TRAVEL TIPS & TOOLS
At Southlands Travel, we want your travel experience to be easy and enjoyable from the start. We put together a handy list of travel tips and tools to help you along the way! Is there anything else you would like to see here? Contact me to let me know!
From processing times, to fees, and other requirements, find all the information you need to ensure your passport and visa arrive in time for your travel dates.
Click here to apply for or renew a passport or Visa.
While travel insurance is optional, Southlands Travel highly recommends it.
Curious what the exchange rate in the country you will be traveling to? This handy tool makes it easy.
Don't get stuck in the middle seat again. Use this tool to choose the best airline seats and in-flight amenities!
- Choose outfits in which you can mix & match and wear individual items more than once. This will help prevent you from over-packing.
- Check to see if your accommodations have a laundry facility or services. The option of doing laundry mid-way through the trip allows you to pack half the amount.
- Research your trip; consult the weather channel and know the activities you will be participating in during your trip.
- Start by packing your bag with shoes first. They are known to take up the most space in a suitcase. Coordinate several outfits to utilize the same shoes.
- Fold your clothes in reverse order to maximize the space. Also, rolling your garments is known to be the best solution to get the most space out of your luggage.
- Purchase travel-size toiletries. This will not only save room in your bags, but is necessary if part of your carry-on luggage. Using the hotel provided toiletries or packing samples (lotion, shampoo/conditioner, etc.) is another space-saving option. Even better – purchase your favorite brands in travel sizes at your destination and eliminate the need to pack them.
- If you are filling a travel-size container with shampoo – only fill ¾ of the way full. This allows room for pressure during the flight and saves you from cleaning up a mess. In addition, make sure to pack all toiletries in a zip lock bag.
- Pack any medication in your carry-on luggage so you aren’t stranded without them if your checked baggage is unexpectedly delayed or lost. Keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs.
- Leave your valuables behind. If you don’t want to chance losing it, it isn’t worth taking on your trip.
- Include an extra set of clothing in your carry-on luggage if needed for an unexpected baggage delay, etc.
- Tie a brightly colored ribbon of the same color to each piece of your luggage to easily identify them at baggage claim.
- Choose a hotel in a well-lit, busy area such as a downtown or residential area. Hotels in business districts or on the 'out-skirts' may be less-expensive, but can be less protected for tourists.
- Keep your hotel door locked at all times and leave any money or valuables in the hotel safe – do not leave them unattended in your room while you’re out.
- Keep a low profile. Don’t spotlight yourself as a tourist, most thieves find tourists as vulnerable targets.
- Use a money belt instead of a purse.
- Beware of scams and don’t be the target of a fake company. Book your travel excursions and activities through a travel agent or the hotel, versus on your own using the internet.
- Find out whether or not your medical insurance fully protects you when traveling abroad. Call your insurance company and ask if your policy covers for emergency expenses such as medical evacuation.
- Register your name with the local US Embassy: https://step.state.gov/step/
- Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
- Leave a photocopy of your passport and itinerary with someone at home. Should this be lost or stolen, it may be sent to you to avoid delays returning back home.
- Familiarize yourself with your destination and ensure you understand the 'lay of the land' – understand their culture, laws and needed vaccinations.
- Do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.
- Do not bring excessive amounts of cash while site seeing. Leave what you don’t need behind in a hotel safe, not in your room unattended.
Traveling with Children:
- Choose a flight time that coordinates with possible nap times.
- Talk to your children about what to expect – long flights, different cuisines and culture - based upon your destination. Educate them prior to arriving and perhaps build this in to the travel time, it will keep them interested and engaged in your family time together.
- Baby formula / breast milk, juice, food and children’s medications are allowed to exceed the 3 oz requirement. Quantity must be reasonable and may be tested for explosives. Try to pack only what you need for travel and purchase additional food and formula upon arriving at your destination.
- Have each child pack a special bag of toys or consider purchasing a few new items to have as a surprise on the trip.
- Keep children busy and excited. Color major landmarks of the destination while waiting for a connecting flight or draw pictures of what they would like to do while on vacation.
- Try to eat meals at your regularly scheduled times and ensure children get enough sleep. Keeping some consistency in routine and being well-rested will lead to a smoother trip.
- Visit your local physician before departing. Ensure you are up to date with all immunizations and check if any are needed for travel to your specific destination. Talk over any concerns if you are sensitive to altitude, humidity, etc.
- Always have a travel size anti-bacterial gel handy and wash your hands often. Airports, bus stations, etc are known for their germs.
- Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy. Vacations can be over-stimulating and the enjoyment can be lost if not feeling well.
- Practice good judgment and eat at trustworthy locations; request bottled water if necessary.
- Know your physical limits. Activities outside of normal routines can mean added strain to your body. A change in diet by sampling new and different foods or being in a different climate can also affect your health.