Travel Tips for the Wanderlust

Travel Tips for the Wanderlust

Traveling provides a chance take a break from the stress of life and enjoy relaxation in a new environment. Traveling can come with its own set of difficulties, though.  Whether you’re planning to fly or drive somewhere, here are some ways to make the most of your journey.

Stay Hydrated

Most of us don’t like the taste of tap water, and we sometimes struggle to stay hydrated while traveling. Hotels and airports usually overcharge for a bottle of water, and many water bottle companies are just filtering and selling public sources of water—what a ripoff!  It is possible to avoid the price gouging while staying hydrated.

Whether flying, driving, or embarking on a cruise, bring your own reusable bottle.  Although the bottle will need to be empty of liquids during TSA airport security checkpoints in the U.S., most airports offer filtered water options at water fountains so you can easily refill your water.  Food courts usually offer the same option as well at soda fountains.

Many hotels and cruise ships keep filtered water in the fitness center, so that’s another option to refill a water bottle. Continental breakfasts and buffets are another area to refill water bottles with filtered water.

If packing room allows—which is easiest on road trips—bring a water filter pitcher to filter water from the sink or bathtub in your hotel room. This is the easiest way to stay hydrated! As a final option, purchase a gallon of water nearby when needed. 

Other healthy tips:

  • Stretch and maintain exercise routines when traveling to help your body adjust to stressors like long periods of sitting, jetlag, and changes to time zones or altitude.
  • Taking probiotics is great for your digestive system and may help prevent potential food poisoning. If you don’t take probiotics regularly, start consuming them 1-2 weeks before an international trip and continue this habit throughout the duration of traveling.

Helpful Accessories

A backpack with a rear luggage sleeve and a roller suitcase are both a necessity for me at this point.  A rear luggage sleeve keeps the backpack in place when sliding it over a suitcase handle, which is especially convenient at airports.  

Packing cubes come in various sizes and make sorting through your suitcase much more manageable while keeping items in place during travel.  Another option is to reuse the clear plastic zip up packaging from previously purchased items like bedsheets or curtains.

Other tips for air travel:

  • Wear a scarf or shawl so it can double as a blanket on the flight.  
  • If you aren’t interested in purchasing TSA’s Precheck for faster airport security checks in the U.S., wear slip on shoes to get through the x-ray checkpoint a little quicker.
  • For flight layovers, I try to pack a few essentials and a change of clothes in my carry on luggage in case the airline loses my checked baggage.
  • Pack a handheld luggage scale if you need to check the weight of your bags due to luggage maximum weight requirements enforced by airlines.

Organization + Flexibility

For me, a major travel annoyance is arriving to destination and realizing how many things I forgot to pack!  To help solve this problem, I’ve created a checklist that I refer to for each trip.  Examples of some of the categories are included below: 






Cell phone + charger



Photo i.d./passport




Water bottle









Before Leaving the House

Water plants

Check on pet food

Set alarm


Keep a list of confirmation numbers and contact information for hotels and airlines readily available, especially when traveling overseas. During one trip to Europe, I had printed an itinerary with every address, phone number, and confirmation number for flights, hotels, cars, and Airbnbs. This completely saved the trip when my friend and I were at an airport with poor cell phone reception, and the airline employee said they couldn’t find our reservation unless we provided a confirmation number (yikes…).

While it’s important to research and make plans for each destination, I try to leave flexibility in my schedule.  Some of the best memories from my travels were thanks to last minute suggestions from friends or other travelers.  In Iceland, for example, we blew off visiting another waterfall on the trip after eating breakfast with some travelers who told us about a hot springs swimming area nearby. 

Here are some safety practices to keep in mind:

  • For hiking or walking somewhere alone, I bring pepper spray.
  • Keep valuables out of your car, and keep luggage concealed, if possible.
  • Keep hotel doors double locked when you're in the room.  I once checked into a hotel and they gave me a key to an occupied room.  I unlocked the door and walked into the room, terrifying someone who had been alseep. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially in poorly lit areas at resorts and hotels. 
  • When traveling, share your itinerary with someone back home, and keep an emergency contact phone number in your bag, your car, and/or luggage. 
  • If no one else is staying in your home, avoid public social media posts about your travels until you’ve returned. Sharing your location on social media can create easy targets for a home invasion.

Hopefully these tips make the potential stressors of traveling more manageable. Now go out there and find your next adventure!