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Whether you are a seasoned traveler or one who is just about brushing the dust off your suitcase to undertake your annual trip, the following travel tips could come in handy.

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1. Cut the flab: So you think you just might need all those outfits, hats, jackets, the extra pair of shoes and flip flops on your tour. The truth is, you don’t. We actually don’t use all the things we end up packing for ourselves, and even if we did get to use them, we could have done just as well without them. The skill to travel light isn’t imbibed over a single trip or two, it comes as a series of realizations once you unpack and unload gradually figuring out what was critical to carry in the first place and what was not. For others, there are smart options. For example, instead of carrying bulky guide books, go for a travel app that works offline and helps you with all the details you need about your destination. Keep a list of important numbers in your phone as well as on a sheet of paper that you can leave in your baggage, easily accessible. Wear the bulky pair of shoes instead of carrying these in your baggage. The more you travel light, the more ease of mobility you will have.

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2. Shit happens, so be prepared: When you are in an unknown destination, there is that one in a million probability of a black swan, the fact that your flight will get missed, or the bus does not show up or your baggage is misplaced. As hard as it is, don’t go berserk cursing all and sundry. Try and keep calm at these times. People everywhere are human after all and can make mistakes and it is easier to get them to help you if you are cordial through it all. Who knows when an unfortunate turn of events could lead to an invaluable experience.

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3. Wake up early: Some of the best shots are captured in the wee hours of the morning. You might meet some of the best people you would’ve met on that trip since the industrious are usually up and about at this time. It is also the time when people are the most optimistic and willing to help out in case you happen to ask. You’ll also get more done in a day if you start out early.

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4. Carry a scarf or a bandana: This could be the most versatile garment accessory in your baggage. Use it as a sun shade, a scarf to cover your head while entering religious places, a protection from strong draughts or simply to cover your eyes when you are craving rest. 5. Make the most of your on-road time: Catch up on your sleep if you are sleep deprived or jetlagged. Carry a pair of earplugs and block out those barking dogs, wailing babies, honking cars, blasting music and all other factors that are out there to disturb you as you make it from point A to B. You can also use this time to read up on your next stop. Podcasts about travelogues are a great way to soak in more information about the place without taking your eyes off the actual sights.

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5. Make the most of your on-road time: Catch up on your sleep if you are sleep deprived or jetlagged. Carry a pair of earplugs and block out those barking dogs, wailing babies, honking cars, blasting music and all other factors that are out there to disturb you as you make it from point A to B. You can also use this time to read up on your next stop. Podcasts about travelogues are a great way to soak in more information about the place without taking your eyes off the actual sights.

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6. Keep a journal: No matter how painful this may sound, you will treasure the little tid bits you would have captured in this little diary after you are done with a few trips. Chance meetings, your feelings when you set your eyes on that spectacular landmark monument or a fabulous sun set, fascinating city lights, local cuisine related recipe tips or anything random, everything can be captured in a few words via journal jottings. Over a period of time, it will be sheer pleasure to leaf through this journal and reminisce about various trips you have undertaken and the memories that have been accumulated all along.

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7. Don’t cram up or overestimate: Even though you are most tempted to, do not pack in six cities in six days. Such experiences eventually do not count for much since you would’ve barely scratched the surface of any city. Take time to explore and soak in the place. Meet as many local people as possible, have conversations with them, try and understand the local dialects. Meander and waste time when you can.

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8. Choose your privileges: So you might be a great fan of low budget travel, cheap flight tickets, economical homestays and home cooked food as opposed to that restaurant or inn round the corner. All this is probably prudent and in the long run, will keep overall costs of travel in control. However, do allow yourself some excesses. Splurge on a few luxuries that are unique to that destination. A Thai foot massage when in Bangkok, a high priced Broadway musical in New York City, an intricately handcrafted memento from the museum shop at Angkor Wat, all these are worth experiencing even if they come with a price tag that makes your budget tremble once in a while.

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9. Go local: Choose options that give you an opportunity to experience the local way of things. Go for homestays or B&Bs over hotels; small dhabas serving local street food over fancy multi-cuisine restaurants; the local bus or metro over taxis. You will probably meet more helpful people on such journeys and you’ll have a window into their way of living too.

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10. Stop making plans, execute: Have you been planning for that trip for more than a year now? Unfortunately, many people who keep thinking that ‘one fine day I will travel’ never really do. You never need as much money or as many leaves from work as you think you do to get started. Start small, focus on the quality of travel not its length, neither the nature of destination. A low cost two day kayaking trip could be more memorable than a week stay at a luxury five star property.