These are my top tips for everything from booking cheaper to flying economy.
1. Ask for the best room, not the first room. Sometimes waiting a little longer to check in will reap rewards.
2. Pack a light, plain sarong or scarf (men too). It doubles as a towel, sun protection, modesty shawl, beach bag and sling.
3. Hotel clothes hangers with skirt or trouser clips are handy for pinning gaping hotel curtains shut to improve your sleep.
4. Always carry earplugs. They can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and none at all.
5. Souvenir those flimsy hotel slide-on slippers. They’re lighter to carry than thongs, and handy for pebbly beaches, public change rooms and around the pool or spa.
6. If you’re travelling overnight in economy, bring your own neck pillow, use your small pack or overnight bag as a footrest, and the airline pillow under your bum to get as flat as possible in an economy seat.
7. Carry a power board. You’ll be able to charge multiple devices from one adapter.
8. Always ask to see a room before checking in
9. Never take a hotel room near the lift – unless you want to hear everyone else coming and going.
10. Hang out your “do not disturb” sign … it reminds your hotel neighbours to be considerate about their volume. And put your phone on “do not disturb” in your time zone.
11. Don’t use booking sites without trying the hotel directly first. And join the hotel’s loyalty club before booking.
12. Never use your travel cash card on check in. Funds will be debited against it and you won’t be able to use them until they are returned, sometimes a week or more after you’ve checked out.
13. Booking direct with the hotel will often give you better cancellation options, such as free cancellation up to 24 hours before check in.
14. Hotel parking is usually exorbitant. Drop your bags and find a carpark nearby.
15. Good travel insurance is much cheaper than paying car rental company excess reduction. Choose a policy that covers you well.
16. Travel sims and telco travel plans are a godsend (though the latter can be overly pricy, so check first). They’re also often cheaper than renting a sat nav with a hire car.
17. Lonely Planet are the best guide books and even more invaluable in the age of sponsored content and the web, where it can be hard to tell you which content is genuine and which is bought. Who else can you rely on to tell you a town is boring or the locals will try to rip you off?
18. Try to avoid arriving or departing in peak hour, especially where you’ll be relying on road transfers on arrival and departure.
19. Keep an eye on “travel disrupters” for cheaper, more efficient ways to travel. There are many more than Airbnb – check out car-pooling site BlaBlaCar, car rental service Silvercar, rideshare company Via and others.
20. You’ll get a better rental car booking through a travel agency than through a blanket booking site, and better booking through the rental company’s preferred customer site.
21. Most major tourist attraction tickets are better and more cheaply bought online. The ability to jump queues is a bonus of this.
22. Join a travel planning service like TripIt or Google’s so friends, family and you know where you are and what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. This is also invaluable when someone asks you three years later what that great little hotel in Paris was you stayed at and you can just jump into your past trip itinerary.
23. Keep a diary, even if it’s a list of what you saw, where you ate and where you slept. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget.
24. Take a light shopping bag that folds to nothing. It can double as a beach bag, spare carry bag, laundry or shoe bag.
25. Always bring a pair of thongs.
26. Pack a light folding umbrella in the outside pocket of your suitcase in case it’s raining when you arrive.
27. Noise-cancelling headphones are a pricey purchase you’re unlikely to regret if you’re a frequent flyer or solo traveller.
28. Keeping a snappy schedule? Consider buying quick-dry travel undies, socks and shirts.
29. A lightweight backpack that folds into a pocket but has padded straps was one of my best buys. It can carry a water bottle, umbrella and lunch but go into a pocket if a museum demands backpacks cloaked and there’s a line.
30. Take a small camera. Phone photos are nearly as good but travel tends to suck phone batteries dry to the point where you have to choose between knowing where you’re going and taking pictures of it when you get there.