Taking on a new travel assignment can be both exciting and overwhelming. On one hand, you’re getting an opportunity to explore a totally new environment, and to experience all of the joy and wondrous surprises that come along with it. On the other hand, there will be a lot for you to take in once you’re at your new locale, and juggling numerous factors that go into having a good time on location can feel less fun, and more burdensome. Well, no longer; use these travel hacks to maximize your experience while you’re settling into and exploring your new city:
1. use credit cards wisely
Having a travel credit card can be a great way to streamline your expenditures and seize some worthwhile rewards in the process. There are quite a few cards offering various promotional deals and bonuses on specific types of purchases, so be sure to look into some of the best to maximize the value of your time on location.
As a general rule of thumb, follow these recommendations for travel credit cards:
- Take advantage of sign-up bonuses: These bonuses tend to be the biggest draw for credit card applications, but most require that you spend a certain amount within the first 90 days of owning the card to be eligible.
- Know your spending categories: Most credit cards favor bonuses in specific spending categories (i.e. gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores). Review the card agreement to identify the particular categories for your new card.
- Pay attention to reward expiration dates: While some rewards don't have expiration dates, some loyalty programs give you just 3 months (!) to utilize your rewards after a period of inactivity on your card.
2. Try the fragile Technique
Whatever you’re packing, you’ll want to make sure it arrives unscathed and in one piece. Here’s a helpful hint: if you’re flying, try marking your bags as “fragile.” For starters, doing so will increase the likelihood they’re treated as such by the baggage handlers (reducing the possibility of damage to your precious items). As an added bonus, marking your bags like this will save you some time at the airport, since they’re often offloaded first.
3. bring a power strip
Few things are more aggravating than needing to charge or power a device but having no outlet to do so (this is especially true if you travel with a lot of tech like smartphones, computers, and the like). Plan ahead, and be sure to pack a power strip of your own so that you can maximize your “outlet availability” no matter where you happen to be staying while you’re on assignment.
4. transfer perfumes to save space
Of course you'll want to bring your perfume/cologne, but those bottles can take up precious luggage real estate. The travel-friendly fix for this conundrum are lightweight, refillable bottles that help save space and keep all your scents in one place with relative ease. Best of all, they’re reusable, so when you’re ready to switch things up with a new smell, you can do so quickly and efficiently.
5. save your battery and data
When you’re out somewhere new, you’re more likely to burn through your phone’s battery power (and data) like a flame through a stack of hay. To remedy this, you should take as many steps as possible to keep your phone functional while you’re offline, such as downloading Google Maps so you can check your location without eating up your data plan.
6. use ai tour guides
No need to be stuck in your new city without a clue as to what anything is. Augmented Reality and AI programs like Google Lens can fill you in with interesting details about whatever you’re looking at and can help you identify different local landmarks and attractions.
7. protect your valuables
You’ll want to take steps to safeguard yourself against potential thieves, no matter where you are on assignment. For example, if you’re out at the beach having a good time, the best place to store cash and cards is in a plastic bag, that you’ve buried near your towel (as opposed to out in the open where thieves might spot an easy mark).
8. find wifi passwords
Building upon our earlier tip on saving battery power and smartphone data, you can further this goal by sticking to WiFi networks whenever possible. You might think scoring WiFi passwords to different establishments to be an annoying task, and the waiter will hate you if you ask (they won’t), but check out the tip section of FourSquare, or databases like the WiFi Map, and you’ll soon learn it’s a lot easier than you may have imagined.
9. connect with family and friends
Spending extended periods of time away from your closest family and friends can be trying, but you can make that distance just a minor inconvenience by staying in touch via free apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype. That way, your loved ones are but a few clicks away and you can stay in much more regular communication.
10. make friends and enjoy a night out
Even though you’re far away from your normal friend group, there’s nothing keeping you from making some brand new friends while you’re on location. Using the Party With app, for instance, allows you to find the most popular bars and restaurants in your city and make new connections.
11. don't forget to smile
This last tip might sound like a no brainer, but it’s easy to overlook the difference a genuine smile can make. Simply smiling at neighbors, waiters, and passerbyers can open up a new world. It could get you a free drink, helpful directions, or even a new friend.
Take these travel hacks to heart and you should have a much easier go of settling in while you’re on assignment. If you’re ready to see what sorts of opportunities could be out there for you, be sure to check out the jobs page, consistently updated with some of the best healthcare travel positions across the nation.