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Traveling is a popular hobby with huge benefits, from learning about other cultures to creating memories that last a lifetime. Whether you visit the next city over or fly to far-flung continents, though, traveling can be a lot more enjoyable if you keep a few things in mind. Read on for some tips to enhance your travel experiences.

Pack lightly when traveling. People always tend to pack much more than is necessary, and end up using only about half of what they take. Choose a few items that you can wear multiple times, and try to coordinate everything. If you forget to pack a particular item, you will probably be able to find something appropriate at your destination.

If you are traveling with children, a backpack or other bag packed with new and interesting toys and activities is a good idea. Make sure that these are things they are not normally allowed to play with, or special things for trips only. It will give them something to look forward to and they will be entertained longer.

Picking aisle seats is the best way to give yourself options. A view is one of the only benefits of a window seat. Aisle seats offer unrestricted access to baggage, restrooms and airline staff. You will also have one side of you that can move around without hitting the person next to you.

Don’t be afraid to cash in your airline miles. Many travelers let their miles accumulate and never bother using them. Reap the rewards of your traveling and spend the miles you’ve earned! Miles have expiration dates, so be sure to use them before they expire. Often you can use them on items other than travel, so check out your options and get to spending.

Here is a tip for travelers! For tastier coffee when staying in a hotel, use ice instead of tap water. Many hotel rooms come equipped with a small coffee maker, but using tap water almost always results in poor coffee. Ice from hotel ice machines is made using filtered water. So, fill your coffee maker with ice at night (so it can melt), you can enjoy coffee made from crisp, filtered water in the morning!

If you need to use the bathroom during a long flight, please make sure to put your shoes on when entering the restroom. You never know what kind of germs can be on the floor of the plane, especially near the commode. When you return to your seat, feel free to kick your shoes off.

One of the must haves that I would suggest anyone take on a trip is baby wipes. They can be used to a variety of different ways and are perfect for on the go. You can purchase them in little packs so they can easily slip into a backpack.

Because security does not allow you to lock your luggage, you run the risk of the zippers coming undone and your belongings leaving a trail across the country and around the baggage claim. To help prevent this, use zip ties, which hold the zipper together, but can easily be cut off (with little cost to you) by security, if necessary.

You always want to be prepared for unexpected emergencies when traveling, such as losing a passport. The US State Department is one place that can help you prepare ahead of time for traveling abroad. The US State Department website can put you in touch with the local US Consulate or Embassy in the area in which you are traveling. Take this important stuff along with you on the trip. In many cases, a replacement passport can be ready within a couple days.

Travel in May and October to avoid crowds, save money and enjoy temperate weather. In those months, many families with children cannot travel due to school commitments, making many tourist attractions much less crowded. This may also result in lower costs for airfare and hotels. As an added bonus, the weather in May and October is usually perfect for traveling — not too hot and not too cold.

Be aware that you must be at least 18 to rent a car. Some car rental companies require that you be 25. If you’re not yet 25, you might pay a higher rate, and you might have to put down credit card information. Certain laws prohibit seniors from renting a car. In the early stages of making your reservation, inquire if these apply to you.

Now you’re ready to hit the road, board the plane, hitch a ride or get on that train to whatever destination it is that tugs at your heartstrings. Using these smart travel tips and a hearty dose of common sense, your future trips will all have a great chance at being dream vacations.