Over the summer, I heard two travel tips that were new to me. I cannot pretend to know every single travel tip ever published but I thought those two travel tips were pretty unique.
I wanted to collect 6 more to make a patented McCool Travel 8 Great collection. But I found a few more and will keep adding super duper unique travel tips as I find, experience, or hear about them.
A few travel expert friends provided their most obscure “travel tips you have never seen.” Some of these travel tips I have heard before but they had an aspect that is unique or new.
Listed with each travel tip, except for mine, is a link to the travel expert’s website, so that you can learn more about them.
Hopefully these travel tips will help you be Happy Travelers and save money, time, or aggravation on future trips.
12 Useful Travel Tips You Have Never Seen
“Keep a drawer at home for your regular travel items—not just your passport, but also things like a travel adaptor, notebook and pen, travel-sized toiletries, sunglasses, toothbrush, etc., maybe even a set of clothes, rather than putting each of these items in their respective locations within your home. This way, when your next trip comes about, you can be ‘good to go’ at a moment’s notice, and find all your essentials ready in one place.”
Paul Johnson of A Luxury Travel Blog
“Subscribing to tons of newsletters and FB pages with low cost and error fare offers and making those sticky on top of your feed so that’s the first thing you see when you log in.”
Inma Gregorio of A World to Travel
“When looking for places to travel to, then once you decide, people seem to always get most of their travel advice for that location from people who have never been there (Americans are notorious for doing this)…..this needs to stop.
I lived in Bangkok for 11 years, and if you only go by what you see in movies, on CNN and people that haven’t been, you would think we go around on elephants and you would get drugs planted on you every day…..furthest thing from the truth. People need to realize that the only ‘true’ advice is from people that have been there and done that!!!!”
Scott Eddy of Mr Scott Eddy
“Check instagram first. This way you can see how the sun changes throughout the day by looking at other people’s photos, what angles are great, get some ideas on what works, find inspiration and generally get a quick guide to the best photos of a certain location.”
Mar Pages of Once in a Lifetime Journey
“Pre-select vegetarian meals on your long haul flights. The airlines have to do a headcount of pre-selected meals right before takeoff, therefore ensuring the freshest food on the plane. Also, have you ever noticed how some people get their meals before everyone else? That’s because they ordered ahead of time when they booked their flight!”
Natasha and Cameron of The World Pursuit
We all know more than 3 ounces of water (actually 100 ml) is not permitted through airport security. Before their flight to South Florida for our Fathom cruise, Macrae and Carolann of One Modern Couple saw plenty of people tossing water bottles in a garbage can, like usual, but one woman passed through security with a bottle of frozen water. So, ice passes security protocol but water in liquid form does not. We wondered if this is a global or selective TSA policy.
A flight attendant on a recent daytime flight instructed passengers to close their shades. I thought it was pretty nervy of her to do so but then I heard her explanation. She said that the continual bright light on one side of the face causes headaches after the flight. She advised passengers to lower the shade at least half way to reduce the glare and eyestrain. I thought it was a brilliant travel tip.
At the Destination
“Travelling with your parents! Not only will travelling with your parents bring out a whole different side of your relationships, but you will get to enjoy the world from a new perspective.
My Mom always finds great places for us to stay and makes me do activities I would never consider doing by myself but end up enjoying! Plus, chances are, if you travel with your parents, they’ll pay for everything ;)”
Emily Kydd of See Her Travel
“Find less touristy local restaurants through the power of Google translate. One thing we love to do is look up the local word for ‘restaurant’ and then we search on Google and see what comes up. It has been a great way to source out those amazing restaurants that all the locals know—but who have never bothered to put their website into English.
Let Google translate do all the hard work and all you have to do is show up and enjoy a tasty local meal!”
Meagen Collins of Food Fun Travel
“Don’t get charged extortionate phone bills while trying to call your bank from abroad. Tweet them and they will ask you to DM a number of a hostel / hotel / mobile they can call you on!”
Gemma of Two Scots Abroad
“Aim to take pictures of places in both portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) orientation—you’ll never know which version you’ll like better, or which version you’ll want for a future book cover, Christmas card, etc.”
Chris Backe of One Weird Globe
Before going to sleep in a hotel, vacation rental, or other new place, make sure the clock alarm is turned off. More than once I have failed to do this and regretted it.
Are these travel tips you have never seen? All of them? None of them?
Let me know your most obscure travel tip.
65 thoughts on “12 Useful Travel Tips You Have Never Seen”
I dig Paul’s travel drawer idea Charles. We tend to plan well in advance and sometimes just keep items in suitcases but have scrambled a few times pre-trip, looking for adapters or converters or eye masks. Having a drawer set up for stowing all these goodies saves time and heartache too LOL.
Thank you, Ryan. I suspect you are a veteran traveler and appreciate the note. Be well.
Great tips Charles! I love the reminder to take both horizontal and vertical photos saves a lot of time and frustration later.
Hey, Sue, yes, it is a nice travel tip.
I love the tip about checking Instagram for knowing when to take photos~
Thank you for the note, Irene. Good stuff.
Some interesting tips. I looked up the frozen water tip as I didn’t think they did- I once traveled with meds that needed to be cooled and they told me I had to have one of those icepacks- but indeed, if it’s completely frozen you’re good to go, if it’s at all melted the jig is up.
I have a travel drawer and always take vertical and horizontal pics — can confirm those as valuable! Never heard of the water vs. ice TSA thing, tho. Must try that!
When you do try it, let me know the result. It might be a station by station “rule.”
Great tips, Charles. I particularly like the ones related to airline food. I think I’ll pre-order a vegetarian meal next time I fly!
I typically order a special meal for the main reasons she stated, that the food is fresher. I do notice that I almost always get my meal first. I do also love trying the varieties, like Asian vegetarian.
Love reading travel tips, Charles, and these included some new ideas. I was especially intrigued by drawing the shade down at least halfway since the light may cause headaches. I’m for anything that helps prevent the fatigue and achy feelings that accompany a long flight and, since I always book the window seat, love the idea that this is one factor of the flight completely in my control! Anita
Anita, ever since a FA mentioned this on a flight this summer, I am aware of it.
These are some great tips! Especially the inquiry on banks, never knew Tweeter could be that convenient, because mostly I thought they just use it for fan page purposes only. Great article though, kudos to you!
Thank you for the note, Mai. Happy travels.
I love the idea of taking horizontal and vertical pictures….great tip for bloggers!
It is such a great travel tip. Thank you, Irene.
Some great tips here- will see which ones will work for us.
Let me know. 😀
You are so right! We heard many times: don’t go here or there because it’s too dangerous. Asking if they had been there: ‘No, but I heard …’. It’s so pathetic.
Crazy, right? Listen to people that have actually been there. Don’t believe the hype!
Loved the tip about Google Translate and finding lesser-known restaurants. Honestly, I’d just say walk around and look for something that’s busy and doesn’t look like a chain. Lol, but Emily’s tip is more sophisticated. Great collection of folks you got in one place, Charles. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for the comment. I tend to use Yelp and also just wander around. Been awhile since I have been somewhere where I did not recognize the alphabet, though.
Instagram has been big for me, I look for unique spots for photos and best angles for photos. Pinned this to read before my next trip!
Instagram is more than just sunset and food pictures? i better up my IG game.
Interesting, especially the one about frozen water. Not sure I’d want to test that with every airport, and I’m not sure how you’d keep it frozen the whole time before you get to security, but it’s a great hack!
You could probably drink any of the liquid stuff as you approach security. I am not going to try it but it seems like a potential travel article.
Re. tip #1, instead of keeping those things in a drawer, which is indeed a great idea, I just keep them all in my “empty” suitcase. When I pack my suitcase, I go through everything and put the left-overs in my laundry basket, reversing the process when I return.
Excellent. I have heard of some uber travelers who have a bag always packed and ready at their front door. Gotta be super organized if you travel bunches.
These were some really interesting tips. I wish someone had left a tip for how to choose a hotel without pondering for days and days. Maybe I’ll try the Instagram thing for hotels too! I’m in love with the DEDICATED DOODAD DRAWER concept.
Ha, if I may, Vicki: https://www.mccooltravel.com/8-great-tips-for-choosing-a-motel/
Great tips and some new ones that I haven’t heard of. Here is another one for you. If a couple books a flight, book a window and an aisle. The chances of one sole person desperately wanting the middle seat between you is slim…or you can swap.
Thank you, Paula. I use the ole window/aisle all the time and have mentioned it many times. Hey, I am being tough on this topic. 😀
Love these tips Charles! So many I hadn’t heard of before. The frozen water sounds too good to be true.
Do you have any?
I loved that these were not typical suggestions – very clever from experienced travelers. Instagram can be a wealth of information. We have discovered so many places to eat even where were live from looking for it on Insta.
Gotta admit I want to try IG research for my next trip, too.
Good stuff. I am especially intrigued by the frozen water bottle. Gonna have to test that one out on the next flight.
Do it! If they take the bottle, no big deal. Research!
I can honestly say these were all new, or new twists, to me. Great ideas for MacGyvering happier travels.
Indeed, some were twisted and some were spanking new.
Great tips!! I love the idea of a dedicated drawer. I am planning to do that!
For been there done that, go to – http://adventurousretirement.com/blog/ – This is the reason we started it, as we travel lots and we only want advice from people who have – ‘been there done that.’
Thank you, Wendy. Travel Happy!
Love these! After many times of frantically searching for extra camera chargers, plug adapters, and travel blankets, I finally got smart and created a travel bin in my closet: all of my travel stuff goes directly from my backpack into that bin after every trip, and it has made my life SO much easier for the next time. I love the suggestion about varying photos between vertical and landscape–I definitely need to do this more!
Thank you. Good life hacks, too.
I like the idea of using Google translate for restaurants etc. I also use it for information about the places I visit – you can quite often find stuff that’s not available in English.
Let me know if you use it on a future trip and how it works.
I really like that suggestion to look up photos of restaurants on Instagram rather than relying on the official website of the venue. It really surprises me that a water bottle with frozen contents would be acceptable to TSA. I probably won’t risk it because having to have a conversation with a TSA officer about the physical properties of matter isn’t how I like to start trips. I can’t think of any unique travel tips. I have plenty of tips, but none that I think are worthy of this list for uniqueness.
Ha, thank you, Suzanne. Indeed, I am also hesitant to take a bottle of ice through security. I will stick with my filtered water bottle and fill up with tap water.
I am going to try that ice tip next time we travel, although I have noticed that some airports are a lot stricter and more careful than others. We recently, inadvertently, took a bottle of water out of JFK Airport, only to have the same bottle confiscated at LA when we went to board our onward flight.
I know. Any time you have to re-clear security, everything is up for re-inspection. One of the most frustrating things about travel.
Thanks for the sharing these nice & amazing travel trips. I’m sure, If anyone follow all these tips during the travel so their traveling journey will be awesome.
Thank you, Sonali. Happy travels to you.
Here’s another: keep a little travel bag in that travel drawer of yours in which you keep all the little doodads (that’s the technical word for it!) that you might need for travel: charger and plug, universal travel adaptor extra SD cards for your camera, powerbank, travel modem, multi card reader, etc. Until I started doing this I always left something behind!
A question about the frozen water: where can you get it? I mean, it seems to me it wouldn’t work unless you live very near the airport….
A doodad bag! Perfect. As for the ice, I was not first person witness. It was a situation relayed to me. Indeed, this may not work in South Florida if you live more than 30 minutes from the airport.
An interesting and varied list of tips, Charles.
Thank you, Jackie.
Frozen water bottle – genius! On your note about plane window shades, we asked a mum if she would mind putting hers down as the sun was blinding us, she refused because ‘how would her son see out of the window?’ as her son played on his computer console the whole flight. Attendant did nothing about it, raging! Great tips, thanks for featuring us!
Thank you for your submission. I was fascinated by the headache story angle the flight attendant mentioned.
Great list — and super wide-ranging viewpoints. My favorites: Google local word for restaurants, and take photos in both portrait and landscape.
Thank you, Josie. Agreed. Oh, and let me know if you have any never before seen tips.
I have started using the Instagram lookup a lot lately. If a restaurant looks great online, the Instagram photos will really tell you what is really happening there. Same with locations and hotels too. Recently we went to a restaurant that said it was “dress-code enforced”. Instagram said otherwise. When we asked the place about it we were told their website was out of date.
Love it. Thank you, Shelia.
That’s a great idea Shelia. I’m going to start trying Instagram instead of just relying on Yelp photos.
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