Expert travellers tell us how to travel like them

Take these tips from the pros to make your next trip flawless.

'Tis the season for lost luggage, cranky travellers and delayed flights. 

Of course, travel's not all bad, but it can be stressful, especially during the holidays. 

For some people though, travel season is every season. So how do these jet setters manage to flit from country to country so effortlessly?

We asked four travel writers and one adventure travel company public relations manager for their best five tips on how to travel like a pro. 

Kristen Sarah

YouTuber and adventure travel blogger with Hopscotch the Globe

Pack only a carry-on: You'll never have to worry about luggage fees or losing your bags. Remember, you can always do laundry while you're travelling.

Download Google Translate: This is an awesome app to use when you're travelling in a place where you don't speak the language. It will translate both written and spoken words for you.

Use Twitter: Twitter is typically the fastest way to reach out and get a response from hotels, companies or airlines.

Make yourself tired: Before a flight, don't nap and avoid caffeine and alcohol. The more tired you are when you board the plane, the easier it'll be to doze off.

Wear Ear Planes: Ear Planes are ear plugs that help relieve air pressure discomfort. They're the best for people who have ear problems taking off or landing. 

Lily Leung

Travel blogger with Explore for a Year

Download city maps for offline use: In the Google Maps app, search for your destination city, then go to offline areas > download an offline area > custom area. You'll have a detailed map at your fingertips and you'll save yourself data roaming charges. 

Email yourself and close friends copies of travel documents: Losing your passport or identification can cause huge problems when you're traveling abroad. In the event you lose your passport, having both physical photocopies and emailed copies of your travel documents will speed up the process for replacing your ID.

Pack face wipes: Face wipes are a fantastic multi-purpose travel product. They're great for freshening up after a long flight and wiping your hands before a meal if no soap or hand sanitizer is available. You can use them for a "mini-shower" on overnight hikes or camping trips too.

Roll, don't fold your clothes: This technique saves space and prevents creases in your clothing. Stacking rolled clothing vertically also lets you quickly see what options you have, and gives you easy access to the items you need without unfolding other clothes.

Split up cash and credit cards: Instead of keeping it all in one stash, split up the cash across among multiple bags, for example your suitcase, backpack and purse. In the event you lose a bag or get robbed, you can at least count on having spare cash and a debit or credit card from one of your other bags.

Cailin O'Neil

Travel blogger with Travel Yourself

Get your smartphone unlocked: That way, you can buy a cheap SIM card in your destination. Most major airports have kiosks for the various mobile service providers in the arrivals area.

Check-in online and check-in as soon as possible: This will save you time at the airport. Also, the last people to check in sometimes have a greater chance of getting bumped off a flight. 

Put luggage tags on every bag: Include your name and contact information. Keep business cards or a contact information card inside of each bag too. This may be your saving grace if you lose your bag. 

Use car services like Uber or Lyft: You're unlikely to be ripped off if you're already familiar with the service and can track the fare. 

Connect with the locals: Avoid tourist traps and instead, visit markets and go to restaurants that seem the most full of locals. This will give you one of the closest things to an authentic cultural experience.

Timothy Chan

Public Relations Manager with G Adventures, an adventure tour company

Carry a hotel business card: If you're lost, you can show the business card to a local or a taxi driver.

Call your bank: Let your bank and credit card company know that you're traveling so they don't freeze your accounts. If they see unexpected international transactions, they may assume your cards were stolen.

Get deal alerts: Bargain hunters should subscribe to Chris Myden's YYZ Deals. If you have a flexible schedule, there are some great deals to be had.

Pack Ziploc bags: These will help "waterproof" important documents and valuables. They're also great for organizing your clothes/items.

Noise cancelling headphones: They'll make long flights — and crying babies — bearable. 

Natalie Bauer

Travel blogger with The Escapism Artist

Learn a few local phrases: Even if it's just the basics: please, thank you, pardon me. The people you speak with will appreciate your efforts. 

Always bring cash: Bank cards are convenient but access to bank machines can be limited abroad. Cash always works.

Hit the streets: Get out there and wander. It gives you a chance to connect with the scene and meet locals and other travellers.

Pack comfortable shoes: This sounds like an obvious tip but it is so important to have comfortable shoes while travelling. Don't pack brand new shoes you haven't broken in. Bring a pair that can be casual or dressy, you don't want to wear hiking boots to the Moulin Rouge.

Carry a just-in-case kit: Pack a few antacids, antidiarrheals, pain medication, bandages, alcohol wipes, toilet paper, extra cash, a small notebook and a pen in a baggie. Drop it in your shoulder bag. You'll thank yourself later. 


Katrina Clarke is a Toronto-based journalist who writes about relationships, health, technology and social trends. You can find her on Twitter at @KatrinaAClarke.