10 tips from travel agents for your next vacation

Check Angie's List for more great vacation tips from travel agents near you. (Photo courtesy of Felicia Ansley)

Check Angie's List for more great vacation tips from travel agents near you. (Photo courtesy of Felicia Ansley)

Whether they are providing tourism related services to the public or assisting business travelers, a travel agent is the go-to professional when you need travel advice. Angie’s List spoke to experienced agents across the country to get their best tips for traveling while on vacation.

1. Check in a day early. Online check-ins should be done 24 hours prior to your flight’s departure. Don't forget to include emergency contact information.

2. Catch a ride. If possible, have a friend or relative drop you off at the airport to avoid paying parking fees. Also, be sure to work around your driver’s schedule and consider the time of day in order to beat rush hour traffic. 

3. Be on time. For domestic flights, it's a good idea to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance. If you're flying internationally, plan on showing up at the airport at least three hours in advance. Remember that during peak travel times, there will usually be lines for both luggage check-ins and security screenings.

4. Avoid peak travel times. If you can, avoid booking flights on Fridays, Sundays and on Monday mornings, which are peaks times for business travelers and those returning from vacation. Other peak travel periods include weekend evenings.

5. Make a copy. When traveling out of the country, make sure to keep your passport locked safely in your hotel room. When away from your room, carry a photocopy of the identification section with your picture in case you lose the original. Having this copy can also expedite replacement if your passport becomes lost or stolen.  

6. Slip past detectors. To get through security screenings quickly, it's a good idea to wear slip-on shoes such as flip-flops or sandals and avoid wearing metal belts or excessive amounts of metal jewelry.

7. Bring it on board. To avoid a hassle if your checked luggage gets lost or delayed, your carry-on luggage should include a clean change of clothes, pajamas, a toothbrush, toiletries (under three ounces) any necessary medications and, if you're staying at a resort or near a beach, a swimsuit.

8. Pack lightly. To avoid paying more for checked luggage, travel light and pack smart. Roll your clothing to save more space in your bag. Only pack three pairs of shoes at most, two casual and one dressy, as well as clothing of similar or neutral colors that can be easily combined to make multiple outfits.

9. Avoid a decline. When traveling far from home and especially when traveling internationally, make sure to call your bank and credit card companies to let them know where you'll be to avoid having a credit or debit card locked due to a fraud alert.  If you are traveling overseas, order a Travelex or similar card to easily convert U.S. dollars to foreign currency.

10. Know where you're going. Travel agents said one of the most important keys to avoiding a hassle when traveling to an unfamiliar place is to educate yourself on local culture, custom and etiquette, as well as tipping policies.

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