No matter how many trips you have taken before, there are a few critical decisions you need to make when planning an upcoming vacation. Luckily, there is a wealth of information out there that can vastly simplify the travel planning process. The following article is filled with helpful hints and tips on traveling for both the novice and the veteran.

Planning ahead is the number one rule of flying. Just reaching the airport can be difficult to do quickly, especially if you are traveling through a major city during rush hour. Pack your bags, including your carry-on, before you go to bed. Make the necessary preparations prior to flying. Not making your flight will cost you time and money.

TIP! Keep a record of all critical information when you travel out of the country. Addresses, phone numbers, names of hotels and attractions you’re visiting should all be listed.

If you are traveling through a smaller airport, go online to see what airlines are there. Many small airports offer charter airlines; they may not show up as you search for rates, and sometimes can offer a better deal than major airlines.

Make sure to get to the port city the night before your cruise to avoid the chance of missing it. Ask the staff of the hotel if there are any unpublished parking deals.

Bring along a door stopper to provide an extra measure of safety when you stay in a hotel. Sometimes, especially when traveling in less developed countries, it is desirable to have a little bit more security in your hotel room at night. If you do not have a door that is equipped with a chain or deadbolt, use a wedge doorstop before retiring at night.

TIP! When you are flying, you have to make sure to plan ahead even before you get to the airport. Remember that it’s easy to hit traffic on the way to the airport, especially if it’s in a big city.

Make sure that the packing list for your next trip include clothespins. Clothespins are not a typical travel item for many people, but should be reconsidered given their usefulness and versatility.

Be sure a loved one has access to the itinerary of your trip. This will allow someone else to see where you are. Check with that person regularly to maintain communication. If they are aware of your location and communicate with you often, your family and friends will not worry.

When reserving a room at a hotel, make sure you ask if there are any plans for renovation or construction. Construction equipment waking you up can really dampen a vacation. The hotel staff is powerless about such noise, so your best bet is just avoiding potential construction dates altogether.

TIP! When traveling abroad, learn what insurance you may have that accompanies your credit cards. For example, you may enjoy coverage for flights that get cancelled, as long as they were charged to your card.

Try joining some forums and social networks that are focused on travel. Looking for fellow travelers that you can share your time with and talk to is a great way to prepare for your trip. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new friends, and through sharing your stories you can help others avoid your mistakes — and avoid the mistakes that others have made.

If you plan on leaving your car at the airport parking lot, it is smart to book it before the day you travel. Booking this ahead of time will save you a lot of money. If you don’t live far from the airport, consider whether taking a taxi would be cheaper than paying for parking.

Service Stations

TIP! When packing light for longer trips, try bringing a softly-lined raincoat. You never know that the weather will be like.

If you are traveling by car, plan ahead for fill ups. When you’re on road trips, often you may find long stretches of road that don’t offer much car service if you need it. Plan the route and look for decent service stations that may maintain your vehicle. Make sure you keep the numbers for a few different service stations along the way just in case you need to be towed.

Road trips are boring unless you have activities planned along the way. This can break up the boredom that you may experience. Provide children with a list of stops you plan to make.

Whenever possible, avoid changing currency in a foreign country. There is a cheaper, faster method for getting the local money you need. Try getting foreign currency at an ATM using your debit card. These machines generally have a better exchange rate, and many times are much cheaper than going to an exchange.

TIP! The vast sand dunes and exotic animals and plants are something you likely couldn’t experience anywhere else. For many people, the first sight of a desert is like nothing else.

When you travel, bring along a pillow and blanket. Whether you travel via rail, air, bus or car, a pillow and blanket can provide you with an additional measure of comfort. Airlines often provide them; they sometimes run out. If you have your own, there’s no worry about cleanliness.

Get out of your seat once every hour or so to move around and stretch if you have to travel for a while. If you sit for too long, your muscles will cramp up, and in serious cases, could put you at risk for blood clots.

Taking back-up copies of your vital documents is always a good idea when you travel. You want to be sure to have your copies of important documents in another location. Also, have someone you know keep a set of copies, too. This helps if all copies in your possession are lost.

TIP! If you are traveling by vehicle, plan your road travel to miss rush hour in any city you will be in. If it’s not possible to avoid rush hour, take a break during that time.

If your road involves children, pack lots of snacks. Pack more than you think you will need. This makes sure they stay occupied and won’t be too bothersome with stops along the way. You can even make an exception to your junk food policy if you would like.

Travel Insurance

Be honest when taking out travel insurance. For example, if you are sick, let your travel agent know. If your condition worsens while traveling, your travel insurance may deny your claim because it is considered pre-existing. You will be left with the bill to pay on your own.

TIP! Early in your trip planning process, check whether you’ll need a visa for any of the locations you’ll be visiting. Sometimes a visa can be time consuming to get, so it is always a good idea to begin the process of applying for one as soon as you can.

Planning a trip can be very daunting. If you start ahead of time and educate yourself, this process should become less intimidating. Use the ideas you have learned to help you plan your next trip.