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How to Travel Like a Pro (Even if it's Your First Trip)

Welcome back, travelers!

Whether you're a seasoned traveler or still an aspiring first-time flyer, everyone is welcome to this blog to get vacation inspiration and travel tips. In fact, you're especially welcomed if you're a brand new traveler! It can feel very daunting, even more so if it's done alone.

Let these tips comfort you and be your guide so you can travel like you've been doing it all your life.

  1. Knowledge is Power

When you book with Starlight2Travel, much of the research is already done for you. Everything's booked, reserved, and good to go. All you have to do is show up, I.D. in hand. However, for more anxious travelers, I highly recommend doing as much research on your own as possible. It will demystify your new destination and put you at ease. Try Googling your upcoming destination with whatever you'd like to know about it. For example, try out "(destination) weather in (travel month)"

"(destination) travel tips"

"(destination) where to eat"

And so on. The possibilities are endless! Look up how to handle children in your location, hole-in-the-wall places to explore, and much more. Once again, when you book with a travel agent like us, all this will be done for you. But even if you do, having some firsthand knowledge doesn't hurt.

2. Call Your Bank

For those of us who have forgotten to contact the bank in the past and gotten a card shut off while traveling (ahem, me), we know what we're talking about when we say call the bank! Especially if you're going overseas, but this will be a separate blog post. Even if you are only traveling between states, set a reminder in your phone to call your bank's helpline to let them know the dates you'll be traveling. This can even be done in many banking apps. No matter how you do it, make sure you're letting the right people know so you don't have an emergency on the road.

Pro tip: It's a good idea to withdraw some cash and have that on hand while you're traveling, just in case. Nothing too grand you'd be devastated to lose, but enough to cover any emergency expenses that may come up in the event of not having a card. For example, enough to cover a taxi and a night in a motel.

3. Pack Like a Pro

Again, this is where having a travel agent comes in major handy. You will already know what activities are booked, so you'll know just what to pack for. Keep in mind the weather as well, and double-check the upcoming week the night before departure. Pack lots of things that can be mixed and matched to cut down on clothes. What you'll want to bring will depend on the activities and destination planned, but the general rule of thumb for light packing is the 5-4-3-2-1 rule. This means:

5 tops

4 bottoms

3 accessories

2 shoes

1 swimsuit

This general rule can be modified as needed depending on where you'll be headed, but it's a great layout to keep in mind when considering how much you want to pack of each thing. Meaning, don't bring more shoes than pairs of jeans.

Pro tip: Keep those essentials close by. Pack valuable jewelry in your carry-on and always know where the most important things are. As long as you have any medication, glasses/contacts, your wallet with bank cards, I.D.s such as driver's licenses and passports (and, most recently, vaccination cards), and your phone, consider all else expendable. Everything can always be replaced.

4. Know What to Expect from the Airport

Double-check bag weight requirements before getting to the airport and make sure all liquids in carry-on bags are sealed, in 3.4oz or smaller containers, and all fit in one quart-sized bag. As long as they meet these requirements, you can bring as many liquids as you want in that one bag. Fragile, pricey perfume bottles are a good thing to pack in this bag, for example, to avoid a fragrant, and costly, explosion in your checked bag.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing to the airport and wear layers. Airplanes go up and down when it comes to temperature, so be prepared to bundle up for AC or bundle down for a toasty, crowded flight. Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off for TSA screenings.

In your carry-on, consider items like:

- chargers

- medication (including non-prescription, like advil)

- contacts and/or glasses

- a change of clothes

- valuable electronics

- headphones or earbuds

- small valuables

- wallet

- important documents (especially anything you need to travel)

- refillable water bottle

- travel size emergency toiletries (toothbrush/paste, contact solution, face wipes, feminine products, etc.)

- your favorite way to pass the time

- gum (for popping ears)

5. Arrive With a Plan

When you book with an agent, transfers can be arranged. Anything from a limo service to car rentals can be planned well in advance with directions on how to access it. Otherwise, locate in the airport the "arrivals." There, you can pick up checked bags and get a taxi. Some airports are huge and even have a rail system to get to different parts. Check your arrival airport ahead of time to know what you'll be walking into. Always remember, ask if you're unsure. Airport staff is there to help you.

Pro tip: Impossible to get a taxi at arrivals? Try taking a detour over to "departures," where plenty of cabs are dropping people off and free to snag.

There you have it! These tips apply to just about anywhere you want to go. Even if you've never traveled before, just take a peek at this post and you'll be well on your way to a successful adventure. What are some of your best travel tips for beginners or seasoned vets of travel? Let us know in the comments below.

Once again, consider booking an agent to make some of these tips even smoother and done for you. To chat about where you'd like to go, connect here.

Until next time, toodles!

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