7 Travel Tips To Plan An Unforgettable Summer Vacation 2023

Easy travel hacks after lockdown

Having traveled to hundreds of destinations over fifteen years, I’ve mastered the art of traveling well. In fact, I’ve endured the long flights and multiple layovers, checked into over 600 hotels, explored word-of-mouth restaurants and off-the-radar places and spent hundreds of hours studying cheap flight sites so you don’t have to. It’s why I’m happy to provide 7 travel tips to plan your summer vacation, including tips on what you need to pack and how to avoid travel scams.

After three years of the pandemic, airlines are finally filling seats, countries opened borders, and the “new normal” is the “old normal” again! You can start planning for unforgettable summer vacations, especially since we all know that we’ve been missing out the past two years!

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve beach

To help you maximize your planning, I rounded up travel tips that will help you plan your summer vacation for 2023. Honestly, there are so many great hacks out there, so I am going to bang out the small hacks you don’t necessarily think of, and they could save you time and money. In the end, the aim is for you to have a vacation that is unforgettable.

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Now, onto the hacks!

7 Travel Trips To Plan An Unforgettable Summer Vacation

1. Pack Smartwater in your suitcase (no, seriously, you’ll thank me later).

When I travel internationally, I always pack Smartwater (or water with electrolytes) in my suitcase. It’s so nice to have Smartwater right away when I check into a hotel. Electrolytes help rehydrate after a long flight, and you don’t have to spend $10 on that mini-bar water bottle.

This is so important that I made a video about it. Remember, after having taken hundreds of flights, which dry out your skin and leave you dehydrated, this is something you really, really want to consider. If you’re not checking your luggage, buy it at the airport, but you’ll always want to have electrolytes, especially after long flights or you check into a hotel with expensive water bottles or a foreign destination where it’s not safe to drink water from the tap.

2. Choose the best plane on a specific route.

British Airways JFK to Heathrow business class review

Not all planes are created equal, and not all flights are the same. For instance, you could fly an old 767 with zero modern comforts on a flight from Los Angeles to Miami, but if you leave earlier in the morning, you could fly a 777, which has seatback entertainment, power outlets and WIFI.

A better plane makes all the difference. Use Google Flights. It’s the best way to determine which flight has a better plane, ranking the routes, and it’s definitely an essential site I use. Google Flights is great with distinguishing the various amenities on planes for a specific route.

If you’re going to travel this summer, you might as well do it in style. Here’s our favorite selection of sunglasses at Bloomingdales.

3. Leave extra space in your luggage.

I never fully pack my luggage. You never know what you’ll bring back, especially if you plan on shopping. Sometimes, the hotel you stay at will leave you gifts, which I like to bring back. Either way, you will always want to leave extra space in your suitcase, and you’ll want to have a suitcase that has the flexibility to increase/decrease space inside it.

You don’t want to be that person who bounces on your suitcase to make everything fit. You could injure a rib. Or just look sort of weird at the airport when they make you take things out for the scale and everyone watches. Leaving space in your luggage will ensure it’s not going to weigh down the scale at check in, which could slap on extra fees. This is really one of the best travel tips to plan your summer vacation.

4. Sign up for TSA Pre-Check or Clear.


Even if you’re not a frequent flier, TSA Pre-Check is a lifeline. It saves you time at the airport, and you don’t have to take off your shoes or take out your laptop. I can’t even begin to express how convenient it has been at busy airports during busy times, like LAX or Las Vegas. Clear is the new TSA Pre-Check, so that’s another option.

I know this tip may seem obvious to you, but I still know many frequent travelers who haven’t signed up for either because they don’t have time to go for the interview at the airport. Trust me: It’s worth it.

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Now, listen. I do NOT get a kick back for recommending credit cards, but I do recommend American Express Platinum or Delta card. (see? I’m not even linking, showing that I am not promoting them through affiliate programs :)). I have an American Express Card, and they pay for both Clear and Global Entry (which includes TSA). Honestly, you’ll be happy.

5. Become a loyalty member with hotel chains.

Puerto rico

These days, it’s uncommon for hotels to charge for WIFI, but when they do, you can easily avoid charges by signing up with their rewards program. Just being a member gives you free WIFI.

Obviously, you’ll rack up points for freebies in the future, and I know some hotels give you free bottled water for being a member, which helps when you check into that hotel in New Delhi and can’t drink tap and the mini-bar sells $12 water bottles.

While thousands of hotels are closed, they will reopen, so one of the easiest travel hacks is to sign up for loyalty now during lockdown.

6. Call the hotel for best rates and upgrades.

Friendly check-in at St Regis Bahia Beach

Believe it or not, to get the best rates, you need to go old school and pick up the phone. Some times the reservations manager at luxury hotels can budge with rates that are not always published depending on availability. I talk about this tip more here.

I’ve actually done this many times. You’re not going to save hundreds but you’re still going to get a good deal. If you’re celebrating something like an anniversary, they can often upgrade you to a better room. You’ll want to call in advance, on the phone, because that room upgrade just went to someone else who checked in literally ten minutes before you did. It’s one of the best travel tips to plan your summer vacation.

Also: Don’t forget your passport.


 7. Get free water in the hotel gym.


Not to bring up water again, but for free water, head to the hotel gym, which usually has filtered water, whether by bottles or a cooler. It’s the oldest trick in the book, so… “wa-ter” you waiting for? 🙂

Do you have any travel tips for a great summer vacation? Let’s hear them in your comments below.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed at over 600 hotels and clocked millions of air miles. He currently lives in New York City.

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