Better Project Management

Travel Tips to Make Travel More Enjoyable

This post isn’t about my normal topics relating to project management but as a consultant I spend a lot of my time traveling nationally and internationally. I think anyone who travels regularly will relate to it.

I was born traveling and didn’t really settle in one place until my early teens. I now live between two countries in different hemispheres, and as a professional consultant I spend a lot of my time traveling around the world. As such, I consider myself quite a seasoned traveler and I’ve learned a few things over the many many years I’ve been on the road. Here are my top tips:

  1. Use a backpack with easily accessible laptop section for carry-on luggage. Single strap briefcase type bags get real heavy real fast if you have to walk a long way through airports. Having a wheeled carry on can be annoying when you collect your main wheeled luggage. A good quality backpack is easy to carry when pulling larger wheeled luggage.
  2. Use a range of different colored packing cells to pack all your clothes separately. The colors make it easy to find different clothing and having different types of clothing in different packing cells makes it easy to find shirts, underwear, gym gear or jeans really fast instead of rummaging through a suitcase.
  3. Use wheeled luggage for getting around easily. Make sure it works well being pulled on just two wheels. Only use four wheels for very smooth services. Oh, and make sure you weigh you bag before getting to the airport. Don’t be the person who has to repack their bag at the front of the queue and move a book and a pair of shoes into your carry-on luggage to get your main bag checked in.
  4. Throw out 1/3 of what you packed – you won’t need it. You can prove this by checking out your suitcase contents when you get home and realize you didn’t need 1/3 of it.
  5. Find a laundry near where you are staying and use it. In a pinch use the hotel shower and let clothes dry overnight (a portable clothes line is great for this).
  6. Wear shoes that are comfortable for airplanes (e.g. the change in air pressure will make your feet swell), and that are easy to get on and off as you go through airport security
  7. Wear layered clothing so you can adjust your comfort temperature easily
  8. Get yourself ready to go through airport security before you get there. Remove metal objects and put them in your bag or coat. Loosen you shoelaces. Unzip your laptop part of the bag. Don’t be the person who holds up the line doing all this (and more) at the screening point.
  9. Know where your passport is at all times. Do not lose this as replacing it will take time and money and will interrupt your travels.
  10. Carry enough cash for a few days’ worth of incidentals. If you carry more than that you will worry about losing it.
  11. Only use your credit and debit cards at reputable merchants. If in doubt use cash. Also, use credit card over debit card as it’s easier to get your money back if it’s used for fraudulent purposes.
  12. Take and wear comfortable walking shoes that suit multiple purposes. My favorites are black fashion sneakers as they can be used for casual and semi-casual events.
  13. Take something to read or listen to while traveling. Make sure you have quality headphones.
  14. Take a spare lithium battery for recharging your devices (make sure it’s fully charged)
  15. Use Google maps and any other favorite travel apps. I have a folder on my phone just for travel apps of all sorts.
  16. Make sure you have purchased cell phone data for your destination. If you are there for a while consider getting a local SIM card and pre-pay plan.
  17. Make sure you have easy access to all your reservation details. You may need these to show customs officials, taxi drivers or to check in. Have them in the local language if possible.
  18. Know a few basic phrases for the country you are traveling to if it uses another language.
  19. Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it frequently.
  20. Make sure you have travel insurance, and know the terms and conditions of it.
  21. Take a sealable laundry bag for your used clothing. Making sure it’s sealable ensures that the rest of your luggage doesn’t smell like worn clothing.
  22. Ensure that copies/photocopies of all your important travel documents are stored in the cloud or with someone back home. This way if you lose one you can speed of the replacement process by knowing numbers etc
  23. Take easy iron clothing. Some brands advertise themselves as non-iron but that simply isn’t true unless it’s 100% synthetic fabric and you don’t want to be wearing that. Take easy iron clothing and if the hotel you are staying at doesn’t have an iron you can hang it in the bathroom when you shower, and the steam will “iron” it for you.
  24. Do not look like tourist. Do not be the person wearing cargo pants, hiking shoes, fleece jacket, backpack and/or bum bag. You wouldn’t dress that way for wandering around the streets of your home town so why are you dressed like that now?
  25. Buy quality luggage. There is nothing worse than seeing your luggage come off a airport carousel with a broken zip or ripped surface.
  26. Dress for your destination. You may leave a warm destination and be dressed for that, but once you get to the other side of the planet and its winter and all your cold weather gear is lost with your luggage you will feel good knowing you have layers of clothing with you.
  27. Essentials are wallet, phone and passport – if you have these you can get other things you have forgotten.
  28. Make sure you have the necessary visa’s etc. Nothing worse than getting to a new country and finding out you can’t enter because you have the wrong visa.

What did I forget? What are your best travel tips?