!
Especially in train and bus stations and on elevators, tourists are often targeted. If you carry a dummy wallet with some expired or valueless cards and a small amount of cash, you may be able to hand this over to a mugger in order to end the confrontation quickly and safely if possible.
- Make sure your Passport will have MORE THAN 6 months of validity on the date your international travel is set to begin!
Most countries will deny you entry if you arrive there and your passport expires within a 6-month window. Best idea is to renew your passport after 9 years has passed. It is a myth that a U.S. Passport is valid for 10 years – it is NOT!
About Michael Wiener:
Michael C. Wiener of Albuquerque New Mexico is a world-renowned license plate collector, researcher, and consultant. He is considered to be America’s leading authority regarding automobile license plates and motor vehicle licensing systems. By the time he was 23, he had visited all 50 states and has now explored over 100 countries across the globe. Mr. Wiener was elected as an Albuquerque City Councilor, a New Mexico State Senator, and a Bernalillo County Commissioner. He was elected twice as International President of the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA), and has been featured on HGTV’s Offbeat America,” CNBC News with Brian Williams, and appeared in an episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad and was featured in New Mexico Magazine. Michael serves as a consultant for motor vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, and television and motion picture producers on subjects related to motor vehicles and automobile plate history. He has been nominated twice, by his peers, to the ALPCA Hall of Fame and was given the “Outstanding Leadership” Award by the Mid Region Council of Governments in 2013.