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Tips for Traveling like a Pro

For all its beauty and benefits, travel can sometimes take a wrong turn. To help you avoid a trip you remember for the wrong reasons, we’ve assembled a list of tips to keep you smiling while you’re on the road. And who better to offer their secrets than Canada’s travel writers and editors?

5 Tips for Traveling like a Pro


#1) Pay for Premium

Lola Augustine Brown, travel writer and former editor of, says you get what you pay for when it comes to hotel stays. Sometimes it’s best to add a few dollars to the budget for accommodations.

“If you’re traveling with your kids, consider booking a room on the hotel’s premium floor which gives you access to complimentary food and drinks pretty much 24 hours a day, and various other perks such as a personal concierge to sort out all your travel plans,” she said. “It is a little more expensive, but can make your stay go a lot smoother, and make everyone feel like VIPs.”

#2) Kiss the Cook

Adrian Brijbassi, with the Canadian Tourism Commission and former managing editor of, says booking a hotel with a kitchen space—no matter how small—can save the hassle and cost of searching for a breakfast spot in an unfamiliar town.

A kitchenette can help make breakfasts and snacks an economical part of your travel budget.

A kitchenette can help make breakfasts and snacks an economical part of your travel budget.

“More and more hotels are providing their own kitchens, a feature that many timeshare owners have long enjoyed. The benefit of having a kitchen—or at least a microwave and fridge—is that it gives you the option to further control your food costs. A trip to the grocery store soon after check-in will give you a stockpile of choices for late-night snacks or an all-out gourmet feast if you choose,” he said.

#3) Rehydration and Restrooms

Zebunnisa Mirza, travel editor of, offers some practical advice for that overseas trip.

When traveling in Europe, carry a water bottle.

When traveling in Europe, carry a water bottle.

“If you’re travelling through European hot spots, ALWAYS carry a water bottle in your purse. Nearly every restaurant will refuse to give you tap water and will charge you for bottled water,” she said. Mirza also has a tip for when nature calls.

“You’ll likely find yourself paying to pee at public bathrooms. If you’re dressed neatly and you ask very nicely, most hotels will allow you to sneak in to the lobby level bathroom for a quick pee break.”

#4) Strut Like a Local

Evelyn Hannon, editor of, heads to a grocery store when she arrives in a new city.

In a Cuban small town, I purchased this bag from a nice lady in her front porch. Everyone in this town carried them.

In a Cuban small town, I purchased this bag from a nice lady in her front porch.Everyone in this town carried them.

“I make a small purchase just so that I get a shopping bag with the store’s logo on it. To avoid looking like a tourist and to fit in, I leave my backpack at the hotel and carry my camera and maps in this grocery bag. Thieves are far less prone to steal my shopping bag than to grab my backpack,” she said.

#5) Doctor on Call

Antiseptic came in handy after a wee bite from an iguana in Bahamas.

Antiseptic came in handy after a wee bite from an iguana in Bahamas.

And finally, from yours truly, here’s a tip to avoid a trip to the clinic. You may need to extract a sliver (I used the tweezers on my multi-tool to do this for someone on this list), curtail the effects of an unexpected allergy attack (carry Benadryl) or tend to blisters on your trip. Invest in a small waterproof bag (Coghlan’s makes a variety of sizes) and stock it with antibacterial cream, tweezers, blister patches and tablets for what ails you. Never unpack it, keep it with your travel gear and toss it into your daypack for the adventure ahead.

What are your tried and true travel tips?


shel smallShel writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she’s not playing outside, on the road or eating. Her recent adventures have included a trip to the tundra to serve as cook at a caribou hunting camp and making a long overdue journey to Ukraine with her dad Merv. She’s the founder of a group called the Manitoba Food Bloggers as well as an avid angler and hunter. She lives in Winnipeg with her husband Ivan and their son Clark.


  1. tip #4 is genius!! definitely gona try that next time i’m on vacay

  2. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us. I always had extras (a diaper, band aids, tweezers, hair grip, lip balm, paper hankies etc) in my purse with me on trips. Sometimes it meant I didn’t need a diaper bag if we weren’t going to be gone from the hotel for long.

  3. Great tips! I booked the concierge level the last time I travelled and would definitely do it again!

  4. I love your tip about keeping your camera and maps in a grocery tote! So smart!

  5. Great tips! I am SO with you on getting a hotel room with a kitchenette or at least a fridge in it.. It really does cut down on costs. A good tip along those lines – pack a few items in some small tupperware containers. You can use those containers to store things like cut up fruit in the fridge!

  6. These are great tips!
    We love having a fridge in our room when we travel but a kitchenette would cut down even more on costs!

  7. Florence C says:

    Love tip # 4. Smart idea. Tip #5 I always do I call it my just in case kit.

  8. Nena Sinclair says:

    These are great tips! The first thing I do when I check into a hotel is to put my bags into the bathtub while I check for bedbugs! Pull back the mattress pad and check the seems of the mattress, look for any reddish smear marks from blood and any little black or reddish specks, especially along the seems and behind the headboard. Even check the pictures, especially by the bed. Also check over the couch and upholstered pieces of furniture!

  9. I agree with the comment that you get what you pay for when it comes to hotel stays.

  10. Kristy. V says:

    Thanks for the great travel tips! Every budget hotel I have ever stayed at has left much to desire in cleanliness as well.

  11. How awesome is the tip about visiting the grocery store…that will surely NOT make me feel like a tourist. And all the groceries I buy, I could use to cook with in my hotel kitchenette. Super tips as always.

  12. Connie Mullin Szymanski says:

    Grreat tips!

  13. Cheryl Grandy says:

    Great tips – especially getting a hotel room with at least a fridge and microwave so you can prepare your own breakfast, snack or casual meal.

  14. Totally agree about booking a room with a kitchen! Especially great when you have little kids who want something to eat as soon as they are up.

  15. Melissa McNamee says:

    Tip # 4 is fantastic. I’m going to try that out next time I travel!

  16. Wanda Bergman says:

    Some great tips here, especially the grocery bag idea. I never thought of that!

  17. JENNIFER HART says:

    I have a few small trips coming up and a few of these tips just became part of my trip especially # 1 , I never knew this exsisted so thanks!

  18. hope i get to use some of these tips soon!

  19. Shannon Gnocato says:

    I like the travel like a local tip but it’s hard sometimes. Last time we were in Hawaii we were in the Wal Mart there when a local came over and said….”you tourists are so cute with your little tans…..” We were uncovered! LOL

  20. kathy downey says:

    these tips are awesome,i love #4

  21. I haven’t travelled much so I definately learned a lot …thank you!

  22. One thing I learned the hard way! Never, ever eat at a buffet!!! And if you are going to drink the water, always use water purification tabs in every drink-you don’t know how good their water filtration system is, and even your bottled water could come from a contaminated source-a lot of places don’t even have water purification systems or regulations in place!

  23. Dawn Rader says:

    Love it! thanks for sharing these great tips. I love your idea of carrying a camera and maps in a travel tote!

  24. Neat! I could always use tips like this!

  25. Great tips, a kitchen surely can save a lot of money.

  26. These are some great tips, I love the tip of getting a local grocery bag to carry your stuff in

  27. Great tips! I always bring Grapefruit Seed Extract with me and mix it into my orange juice at breakfast so i don’t get sick from the food or water.

  28. I love #4! Would probably never have thought of this but will try for sure.

  29. Great tips for traveling in general and with children.

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