Looking forward to your next vacation? Already packing? To help you have the best time, we’ve gathered up useful summer travel tips to help you make the most of your adventure.
Summer travel means plenty of sunshine and outdoor events. With just a little preparation ahead of time, you can be sure to keep your cool throughout your trip. Here are a few of our favorite summer travel tips.
Give Your Bank a Heads-Up Before You Travel
In their efforts to best protect your account security, many financial institutions may deny charges and or put a hold or flag on your account if you attempt to make a purchase internationally without giving them a heads up that you’re out of the States.
To avoid any stress spent, set a reminder to call and inform your bank of your intended travel plans in the week leading up to your trip. Ask them to make a note on your account and let them know the countries you plan on visiting. Having something on file will deter your bank from questioning your card’s whereabouts.
To find out more about traveling abroad and money, we’ve put together some Expert Advice on what to ask your bank before you go, European taxes, ATMs, and even how to tip in foreign countries.
Check Out the Latest Travel Apps
If you have a smartphone or a tablet, consider downloading a few travel apps before your summer trip. There’s an app for all of your travel needs, including tracking your flights, translating local language and currency, and even mapping your way around town. The easiest way to do it, visit your app store and type in travel. Have fun exploring and figuring out what works best for you!
Most airlines have an app now you can download right to your home screen. Keep all your tickets, times, gates, and updates in one place without the worry!
There are even apps for dining in airports! Grab helps you order and pick up food on your way to the gate. As of this year, all of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s 200 eateries are on the app! Once traveling, there may be nights you venture out on your own to enjoy the local fare. Yes, you guessed it, there are apps for that! Aside from Yelp, one of the top apps of 2015 was EAT SMART ABROAD. This app lets you know what’s on the menu or in the market and has easy-to-use translators for food and beverage terminology. Check out LocalEats for the best local fare (no chains here), or HappyCow for vegetarian and vegan options abroad!
In our tech-savvy world, there’s probably an app for anything you might need traveling. Most apps are free to download, though some carry marginal fees.
Check out our list of more travel apps for smart devices, here.
Make the Most of a Layover
You’ve probably already started researching your destination, keep getting excited and don’t let your research stop there. When it comes to travel, the more you know the better. Details such as knowing your airport terminals and amenities can turn a long layover into a fun meal in a specialty restaurant or relaxing break in an airport spa. (All of those food apps might come in handy too!)
If you have shorter connection times between flights, knowing the terminal layout can be a huge time-saver. We’ve actually got some great tips for passing through TSA airport security. Spending a little time on crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor can guide you to lesser known cafes and shops in airports as well as your destinations. Simply put, try to learn as much as you can about everywhere you’ll be spending time. Because, this is your vacation, after all, might as well enjoy every minute of it.
Beat the Summer Heat
There’s nothing worse than getting sunburned on your first day of vacation. And we’ve all done it. Keep in mind that even if you’re not traveling to someplace sunny like southern Italy, you’re still prone to UV exposure. And, while it’s easy to forget this on cloudy days and in cooler climates, chances are you will be spending several hours a day outdoors over the course of your trip.
We recommend bringing a hat, sunglasses, and most importantly, good sunscreen with high UV protection. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Many places in Europe have clean public water fountains to restock your bottles with. We think these reusable water bottles are a great idea for travelers—best of all, they fold up when you’re not using them so you can save space in your bag.
Savor Your Destination
During your free time, you might be inclined to try to see and do as much as you possibly can. While you want to make the most of your vacation, don’t forget to relax too! Sometimes the best way to immerse yourself in your destination is to sit back with the locals and savor a snack or a glass of wine in the afternoon or enjoy a leisurely morning coffee at a nearby café.
Plan Ahead, Just in Case
Common travel annoyances such as delayed flights, missed connections, or lost luggage are far easier to handle with a little preparation.
It’s easier to handle most any situation if you’re on top of the following:
- Keep photocopies of your passport, driver’s license in a separate place
- Have hard copies of all flights and transportation itineraries
- Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on, in case your luggage is delayed
- Keep money in multiple places and only take enough with you for the day – leave the rest in your hotel safe. It’s always a good idea to carry some cash, as not all vendors will accept credit cards
Summer Travel Packing Hacks
Make the most of your luggage by maximizing space and packing smart. In the summer months, you will want to pack light layers to keep you cool and protect you from the sun. Keep in mind that many of the religious and cultural sites you visit will require covered knees and shoulders. Travel sized toiletries are a great idea for shorter trips to help keep your luggage as light as possible. Some products can be more expensive in Europe, so be sure to pack a personal-sized sunscreen and insect repellent. For more information, be sure to check out our Expert Advice on all things packing.
Where will you travel to this summer? We can’t wait to find out! Tell us about your adventures in the comments below!