Original original ttt sicily villa saracena 20%2822%29.jpg?ixlib=rails 0.3
From renting your dream villa in Tuscany to learning a new language, here are the best travel tips we shared with our readers this year.

Want to travel better in 2018? Keep your eye on our Tips & News section, which offers everything from packing hacks to ordering coffee properly in Europe. This year, we published numerous useful stories that will help jump-start your travel smarts. Here are the 10 our readers loved most.

10. How TaskRabbit and Other Online Services Will Make Your Trip Better
The gig economy is going strong and going global, and a variety of sites have the flexibility and reach to become very useful for travelers. Think creatively, and you can leverage the gig economy to take care of all sorts of tasks—before, during, and after your next travel adventure. Here’s how to leverage sites like Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, and Fiverr to make your travels smarter, safer, and simpler.

9. Five Ways to Vacation Like the French
When she moved from Philadelphia to Paris in 2006, writer Lindsey Tramuta expected to fall in love with the food scene and the culture. But what she didn’t expect has made the biggest impact: learning how to take a proper vacation. Here are the best tips from the French for truly leaning into your trip.

8. How to Rent a Dream Villa in Italy
Aperol spritzes at sunset, long walks on the beach, ancient ruins, museums full of Renaissance masterpieces, shopping at the open-air market, hot days spent in the sun and warm nights enjoying a leisurely dinner with friends and family—this is summer in Italy, and it’s never too early to start planning. If you’re traveling with a group or want privacy for a romantic trip, renting a villa is the way to go. Here’s how. 

article continues below ad

7. How to Get Elite Treatment From Your Hotel Without Elite Status
Frequent travel can take its toll, but staying loyal to an airline or a hotel brand has a big plus: elite status. With it come bonuses, including room upgrades, breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and welcome gifts aplenty. But what if you don’t travel often enough, or predictably enough, to earn elite status with a hotel brand? This simple yet often-overlooked strategy can yield welcome gifts, free food, and even room upgrades.

6. Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?
Trip protection can bump the cost of a getaway by as much as 10 percent—but it can save the day when your best-laid plans fall apart. The good news? You may already have it.

5. Advice on Learning a New Language from People Who Speak Up to Sixteen
Being fluent in more than one language is a skill in a league of its own. The good news? Anyone can learn a new language, no matter their age. Simply follow this expert advice down the sweet-talking path to success.

4. How to Swim in a Swanky Hotel Pool (Without Being a Guest)
The free travel app specializes in hotel day passes, enabling non–hotel guests to buy limited access to swimming pools, hot tubs, cabanas, daybeds, spas, gyms, steam rooms, and private beaches, among other exclusive hotel amenities. From a budgeting standpoint, it’s kind of like taking afternoon tea in a fancy hotel—you can experience the high-end ambience without staying overnight.

article continues below ad

3. How to Deal With Electronic Border Searches
Here, we break down the history of technology searches at the border, the likelihood of being searched when you travel, what you should do if you are pulled aside, and the best ways to protect your data at the border.

2. How to Avoid an Embarrassing Spa Experience
Whether you’re in a sauna in Finland, hot springs in Japan, or a traditional hammam in Turkey, there are destination-specific guidelines you should follow to have the best (and most comfortable) experience possible. Here are our best tips organized by country.

1. 10 English Words With Unfortunate Meanings in Other Languages
Before your next foreign trip, while you’re going over key vocabulary like “hello,” “good-bye,” “please,” and “thank-you,” take a few more minutes to familiarize yourself with English words you should avoid abroad.

>>Next: The Best U.S. Hotel Openings of 2017