Instagram travel blogger Tara Whiteman, who shares the beauty of travel with her million Instagram followers as Tara Milk Tea, takes a planner’s approach to exploring the world. The 23-year-old Australian model and designer curates colorful photos of exotic locations to show off the beauty found all over the world. She takes a strategic approach to preparing photo shoots and travel. Smart Meetings reached her when she was home, briefly, in Sydney and asked her for her favorite travel tips for adventures you won’t regret.

1. Plan
No matter the trip, I always write down what I want to get out of it and a rough list of activities and places I want to go. I usually search via Instagram, Google reviews and Pinterest to make the list. Then I map out the locations to see how things might align on each day. Regardless of the type of traveler you are, some level of planning will definitely enhance your experience.

2. Make a Packing List
Don’t forget to charge the batteries! Lists help eliminate the “what have I forgotten” feeling. I’ll generally know if I’ve forgotten something, and it will bug me until I figure it out. And it’s probably something super-important.

To make packing easier, I categorize my lists. For example:

  • Carry-on bag (laptop, spare clothes after a long-haul flight)
  • Check-in bag (clothing, toiletries)
  • Toiletries bag (sunscreen, toothbrush)
  • Technology (chargers, spare batteries in carry-on)
  • Handbag/backpack (passports, wallet, money)

3. Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are amazing for keeping organized, especially if you’re constantly moving from city to city. I usually organize mine by intimates, bottoms, tops, dresses. It saves you from rummaging through your bag to find that one item you’re sure you packed.

4. Collect Documents Handy
Keep everything on your phone, offline. I keep all my bookings, tickets and passport as screenshots in a folder in case customs asks me about them, so the folder is handy in case I can’t access the internet. Just make sure your phone is charged, too! Add that portable charger to your packing list.

5. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Rule of thumb: Don’t board a plane without it! It’s not even expensive, and you’re much better off safe than sorry. I’ve heard about far too many trips gone wrong without travel insurance, which can end up costing over 10 times more than the actual trip.

6. Tell Your Bank You’re Travelling
You don’t want to be locked out of your accounts. Telling your bank about your travel plans is very easy to do in person or over the phone, and will give you peace of mind before you head on your trip!

7. Start Your Day Early
This is my personal tip. I usually wake up at 5 a.m. Generally, no tourists are around the hot spots between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., especially in Europe. I love seeing cities before people start their day, and without the crowds, too! That’s how you’ll get your photos without anyone in them, as well.

8. Ask for Advice
You might already know what you want to see, but the concierge or a local is probably going to know much more than you and your Google search. Ask for the best local food that you can’t find online, and ask for the best times to visit certain places. Locals can be the best help in making your trip even better!

9. Be Flexible and Don’t Stress if Things Don’t Go According to Plan
It’s all part of the adventure! If your trip starts to sway from your plans, just roll with it and chill out. You’re on holiday! Chill. Unwind. Have a drink. Be safe. Make friends, memories, whatever you came here to do, do it and have no regrets!