Top 9 Travel Tips & Lessons Learned

I wouldn’t trade the thrill of traveling for anything, but as joyous and fulfilling my worldly adventures have been, I had my fair share of mishaps and less than favorable travel moments. After a decade of independent travel around the world, I think it is time to share some of the lessons learned and tips I have accumulated thus far.


Lock Your Suitcases

There were couple of occasions when my checked in luggage was opened and things – mainly fake jewelry – were stolen from my suitcases (beware of Ukranian Airlines!). Since then I firmly decided not to take any chances and make sure to put a special little padlock on my suitcase. It is cheap and doesn’t require particular effort, so I’d rather do that than have something taken out of my bag again. Another way you can secure your bag is to have it wrapped in plastic wrappers available at the airports.

Pack Your Valuables & Essentials in Your Carry-on

Make sure you have all your valuables (jewelry, laptop, camera, etc.) in your carry-on. This way if your luggage got lost you’d have your loots in your possession and out of harm’s way. I also make sure I pack my make-up kit, toothbrush, deodorant, small bottle of toner with cotton pads, underwear and maybe a change of clothes in my carry-on as well. Again, if the luggage got lost or delayed you’d have at least something on hand to help you freshen up.


Dress & Pack Smartly for a Comfy Flight (especially a red-eye)

Long haul flights are the hardest for me. I can never fall asleep properly, neither do I enjoy being cramped in the narrow space with unknown people. Thus, it is important to pack a few essentials to make yourself as comfortable as possible. I do want to look cute and neatly dressed, but I try not to compromise on comfort. I usually wear soft leggings and a long, slightly loose cotton top. My soft and lightweight, yet incredibly warm pashmina scarf is a staple. Oh, and the neck pillow is an absolute must. I also prefer to wear converse/sneakers vs. regular shoes. I honestly can never understand ladies who wear 4” pumps whilst traveling. KUDOS to them, but I’d die.

Pre-plan Your Outfits

I have always been a huge over-packer simply because I’d randomly pack clothes and shoes, which usually resulted in extra luggage consisting of items I never even got use of. For the last couple of years, I have started to pre-plan my outfits which has been a huge game changer. I still might pack an extra dress or top just in case I’m in mood for something else, but planning still helps me save lots of space and weight, plus time whilst on vacation – I don’t have to spend valuable time trying to decide what to wear.


Learn Common Phrases of the Local Language

A simple “Yes”, “No”, “Please,” “Thank you,” “Check please”, and “I’m sorry” in the local language goes a long way. Even if I cannot proceed with my conversation, a warm smile and hello on a local language usually does wonders for me. Plus, you show respect for the host culture.

Alert Your Bank and Credit Card Company of Your Travel Plans

This is a great habit to get into if you don’t want your credit card company or bank to put a hold on your card while you are overseas. I learned it hard way, when my credit card was blocked on the day my girlfriends and I planned to go shopping in Los Angeles! I was so bummed and mad at myself.

Travel First Aid Kit

It is a must for me. J is very accident-prone, and every time we travel he always ends up either sick or somehow injured. I always make sure to pack at least a bottle of Advil and a pack of band-aids in my bag. Although, the ultimate thing is to take a small first aid kit with basic medications in case of traveler’s diarrhea, minor allergic reactions or cuts/burns. We may not always have easy access to these when traveling so it is convenient to have something on hand for an immediate help.

Back-up Your Photos

As a travel blogger, the content I am creating is extremely valuable to me, so I got into a habit of copying my photos into my laptop at the end of every day. That way if something happened to my camera or memory card, I’d have at least some visuals safely saved and backed up.


Prepare Your Electronics

Make sure you find out what is the voltage AND what type of plugs they are using at your destination. More than once did I arrive and found out I couldn’t charge my phone and laptop because the plug didn’t fit. Actually, I plan on getting one of those lifesaver super sophisticated plug adapters that can be transformed to fit any socket and never take it out of my carry on. If you are really tech-savvy, then this article from National Geographic sharing tons of handy travel gadgets might be interesting for you. I already laid my eyes for J’s potential birthday gift.

Do you have some travel tips or lessons learned to share? 

This post is part of travel link up with Angie, Emma and Polly.

xoxo, nano

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  1. I just travel with carry on now- so packing smartly is vital! I managed 48 days around the world just with carry on last year, and it’s really not as hard as you’d think. But definitely agree with the first aid- I also carry Hydralyte and paw paw ointment.

  2. This is true. I usually pre-plan my outfits but I hope I can pre-plan it better.. I’m just a starter travel blogger. Newbie. Light weight. Haha. Hope you can follow me and support! :)

  3. I’m equally scared of things being put into my suitcase 💼 fab tips!!! Whenever I tell people about locking the luggage, I sound paranoid. Swear that it’s real! Thanks for sharing!! Total stunning of note photos. Absolutely love that bag portrait!!!

  4. Great tips Nano, we once had our cards stopped on a cruise as we had used in 3 countries in 3 days, and I always plan my outfits yet I still over pack I have no idea how, although I do bob in a few extras x

  5. Great tips Nano, we once had our cards stopped on a cruise as we had used in 3 countries in 3 days, and I always plan my outfits yet I still over pack I have no idea how, although I do bob in a few extras x

  6. wow… Great tips, I am agree that you need carry the essential on your carry on bag, and I do always over pack.. style is important…lol

  7. Wearing comfy clothes to travel is a must. I giggle at these people that get all dressed up in their best to travel on planes. In tight restrictive clothing. If you need to impress someone at the other end then change an hour out from landing

  8. This was very helpful. I’m also a recovering over-packer. Now I carry a backpack for short trips. Thank you for the practical advice. I’ll bookmark this for my next big trip in April. Thailand!

  9. I wish I would have read this before my trip to China!! I lost my phone on a public bus which had months of travel photos on it…. I got SUPER lucky and it was returned but I would have hated myself if i had lost all those pictures. You’ve sold me on backing up!

    1. Oh no, that’s a horrible feeling. But I am so glad it got returned to you though! Backing up is definitely a must jut in case. It doesn’t really take a long time, but saves you lots of stress. Hope it never happens again though :)

  10. I love your tips.Whenever I see people super dressed up at airports for long haul flights, I just stare in wonder. But each to their own I guess!

    I would also recommend that if anyone planning a long trip is on repeat prescription meds, that they get their 3 months supply before going away. Running out half way through your trip is a real hassle, and can be expensive to remedy!

  11. I love pre-planning my clothes, too even though I end up overpacking still!
    AND YES on alerting the banks for travel plans! I’ve been in this hooha many a time as well and it’s really such a hassle!

    I do get paranoid about my luggage being thieved whilst still on the plane, I’m so sorry to hear this has happened (I mean who does that?!)

    1. I know, people are down right evil! So annoying. One time I even found a ring box in my bag that didn’t belong to me! They must have done their robbery in such a hurry that mixed up the items from different suitcases. I always make a point to lock my bag since then!

  12. Locking suitcases and really thinking through what’s going in your carry on are both important lessons I’ve learnt travelling as well. I’m always the girl charging my electronics at the airport in transit.

  13. That escape bag is very cool! I definitely need to work on some of the items for this list. For example, I still haven’t yet nailed the perfect flight outfit. All my clothes are too uncomfortable, or impractical. Tall people problems. I think one day I’m going to go out and buy all the extra long pyjamas and then just live in them for the rest of my life.

    I never lock my suitcase, but that’s because I’ve never had anything stolen out of mine (nothing worth it generally). However, I feel it’s not wise to shut the door after the horse has bolted, so I shall be locking mine from now on!

  14. I always take some basic first aid items. It’s super awkward to try and explain to someone in a foreign language you don’t speak that you have diarrhea and need the Italian version of Immodium or Pepto.

  15. I wish I could pre-plan my outfits better. I do alright for long-term travel, but I’m heading to Iceland Saturday and I’m freaking out making my packing list today. I hate not having options. It’s so ridiculous! Great tips!

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