Whether your business takes you away from home or you are looking for a memorable vacation, you can benefit from these handy tips on travel. While travel has tended to become faster and cheaper over time, there is still a big difference between the costs you experience as an unprepared traveler versus being a well-educated one.

If you are traveling to another country brush up on that country’s laws. Some foreign countries have laws that you might view as a little strange or not expect. As a precaution, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the laws specific to the place you are visiting.

If you are worried about traveling with a large carry-on bag, plan ahead. Airlines usually board in groups of five or ten rows, so pick a seat in row 11 or 21, not row 19. Also, as soon as the airline calls the seat block ahead of you, go get in line. This way you’re waiting at the front instead of the back.

Replace the lock on your luggage with a combination lock. Many pieces of luggage come with locks and keys. Keys get lost. Not that it matters. The locks are so cheaply made, they can be broken right off. It would not be a bad idea to discard them entirely and replace them with a sturdier combination lock.

When you travel to visit friends or family, be a courteous guest and do not assume they will make all your sightseeing plans for you. Many people assume they are there to be entertained, which is of course an incorrect assumption and generates bad feeling. Instead, do your homework ahead of time, let your hosts know what you’re planning to do, invite but don’t oblige them to accompany you, and spend your time together in good will, knowing you are being a gracious guest.

Get to the airport early to get a good seat choice. Most airlines ignore seat selections made when purchasing your ticket. When you get to the counter to check-in for your flight you can request the seat you want without too much hassle. This also helps you to be seated next to people you are traveling with.

Keep a photo journal of a beloved stuffed animal When traveling with kids, make great memories and an awesome souvenir by taking pictures of your child and the stuffed animal doing fun things throughout the trip. At home, you can collect all the pictures and make them into a photo adventure book to remember your trip.

To help you lighten your luggage, use sample size cosmetics and toiletries when you pack. If you don’t need a full size bottle of shampoo, there is no reason to carry it across the country. Most drugstores have a travel section where you can purchase travel-size shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste and more.

If you are traveling by air, select your row carefully to ensure that your carry-on bag can fit in the overhead compartment. Planes are usually boarded in a group of five or ten rows, so a row with a higher number may get on first. Also try to get in the boarding line as quickly as possible; once the group in front of you has stopped joining the line, go ahead and stand behind them. Your group will probably be announced before you get to the front. The faster you are able to get on the plane, the more likely it is that there will still be room for your bag.

When traveling by car in the winter, it is best to pack a safety kit. Make sure you have the essentials for a safe road trip. You should have a cell phone and charger, tow rope, jumper cables, ice scraper, first aid kit, sand or cat litter, which can be used to help with traction, flashlights, matches, blankets, emergency candles and a portable radio, in your safety kit.

Joining a travelers club like AAA will help keep money in your pocket through discounts and specials. Many hotels, restaurants and other organizations will offer moderate to steep discounts to members of travelers clubs. With little research and questioning, you can target companies that offer these discounts and save a bundle.

When you are traveling, you can do a few things to save money at home. First of all, turn the air conditioner off or just down. Next, turn off the sprinklers. It will also help to put your lights on timers. And last, but not least, unplug your major appliances.

Make plans to participate in a scavenger hunt if you are traveling on a cruise ship. When going on vacation with a large group of family or friends, take the time to divide everyone up into teams and challenge them to find items or information. Not only will you have a good time, but everyone will learn a lot about the ship.

Consider eating at the public market when you are traveling. These markets have an abundance of fresh food that was grown locally. You can eat a variety of dishes that you might not have been able to experience otherwise, and the food is notoriously inexpensive. You will also have the opportunity to experience and learn about the culture of the area.

Educating yourself on the ins and outs of traveling can save you more than just money. Savvy travelers not only get to their destinations for less money, they often get there faster – and almost always less stressed out. The tips in this article are just the start of your travel education; be on the lookout for more ways to save time and money.

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