Traveling in the world today has become both easier and more sophisticated. The number of destinations and cultures open to travelers has never been greater and the nature of current technology allows us to share our experiences as they happen.

Below are a few tips to help you have a safe and successful travel experience. If you would like to share your experiences or your own travel tips, we would love to hear from you. Just submit your comments below.

1. To Tip or Not to Tip

Tipping etiquette varies from country to country and knowing the local norms can save you from an embarrassing situation or from getting ripped off. For example, in many Central American countries the service tip is included in your bill and you are not required to provide anything over and above that amount. Yet, it is not uncommon for taxi drivers to ask for a gratuity or for restaurants to give you a credit card receipt with a tip line in the hopes that you’ll fall into your normal habits.

2. Connect with Caution

Being connected to the internet is something that most people cannot imagine being without, and WIFI is becoming ever-more ubiquitous and freely accessible. However, just because you don’t have to pay for it does not mean that connecting comes without a price.

Before connecting to any WIFI network while traveling make sure that your device has the proper settings and safeguards in place to prevent others from accessing your device and snooping around. Also, avoid logging into bank accounts or using credit cards while on unsecured networks to help prevent identity theft.

3. Being TOO Social

Bragging about upcoming trips and posting photos and status updates while you are on vacation is so common now that it can be considered an expected part of the experience. Keep in mind however that you are advertising that you’ve left behind an empty house.

Webroot has reported that, “Burglars have already begun to turn to Facebook and Twitter to find homes that may be vacant during a holiday absence, so don’t make their job any easier for them by giving them your travel itinerary.”

4. Doing the Last Minute Shuffle

You may have planned out your trip down to the last detail, but don’t forget about the few days before you embark on your adventure. There are usually a lot of items that need to be handled before you step foot into that plane: pet-sitters, stopping your mail, notifying your bank and credit card companies of where you’ll be traveling, buying last minute items and of course, packing.

We suggest that you add a few pre-travel days to your planning to make sure you are not over stressed or realize once you are 5,000 miles away that you have forgotten something critical.

5. Forgetting to Relax

Remember that you are traveling to enjoy yourself, so make sure to plan in some time to do nothing. Being overambitious and trying to pack too much into every day will only result in stress, and if you spend every second running from attraction to attraction, you are very likely to miss the most interesting aspect of your destination, the culture.

You can see the Eiffel Tower in a million photographs on the internet, but you can only experience the culture and ambiance of Paris in Paris. Grab a coffee at a sidewalk café, take a moment and watch the locals, smell the croissant in front of you and listen to the urban symphony around you.