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Traveling can be a special and fulfilling experience for you if you take advantage of it. Learning how to plan trips is not that hard, but it does require some research so that you don’t end up getting lost or losing money on something you don’t need. This list of tips should help you become a smarter traveler.

When traveling abroad, you should make sure to carry a photocopy of your passport and other important documents in a separate location from the originals. Having a copy of your passport will greatly speed up the process for getting it replaced at the local U.S. consulate or embassy. You may also want to leave a copy with a friend at home.

Make sure you keep your receipts. Saving receipts and keeping them organized while traveling is always a smart idea, especially if your trip is business related. Not only is it a good idea for financial reasons, they can also serve as a journal of sorts and can even make nice mementos from your trip.

Search for discounts for all of your travel arrangements. Taking a trip provides you unlimited areas to save money in. In everything from the flight, to the rental car, to a walking tour of the city, discounts abound. Search online taking advantage of packages and check what deals are available to you through your credit cards and memberships.

To decide if you should buy travel insurance you should take a look at what might already be covered. Many homeowner policies can already have riders that would cover theft of property even while you are traveling so buying additional would be a waste of money for that coverage.

If you plan on traveling with young children, make sure to stop often on the way there and back. Explain them in details where you are going, and how long it will take to go there. Prepare some activities to keep them busy during the trip, such as coloring books.

To bring everything you need on your trip, you need to have reliable luggage. If your luggage is old or cannot contain everything you need, you should go buy new luggage. Do not hesitate to buy expensive luggage. The quality guarantees that your belongings will be protected and good luggage should last you for years.

Don’t get carried away with taking too many photographs on your trip. Some people get so caught up in taking pictures of everything that they forget to experience the culture and landmarks. Take a few pictures, but also make sure to spend enough time outside of the lens to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

If you’re going to be going on a road trip, bring a power inverter with you. A power inverter is a handy device that you plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and then lets you plug anything into it. It’s great if you’re traveling with kids since you can plug video games or a laptop in.

Traveling by bus with children can be a trying experience, but you can make it easier by being prepared for boredom, snack attacks and other potential circumstances. Bringing along some travel games and coloring books and crayons are great ways to keep both younger and older children occupied. If you travel overnight rather than during the day, a young child is likely to sleep through most of the trip. Pack a snack bag with food and beverages for each child. Give your children the opportunity to stretch their legs by getting off the bus during brief stops.

Challenge yourself to pack only one bag. The more bags you have, the more weighed down you will be making it harder to move from one location to the next. A great way to meet this challenge is to map out your clothing needs prior to packing, and then consider ways to mix and match clothing to do double and even triple duty.

National Parks are usually open all year, but it is best to check with the park you are wanting to visit to confirm that it will be open when you are planning on going. During the summer and winter the parks are generally more popular. If you want to avoid crowds, go in spring or fall.

When packing your bags for a trip on an airplane, always remember 3-1-1. Regulations now limit the amount of liquids and gels passengers can have in their carry on luggage. When you take your bag through security, they will make sure you only have your travel-size toiletries which are less than three ounces and fit into a one quart zip top bag and only one bag per passenger.

Learn local laws and customs. When you visit a foreign country, you become subject to their laws and regulations. Women should be especially careful when traveling, as some areas may have laws concerning head coverings and clothing. Be aware of the local alcohol and drug regulations as well, and avoid reckless behavior.

If you’re a novice flyer and you find yourself about to board an airplane, bring some gum and a music player. When the plane is taking off and landing, slip your headphones on and chew some gum. The music will keep you calm and relaxed while the gum will prevent your ears from popping.

When traveling with a baby or toddler, be sure to bring a blanket from home. It is nice to have something that will smell a little bit like home for your baby. Everything will be so different and new that the smell of home will be very soothing and may help calm your loved one a little bit.

If you have a baby or toddler that sleeps in the car, plan your drive around nap time. This will keep the drive a lot quieter and will take care of quite a chunk of time that you do not have to find things to occupy your child. This, in turn, will help ease some of the restlessness that comes with a long car ride.

As you can see, there is a lot more to traveling than most people think. It requires a lot of research and planning, but it will be worth it in the end to have a great trip. By following the above tips, you are well on your way to becoming a smarter traveler.