Traveling is exciting and can be a great time for you or one of the biggest headaches you will ever encounter if not done right. Read on for some great ideas on how to travel smart and take care of all the little things that if you don’t, will leave you wishing you stayed home.

To really get a feel for where you are vacationing, follow the locals. Many top vacation spots start to feel very generic and touristy. By asking around and finding where the people who live there hang out, you will get a more authentic feel for the area, and as a bonus, avoid the price markups that plague tourist hot spots.

Get local menus online while you are traveling. There are often countless restaurants located around hotels. If you have an internet connection where you are staying, use it to look them up online. Often you can find menus on their websites. You can also find directions and relevant reviews.

If you enjoy alcohol, there’s no better way when traveling, to get to know a new city than with a pub crawl. Visiting multiple establishments in the same night, will give an interesting cross-section of the city that you wouldn’t gain any other way. Plus, you’ll make some new friends.

The more you plan, the cheaper the flight should be for you. Try and plan your trips ahead of time and budget how much money you want to spend on flights and hotel, as well as, how much you want to spend on leisure activities. Planning out your trip in advance, helps you to manage your money properly and ensures that you will have a better time.

When traveling by air in the U.S. you can get through security faster if you wear slip-on shoes. Since you have to remove your shoes when going through security it is better to have shoes that come off and go on quickly so you can retrieve your other belongings quickly.

To stay in good health, you should go see your doctor after traveling abroad. Ask your doctor to test you for exotic diseases to make sure you have not contracted anything while abroad. Just in case you contracted something, you can get the help you need quickly and not contaminate the people around you.

If you plan to travel for more than a weekend, inform your bosses two weeks prior to leaving so that they can find someone to cover your responsibilities before hand. This way, you are not relying on someone who merely says they will cover for you and you have respectfully informed them the reasons of your absence.

If you want to attempt to get an empty seat, there are some tricks to try. Ask for a seat near the back end of the plane, because these generally fill up last. If you are not comfortable with that, ask for an exit row seat. These seats come with extra responsibility, that not many are willing to accept.

Avoid catching a cold, or worse, on the plane with hand sanitizer. An airplane is an enclosed space where a large number of people are confined for an extended period of time. To make matters worse, the air inside the cabin is circulates, spreading germs from passenger to passenger. To avoid catching something, try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you must scratch that itch, wash your hands, and then apply hand sanitizer.

Sometimes the cleanliness of the linens in your hotel room is questionable. Rather than risk it, use your t-shirt as a pillowcase. After a long day of business meetings or sightseeing, turn your shirt inside out and use it over the hotel pillowcase. You can wash your shirt later, and it’s infinitely more appealing than putting your face on suspicious linens.

If you know in advance that you will be passing through some less-than-desirable neighborhoods or areas of town en route to your destination, don’t rely solely on your in-dash GPS system. Map out alternate routes using MapQuest or Google Maps, so you don’t end up in a bad part of town, in the middle of the night, with bad directions.

When it comes to exchanging your currency, it is all about location. Do not be a last minute currency exchanger running through the airport to try and get your foreign money. Airports can be a very costly source of currency exchange, and the rates may not be to your advantage. Exchanging should be one of the early things you do in your planning, as it also secures the money you intend for foreign spending.

Hopefully this article has given you some tips and tricks on how to be a wise traveler. In this day and age you really have to keep your eyes open and your wits about you to keep traveling safe and smooth. Check your list before taking off and keep these smart tips in mind.