Spring break travel tips to pack light, save money and enjoy the journey
Spring break is within arm's reach, but travelers have to tackle the chaotic process of packing before going off to bask in the sun of sunny beaches. But there's a fine line between traveling light and being underprepared, or being well-supplied and overburdened.
Here are a few simple tips that will make vacation packing as effortless as a swim up bar.
Choosing a bag that suits your travel needs
More and more young adults have been foregoing the usual suitcase in favour of 'backpacking.' It is a more 'roughin' it' style, but is it the most practical packing method?
Before you jump on board with backpacking, picture yourself walking in 30 degree weather with a 60-liter bag (that's the volume of some of thse bags) strapped to your back. That's a lot of stuff to carry.
And unless you've invested a decent amount of money towards an expensive travel pack, don't count on it being very comfortable either.
Bags with wheels are the easiest to manage through airport crowds and potential long walks. Better yet, if you have a short vacation planned, or pride yourself on being the queen (or king) of packing light, consider checking in a small piece of luggage as a carry-on and avoid airport hassle all together. Keep in mind quality, transportability, and airport baggage weight limits.
The little things can make a big difference when it comes to smart packing. Here are a few items that are easily neglected, but extremely beneficial while traveling.
For long journeys
- ear plugs: for those long flights or layovers when you just need to catch some z's. They're excellent just in case you have to sleep next to a snorer.
- sleep mask - on an overnight flight, this one is a no-brainer. Block out the reading lights and distracting TV movies on the plane.
For beach bums
- Vacationing tropical this spring? Be sure to pack some anti-diarrheal medication. Tropical destinations such as Mexico or Cuba present possibiliites of stomach upset, and you may find yourself either butt glued, or face deep into a toilet. It would be an understatement to say such an experience would ruin your whole vacation.
- If you do get sick, an oral re-hydration agent will maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance within your body and help with a speedy recovery. There are numerous products out there, but there is no need to fork over a hefty amount of cash to ensure the best results. The no name brands work just as well.
- A sarong. You can count on hotels to supply towels, but sarongs are still a perfect multi-purpose item. They double as both beach cover-up and a beach blanket that won't bring half the beach home with you. They dry easily and typically don't carry around odors. Besides being lightweight, they can be crammed into any nook in your travel bag.
Packing light = travel success
Pack light. You've heard it a dozen times and understand the importance behind the idea, but it's just so difficult to master. Keep in mind that multi-purpose, quick dry, breathable clothing are the best options for any travel destination. As a final effort to lose luggage weight, remove at least five articles of clothing from your suitcase before the final zip. I guarantee, you won't miss the items that were removed.
Avoid the unnecessary
- Travelers cheques
The phrase "everyone accepts travelers cheques," is extremely out of date. More and more travelers are discovering that not all merchants, banks, or restaurants will accept travelers cheques. If they do, most will charge a fee to accept them. This method is even more inconvenient when considering the initial service charge in ordering the cheques, along with the fact they can be quite expensive in to buy in the first place.
Above all this, you'll have to seek out a bank at your destination which will exchange the cheque for cash before you can really start enjoying your vacation.
Still not convinced? Travelers cheques have become mostly unnecessary because from from Europe, to Mexico, to Southeast Asia, ATMs areeverywhere. There's usually a fee, but carrying around a debit card is much easier than a wad of cheques, and it's somewhat safer since no one else should have access to your bank code.
- Check a room before you buy it.
If you're traveling on what Lonely Planet refers to as a 'shoestring' budget and plan on spending your nights at guest houses or hostels opposed to fancy hotels, be sure to always inspect a room before you pay for it. There is no need to jump the gun and book ahead online. You'll find there will always be a place to stay, and you won't be unwittingly stuck in a substandard room.
No one knows yourself better than you do. So, what kind of traveler are you? A lounger? A thrill seeker? A rough and easy-going type? Or do you have classy tastes?
Before you embark on a travel experience, be very wary of who you ask to join you. You and your best friend may both have vacation time left, and the money to put towards a trip... but she's a little high maintenance and prefers to shop for gifts, while you just want to get out there and explore.
It may be surprising, but your best friend or significant other, may not actually be the best partner suited for your travel desires. Just because you get along with them in everyday life doesn't mean they're the right travel companion.
Choose a travel partner who is compatible with your tastes or, at least be totally comfortable with spending time separately, allowing you to both engage in the activities that interest you.