Planning your vacation can be a lot of work, but it's wise not to get caught up in the stress of it all. These simple tips can help you get where you need to go with a lot less of a hassle.
1. Pack light
The answer is always, "You don't need it." If you're going somewhere for a week, you don't need 50 pounds of luggage. The lighter you pack, the easier your life will be. Less weight to be dragging around, less worry at the airport, the list goes on. Plus, all that extra room in your suitcase will give you room for souvenirs! In fact, if you can manage it, just bring a carry on; that way, you can arrive late to the airport and leave quickly after your flight.
2. Control your liquids
Here's a pro tip. Keep liquids that are less than 3 ounces in a ziplock at the top corner of your bag. Move everything into your jacket pockets and then slip the jacket off at security, including your watch, belt, and laptop. Make your own life easier for Pete's sake. Pete has been working at the TSA since 6am and has no patience for you!
3. Know where you're going
Domestic? International? Check it out. Do you need an adapter? Translation app? Visa? Be prepared wherever you go. Plan the must-go to spots, check out the must-have treats and eats, and have the correct currency ready to go. Plan how to get to your accommodation from the airport, too. Check out SongKick.com to see if there are any cool concerts going on in the city while you're there; you might get lucky!
4. Keep track of your phone
I would say camera, but for 90% of you, your iPhone is your camera. Charge everything before you leave. Bring an external battery to charge on the go. Keep it charged. Turn off your data roaming in case you stumble into a safari and have to pay $500 to AT&T for the privilege.
5. Secure your travel insurance
Wherever you're going, chances are it's going to be pretty darn expensive to get sick. You have no idea what kind of costs could come if you get sick or hurt abroad, so don't take the risk. Some countries won't even treat you if you don't have insurance or enough cash. Check out this resource.
6. Tell your bank
There's nothing worse than being abroad and having your card blocked because even though you've spent $1,000 over the past 4 days, the bank has all of a sudden decided to stop giving your 'robber' money. Alert them, and avoid this. Most banks will allow you do this on their app, making it quick and simple.
7. Immerse yourself
While there's nothing wrong with sneaking a McDonald's once while away for simplicity's sake, make sure you immerse yourself in the culture of where you are. Eat their food, drink their drinks and dance like they do; you might surprise yourself! It's the most important part of traveling, to immerse yourself in other cultures and return home with a more well-rounded view of the world.
Most of all, do what you enjoy. I found that getting up at 8am made it feel like work and not a vacation, so I would just be more efficient how I spent my time (breakfast on the move) and get up at 10 instead. But it's your prerogative. It is your vacation after all! So enjoy it!