Whether you’re crossing the pond or living life on the highway, a travel game plan is always a must. But take it from us—no matter how many oversized carry-ons you fit on-board or how diligent your pre-departure Google game is—sometimes you win and sometimes you lose when it comes to travel shortcuts.
We turned to BCV’s team of travel experts for their top tips to make your next trip a winner for you, your wallet—and maybe even your Insta feed.
Before you get your head in the clouds.
- Get Global Entry. This U.S. Customs and Border Protection program is just $100 for five years, includes TSA pre-check, and you can be expedited at many international customs.
- Speaking of customs, save yourself some stress and check out what the process looks like in the country you’re going to. (That carry-on full of snow globes and country-specific Starbucks mugs isn’t going to check itself.)
- Be flexible. If your travel dates aren’t set in stone, book your domestic flights on weekdays—it’ll save you some money on airfare.
Put your best *face* forward.
- Always travel with an eye mask. Just because you take a redeye flight doesn’t mean you have to look like it.
- Add Chill Aromatherapy drops by Alchemy to your bag. If you’re an anxious traveler, dab a few of these drops on your skin, pillow, or eye mask and you’ll relax regardless of your mode of transportation.
- Speaking of keeping a fresh face, with travel-sized Sephora sleeping masks, life on-the-go won’t keep away your natural glow.
- Pack moisturizing face spray for the plane. Best to be prepared: when you’re traveling, you never know when you’ll have to pose for the ‘gram.
- Always have sanitizing wipes on-hand. There’s nothing worse than being sick on vacation—and there’s nowhere with more germs than your cozy airplane cabin.
Mixing, matching—and making it fit.
- Go classic. With white tees and dark blue jeans, there’s no need to be an outfit repeater while traveling. (And please, leave your Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts at home.)
- Pack light. If you’re moving from one destination to the next, you’ll thank yourself for leaving behind that third pair of shoes.
- Here’s an airtight plan: order a few vacuum sealed bags on Amazon. (Fun fact: sitting on them works just as well.) For $20, you’ll have more room, and you can separate clean and dirty clothes.
- If you’re getting down and dirty, kick your dryer desires by traveling with a clothesline—especially internationally. It’s easy to pack and just might be your wardrobe’s MVP.
Not a navigator? No problem.
- Before you touch down in your new town, download the Maps.Me app to navigate offline. Download a map for any city and stay on track while you get off the grid.
- If you prefer something familiar, we recommend downloading GoogleMaps. You may be covering new ground, but Siri sounds the same—service or no service.
If you remember nothing else…
- Always bring a water bottle and snacks when you go on a day trip or tour. You never know what your day will turn into, and hydration always makes for happier explorers.
- Do away with checklists. Your vacation shouldn’t feel like a field trip. Let go of the itineraries and live it up as your adventure unfolds.
Culture cheat sheets.
- New to a city? Take advantage of free walking tours. Especially in Europe, guides generally work solely on tips, so they’re fun and have great recommendations for local food and attractions.
- Download audio guides in advance. Why pay for guided tours of famous sites and museums when you could listen from your own device? (Plus, your earbuds have to look better than the clip-on walkie talkies they’ll give you.)
Livin’ la vida local.
- When you’re tired of your tourist ways, WikiTravel is your go-to site. Find hidden gems and locals-only hot spots organized by city.
Keeping tracking of your dough. (Don’t worry, we don’t like sharing bread either.)
- Get Splitwise. When you’re traveling with groups, this app lets you plug in expenses like group dinners and tracks who owes how much money throughout your trip.