If you’re looking to get away from it all with a trip away from home, don’t forget to travel smart. A mishap, mistake or forgotten item can ruin a vacation as surely as bad weather or an unpleasant travel companion. While there are some things you just can’t control, maximize your chances of having a good trip with the following travel tips.

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If you are traveling in another country and your passport is lost or stolen, head to the nearest Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible. Many times these agencies can issue a replacement in as little as 24 hours, letting you get back to enjoying your vacation quickly and easily.

If the hotel chain you will be staying at offers a loyalty program, join up. Even if you’re only planning on staying one or two nights, there are many perks to these programs. On the top of the list, is the fact that loyalty members are less likely to get bumped, if the hotel overbooks.

When traveling with a dog, brush your dog before putting them into the car, particularly if the car is a rental. This will significantly cut down on the amount of fur that flies around in the car during the drive. It will also reduce the amount of time you have to spend removing the hair from the car.

A great travel tip is to shop around online for the best hotel deal. There are plenty of sites such as Priceline.com, where you can find and book the best hotel deal. Sites like these are great because they include all of the information in one place instead of you having to go looking for it all.

If you absolutely cannot leave “Fluffy” at home, find a vacation that will let you bring her! Pet-friendly vacations are becoming popular, with many accommodations offering special deals for “pet parents.” Some of these include doggy day-cares, cat spas, and even pet-friendly cruises. Don’t be afraid to bring your furry pals with you- just make sure they are allowed before you do.

Try packing with reusable compression bags to save space when packing. If you travel often, reusable compression bags might be a smart investment. You can find them in most retailers that have a housewares section. They are usually sold for storage use, but work very well in relation to packing luggage.

If you’re going on a trip to visit family, one way to make sure everyone will have a place to sleep is to bring along a number of inflatable vinyl air mattresses as well as an electric pump. These mattresses have improved greatly in quality over the years and the price is quite reasonable. Pumps can be hooked up to your car’s cigarette lighter or into an AC outlet. It is well worth the minimal cost to be sure that everyone has a bed to sleep in when you arrive.

Always keep bottled water with you when you travel. In some countries tap water is not suitable for human consumption and may contain bacteria that could make you very ill. Filters alone don’t always remove these harmful microorganisms, so either buy commercial bottle water from a reliable source or boil all water before you drink it.

Keep a photo journal of a beloved stuffed animal When traveling with kids, make great memories and an awesome souvenir by taking pictures of your child and the stuffed animal doing fun things throughout the trip. At home, you can collect all the pictures and make them into a photo adventure book to remember your trip.

The price of food in airports and on airplanes is notoriously expensive, unhealthy and of poor quality. If you have the time to spare, bring some food to eat at the airport or in the airplane, when you travel. Most drinks aren’t allowed through security, but most food is.

When you go on a trip, make sure to keep a detailed travel journal. Write down where you went, what you did, and how you felt about it. This will allow you to reference back to your previous experiences if you plan a new trip to the same destination. This way you can plan a trip including the best parts of your previous trips while also adding new experiences.

When traveling internationally with disabilities it is best to check which countries best accommodate disabled citizens. Many countries are well equipped to offer travelers with wheel chair ramps, scooter ramps and have hotels that are equipped to deal with disabilities. Unfortunately, every country is not so well equipped to support travelers with disabilities.

Now that you’ve read the above travel tips, you’re more prepared to meet your travel destiny with the fearlessness of thorough preparation. Keeping these few simple things in mind whenever you leave home on a trip will give you more peace of mind and make sure you bring home more stories about great experiences rather than about stressful learning experiences.

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