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June 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm

If you want to become an expert traveler, or even just make sure your future trips all go smoothly and efficiently, there are plenty of ways to transform any travel experience from a merely acceptable one to a great one. Read the below tips to find out how to make your trips effortless and enjoyable.

If you are planning a trip abroad, make sure you get your passport well in advance. Many people underestimate how long it takes to get a passport for the first time and are left scrambling and paying extra fees to get it expedited. Plan for your passport to take six to eight weeks to arrive, especially in peak travel season.

You should always stay up to date about the events that are going on in your travel destinations. If extreme circumstances, dangerous events, or natural disasters are going on in the intended travel destination, you should have prior knowledge. This will allow you to make an educated decision on whether you should travel or not.

When going on a road trip, always bring a camera with you. You never know when you may come across something that you’ll want to take a picture of to remember. It doesn’t have to be something expensive and fancy, any basic camera will do. You definitely won’t regret capturing your memories on film.

Whether you are traveling within your own country or going overseas, it is a good idea to follow some basic safety precautions to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of crime. Wearing expensive clothes and jewelry can set you up as a prime target for theft. Carry credit cards or traveler’s checks instead of large amounts of cash. Keep an eye on your luggage, and do not allow strangers to leave packages with you under any circumstances, even momentarily.

When traveling by airplane it is crucial to arrive early. You will have to find a place to park, wait in long lines at security checkpoints, and there’s always the possibility that the airline oversold the flight. When using the airlines, always give your self lots of extra time.

Take advantage of the hotel ice maker when making your next pot of in-room coffee. The ice makers in most hotels are filled with filtered water, while your room only offers tap water. A cup of coffee will taste better if the water is filtered. Fill your ice bucket at night and use the melted ice for your coffee the next morning.

Great deals that are available are in many cases limited. You can sign up to receive emails from different companies to find out as soon as the deal is offered so you can get first dibs on these deals. Sign up for these emails for your favorite hotels, rental cars, airlines and many other activities that can be done on vacation.

People who travel for a living learn to use a lot of little tips and tricks, like the ones above, to make sure all their trips are simple, pleasant experiences, whether they’re leaving home for a day or a month. With these insider tips, you’re well on your way to being an expert traveler, too.