While puzzling, it’s true that most Americans don’t take full advantage of their vacation time. With that knowledge in hand and the start of a new year upon us (aka a reset on your vacation time), you can avoid being a part of this statistic and plan to make traveling one of your goals for 2019. There are a lot of simple tricks to maximize your time and make your budget stretch further when you travel.
So what are the secrets to making the most of your year in travel? Here are 19 of our top travel tips for 2019.
1. Don’t fly direct
While flying directly to your destination certainly makes for shorter travel days, it can also impact your wallet in a big way. If you want to find a deal, consider booking a less expensive flight into an airport close to your final destination, then taking a bus or train to where you need to go.
Shopping around for flights is a must. Sites like Momondo, Travelocity, and Skyscanner can offer a variety of deals and leave you more money for exploring your final destination.
2. Get travel insurance
This is one of those travel essentials that you never hope you’ll need. But if something goes wrong while you’re traveling, you don’t want to be out thousands of dollars because you didn’t pony up for travel insurance. Here are some tips on how to get the best travel insurance for you.
3. Make extra copies of your important documents
Documentation is extremely important when you’re traveling, especially to foreign countries. Before you head off on your travels, make extra copies of your important documents and give them to someone you trust (parent, sibling, best friend, etc.). While you won’t necessarily be able to travel without your passport, having the important contact info and numbers will make getting a replacement much easier.
4. Learn the language
If you’re traveling somewhere where English is not the native language, then you should definitely pick up a few common phrases to help you along the way. The locals will appreciate your effort to speak their language and it will make simple interactions easier.
Learning a new language can be difficult, look at some easy ways to help you pick it up.
5. Experience socially conscious travel
As topics of human rights, equality, and environmental issues continue to grab headlines, socially conscious travel will be one of the biggest growing markets in 2019. For example, data captured from Booking.com reveals that one in five travelers will be heading to a Pride Festival in 2019 and that this demographic is made up mostly of young explorers in the 18-34-year-old age range.
6. Use technology for personalized suggestions
Technology in the tourism industry is growing exponentially. Starting in the research stage of a trip, travelers want recommendations based on their personal profiles and AI (artificial intelligence) is making this easier. You will also start to see tourist attractions using digital tour guides and augmented reality to boost your travel experience.
7. Visit historical sites at off-peak times
The worst part of some historical sites and attractions can be battling the crowds at peak times. One way to avoid this is heading there during downtimes like the lunch hour or an hour before closing. This can be a great way to have the place to yourself.
8. Take pictures of your luggage and clothes
If the worst should happen and an airline misplaces your luggage, or it is stolen, having pictures to identify your belongings will speed up the process of having your travel insurance reimburse you.
9. Travel by yourself
There is no better way to learn about yourself than by traveling by yourself. Traveling solo helps you build up confidence in your decision-making abilities and gives you the freedom to truly be your own person.
10. Pre-book tickets
While waiting till the absolute last minute to book a ticket can sometimes save you money, it can also mean you’re stuck with no ticket at all if they have all sold out. Many major attractions will let you reserve a spot and skip-the-line. By taking advantage of these opportunities you can make the most of your day and avoid long, time-consuming lines.
11. Take micro and weekend trips
2019 could very well be the year of the weekend/micro trip. In fact, over half of global travelers report that they plan to make weekend trips this year. This means big business for the local economies, and destinations are stepping up their game with unique accommodations such as yurts and caravans. Many destinations and attractions will also offer travel coupons that you can take advantage of. This year take the opportunity to explore your own backyard and take in an experience you’ve never done before.
12. Travel for learning
Semesters abroad are far from a new trend, however, travel with purpose programs are set to explode in 2019.
56 percent of global travelers have said that traveling has taught them invaluable skills. Trips with a purpose are becoming more popular as people look to make a mark on the world through volunteer trips, fundraising trips, and international work placements.
13. Choose sustainable tourism
As people become more aware of global consciousness, they’re making smarter choices in their travel destinations. Booking.com predicts that sustainable experiences and destinations will top the list of choices amongst millennials and Gen Z travelers.
14. Pack healthy travel snacks
While eating chips and sugary treats may give you comfort during a long travel day, it’s a sure-fire way to get your trip started off on the wrong foot. The foods that you consume should provide you with vitamins, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. An easy way to pack your carry-on is to narrow your snacks down into three categories: proteins, nuts, and fruits.
15. Sign up for flights deals
Flights are almost always the biggest expense when it comes to traveling. Cut down on that by signing up for websites like Justfly, Cheapair, and with airline mailing lists to get the latest info on upcoming deals.
16. Cut down on baggage fees
While your workout routine may leave you a long way from joining the army, you can still take advantage of the army packing technique. When done correctly, this technique maximizes your luggage space, allowing you to cut down on the amount of luggage you bring while leaving your clothes wrinkle-free.
17. Get off the tourist path
This trend has been growing for years and now more than ever travelers want to avoid over-touristy areas.
Always avoid tourist-style restaurants near popular attractions as you’ll be sure to overpay for some not-so-authentic food.
18. Flying during the week
Typically, flights during weekdays are less busy than flights on weekends or holidays. For this reason, airlines will entice you to book during the week by lowering their prices for a Tuesday or Wednesday departure day.
19. Look into all-in-one passes
When traveling to a major tourist city, an all-in-one pass or travel coupon can help you save money and time by avoiding long lines.
The new year brings a new perspective and a fresh outlook on a world full of travel opportunities. With a little flexibility and creativity, you can make 2019 the best travel year yet. Make the most of it this year by maximizing your vacation time, looking for deals and travel coupons, and getting off the beaten path.