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5 Tips to Make You a Next-Level Traveler

Luke Armstrong | Mar 24, 2021

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Maybe it seems odd, thinking of traveling as a "skill." But a skill it is. There are travel ninjas and travel novices. And I want you to be a ninja! (When given the choice, always be a ninja).

Many of the hard lessons on the road are learned through the missteps of experience. But I don't want you to have to make some of the mistakes I've made up for the last 10 years. So here are 5 tips to bring you to the next level of traveler (the level of ninja!).

1. Remember Your Charger by Making it Impossible to Forget It  

I imagine that hotel lost and founds are overflowing with chargers. Can you read this with a straight face and honestly swear to your screen that you have never left your charger in the wall of your hotel room?

Obviously, it's easy to plan to remember not to forget your charger in the wall. But how do you actually remember to check the wall socket when you are packing and rushing out of your hotel room? Easy...

When you get to your hotel, unpack your suitcase and place it next to a wall outlet. Plug in your charger and wrap the cord around the suitcase handle. You aren't likely to forget your suitcase, so odds are your will also remember to take the charger connected to it!

2. Protect your Boarding Passes Even After they are Used

It's not uncommon in airports to see boarding passes littering the terminal. Nor is it uncommon to see someone post a picture of their boarding pass to share a trip with their network. But, doing this is as ill-advised as posting a picture of your credit card on social media.

Those codes and numbers on your boarding pass carry an enormous amount of information. Someone could use this information to change your itinerary, cancel your flight, or worse, steal your identity.

Not many people know this, and airlines could do a better job of emphasizing this fact. (Maybe they should print a  print a warning on the boarding pass).

So what should you do with your boarding passes after their use? Don't just throw it away. Tear it up and throw it away.

"Shredding it is exactly what you should do with your boarding pass," concluded an ABC News article on the topic.

3. Make Sure Your US Cash is Clean and New

I had an interesting situation transpire when I was on a bus from Kenya to Uganda.

It cost about $50 to get over the border and I didn't have any local currency. The ATM was not working for me and I could not pay this fee with a credit card.

Luckily, I had my emergency $100USD tucked into my passport case. Or so I thought. The bill was from 2006 and the year was 2013.

"We do not accept bills from before 2008," I was told. There was no leeway.
I had left Kenya, but they were not going to let me into Uganda if I couldn't pay the fee. Since this was not the bus driver's problem, he was poised to leave me at the border.

Spoiler alert: After trying the ATM several more times, I was finally able to get cash and continue on my way. Phew!

But I hope this story hits something important home: For whatever reason, many countries throughout the world will not accept a US note unless it is free of any tears, serious wear, and marks. Some countries like Uganda will not take bills minted more than five years old.

The reasons why this is so is varied and beyond our scope here. The important take away is that if you are bringing US money into other countries, make sure that you bring fresh, clean bills or they might not be accepted by banks, borders, and venders. (Legal tender for all debts doesn't apply across US borders).

4. Always Stash Some Emergency Cash

Following this tip has saved many a traveler. Simply put, it's not enough to rely on credit cards being accepted and ATMs working. Cash is still king—and as detailed in the previous point, clean, new cash is the only kind that you can be sure will be accepted.

5. Have a Backup Card Stashed Somewhere Safe

Losing or having a wallet stolen is an ordeal no matter where it happens. On the road, it can be debilitating—your whole trip can come to a standstill as you repeatedly ask, "What am I going to do?"

Avoid this by not putting all of your access to capital in one place. I tend to stash an emergency debit/ATM card in the lining of my suitcase with a $50 bill or two. 

About the Author

luke armstrong

Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.

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