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25 Top Travel Tips You Need to Know

You don't have to spend a fortune to travel the world. Our contributing writer shares four websites that will help you, no matter your budget.
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As I made my way from Asia to Australia to the Middle East and then to Europe a little while back, I always had a small notebook in my bag to jot down everything. Here are 25 of my top travel tips:

1.  Carry a small notebook and pen when you’re traveling

(Or actually…just always have one with you no matter where you are).  It only takes up a little space and it’s great for jotting down notes, directions, peoples names and phone numbers. And if you’re in a restaurant taking notes, waiters may mistake you for a food critic and give you better service.

2. Check in online

Once, when I was running ridiculously late for a flight, the only thing that saved me was the fact that I checked in online ahead of time.  The gate attendant had told me that I arrived too late and would not be allowed on the flight.  I begged and she only relented when she saw that I had already checked in online.

3. Avoid the bulkhead row on international flights

This is often where families with babies and toddlers are placed. Wailing babies and Cheerio-encrusted floors are not a recipe for a relaxing flight.

4. Check if the country you are visiting is “toilet paper in the toilet” or “toilet paper in the trash can”

 Unless you want to get to know the local plumber, it’s important to know.

5. Always ask for that upgrade (hotel, airline, rental car)

You just never know…

6. Ask for your hotel room to be away from the elevator

In older hotels, the elevator shaft can be noisy and even in newer hotels, the constant traffic from guests can be disturbing.

7. Avoid leaks from shampoo bottles

Remove the bottle’s top, place a small bit of toilet paper or tissue inside the top then place the top back on the bottle. This way even if the cap opens, the tissue will reduce the amount of product that leaks out.  Note: Be careful not to use too much paper, otherwise the top will not fit back on tightly and leaks will occur.

8. Visit local food and antique markets

They are always great for soaking up local culture, customs and foods.

9. Assuming it’s safe, take a ride on a local bus

See parts of the city you don’t see on a metro, amongst people you won’t meet in the back of a taxi.

10. Always carry a packet of tissues  

They are cheap and the pennies you spend on them will be more than returned by the thousands of ways you can use them.

11. Take pictures of museum plaques

Great way to remember interesting facts about the artists/artwork later or the names of pieces that you like.

12.  Don’t badmouth McDonalds or Starbucks

In a pinch, their bathrooms and wifi are priceless.

To read the rest of the tips, visit travelnoire.com.