10 best travel tips of all time

These top tips from YLC’s savviest traveller cover what to pack, how to dry your clothes and how to take a good photo on a cruise.

One: Take a compass
If you are going to a town with an underground railway, take a compass. Often the underground will have many different exits and, in cities such as new york set out on a grid system, it can be hard to get your bearings when you return to street level. If there are two underground exits at the same intersection it can be almost impossible to work out which way you are facing. Save yourself time and energy by taking a small compass with you. You can even take a keyring compass – it doesn’t have to be perfectly accurate, just good enough to give you a general idea.

Two: Learn to dry your clothes
If you’ve done some washing in the sink of your hotel room, getting your clothes dry by the following morning can be difficult without the know-how. To dry your clothes:

    • get a towel from the bathroom
    • lay it out flat on the floor
    • lay your wet clothes out flat at one end of the towel
    • roll the towel up, starting at the end with your clothes
    • walk all over the rolled up towel
    • unroll the towel
    • move the clothes to the other end of the towel and repeat

This technique will remove most of the water from your clothes, allowing them to dry in record time.

Three: Take the right camera on a cruise
Newbie cruisers may not realise that, when sailing past historical sites or attractions, the cruise ship doesn’t get very close. You can be miles away from that landmark at which you were hoping to get a good look. Taking a camera with a good zoom serves two functions: firstly, it allows you to get a good shot for your photo album, even if you’re a long way away, and secondly it can double as a pair of binoculars, as you can look at the screen and zoom in to get a closer look.

Four: Pack velvet soap
Packing a bar of velvet soap, or any other pure soap bar, can save a lot of space in your amenities kit. Velvet soap can be used to clean your body, wash your hair and even your clothes. One small bar can last quite a while, which means you can leave large bottles of body wash, shampoo and clothes wash behind.

Five: Swap your towel
A towel can be one of the least space-efficient items in your luggage. Towels take up a huge amount of room, so why not substitute your regular towel for a compact quick-drying towel? You’ll have more space in your bag, you won’t have to put it away wet and many hotel rooms offer fresh towels anyway, meaning you’ll only need it as a backup.

Six: Choose a world adaptor
No matter where you are travelling, when you next purchase an electrical plug adaptor choose a world adaptor instead of a country-specific one. If you are travelling through multiple countries you will save space by carrying just the one adaptor, and it can be a lifesaver if you end up somewhere unexpected.

Seven: Take a spare bag
When travelling, most people come home with more than they packed. It’s always a good idea to take an extra flat-pack bag in the bottom of your suitcase, so you can carry unexpected purchases without worrying about running out of space.

Eight: Take a hard container
Following on from souvenir transportation, it’s a good idea to pack a hard tupperware container in your luggage. If you do pick up a delicate souvenir or gift, transporting it can be stressful. Packing breakables in a hard container, padded with your socks, is one of the safest ways to transport them. You can fill the container with your socks and underwear to save space before you purchase that Ming vase which you’ve been coveting.

Nine: Avoid airport delays
To give yourself the best chance of avoiding delayed flights, catch the first flight of the day. At the start of the day the aeroplanes are waiting for you to board. As the day goes on flights often get later and later. Avoid the hassle by simply catching an early flight.

Ten: Email your documentation
In the unfortunate event that you lose an important document, having a copy on hand can be the difference between getting stuck in a country for days or moving quickly through the bureaucracy. Take a photo of your passport, including the information page and all your visas, as well as any tickets and medical checks, and email the photos to yourself. You will then be able to access the photos from any computer in the world, as long as you have internet access. It’s also a good idea to print copies of the photos and leave them tucked into the lining of your bag, especially if you are travelling in a remote area.