Planning the perfect vacation can come with a lot of stress. Save yourself from future hassles, and master these pro travel tips now. Use this guide for packing guidance and to find fun activities when you arrive.

Preparation

Use price-comparison sites to find cheap reservations. I use hotels.com, booking.com or Google Flights. Remember to switch on the private browsing feature while you compare prices. Some companies raise their prices after they see you have been looking to book

The highest money exchange rates are always at the airport so international travelers beware. Having the cash ahead of time is a good idea, so I suggest looking for a local current service before you go. International travelers should exchange currency anywhere but the airport.

Copy your passport and bring a printed copy. I do my driver's license and insurance cards too. Now is the perfect time to check expiration dates on all of the above. You'll want to let your bank know you are leaving town and how long you will be gone. This will ensure that your cards aren't flagged for fraud and are fully functioning all trip long.

Pack within a color scheme and getting dressed will be a lot easier. No sense in wasting minutes of vacation on picking out matching clothes. Always bring double socks, extra undies, and an extra charger. Separate outfits, sources of money and other items between bags in case one gets lost. Bring your comfiest shoes to walk in.

A water bottle for the plane may sound like a space waste, but let's consider this. Not only will it save you from $4 bottles of airport water, but it’s a reminder to keep hydrated during travel. Snacks are a good idea too. One final packing tip: if you can’t afford to lose it, financially or emotionally, don’t pack it.

Make a list of everything you’ll need for your trip to use while you pack. Check it again before leaving the house for anything you may have overlooked.

Arrival

Regardless of your jet lag, it is important to wake up early every day when traveling. After a cup of coffee, it gets easier. Travel journals may sound too sentimental, especially for the non-writing type, but hear me out. It doesn't need to be descriptive, but just a few words to jog the memory makes a big difference looking back in a few years.

Anyone tight on cash should save a few bucks and pack lunches each day. Whenever you eat out, choose a family owned restaurant so you can immerse yourself in the culture. Street food can be some of the best in town, and the cost is worth the chance. Stay away from restaurants near big tourist locations. If you are a fancy eater, go to the more expensive places for lunch. Lunch menus tend to be cheaper than dinner.

Watch your back for pickpockets. Especially in the bigger cities. And remember, slow down. Packing too much into one trip is a common mistake that travelers make.

Departure

Establishing a check-out routine can help prevent forgetting any items behind. Stash a trash bag in your suitcase for dirty clothes as they accumulate. Put dryer sheets in the bag, and in other places in your bags to keep things smelling fresh. They help remove lint and static too.

Grab snacks from a grocery store on your way home. Gas stations and airports are a rip-off. If your journey home is a long one, play some road trip games to help pass time.

Keep a coaster from your favorite bar, ticket stubs from events you attended, pamphlets from cool tourist attractions, and anything else to help preserve memories in your travel journal. If you crashed with a friend, leave a small gift to show your gratitude. Finally, remember to smile and be polite. It goes a long way.