Travel can be an excellent opportunity to expand your horizons and refresh your world-view. It can also backfire on you if you don’t take the time to prepare for the inevitable culture shock, whether your journey is domestic or international. Follow these tips and tricks to get the most out of your travel experience.

Always know where your luggage is. Airline and bus employees have been known to steal items out of cases when they are checked in. Additionally, other travelers might “accidentally” pick up your bag in hopes of finding expensive items. This also allows you to move between transit options faster, instead of standing around waiting for your luggage.

For any trip, experienced travelers will pack some clothes they can clean themselves with minimum effort. Not only do easily-cleanable clothes reduce the overall amount of clothing a traveler has to take along, they can provide a comfortable safety net in the event of unplanned delays. Clothing that can be rinsed and dried in a hotel sink can be a godsend on an unexpected layover.

If you will be out of town for a few days or more, consider having someone you know drive by your house occasionally to make sure that everything looks okay. You may also want them to go inside and turn lights on at night. This will let anyone watching know that the house is being cared for.

If you’re staying in a hotel, especially in a less developed country, and you’re worried about someone possibly coming into your room in the night, bring a doorstop with you. These little wedges are generally used to keep doors open, but they can hold doors closed, too.

Look beyond the touristy souvenir shops. To find a souvenir that will remind you of your travels and actually comes from the place you visited, shop with the locals. In grocery stores, markets, and other stores that are off the beaten (tourist) track, you’ll find things that locals actually use instead of the mass-produced trinkets.

If you are going on extended vacation and leaving your home behind for a month, it might be worth it to you to stop cable fees and other utilities. Make sure to inform other services you subscribe to, such as pool cleaning or housekeeping while you’re away. Doing all of these things, ensure that you will have a worry-free vacation.

Book your reservations and flights with the exact name shown on your government identification card. Although you may typically go by a nickname or middle name, for the purpose of ticketing, use your given name. Small name differences can be a huge headache when trying to get through security, especially abroad where it isn’t obvious that Bill is short for William.

Most airlines will overbook their flights during busy times or seasons. In the event that too many people show up for the flight, they will need volunteers to take a different flight at a later time, in exchange for vouchers for travel, food and lodging that can be used at a later date. If you aren’t in a hurry, you can pay for part of your next vacation!

Lost luggage is common when traveling, even in Bali so prepare beforehand by packing some essentials in your carry-on luggage. A change of underclothes, one outfit and a bathing suit enable you to carry on with most of your plans while you wait for your luggage to be located. To cover all bases, buy travel insurance that covers your luggage whether it is lost, stolen or damaged.

If you are traveling by plane with your children, get a portable DVD player. They are relatively inexpensive, and they keep your kids entertained for hours at a time. Don’t worry about getting an expensive model; children do not really care about screen size or extra features. Even if you only use it one time, you will definitely find that it was a valuable purchase.

If you’re packing your laptop for work or recreation while you travel, bring along an A.V. cable as well. Many hotels offer both free high speed Internet and a large HDTV in your room. If you’ve got an A.V. cable, you can plug your computer right into the HDTV and view your online content right on the large screen.

If you’re going on a long car trip, make sure to bring a plastic bag that can be dedicated to trash. This way you will have a place to throw all of those fast food wrappers and used tissues so they don’t end up all over the floor of your car.

When traveling by car, bus, or train always dress comfortably. You might find that you’re on the road for a few days and a comfortable outfit can make the trip more pleasant. You will also be able to sleep better if you are dressed in a relaxed fashion.

Be aware of your surroundings when you travel. If you feel that you may be being followed, find a store and step into it or another place that is safe and wait to see if the person you think is following you passes. If you are unsure if it is safe, contact your hotel for help.

For car trips, try to keep gas in your car before it hits empty. It’s not wise to drive until you run out. If you fill up as you can when it is convenient, you won’t have to worry about too many stops and stalls along your trip. This also helps you to avoid getting stranded somewhere far from a gas station.

Travel light. If you only take a couple of carry-on bags instead of luggage, you will save yourself a lot of time and money. Also not to mention the frustrations of getting your bags claimed and checked, and trying to find it at the luggage carousel. They might even get lost or stolen.

Now the choice is yours, so get out there and enjoy finding new places and people to challenge your preconceptions. Armed with a little extra knowledge now about the experience of traveling, to Bali you can expect a few less bumps on the road to your destination. Share this article with friends and family, who may be heading out with you or on journeys of their own.

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