If you need directions, stop in at a pizza restaurant that delivers. The delivery people really know their local area.
If you're traveling with several people, take an over-the-door shoe holder with clear pockets. Hang it up at your destination and use it to hold room keys, cameras and phones, sunscreen, hats/gloves, toys, snacks, etc. Makes them easy to find and keeps the room neater.
I bring a number (varies depending on the length of travel) of $2 bills. Dollars aren't worth very much in many places, but $2 bills are a novelty. Two singles aren't much of a tip anywhere, but a $2 bill is unusual enough that the recipient won't mind.
If you are traveling alone and/or on a budget, eat your midday meal at a fancy restaurant and have your evening meal somewhere simpler. Better yet, go to a local grocery store and buy things for a light dinner. You learn a lot about a culture from the food stores.
Pack your carry-on bag with duplicate cosmetics, foreign electrical plugs, a battery-operated shaver, a worldwide current hair dryer and curling iron, basic medical supplies and pharmaceuticals in separate zipped bags. I keep all liquids in the required quart bag all the time. Then I simply add whatever new I must have for the upcoming trip such as mosquito repellent. When I get home, I restock what I have used, put washable items in the dishwasher, then put everything back in the bag. No repacking for every trip.
When traveling internationally, be sure to check out the
I always take a small roll of duct tape. It can often be found on the hardware shelf of your local grocery store. The tape works wonders for a quick fix on a torn hem or for taping together a piece of luggage with a broken zipper.
If you are driving in Europe, buy a plastic-covered map. Paper maps become torn and tattered from constant opening and closing.
Check with your airline ahead of time to see whether there's a weight limit for carry-ons. I bought a Rick Steves convertible carry-on for a trip to Italy and assumed it was the right size for Lufthansa. As long as I didn't stuff it, I thought it would be fine. But a coworker who travels regularly to Europe suggested there might also be a weight limit. I converted the carry-on kilogram weight limit on Lufthansa's website to pounds and realized the limit was 17 pounds. I was considerably over that and was very happy to have found out ahead of time, rather than at the airport.