Travel tips during your trip? Here are 12 tips plus a bonus one!
Last week I wrote my 100th blog post, and to celebrate, I shared 12 travel tips for before you travel. Let’s keep the celebration going this week with 12 tips to help you enjoy your trip while you’re on it and keep you and your possessions safe!
- Tip #1 – Take a photo of your luggage and carry-ons before you check in at the airport.
- Tip #2 – Lock Your Bags.
- Tip #3 – Long-haul flight? Get a massage at the airport.
- Tip #4 – Traveling with kids? Find the playground.
- Tip #5 – Travel tip during your trip: Use your VPN whenever you go onto the internet.
- Tip #6 – Board your flights as early as possible.
- Tip #7 – Changing time zones? Adjust the time in your camera.
- Tip #8 – Take a photo of your room number with your iPhone.
- Tip #9 – Sending out laundry? Take a photo of the clothes and ticket.
- Tip #10 – Travel tip during your trip: Download and backup your photos daily.
- Tip #11 – Check your shot list to help you decide what camera gear to carry each day.
- Tip #12 – Do a debrief when you return home.
- Bonus tip – Print some of the photos you took!
- Now it’s your turn.
Tip #1 – Take a photo of your luggage and carry-ons before you check in at the airport.
If you’ve ever had to describe your bag to a hassled attendant in the lost luggage office at the airport, you’ll love this tip! Always take a photo of your bags before you check in! These people are used to seeing lost luggage but aren’t as adept at picturing it in their minds as you flounder around trying to remember if the strap is yellow or red, never mind the actual brand of the suitcase.
Are you being met at your destination airport? Show your driver the photo so they can help retrieve your luggage in the chaos around the conveyor belt!
Have you arrived at your hotel with a group and been told to leave your bags which will be delivered to your room? When the knock comes, and the wrong bags are there, show the bellman the photo. They will thank you! (Really, this just happened to me in Berlin!)
Finally, don’t forget Tip #4 from last week’s post. Make your bags look unique! Right there, you are lessening the likelihood that your bag will go missing forever. A bag with colorful straps and tags is much easier to spot than a plain black bag!
Tip #2 – Lock Your Bags.
I know, I know. A thief can break the lock. But guess what? Thieves are just as lazy as the rest of us. They are more likely to pilfer things from a bag without a lock than to take the time to break the lock. You’re also more likely to notice a broken lock, and they know that. The whole point of stealing from you is not getting caught in the process!
So, buy a TSA-approved lock and use it. But don’t forget to set the combination before you head to the airport! The last thing you want to be doing as you’re checking your bags is to be reading the instructions for setting the lock! 😉
After you arrive at your destination, you can continue to keep your bag locked. I tend to unpack when I travel and put valuables into the room safe, but your locked suitcase can come in handy.
Always spin the lock after you open it. That way, no one can see what your combination is.
I love my ThinkTank camera rollaboard. It has a built-in TSA-approved lock, plus two attached cables for fastening the bag to furniture and securing my laptop in the outside pocket. A few years ago, I stayed at a hotel in Washington, DC, for a conference and didn’t feel good about the security. I knew I could lock my bag and attach it to furniture with one of the cables, but no furniture would work! So, I came up with an unusual solution… I attached it to the ironing board in my closet. I figured a thief would look odd in security footage as he made his way down the hall with a rollaboard attached to a large ironing board.
Your laptop and other devices are very tempting, so put them in the hotel safe or at least out of sight. Skip, and I attended a conference in Marrakesh a few years ago and stayed at a five-star hotel in the city. The hotel and grounds were surrounded by a wall with barbed wire on the top, which gave a sense of safety. During the group dinner on the first night, thieves worked their way down one of the wings of the hotel and stole every laptop out of the rooms. Fortunately, we were in a different wing, but you can bet I put my valuables into the safe after that!
Finally, don’t leave your bags unattended in the airport. Even the airline lounges have reported thefts. And try to go through security at the same speed as your belongings. Don’t send your laptop and phone down the conveyor belt if you can’t be there when it comes out at the other end. And, when you arrive at your destination, get to the conveyor belt to watch for your bag. Don’t dawdle in Duty-Free only to find that your bag has been stolen!
Tip #3 – Long-haul flight? Get a massage at the airport.
This can take some advance planning, because you need to arrive early, plus know where the airport spa is located and what the hours are. Our small local airport does not have a spa, but we always must connect at a larger airport for our long flights. Even a 15-minute foot massage can help you relax before you travel.
You can also improve on this by staying near the airport on the night before you fly out. I always try to do this for early flights. Many nearby hotels have free airport transportation, too. And some will even let you park at the hotel while you are on your trip.
And then there’s the Novotel at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. It has a full-service spa. Divine! (I shot the photo with my iPhone that I had in the pocket of the spa robe I was wearing.) What a way to start a trip! They even have a lavish outdoor pool with multiple fountains and a swim-up bar.
Tip #4 – Traveling with kids? Find the playground.
Some airports have playgrounds indoors. If you’re traveling with young ones, do some research. Then, plan to arrive early and let them get their energy out before they board the plane.
Narita Airport, near Tokyo, has playrooms for young children with soft tatami mats. I shot the photo of my daughter-in-law and her two sons as they were playing around before a late-night flight to Guam. Can you see my older grandson? He did a pretty good job of being invisible! And the younger one was definitely having fun!
Tip #5 – Travel tip during your trip: Use your VPN whenever you go onto the internet.
Be especially vigilant in public places. The easiest way to avoid internet problems is to get into the habit of using a VPN whenever you are out in public. I view hotel rooms in the same way.
One additional benefit is that you may be able to access websites from your home country that you can’t from a foreign country. When you set up your VPN, you can choose from a list of servers. Long ago, I chose one in San Francisco. What that means is that the websites I access think I am in San Francisco.
I’m not sure if this still works with Facebook, but the last time I was in China, I could only access Facebook when I had my VPN turned on.
Tip #6 – Board your flights as early as possible.
I always chuckle to myself that we are all going to the same place, so why rush to be first on the plane? Here’s why. You want your carry-ons to be above or under your seat. Often, the spaces fill up, and you must search for a place in an overhead bin that’s not near you.
A friend flew to Kenya for a safari and arrived without her laptop. During the night, someone had removed it from the overhead. Just this summer, an American Airlines passenger stole over $10,000 from two other passengers on a flight. Fortunately, he was caught by a vigilant flight crew member.
So, try to keep your carry-ons near you! And, as an added precaution, try to store your handbag and laptop under the seat in front of you. My laptop is in the overhead bin for takeoff in the photo above. After takeoff, I stood up, moved the laptop to the floor next to my seat, and locked my bag.
Tip #7 – Changing time zones? Adjust the time in your camera.
This one always tricks me up! I arrive and immediately start taking photos, only to remember later that my camera is still set to my old time zone. 😎 You can change the time in your photos’ metadata later, but it’s time-consuming (sorry… 😉) and much easier just to do it when you land!
Tip #8 – Take a photo of your room number with your iPhone.
It’s rare to receive a room key with a number on it these days. One of the travel tips during a trip that I always follow is to take a quick photo of my room number. Then, when you’re asked for your room number at breakfast or the spa, you know it!
And don’t forget that you must find your way back to the room! Now, which of these doors is mine???
Tip #9 – Sending out laundry? Take a photo of the clothes and ticket.
This is pretty self-explanatory. When you fill out the laundry form, there is often no copy for you to keep. This is when your iPhone will come in handy. Snap a photo of the laundry form. Then, for good measure, snap a photo of the clothing. That way, you know what you sent and have photos should the wrong laundry appear in your room.
Here’s an additional tip about laundry. Most safari lodges and camps provide excellent laundry service. You can safely travel with fewer clothes, which helps when you fly into the camp in a small plane with a 40-pound luggage limit. However, most will not wash underwear. You have two options. You can pack more underwear or plan to wash it yourself. In either case, buy light underwear! It weighs less, takes up less room in your luggage, and dries faster.
Tip #10 – Travel tip during your trip: Download and backup your photos daily.
It takes a little extra time, but a quick look at your photos on your laptop screen will help identify any problems with your settings. A photo may look terrific on the LCD screen on the back of your camera and then look blurry when seen in a large size. You can check the settings you used and learn from them. A blurry photo usually stems from too slow a shutter speed. Either the subject was moving, or you were moving.
Bring a backup disk with you, as well. That way, you have two copies of your photos.
Tip #11 – Check your shot list to help you decide what camera gear to carry each day.
When you’re traveling, you will have days when you need a tripod and days when you don’t. A large lens may be important for one event and just extra weight for another.
As you plan your day, here’s another valuable travel tip for during your trip. Check your shot list to see what photos you want to capture. Then, only carry what you will need that day. Your back and neck will thank you for it! Also, a tourist covered with camera gear makes a great target for theft.
Tip #12 – Do a debrief when you return home.
When you get home from your trip, take a good look at the clothing and gear you took on the trip. Were any of your outfits never worn? Did you have the proper clothing for the climate and the terrain? What about your camera gear?
Make a list of what you used and would take again. Then, make another list of what you can leave home in the future.
A few years ago, after a two-month trip, I lay the clothes that worked well on my bed and took a photo. Then, I printed the photo and stored it, along with the lists, right in my suitcase. It has simplified my packing ever since.
Bonus tip – Print some of the photos you took!
It’s so easy to get caught up with mundane tasks when you get home. Don’t forget to celebrate your trip by printing and hanging some of the photos you took! Printing this shot of the Palm Springs Tramway reminds me of the fun we had on our west coast trip in the spring.
Now it’s your turn.
Bring back frame-worthy photos from your trip. Click here to learn how: https://www.carolinemaryan.com/camera-mechanics-workshops-info/
You can read some tips about changing the time zone in your camera manual in my post here: https://www.carolinemaryan.com/change-the-time-in-your-camera-settings/
If you’re unsure about backing up your photos, I’ve written a post for you: https://www.carolinemaryan.com/back-up-your-photos/
You can read even more advice on keeping your belongings safe during your flight here: https://www.corporatetravelsafety.com/safety-tips/airline-on-board-theft/