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The OFFICIAL ABC's Of Travel

Getting ready for a family vacation or a solo trip? Are you a person who enjoys exploring the world in unique ways? Do you like tips and tricks for saving money to make your adventure go a little further?? Are you looking for your next big adventure idea?

If you happened to answer any of these questions with a YES, well this is the list for you!!

26 suggestions, ideas, secrets and more with the ABC’s of Travel!!!

A - America The Beautiful Pass - This unique pass allows you access for a calendar year to almost ALL federally recognized parks and locations. While there are a few exceptions, this pass covers entry for up to 4 adults in any given car and has two signature lines so that you can share the pass with a family member who might also be traveling. Cost is $80, which you will quickly see pay for itself if you visit 2 or more National Parks in a single year. Passes are available at a discounted rate for seniors.

B - Budget - Knowing how much you will have to plan your adventure will dictate a variety of things. From accommodations and activities to distance of travel and length of time, budget can make all the difference in your overall enjoyment. With this being said, you don’t have to spend a lot to have a great time. If you are lower on funds, look for free things to do in the area you are interested in visiting. I have found that across the country there are hundreds of free activities available to those who seek them out and thousands which cost $10 or less.

C - Charging Your Devices - When you are traveling you will likely want to be able to take photos or video of your adventures. But over several days this of course can wear on your battery, additionally if you are using your cell phone you will be draining your battery with every map, search or visit to a social site. Make sure you have a portable charger for your devices which can be carried in your pocket or bag in addition to a method for charging in your car or in your hotel. Keep charged and keep your good times flowing!!

D - Documents - If you are traveling on a plane, out of the country or even in your own car you will want to keep your documents safe and accessible. I suggest a cell phone with a pocket for plane tickets that are easy to reach for without having to dig through your bag, a zipper pocket with your passport which is easy to access on your personal item you carry on your person and a small folder for your car to keep your insurance and information easy to reach from the drivers seat.

E - Electronic Check In - If you are going to be flying save yourself some time in line by checking in electronically from your laptop or device within the 24 hours preceding your flight. By doing this you will be issued a digital boarding pass which can be stored and accessed from your cell phone thus sparing you the long line for check in which can waste valuable time at the airport.

F - Freedom - Always allow yourself a few freedoms on your adventures. We are often tempted to fill in every moment of the day with activity but without freedom and flexibility we do not allow for the potential things we might find along the way and might find ourselves sacrificing something quiet exceptional for a predetermined or prepaid activity which might be a lesser activity.

G - Gear - No matter your adventure you will have a necessary amount of gear you will require. No two adventures are the same so make sure you adequately consider your needs before departure. For outdoor adventures pack for various weather scenarios and activities making sure you are equipped for dry weather as well as the possibility of rain or even snow, depending on your location. For indoor adventures you will want to make sure you are packing gear designed for your activities as well this could include your bag you carry or comfortable walking shoes if you are in a city.

H - Hotel - Booking a hotel can be one of the most frustrating points of travel so it is important to focus on your options in advance of your trip for the best deals. If you are booking online make sure you clear your cache and history before doing so to get the best possible pricing and look to book on Friday or Saturday in excess of 2 to 4 weeks in advance.

I - Insurance - If you are traveling domestically you might not be very worried about this aspect of travel as you are likely already covered in your own vehicle or rental in many instances. However though this is widely thought to be a practice used for international travel, using Travel Insurance is not mutually exclusive. This insurance can cover medical expenses, trip cancellations, luggage being lost and a variety of other expenses you might encounter traveling and should be considered.

J - Jet Lag - If you have never flown from time zone to time zone you probably have never experienced this feeling. Your body is set to the time you are accustomed to and moving into a different time zone can take some getting used to. If you are flying abroad especially you will want to allow yourself as much time as possible to acclimate before challenging yourself with a full itinerary.

K - Kid-Friendly - If you are traveling with family you will want to check into kid-friendly activities in the area you are visiting. Some areas have special programs and talks specifically designed for children while other areas might be more geared toward adults. In addition to activities, you can many times find special days with discounted rates for children.

L - Luggage - When packing your luggage can make or break your experience. Not all luggage is created equally and some might just cost you more when you are traveling that you are willing to pay. Consider what kind of travel you will be doing first and foremost. If you are flying remember size and weight criteria before selecting your luggage also consider will you be renting a car and if so will you be solo or with friends. Luggage which is to large for a compact car for example can make for a difficult time loading when you are not traveling solo and create quite the predicament.

M - Maps - If you are traveling by car you might find yourself relying on a navigation system or your cell phone. However these are both electronic and can fail so you will always want to download offline maps or purchase paper maps to bring with you along your journey. This will allow you to navigate should a path or roadway be closed, find locations with a bit more ease and help you locate potential roadways which have fuel stops when in need.

N - National Park - A trip to any National Park in the US comes with its own unique views and rules. Making sure you are aware of the area you are visiting is very important. Try checking into the visitors centers when you visit to become more aware of hiking rules, areas of interest, potential animal warnings and if there are any closures in the park itself.

O - Oil - Before you travel you should always make sure you have done your proper car maintenance. This includes making sure you have checked and documented your oil in your vehicle. Documenting this you will be able to more quickly know when it next will need to be serviced, something which can come in handy on a road trip over a great distance.

P - Passport - If you are planning a journey abroad you will need to make sure you have secured your passport well in advance of your travels. While on average the proper documents can be filed and returned within 30 to 60 days, there are some instances when this process does take a bit longer. Make sure you have filed and received your documents if possible before booking any finalized plans. Passport application fee is $110 with an execution fee of $35.

Q - Quarters - Always keep a few loose quarters with you when you travel. Quarters are often used for tolls, campground showers and parking meters. If you are planning an adventure of any kind you will find that quarters are your friends.

R - Reservations - If you are planning to go to a popular destination booking a reservation is going to be one of the more important aspects of your travel. While many will book within a month of their stay, they are missing out on big possible discounts which can be available. It is recommended to book at least 40 days out from from your stay and if possible further in advance to receive the best deals. There are a few exceptions in such cities as Las Vegas where they have lottery availability rooms down to the wire which have great rates, but better safer than sorry when it comes to reservations.

S - Safety - Travel can be a rewarding experience but many times we forget the importance of safety amidst our plans. If traveling solo or with a group you will want to always be mindful of your surroundings. When you are able carry pepper spray with you, keep your ears free of earbuds or headphones and instead of looking down at your phone constantly, make sure you are looking around your area at all times. If you are traveling with friends and separate have check in times where you all rendezvous, if you are solo have a person you text and check in with daily.

T - Tent - Planning to camp on your travels?? If you are there are a variety of factors which can weigh into your proper tent selection that you might want to think about before purchasing. Will you be traveling alone or with others, if others how many? Will you be staying in an area which is very warm or cool? What time of year are you traveling? Are you needing something with additional features which might surpass a basic stay? All of these criteria considered you will be able to narrow down the materials you are looking for, the portability, the room you need and if you will be needing privacy from others for basic functions such as toilets or showers within your tent. While most simply purchase a tent, you will also notice not all tents are created equally when it comes to wind, rain or snow.

U - Upgrades - Are you a member of a rewards program? Do you have a card issued by an airline or hotel?? If you do you might want to consider looking into the fine print before you travel. Sometimes it is here that you can find hidden upgrades for your purchases depending on your date of travel or your overall frequency of use. If you aren’t sure if you have any upgrades available you can always contact your hotel or airline to inquire.

V - Vehicle of Choice - Depending on your travel you might be considering a car for better mileage, a van or RV for accommodation or a 4 wheel drive for off road driving. Knowing your plans, your area and what might work best will help you determine the right vehicle for your adventure. If you are not as familiar with an area, look into the activities you are interested in and where they are individually located to best find your perfect match for driving there.

W - Weather - No travel would be complete without having to plan for the potential weather change. If you are road tripping always expect the unexpected as you drive, if you are flying be prepared for possible delays and if you are doing any type of activity depending on your location you will want to come prepared. In the PNW for example there seems to always be a drizzle which looms over the area. Bringing a raincoat can prove to be superior to an umbrella. In other instances knowing what style of coat will work better can come in handy when knowing weather and your expectations for adventure.

X - X-Ray - When passing through a TSA stop at the airport you will be asked to remove your shoes, take off any metallic jewelry and coats and step through an X-Ray of sorts. For being the most efficient and avoiding being pulled out for a special examine, make sure you listen to the agent advising you of the placement of your items. Additionally, try to wear items which can be quickly removed so as to not slow the line.

Y - YELP - Finding a great place to eat when in a community you have never been can be a little difficult and if you are like me simply asking someone never really yields much suggestion. The app YELP can be your best friend when in a new location as you can not only find addresses to locations to eat, enjoy activities and visit but also because you will be able to find photos and first hand accounts by others which have visited these locations. Sometimes seeing a simple photo can help you gauge if you are interested in trying a location.

Z - Ziplock - A travel hack for moving more quickly through the line at TSA is to have your liquids already in sandwich sized Ziplock bags and placed at the top of your carry on or in a pocked which can be easily accessed and unloaded at the check in. Typically you will be asked to remove all liquids and place them in a container which can then be scanned, being able to pull these out easily can make the line flow more quickly and thus you will not be a burden to yourself or others.


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