2. Don't underestimate how useful luggage with wheels is. The less time spent heaving around heavy bags, the better!
3. Pack dry shampoo in case you can't get to a shower or just don't have time for one. It’s a quick fix, but you’ll feel a hundred times better than if you’d left yourself greasy-haired.
4. Try to avoid packing anything that you would be devastated to lose - leave that diamond necklace at home.
5. Make sure you have basic first-aid skills. It sounds obvious, but most people wouldn’t even know where to begin if a minor accident happened.
6. Scan your passport and any important legal documents so you have backups – but remember to store them somewhere secure and well hidden. If your shoes have removable soles, then that's a great place to store them.
7. No matter how geeky and obsessive it feels, get folders and organize travel documents and itineraries. There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and not being able to find your ticket because your bag is a mess.
8. Remember to get any necessary vaccinations.
9. Get onto sites like Friends of Friends Travel or AirBnB to find cheaper (or free!) accommodation and to get a local's help with tips specific to your destination. And there's always cheap options available, if you take the time to look around the internet – like this Expedia coupon or travelocity discount code.
10. Keep emergency money somewhere other than your wallet at all times so that even if it gets lost or stolen, you won’t be completely helpless. Stick some cash in your bra (or underwear – though be careful it doesn't fall out!), roll some up in an empty lip balm tube… get inventive. The shoe trick in #6 works well here too.
11. Carry hard copy maps in case you can't access wi-fi or your phone runs out of battery. It feels out-dated and a little silly having a massive paper map spread out in front of your face like a classic tourist, but they can really be useful. Better to look like a tourist than to be wandering the streets for hours when your hostel or host's house was just around the corner.
12. Save money by scoping out local grocery stores instead of eating at your hotel restaurant every day – have picnic lunches! Finding out what locals eat on an average day-to-day basis will also help you feel out the culture better. Friends of Friends travel in #9 could possibly help you ask locals and others who have visited where to find the cheap places to eat too.
13. Keep a stash of plastic bags for dirty clothes so you can separate them from your clean ones. A simple tip, but it really feels like a luxury when your socks start to smell and you can just bag them up instead of allowing them to linger amongst fresh clothing.
14. Pack light, but learn how to sew and keep a needle and thread on you so you can repair small damages.
15. Check if the water is safe to drink. If it isn’t, remember to clean your teeth with bottled water.
16. Never underestimate the importance of good, comfy walking shoes.
17. Know where your embassy is - just in case anything goes wrong and you find yourself stuck, they'll usually help you out.
18. Be aware of local laws before you arrive. Check whether you're allowed to drink in public, whether you're allowed to kiss in public, and if you're allowed to smoke on the street. If you're going on a beach holiday, find out the right etiquette for beachwear.
19. And related to that, even if it's not law, be respectful and dress appropriately for the culture. Your morals and sensibilities are not universal; do not assume them to be.
20. Don't be afraid to haggle. You can get some great bargains if you’re confident enough to get that price down.
21. Check with your bank that your cards will definitely work when you're abroad. A formality, but one that will really save you a lot of bother if it suddenly turns out that they don’t. Many banks also need you to inform them of your overseas travel before you go, otherwise they may block your card thinking someone stole it.
Is there anything rather important that I've missed on this list compilation?
(Photo by lestaylorphoto via Flickr)