Any kind of travel can be hectic. Business trips, vacations, and even weekend family road trips can be so stressful that you’re off to a bad start before you even leave the house. The enjoyment you get from your trip generally depends on the amount of preparation you put into it and the attitude you bring. Follow some of these suggestions and you could take your travels to the next level.

1. Learn what to expect

Many destinations around the world are actually well-documented if you take the time to go online and do your research. Odds are that prior visitors have left reviews of their experiences, whether it’s a local restaurant or an exotic city on the other side of the world. This will give you some good ideas of what to look for and what to avoid. You can also check company sites for hotels or eateries, travel sites, community pages, and more to get a very good idea of what to expect by way of amenities and prices. For international trips. Be sure to check the federal travel advisories.

2. Make friends

Be friendly and talk to people. You don’t have to be overly trusting, as that could get you into trouble, but be quick to engage people in conversation. This could be locals, fellow tourists, or just random people you meet along the way. You’re likely to pick up on some tips and tricks that aren’t in the usual tourist publications. There’s a good chance you could pick up some new friends and find people you can turn to if you have problems. Engaging people and the local culture can make your trip so much more rewarding and memorable.

3. Apps or gadgets

If you haven’t checked yet, you’d be surprised at home many great apps there are created to help travellers. Many or free, or provide free or trial versions. Some can show you maps, weather reports, updates on flight schedules, allow you to reserve hotel rooms or rental cars right from your smartphone. If you plan on doing a lot of driving, you might consider buying a GPS navigation app made for truckers. They’ll help you plot routes all across the U.S. or Canada that show traffic updates, dangerous curves, construction, points of interest, and more.

4. Be prepared

You’ll have different needs for every trip you take. It all depends on where you’re going and how you’ll get there, but draw up a list of things you need and use it as a checklist. If driving, be sure your car is well-maintained and insurance and registration are up to date. Plan out your driving route beforehand but take maps or a GPS just in case. If flying, know your flight schedule and gate, and get there well ahead of time. Always make sure you verify reservations, and have some emergency and spending funds set aside for site-seeing or unexpected fees.

5. Upgrade your camera

If you’re like most people, you’ll also want a few visual mementoes of your trip. If this is important to you, you might want to improve on the standard cellphone camera and upgrade to something that gives you more options. A professional or amateur photographer can take along a photographer backpack that provides a convenient and rugged place to store your equipment. Whether you’re going into the backcountry or touring Rome, you’ll want easy access to your video or still camera that’s also secure. Many also provide room for a laptop if you want to edit or upload your photos before you get home.

Travelling is only a headache if you let it become so. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare what you need for the perfect trip.

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Author: Dixie Somers

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. Dixie can be found on Facebook!

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