The best-ever travel tips from travel editors, experts, influencers, and writers across the globe

32 tried and tested travel tips from people who travel for a living

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Travel is tonic for the soul and nothing cleanses the mind, resets the body, and puts everything into perspective like a good adventure. 

As one of our favourite topics of conversation, we got curious about what people who travel for a living recommend when heading off to new and distant lands. So we’ve rounded up the best life-changing travel hacks and tips from some of our favourite industry insiders - from solo travel advocates to leading travel editors - from across the globe.

Whether you’re staying put with a UK staycation, checking out mood-boosting healthy holiday destinations, or heading off to find Europe’s prettiest hidden gems these tips will help ensure the smoothest of sailing.

The best-ever travel tips from experts who travel all the time

Pack your running shoes

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Nick Savage, Editor of independent travel magazine Escapism says don’t forget your best running shoes. “It may entail checking luggage, and that luggage may have a questionable funk by the end of your journey, but you’ll have the opportunity to cover more ground, see a destination at its most unguarded, and turbocharge your endorphins while you’re out there. Some of my most fundamental travel memories are moments spent running.”

Nike Free Women's Road Running Shoes, £50 | Amazon

Nike Free Women's Road Running Shoes, £50 | Amazon

Hit the road, wherever in the world you may be and see your destination in a whole new light. 

Don't forget to switch off your phone from time to time

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Award-winning photographer and writer Simon Urwin who contributes to the likes of Lonely Planet, The Telegraph, and BBC Travel says, “Airalo is a great e-sim for using your mobile phone abroad, but also head out with your phone switched off. Go wandering, and ask for directions and personal recommendations, rather than just being a slave to online reviews. Follow your instincts rather than Google Maps’ blue dot.”

Ditch check-in luggage

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Karen Edwards, Sustainability Editor at Wanderlust recommends switching to hand luggage. “Travelling light is also lighter on the mind, you don’t have to deal with check-in queues, or worry about missing baggage and some flights are cheaper with cabin-only bags. I’ve been doing this since Covid hit and it completely eases any pre-flight anxiety and means you can get to the airport a little later too. A bonus is that less luggage also means your carbon footprint is reduced for the flight.”

Try Brown Noise

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Award-winning journalist and the host of Adventure Cities on Discovery, Jonathan Thompson advises, “Forget White Noise. To sleep on a plane, listen to brown noise. And always pack a couple of dryer sheets (I swear by Bounce) in with your luggage, to keep your clothes smelling fresh.”

Drink water and walk slowly

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Tony Cohen, Author of On Mexican Time and the Substack, Writing Unchained, says, “A convict advised a man who was about to enter prison on how to endure his sentence: ‘Walk slowly and drink a lot of water’. Good advice for a traveller as well, if you think about it.”

Invest in a portable coffee maker

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National Geographic Photographer, John Stanmeyer, says, “Most places I go there is no access to coffee or at least, amazing coffee. I always travel with a power-over called by the funny name, Travel Gator Coffeemaker. Having tried uncountable versions of small, brilliant coffee makers, this is the best. It is reasonably sized, thermal lined with a well sealed lid that’s able to keep your coffee warm for hours. It has a stainless steel fine-hole pour-filter, and small enough to fit in a backpack side pocket."

Make copies of important documents

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Sandy Cadiz-Smith, founder of Eating Covent Garden and a freelance travel writer says, “Take photocopies of your passport to pack in your hand luggage and your suitcase. It is worth taking one of the copies with you during outings to act as your ID while abroad and keep your actual passport locked away in your safe along with other precious belongings. As well as photocopies of your passport, it is also worth scanning other travel documents and emailing them to yourself as this will make it easier to retrieve and replace them if they are lost or anything is stolen. Or just take a picture of any important documentation with your phone so you have an extra record that’s easy to access at any time."

Bring a bank card that works abroad

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It might sound obvious but check your bank card works in your destination country. Lisa Bowman, Sri Lanka travel expert and writer says, “The Sri Lankan Rupee is a closed currency so you won’t be able to get notes before you arrive, however, fear not, there are several ATMs at the airport. Always bring a bank card that works abroad and try all the ATMs until you find one that doesn’t charge your bank."

Download Google Lens

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Peter Grunert, Editor of Road Rat and ex-editor of Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine, says, “I've just been editing the new edition of The Road Rat magazine, which included much coverage of road trips in Japan. Google Lens was a godsend for navigation, completely transforming how easy a nation like this with a different alphabet to ours is to travel around. Just use the Google app on your phone, point your camera at a road sign, timetable, menu, etc, and it will instantly translate on your screen.”

Always carry a scarf

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Freelance Sustainable Tourism Writer, Rachel Mills advises to, “Always carry a scarf, even in hot countries because AC on public transport is usually ramped right up.” Light materials can also work as cover-ups, too.

Always delve into the local food scene

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Pat Riddell, Editor of National Geographic Traveller reveals, “We spent a week on the Isle of Skye a couple of years ago, and while the scenery itself is spectacular - and we absolutely lucked out on the weather - we hadn't quite anticipated the incredible food scene. The Three Chimneys, Scorrybreac, and the Michelin-starred Loch Bay are all stand-out restaurants, and near to where we stayed, Edinbane Lodge has gained plaudits for its tasting menu. However, it was the Edinbane Inn that we visited twice for its superb dishes at pub prices - squid in a spiced tempura batter, slow roasted featherblade of Scottish beef, Hebridean mussels steamed with white wine...

Use packing cubes

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Anna Rahmanan, travel writer and Senior News Editor at Time Out New York says, “Use packing cubes and set up full-day outfits in each one. It’ll make unpacking easier and getting dressed in the morning super quick!”

Try TripIt

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Instead of referring to endless documents, phone notes, apps and emails, bring your itinerary together in one central place. Travel Photographer, Kiran M Raszka says, “Ditch the travel scramble! Use TripIt to organise all your confirmation emails into one neat itinerary.”

Pack Light

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Solo Travel Influencer, Gabby founder of Packs Light advises, “Pack light, of course! You never need as much as you end up taking. Practicing discernment, planning, and building a capsule wardrobe is more sustainable for the environment, your trip (avoid those extra baggage fees and lost luggage!), and your mind. I guarantee that even the most chronic over-packer will love the high of a successful carry-on-only trip. It’s freeing!"

Take practical walking shoes

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Jenny Hollander, Digital Director at Marie Claire says, “Three words: Practical. Walking. Shoes. Nothing too heavy, like sneakers, and nothing with a heel, unless you want to wear yourself out within hours. I personally love Rothy's shoes for travel - they're pretty and hold up after hours of walking. Unless you're on a hike… but my holidays never involve hikes."

Book the Metropole Hotel when in Hanoi

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Lysanne Currie, travel writer and CEO of Meet the Leader says, “If you get the chance, visit the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi (if you are staying book into the old wing). A colonial beauty built in 1901 by French investors, it’s been the center for dignitaries, journalists, and celebrities for decades, and during the war, guests crammed down into its bunker, which was only discovered during renovations in 2011. Daily tours are exclusively for guests and it’s an extraordinary experience - Joan Baez’s Where Are You Now My Son, was recorded here and they play it as you descend into the concrete cell.”

Don’t forget train travel

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Rachel Bower, Event and Project Lead at VisitEngland and VisitBritain says, “Always look into train travel, you get to see far more of the country, see more destinations, get beautiful views and it’s a more sustainable way to travel. Quite often if you book tickets a few months in advance you can get affordable tickets too.”

Enjoy the moment

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Luigi Fiano, editorial travel photographer for Monocle, Financial Times, Konfekt, and Marie Claire says, “When you finally reach the place you have dreamed about all your life, before pointing your camera to take a picture remember to just look through your eyes and enjoy the moment.”

Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on

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Suranga Liyanage, cultural guide and Sri Lanka expert says, “Always pack a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and toothpaste in your carry-on bag then if your checked luggage goes AWOL for a few days you’ll have an immediate backup.”

Don’t forget micellar water

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Travel Influencer and expert, Francesca, founder of One Girl One World advises, “Pack micellar water for skincare! Wipes are even better if you're travelling but micellar water is the ultimate hack for those long days when you come back to the hotel and don't have the energy for a full skincare regimen because it acts as a two-in-one cleanser and moisturiser in a pinch!"

Use hostels

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Rob Wringham, Editor & Founder of New Escapologist says, “Don't be too shy or squeamish to use hostels: they can save you a lot of money and are fun if you're open to it. There are plenty of older guests in hostels these days, staff are fonts of local knowledge, and people are respectful of each other's space. Bunks in modern hostels have USB charging sockets and, quite often, privacy curtains, which is a bit of a game-changer.”

Make the most of travel before your child gets to two

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Zoe Shenton , Site Director at Cosmopolitan UK reveals, “The sweet spot for travelling with babies is six/seven months. They’re big enough to safely sit up in a pram after graduating from the bassinet and can join you at the table in a high chair when dining out, but they aren’t yet walking and ready to run a total toddler riot. That means (relatively) stress-free flights in the bulkhead seats, being able to enjoy more than one cursory course, and substantial savings on an extra seat with a child under two who still fits snugly in your lap.”

Try reusable earplugs

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Mariana Cerqueira, Editor at Time Out Abu Dhabi says, “I’m a great sleeper (don’t hate me) but when I’m somewhere new, I can be very sensitive to noises and struggle to fall asleep. That’s why I never travel without my earplugs. I invested in a good reusable pair (mine are from Loop) that reduces the noise around me by 14 decibels, which is enough to help me zone out and fall asleep anywhere I go (they work wonders on planes/trains/buses too). After a good night’s sleep, I’m always ready to go out and explore the next day!”

Pack a power strip

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Donna Meyer, travel blogger and founder of Nomad Women says, “Always pack a small power strip, with both plug outlets and a couple of USB outlets. If you're travelling internationally, also include an international plug adaptor for the country (or countries) you are visiting. It's my experience that hotels seldom have enough outlets (and rarely in the right places) for everything we need to charge these days. When I'm travelling for my blog, I often need to charge my laptop, my phone, at least one portable power bank, my camera batteries, and sometimes a Kindle. So having a power strip means I can get everything charged at once.”

Invest in a travel diffuser

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Ali Horsfall, freelance travel writer and health expert says, “Invest in a mini essential oil diffuser, then when you get to your hotel, apartment or homestay you can scent the unfamiliar space with lavender, ylang-ylang or sandalwood to help you relax and recharge after a long journey.”

Travelling with kids? Make a checklist

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Helena Cartwright, Travel Editor at woman&home says, “Travel changed for me big time two years ago when I welcomed my little girl but, if you're prepared, it's still completely doable. She has been on every single one of my trips and two things have worked wonders. Two checklists - one for summer and one for winter - on my notes app. I can pack our suitcases like clockwork ticking one thing off at a time. The second is booking flights to correspond with either her nap or bedtime. Nine times out of ten, she knocks out on take-off and everyone has an easier journey."

In Madrid? Then trying the best tortillas in the city is a must

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Lucia Madurga, Food Editor at National Geographic Travel Spain says, “When in Madrid, don’t miss the tortilla at Casa Dani. Crisp on the outside, super runny in the middle, and served with a huge piece of bread that is perfect for mopping up every last bit of deliciousness, this place serves the best tortilla in the city.”

Plan your outfits

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Grace Hitchen Hilsley, Co-Founder of RG2 Communications advises, “Plan your outfits, and try your outfits on whilst packing. Take versatile pieces that can be styled in different ways like a pair of jeans, denim shorts, and a lightweight jacket, to maximise your holiday looks. It’s worth decanting your cosmetics since liquid limitations are always challenging especially when travelling with hand luggage. I decant my face cleanser and hair products into 100ml silicone bottles that I buy off Amazon. And if you’re heading to Capri don’t miss Pazziella - this family-owned property began life as a private villa, which has now been reimagined as a five-star, boutique hotel with 25 rooms and a beautiful garden.”

Talk to locals

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Emma Dooney, Luxury Travel Reporter at TTG Media says, “Chat with the people you meet when you’re in their country, from taxi drivers to waiters, humans beat Google whenever it comes to finding hidden gems.”

Check your passport expiry date

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Chris Morely, Acting Travel Editor at woman&home says, “Double-check your passport expiry date. Some countries, like Thailand, will refuse entry if your passport runs out within six months of your stay.”

Go with the flow

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Freelance Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Editor, Emily Baxter Priest recommends, “Always going with the flow. Sometimes over-planning a trip can detract from the beauty of spontaneity. If you’ve got a water-tight itinerary, you don’t leave yourself open to serendipity. And those chance meetings, unexpected experiences, and spur-of-the-moment meanders down tucked-away streets are often what makes a holiday so unforgettable.”

Check out guest favourites on Airbnb

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Always check out the ratings of your hotel or Airbnb before you book - especially if you don't know the place particularly well. Amanda Cupples, Airbnb’s General Manager for Northern Europe says, “We introduced our Guest Favourites feature last year - a curated collection of the most-loved homes on Airbnb based on ratings, reviews, and reliability - to help guests find the crème de la crème. Opt for one of our Guest Favourite gems on the platform for an extraordinary travel experience."

Lydia Swinscoe
Travel writer & editor

Lydia is a travel writer and solo travel expert, based mostly in London. Her work has been published in print and online for the likes of Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, BBC Travel, Harper's Bazaar, ELLE, Marie Claire, Oh magazine, Town&Country, and woman&home.