These tips have served me in good stead both here and abroad.
A little weird but bear with me. Save underwear that is past it’s prime and use as disposable underwear when you travel. By the end of the trip, your luggage is lighter and you have room for new purchases.
Pick up water, snacks, and even lunches at local supermarkets. A protein bar will save you both money and time so you can keep exploring or relaxing on the beach through the afternoon.
While you are in the supermarket search for souvenirs. Local candies, BBQ sauce, and spices from other states are treats to bring home and great gifts. This is even more fun when you are out of the country. Try the Monoprix chain in Paris for mustard, herbes de provence, fancy salts, chocolates, and bars of lavender soap.
Planning ahead usually means saving money. If you are visiting multiple attractions consider looking for a package that will cut down on expenses. Go City Card or City Pass have good options for museums, zoos, and amusement parks. This also applies to rail and bus passes such as the Japan Railroad Pass and look for multi day subway/bus passes in many cities.
Always have wet naps and tissues. They are the most indispensable travel accessory for when hands get sticky, when you reach for toilet paper and it’s not there, and when you spill food on your clothes.
If you are renting a car, consider checking to see if it is better to pick it up in town at a local office to avoid surcharges or at the airport. However you have to remember to include the price of a round trip to your hotel in the equation.
Getting to and from the airport is usually a hassle and can be expensive. Check out local options. In Los Angeles, we have LAX Fly Away. I also use the Westwood stop to drop off house guests when traffic is heavy - just about always in LA.
I’m a sucker for niche museums. From the San Francisco Street Car Museum to the Sumo Museum in Tokyo to the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis there are smaller and usually cheaper museums in every city that have unique collections showcasing some aspect of their heritage or an unusual subject. Always check for free days on the site!
The AAA Card is still a great resource. The discounts, guidebooks and maps help you get an overall picture of the area. When your phone’s battery gives out or you are in a zone without WiFi, they can be life savers. Plus if your car dies they will give you a tow.
Relax and be ready to change course or your schedule when an interesting opportunity arises.