1. Learn basic phrases in the local language
This will set you apart immediately — there is not a better way to show an effort to learn a new culture than by attempting to speak a few phrases, even if it's not perfect.
2. Travel Insurance shouldn't be overlooked
We've all heard plenty of stories of people wishing they had gotten travel insurance for many reasons. Sickness, weather delay, lost luggage, you name it can easily be amended with good travel insurance. Read this post on what travel insurance I use.
3. Drink plenty of water
Beat colds, beats exhaustion, and jet lag, all with one simple ingredient.
4. Research where you want to eat, before you're "hangry"
I've done this far too many times. You land, you get to your hotel, and now you're starved. Have a plan, even if it's just for your first meal on ground.
5. Pack comfortable shoes
Yeah we all want to look great in our travel shoes, but blisters from uncomfortable shoes isn't going to happen. Have at least one good pair of comfortable walking shoes. Read 10 comfortable shoes for travel.
6. Learn the art of necessity when you need to pack light
.... read 17 ways to lighten up your suitcase.
7. Double check your flight, prior to arrival at the airport
Save yourself unnecessary hours at the airport.
8. Pre-arrange transfers if need be
Certain cities, hopping in a taxi at the airport isn't the best route. Hanoi, Vietnam was one of them, and having someone greet us was the best answer and quite affordable.
9. Wash your clothes onsite
Don't overpack, just wash intimates and such on ground.
10. Have photocopies of all important documents in a secure place
If you lose or get documents stolen, having copies will make the process so much faster to get temps.
11. For taxis, ask the price before getting in
12. Figure out what works for you for jet lag
We all have different ways to combatting jet lag, find your best solution. Here's 7 ways I like to beat jet lag.
13. Don't sleep in, and have the city to yourself
Early bird gets the worm, and for the empty street photos, getting up with the sun will be your best friend.
14. Know local manners at your destination
Research prior to landing whats custom.
15. Use Google offline maps for best directions without service
One of my favorite tools is downloading a map on Google Maps, that way if I don't have service or WiFi, I can navigate through.
16. Always pack a pair of sneakers, a bikini, and flip flops
You never know when you'll have an opportunity to hike, jump in a body of water, or have to shower in less-than-clean place.
17. Check your hotel bed before getting in it
Bedbugs do exist, even in your luxury suite.
18. Lock your valuables up
19. Know how to use your camera, prior to arrival
This will insure you get the photos you want from the trip. Read most current camera gear I've been traveling with.
20. Send your itinerary to friends/family
It's always good if someone else knows where you are.
21. If you have a hiccup, don't let it ruin your travel
It's going to happen, you can't control everything, and when things don't go perfectly, try not to let it ruin the rest of your trip.
22. Ask the locals where to go.
This will get you out of the tourist traps and into the gems of the destination.
23. Always have a change of clothes and cosmetics in your carry-on
Those who've experienced delayed or canceled flights know first hand how important your necessities are.
24. Calculate for layovers
Know how much time you need to change terminals, grab suitcases, and go through security — prior to booking.
25. Bring snacks
In case you didn't want to eat your in-flight meal.
26. Know if credit card is widely accepted or if you need cash
As most places accept credit card, some are still on the cash system.
27. Skip exchanging money at the airport
For best rates, a major bank in town is usually your best bet.
28. Don't overbook
Give yourself an afternoon or two to go visit somewhere with no time restrictions.
29. Know local emergency numbers
30. Backup phone charger is a must
And when you've used up your battery, and don't know where you're headed, a backup battery like this one will help.