Dreaming of your next summer adventure or searching for the perfect gift for a fellow traveler?
Outgift has compiled simple travel tips to help with planning a long trip—and the items that would be essential for anyone’s packing list.
Tap into technology to book your travel
Searching for flights and accommodations is the first big step towards making a dream vacation a reality, and there are a multitude of travel tools that can help ease the booking process.
If you already know where and when you want to go, or have a shortlist of destinations to cross off the bucket list, get a head start on booking flights. On certain travel websites, such as Kayak or TripAdvisor, you can not only search for flight options, but also opt in to receive price alerts that can help you track the price of tickets on your selected dates. The Hopper app also offers fare-watch tools, including suggestions on the best time to buy your tickets and tips on whether small adjustments to your plans (eg. leaving a day earlier or later) can save you money.
If you are flexible on locations or searching for new travel ideas, register for services such as Jetsetter or Travelzoo. These sites do much of the legwork for their subscribers, researching deals on hotels, flights, or vacation packages to send concise, curated recommendations for destinations around the world.
Get inspired when planning your itinerary
You know where you’re going—but what will you do when you get there? Exploring a new city or country on your own offers endless opportunities for new experiences. Find inspiration by looking up sample itineraries from guidebooks, travel blogs, or tour company websites. Once you’ve made arrangements, using travel itinerary apps such as TripIt can keep all your flights, hotels, and activities organized on your phone. Don’t forget to leave room for spontaneity; oftentimes the most memorable moments are the unplanned ones.
If the thought of planning your trip is overwhelming, enlist the help of experts. There are travel companies for every kind of tour and budget available—from traditional group travel, to adventure touring, or even a mix of independent and group travel. When choosing a company, make sure to ask these five questions:
1. What is the target demographic of the tour company?
- Check if the company caters to a specific type of traveler—spring breakers, retirees, families, or adventure-seekers—and see if it’s a good fit for you
2. How is the pace of travel?
- Look through the itinerary to ensure the number of locations and types of activities included in the tour match up to your expectations
3. Does the tour employ local guides?
- Oftentimes the most interesting tours are the ones that are led by guides who are sharing their love of their hometown, giving you an insider’s perspective on the history and culture of a city, as well as a chance to get recommendations on restaurants or sights that are off the beaten tourist path
4. What is the true cost of the trip?
- Examine all the fine print to get an accurate estimate of cost; there may be entrance fees, optional add-on experiences, or meals that are not included in the quoted price
5. Does this company have a good reputation and traveler reviews?
- Do your research to ensure you are comfortable with the services and reputation of the tour group. Larger, well-known companies can give you peace of mind, but there are also many reputable smaller, specialized, or locally-based companies, which may offer a more unique or personalized travel experience
Packing minimally is the mantra of most veteran travelers—and often the hardest tip to follow. Keeping your itinerary in mind when packing can help you prioritize the essentials.
Bringing one large suitcase can work if you will be based in one location or using a full-service tour company that will help with your luggage. However, If you are traveling independently and are visiting multiple places, consider smaller and more portable luggage options.
The stylish yet durable Raden A22 can fit a surprising amount of clothing in a compact carry-on rolling suitcase
Or for maximum mobility, make the leap to a traveler’s backpack. If the traditional backpacker’s style is not to your taste, the Tortuga Outbreaker is a sleek, thoughtfully-designed option created by backpackers who wanted a new type of bag that would fit the needs of most urban travelers
When considering what to pack beyond clothing appropriate for your type of trip, the definition of ‘essential’ can differ for each person. Here is our guide of travel categories to keep in mind when creating a personal packing list, and useful items that any traveler would appreciate.
Passport and travel documents
- For international travel, passports, visas, and international driver’s permits are among the most important—and often most forgotten—items. Research early on to see what important travel document are required for a trip and make sure to allow enough time to apply and obtain them
- The Fjallraven passport wallet can help busy travelers keep their paperwork secure in one compact, zippered organizer
Toiletries and medications
- When bringing any essential products and/or medications, check that there is enough supply to last the duration of the trip plus a few extra days in case of emergency
Check the airline requirements for both home and destination airports as the types and volume of items permissible on board may vary for different countries.
- The Tumi Split Travel Kit is an ideally-sized storage bag that also double as a bathroom organizer for easy access to toiletries in any hotel room
- Power cords for electronic devices can also be kept in a travel kit, or packed in a ziplock bag or old eyeglass case
- The allReli USB multi charger can charge multiple devices with just one power outlet, and includes common adapters for international travelers
- The Rifle Paper Co travel journal is just the right size for travelers who like to chronicle their adventures
- Help the time fly by on long flights or train rides with the gift of a new book—take a look at our past post on Must-read Books for ideas
- If paper books take up too much precious space, the Kindle Paperwhite is a travel-friendly alternative
Live in the moment
Once all the planning and packing is complete, there’s nothing left but to relax and enjoy the trip. Travel offers the increasingly rare opportunity to disconnect from the distractions of our daily life, and to simply savor every new experience.