Seven Investments You Should Make If You're Serious About Travel
This post was originally published on June 27, 2018
If you're dedicated to your favorite sports team, you probably have season tickets or a lot of team apparel or some good tailgating gear. If you're into biking, you've probably spent a lot of time and money on your bike, keeping it clean and making sure it works properly.
I believe that travel is no different. If you really want to travel more conveniently and save money in the long run, you need to put in some time and money to get there.
Here are seven items and ideas to get you started:
1. A Credit Card That Will Reward You With Travel Points
Before travel points, the main way to earn free travel was through frequent flyer miles. Frequent flyer programs still exist - the only problem with it is that you have to be pretty dedicated to one airline. That's great for the airline, but not for you.
Get a credit card that comes with travel points instead. Keep purchasing items like you normally would with any credit card, and let the points start accumulating. You don't even have to use them on airfare! Use them on any travel expense: hotels, trains, etc.
2. A Sturdy, Small, and Efficient Carry-on
I can attest to the fact that a good carry-on can make or break your flying experience. I have tried every type of bag and suitcase imaginable.
My favorite carry-on yet is one I found at TJMaxx. It's a small, hard-shelled spinner suitcase with two compartments on the inside from IT Luggage. It's been able to fit in every overhead bin that I've encountered and holds so much!! And bonus points for the fact that it was less than $75.
Make sure your carry-on is conducive to the kind of traveler that you are. I love my spinner, but some people need a bag that will be easy to dig around in. Figure out what you need and get one!! It will save you time and peace of mind the next time you're getting ready for a flight.
3. A Passport Wallet
A typical passport wallet is much like the wallet you probably already use, except for the fact that it has slots for all your important travel documents. Your passport, boarding passes, and baggage claim tags need to be secure yet easily accessible! And if you're going to be visiting multiple countries, you need to keep all your foreign currencies separated.
4. Packing Cubes
I don't know how many people I've had to explain packing cubes to since I started using them a few years ago. To many, packing your clothes into cubes inside of your luggage might sound like a waste of time, but using cubes allows you to further compartmentalize the inside of your bag or suitcase and separate out important items.
For example, on a two-week trip, I like to put one week's worth of outfits in one cube and the next week's outfits in the other to keep myself from pulling out every bit of clothing from my suitcase whenever I get dressed.
5. A Wifi-Enabled SD Card
This is for all my photographer friends. I don't always travel with a laptop. And I don't want to worry about losing an SD adapter for my phone, but I still want to post the nice photos that I take on my Nikon.
As long as you have the accompanying app downloaded on your phone, a wifi-enabled SD card will let you transfer pictures directly from your camera to your phone.
6. Signing Up for Airfare Alerts
There are so many websites to get airfare alerts from. Some are generic, and some can be very specific to you. A new one that I intend to try out is called Next Vacay. For $25 a year, you can tell Next Vacay what airport you want to fly out of and the cities that you're interested in flying to, and they email you the very best deals on those flights as they find them.
Some other similar services are Airfare Watchdog, Thrifty Traveler, and Scott's Cheap Flights. (If you have any opinions on this topic, please leave me a comment because I love cheap flights!)
Airfare alerts may be just another email that you have to clear from your inbox at the end of the day, but you might find a deal that you simply can't pass on! And you don't have to do any of the work!
7. Following Travel Accounts Online
The Internet is an ever-expanding place, and I quite honestly believe we take it for granted sometimes. (Although that's a topic for another time.) So many of my future travel destination ideas that I never would have thought to consider before have come from travel bloggers on Instagram.
There are bloggers that I really trust, and I read their stories to find out if a city will be safe for me to travel to alone, or if a town is just really touristy and overrated.
Seriously, invest some time in reading what real travelers have to say and not just what the big travel magazines put out.