Real travelers’ best tips

Story highlights

Buy tickets to major attractions online, before you go, at a discount

Save your airline miles for big-ticket international flights

Purchase upgrades at the airport ticket counter for less

CNN  — 

While Travel + Leisure has its own little black book of hotel tips and air travel tricks, we wanted to take a page out of yours, too.

So T+L teamed up with CNN to solicit advice from seasoned CNN iReporters as part of our Ways to Travel Better campaign—and posed some questions to get them going. What’s your secret to navigating a crowded airport? How about a tip for nabbing a table at the hottest restaurant in town? Do you have a favorite money-saving app or website?

“Use the bookmark feature on Yelp to map the things you’re interested in checking out,” suggested Amelia Jo Hruby of Chicago, “so you’re not running across town all day.”

Other iReporters chimed in with tips for packing, from keeping essential medicines in a ready-to-go bag to stashing a pair of socks in your carry-on, so you don’t have to tread where thousands of travelers’ bare feet have been.

Read on for more of their advice, and tell us what indispensable lessons you’ve learned on the road in the comments below—or on Twitter with the #TravelBetter hashtag.

For the complete list of 100 ways to travel better, check out T+L’s December issue and tablet editions.

Buying tickets

“Buy tickets to major sights online before you go. You can skip the long ticket lines when you get there.” —David McTier, Huntsville, Texas

Packing shoes

“When packing, choose your shoes first, and then the clothes that work with them. Look for neutral and flexible colors for the greatest versatility.” —Quia Querisma, Plano, Texas


“For complicated trips, I like flight-research startup site Flightfox, where experts compete to help you reduce the total cost of your ticket by fare hunting and tapping regional budget carriers.” —Vince Wong, New York, New York

Travel + Leisure: Best air travel tips

Reward miles

“Be patient and don’t cash in your miles to fly domestically—save them for the big-ticket international airfares.” —Matthew Colver, Castle Rock, Colorado


“The website Rome2Rio makes transportation decisions easy by comparing the travel time and cost of flying, driving, and taking the train between two destinations.” —Sharon LeMaster, Decatur, Georgia

Travel + Leisure: Best hotel tips

Socks in carry-on

“I keep a pair of socks in my carry-on. I slip them on so I don’t have to touch the ground where thousands of other travelers’ feet have been.” —Heather R. Helline, Cleveland, Ohio

Airline upgrade

“Ask at the ticket counter if you can buy an upgrade. Depending on availability, some airlines let you do it at a heavily discounted price.” —Stefanie Kronemeyer, Boston, Massachusetts

See more ways to travel better


“Keep essential medicines—Benadryl, Cipro, Imodium, and motion-sickness medicine such as Dramamine—on hand. I’ve saved both myself and my travel companions from a ruined vacation.” —Fareesa Abbasi, Hong Kong, China

Finding the best restaurants

“Follow the crowd to the best restaurants. I discovered the best shu mai dumplings in Hong Kong by choosing a place that was overflowing with locals.” —Tausha Cowan, New York, New York

Travel + Leisure: America’s best college towns


“Use the bookmark feature on Yelp to map the things you’re interested in checking out, so you’re not running across town all day.” —Amelia Jo Hruby, Chicago, Illinois

See all of travelers’ best tips

Do you have any travel tips to share with others? Please comment below!