If Emily in Paris also inspired you to take a spontaneous trip to France, we feel you. But traveling on a whim isn't so simple. As easy as it is to dream about sipping coffee with a view of the Eiffel Tower, the reality of getting there can be stressful and overwhelming.
1. Start a travel savings system that works for you.
2. Consider your priorities when deciding where to splurge and where to save.
3. "Travel doesn't need to be as expensive as you think, and you can make it affordable by doing a home swap, staying in hostels, or camping if you're really on a budget. Travel after the busy season too: July and August can be very busy, so try booking a trip in May or September."
4. Keep a spreadsheet or list to stay organized.
"Whenever I begin planning a trip, I make an Excel sheet or Google Doc that lays everything out. I list everything that I need to book (hotels, flights, rental car, restaurant reservations, or any ticketed activities). Then, as I go about my planning, I'll check off exactly what's booked, complete with confirmation numbers, cancellation dates, and total cost. Having a list of all necessary bookings and expenses in one single place not only helps me stay organized but also helps me manage and stick to my budget." —Hannah Loewentheil
5. Whenever possible, be flexible about your travel dates.
6. The best time to book any holiday is off-season, not only in your own country but also in the place you're travelling to.
8. "Always check the expiration date of your passport well before traveling. Many countries require six months of validity to grant entry, so the effective deadline might be sooner than the actual expiration date written on your passport."
9. "Download Maps.me. Forget Google Maps. This app lets you download a map of the country you're visiting for free while you're using Wi-Fi, and later it can function as GPS and even recalculate without cell signal."
10. "When you can, book directly through airline and hotel websites rather than through third-party travel websites. This will reduce the chances of your reservation getting lost, and it also allows more flexibility to make changes to your booking. Hotel or airline staff can't change reservations that were not made on their own system."
11. Familiarize yourself with your destination ahead of time.
13. "Plan ahead of time how you're going to get from the airport to your accommodation."
"When you land is when you're most vulnerable: tired, not thinking clearly, and desperate to get to your room. Do some research ahead of time and figure out your transportation plan."—u/gotthelowdown
14. When in doubt, rent a car.
16. "For US travel, pick up a National Park Service map and guide along with an annual pass. Just about anywhere you go, you'll be near a park system area, and so many are amazing. I wasted a lot of years driving past these places, and I wish I knew to stop and explore."
17. Mixing up your types of accommodation can be cheaper and make for different experiences.
18. "Hostels are filled with friendly, well-traveled, and knowledgeable people. Staying at them is a great way to see the world. Just bring a lock for your stuff at night."
19. Working in a hostel is an easy way to make money and meet people.
20. And when it comes to booking accommodations, always read the reviews!
21. And the absolute best way to save money while travelling is by getting friends together and sharing costs.
22. And most importantly, travel insurance is something you’re going to want to get.
23. Research your destination before you pack, so you know what you really need.
24. Pack a lightweight scarf for chilly planes.
26. To avoid tangling, thread a straw with your delicate necklaces.
27. Use a button to keep your earrings together.
28. Contact containers are great for storing travel-size amounts of cosmetics.
29. Stash extra cash in an empty lip balm tube.
You've already filled your contact case with lip balm. So keeping money in the empty lip balm only makes sense.
30. "Travel with a a microfiber towel. It dries sooo much faster than a regular towel, and it folds up into nothing."
31. "Keep copies of important travel documents on your phone and in the cloud so you can always access them."
32. "For photo equipment or all kind of expensive stuff: put some duct tape on it. If it looks broken, nobody wants to steal it."
33. Surely you already know that leaving your headphones loose in your bag is wrong — a paper clip is the way to go:
34. "Research how the locals dress. I’m a woman, and I have traveled alone many times. Every time I travel solo (especially when traveling to Europe), I look into how the locals dress so that I look like a local and don't stand out. If you look like you fit in and pay attention to your surroundings, no one will bother you."
35. "You only need to pack one power adapter and a powerboard. It's much cheaper than buying multiple adapters, and you end up with more sockets for all your electronics."
36. The right way to pack for long trips:
37. "Pack a change of underwear, a toothbrush, some cash, and a charger in whatever bag will be on your body the entire time you're traveling."
38. Bring a mini bag of medicine, like Tums or aspirin, so in case you get sick, you won't feel too bad.
39. Bring laundry detergent so you can rewear clothes and pack lighter.
"Carry the travel-size packets of laundry detergent (Tide makes good ones) so you can wash clothes in your bathroom sink. This works surprisingly well, particularly for undergarments and socks. And hotel laundry fees are insane. Avoid at all costs, unless your employer is footing the bill and won't reject the expense." —u/mdowney
40. Rolled clothing takes up less space than folded clothing.
41. To keep your clothes smelling fresh, pop a dryer sheet in your suitcase.
42. Carry a tote bag or laundry bag to separate your dirty clothes in your suitcase.
43. "Slip-on shoes...Comfort is key because you'll walk way more when traveling. These make it way easier to fly through security...And make sure you wear socks if you'll be going through an airport. You don't want to walk barefoot through security!"
44. "Ear plugs. If you're traveling on a budget, you will probably be staying in some noisy located places. They really help."
45. Transport wine in your shoes.
Obviously for checked bags. But, you never really know when you'll need a bottle of wine, right?
46. Pack your dirty shoes in a shower cap.
47. "Get a credit card that includes airport lounge access. Flying will never be the same."
48. Pay attention to airline rules and know what you're signing up for.
49. To avoid jet lag, get plenty of exercise the day before you travel.
50. You don’t need to fly business class to fly comfortably. Exit row seats will suffice.
51. Buying bottled water at the airport could not be more wrong. Take an empty bottle through security and get that H2O the right way:
52. The better way to use airport outlets? A power strip:
53. "If you're taking long flights, carry a travel-size pack of baby wipes. After you reach your destination, go into the restroom and wipe down. It's not a shower, but you'll be amazed how refreshed it makes you feel."
54. Pack your plane snacks creatively.
55. Here's how to watch movies on the plane:
56. Fashion a water bottle holder out of the inflight mag.
57. "Never delete from your phone or throw away your boarding pass before you've actually entered your destination."
58. A travel pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask can really change your flight experience.
59. "Do the research and plan your meal times according to local customs. Many European restaurants close at 2 p.m. for a break and begin serving dinner later than when you might be used to in the States."
60. Walk, walk, walk as much as possible.
61. "Don't exchange money. Rather, use an ATM for the best exchange rate."
62. Here's a foolproof way to fix that pesky gap between the hotel curtains.
63. "If you're traveling throughout Europe, buy an Interrail Pass. It's basically a continent-wide train ticket. Not only is it the best way to travel, but you also meet all sorts of people."
64. "Map out some activities, but leave the majority of your trip unplanned. Whenever I travel, I choose two must-do activities beforehand, then leave the rest of the trip unplanned. I just walk around and see what I discover."
65. "If your plans change and you need to cancel your hotel reservation against the hotel's cancellation policy, don't call and cancel. Instead, call the hotel and move your reservation to the following week — because many hotels will allow you to change a reservation without issue. Then, call a few hours later and cancel your 'new' reservation."
66. "Hotel lobbies have great bathrooms. Find a luxury hotel and go to the bar, order an iced tea or a Coke, and then you can use a nice bathroom. Plus, most also have free Wi-Fi these days as well."
67. "Don't just choose a restaurant based on a nice appearance. Eat where the locals eat or where you see people forming long lines."
68. Keep your toothbrush head from resting on the hotel bathroom counter (like a monster) with this simple travel hack:
69. "Buy a $20 phone calling card in case you get stuck somewhere and don't have money or phone. Keep this away from your wallet and somewhere that it's least likely to disappear."
70. "Instead of buying expensive international roaming and data from your cell provider, just buy a cheap prepaid rechargeable SIM card in whatever country you need service."
71. Scams are easily avoidable if you don’t put yourself in vulnerable positions.
72. "Street food can be amazing, but do your research about where it's safe to eat first. There have been times when we were warned against eating the street food, and those who ate it anyway got pretty ill."
73. Picnic, picnic, picnic.
74. And being flexible and ready to adapt is one of the most important parts of travelling.
75. Immerse yourself in the culture by hiring a guide, signing up for a local experience, or even doing a free walking tour.
This article contains content from Hannah Loewentheil, Michelle Rennex, and Louise Khong. It was compiled by Kelly Rissman.