Traveling the world is one of the most awe-inspiring activities you can do. It makes you more cultured and allows you to experience the best places the planet has to offer, including beautiful attractions, exotic cities and more.
As exciting as traveling is, though, it can be much more enjoyable if you take a few steps to prepare yourself for basic travel needs and the unexpected. For example, to avoid missing a cruise due to a flight delay, plan to get in town the day before the ship leaves so you have plenty of buffer time.
Below are a few of our travel tips and tricks to help you make the most of your trip. From planning to post-trip necessities, there are a variety of simple steps you can take to keep things running smoothly.
Planning your trip helps to move things along smoothly. Your itinerary can be a lifesaver. Keep it handy and plan ahead to save yourself some stress later.
1. Make Copies
Make a copy of your passport to have with you at all times, and leave the real thing in a lockbox or other safe location. You never know when you may need some identification overseas, and if you lose your bag, you don’t want to lose your passport too. Hard copies of other materials, like your boarding pass for your flight or any event tickets, may also come in handy — such as if your phone dies and you don’t have access to the electronic versions.
That being said, your phone can be an excellent resource while you’re traveling, as long as you keep it charged. Investing in a portable charger or an extended battery case may help keep your phone alive if it is prone to losing its charge quickly. Remember, you’ll probably be using it a lot more than usual to take pictures, stay entertained during travel and find information.
Assuming you can make sure your phone stays charged, you can use it for easy and compact access to a variety of resources. Keep notes or take photos of any vital information you may need, such as your itinerary, boarding passes, lodging information and important points of contact like emergency services. You can also take a photo of ship plans, so you always know what activities and events are on the docket for that day.
2. Check All Requirements
Imagine getting all the way to another country and not being able to get in because of something like not having at least two blank pages in your passport. This requirement applies to some countries and can put a big wrench in your plans. Check out things like passport requirements, baggage rules and other rules for your trip:
- Luggage: Baggage can have a lot of restrictions. If you’re flying, you’ll have to consider the standard rules on liquids and sharp objects as well as your airline’s weight limits. While cruises are much easier to pack for than flights, you’ll still need to be aware of any prohibited items. Some cruise lines won’t allow you to bring alcohol. Windstar allows wine and champagne, depending on the length of your cruise.
- Provided services: You can also save on valuable luggage space by reviewing what services will be available to you during your trip. Many hotels and cruises offer laundry options, so you can bring fewer outfits. Hairdryers and safes are also commonly supplied. Check into what type of electrical outlet the place you’ll be staying has because you may need to purchase a travel adapter to use them.
- Passport rules: As for your passport, make sure you abide by any requirements put in place by the country you’re traveling to and keep it up to date. Remember that for many places, you can’t travel with a passport that is valid for less than six months in the future.
3. Consider Travel Insurance
What if something were to happen to you or your belongings while you were traveling? A travel insurance plan can reimburse you for costs associated with a delay or interruption in your trip, medical expenses and baggage loss or delays. Windstar offers travel protection and cancellation fee waivers in the event of qualifying issues.
4. Take out Cash — but Keep It Safe
Cash is a more convenient way to make purchases, and many vendors abroad won’t accept cards. However, only keep what you need on you and tuck it away in a safe pocket in your bag or clothing.
Depending on where you’re going, you may need to think about currency exchanges. The cheapest option is to do this before you leave, from a bank or financial institution. If you’re taking a cruise, many port cities will take American currency.
5. Remember Any Medications and Necessities
You might go to pack what you’ll need for the trip only to find out that you only have four days’ worth of your medication when you need seven. This miscalculation could make for a very uncomfortable vacation. Refill your prescriptions beforehand, and count out what you need.
Don’t forget to bring additional medication that may come in handy during travel, such as ibuprofen, antacids and seasickness medication. If you forget and need some, most hotels and cruise lines, including Windstar, have them available at guest services.
Though not necessarily a medication, sunscreen will also help you avoid a nasty experience. Getting burned on your first day leaves you with a vacation full of soreness and aloe vera lotion. Depending on where you are, you may see much harsher sun rays than you would back home. The Caribbean will give you a faster burn than a trip through Northern Europe, for example, so lather up accordingly.
During the Trip
Once you’ve left your hotel for the first time or sailed off into the deep blue, you’ve officially started vacationing. Here are a few things you can do to make the trip as pleasant and snag-free as possible.
1. Keep a Small Bag With You
While ladies may be accustomed to carrying around necessities in their purses, vacation is an entirely different story. A small backpack or drawstring bag would be a good idea. During travel, you’ll want your in-flight necessities separate from your luggage. This approach also goes for any items that you don’t want to be lost or stolen. If it’s something you don’t want to lose, keep it in your carry-on.
On a cruise or during a walk through a new city, you may find it helpful to have all your essential items on hand for easy access. Whether you need pain reliever while out and about or sunscreen for a spontaneous trip to the beach, a convenient bag can help you keep everything within arm’s reach.
Keeping this bag small, however, forces you to travel light. It keeps you away from the temptation of adding more just because you can and makes you selective to just the essentials. You’ll appreciate this when your shoulder isn’t aching from carrying a heavy bag around all day.
2. Bring a Power Strip
Although modern hotels and ships provide more outlets than their older counterparts, you may still need more room to charge your electronics. Between your phone, laptop, camera and watch, you may benefit from a power strip to give you and your party the ability to charge all of your devices at once.
3. Make Reservations
For activities that require reservations, such as a spa, restaurant or experience like horseback riding and ziplining, make the call early on. These opportunities can fill up fast, especially on a cruise with thousands of passengers. Smaller ships, like those at Windstar, can be more flexible, but you’ll still want to think ahead. This rule applies to activities on any kind of trip. Make reservations early for the shows or events that you’d like to attend, so you’re not left in the dust if they sell out.
4. Wear the Right Clothing
Walking across a wet pool deck in flip flops might work well, but when it’s time to get out of the water and into the city, good walking shoes are the way to go. If you travel a lot, investing in a sturdy, comfortable pair is probably a good idea, since you can wear them on a walk through the town, a hike of the local landscape or a visit to the museum. Some versatile footwear can serve you well.
You may think that a cruise to a warm location like the Caribbean would be best enjoyed in a swimsuit and shorts the whole time, but a light jacket could come in handy too. Strong winds and inclement weather could bring that refreshing seaside breeze a little too close. Depending on the trip location, a set of warmer clothes may provide the perfect protection from strong breezes and chilly nights.
For longer trips where the weather may vary, layering can be a staple of your wardrobe. Plan for easy changes, but don’t pack your entire wardrobe, either.
5. Take Pictures
Don’t forget to live in the moment, but be sure you take pictures throughout your trip. Take pictures of the people you’re with, and make sure you’re in at least a few, too. After all, you were there! Landscapes and attractions are also great to take photos of. Pictures can help you remember and relive the fun of your trip.
After the Trip
After you’ve spent some time in uncommon places and seen breathtaking sights, you’ll eventually have to return to everyday life. Make your return home as smooth as possible by following the tips below.
1. Make Your Bags Identifiable
This tip applies to the trip there as well. To avoid losing your bags in the mix of suitcases rolling through the airport, consider buying something that is a unique color or pattern. If you’d still like to stick to more neutral colors, add a ribbon, patch, sticker or noteworthy luggage tag to your bag. These options will make your bag much easier to see and harder to mix up.
2. Keep a Journal or Scrapbook
Wherever you’re traveling, you’ll want to remember it later on. You may think you’ll remember every detail of your stop in Italy or that beautiful cafe in Tahiti, but the reality is that you probably won’t. You have a few options for logging your adventures.
One popular approach is to make a scrapbook of your trip, but that works best if you took lots of pictures. You can also add any tickets, passes or maps that you got for a lovely multimedia effect. You can get creative with additional stickers, stamps, text, etc. for some added creativity. You can also make a journal, which works particularly well if you travel often. Detail your trip, the people you met and how it felt for an easy way to reminisce.
3. Buy the Souvenirs
Don’t be afraid to buy souvenirs while you’re traveling. It might feel a little touristy at first, but you’ll appreciate it when you get home and have cool knick-knacks and authentic hand-made items to enjoy. The most considerable difficulty here, of course, is getting it back home.
If there is a flight involved with your trip, you may want to consider shipping your newfound treasures back home. Another option is to take advantage of a luggage delivery service, like Luggage Forward, offered here at Windstar. With this program, we can ship your luggage directly to the gate at your destination.
4. Do Laundry and Unpack Right Away
When you get home, you’ll want to unpack as soon as possible. If you don’t, you’re likely to leave it lying around for another week or two. No one wants to rifle through their suitcase for a week, but many of us do it frequently after traveling. Assuming you don’t get home too late, toss a load of laundry in the washer and get everything out of the suitcase. Doing so will help you get back to your normal routine quickly. Other ways to help you get back in the swing of things is to start exercising and eating healthy right away.
Start Your Adventure With Windstar
Whether you want to explore the cultural traditions of Asia, the sparkling turquoise waters of the Caribbean or any number of other unique experiences, Windstar can get you there in elegant style. Our small ships set sail with fewer than 350 guests, which means you get to travel the world in an intimate, comfortable experience. Activities range from wine tastings in Australia and New Zealand to dining under the stars at the ancient Celsus Library in Ephesus, Greece. You can even take a bath in volcanic springs and go on gorgeous SCUBA dives.
Spend your vacation away from the crowds and immersed in new cultures and adventures. Windstar puts world-class service at the forefront of your experience. Between exquisite cuisines, hand-crafted drinks and a variety of local performances, our cruises make travel just as enjoyable as the destination. Browse our cruises today to find one that speaks to you.