Traveling like a seasoned pro doesn’t just happen overnight. With time, everyone develops their own travel hacks, learning to make the journey less stressful and more budget-friendly.
25 Travel Hacks
The 25 travel hacks below are extremely beneficial, insider tips that we’ve gathered over the last 20 years of international travel. Use them accordingly to make your travel life a little bit easier.
1. Fragility Gets Priority
Request a free fragile sticker at the airline ticket counter—even if there aren’t any fragile items inside your luggage. Anything marked fragile not only gets placed on top of other luggage but also gets sent out first.
2. Use Skyscanner to Search For Flights
Sadly, travel is slowly becoming a luxury only the elite can afford. When researching flight options, we suggest using Skyscanner. This is because most online travel search tools such as Google Flights don’t include many budget airline carriers like SouthWest and JetBlue. In other words, by using other travel search engines, you’re missing out on some of the cheapest flights available.
Also, another great tip is to go directly to the destination airport’s website to verify what carriers operate out of that specific airport. Once again, you could be missing out on cheap flights because certain airlines are not included in the travel search engine you’re using.
3. Decrease Anxiety With Cheap Travel Insurance
In today’s unstable travel environment, securing affordable high-quality travel insurance [⇐ this is the one we use, it’s affordable and first-rate] is a good idea. In short, being covered in case of an emergency reduces travel-induced stress and allows travelers to focus on what’s important—their vacation and seeing the world!
4. Carry One Adapter to Serve Them All
Who else is tired of searching for outlets for all their devices? Upon arrival, travelers need to account for charging up PCs, iPads, cell phones, cameras, watches, AirPods, etc. Purchase a universal USB adapter and now you only need to find one outlet for one adapter. Get one with four USB slots and you’ll never have uncharged devices ever again!
5. Be Strategic When Boarding
Ever look around and see how many travelers hurry to board a plane? Why rush to a cramped, assigned seat? Take the extra few minutes before the final boarding call to use a roomy bathroom, top off water bottles, stretch your legs, and charge your devices.
Use the same strategy when disembarking, especially when tarmac shuttles are necessary to return to the terminal. Typically, the first people who exit the plane are the ones who get pushed toward the back of the airport shuttle. Meanwhile, the stragglers get placed by the shuttle doors and are the first to exit, also getting to immigration and luggage claim first.
6. Buy a CityPASS
Many major cities around the world offer a city discount program that dramatically reduces the costs to visit the major attractions. These discount passes often combine museum admissions, public transportation options, and entry into major attractions.
Additionally, city passes end up being great time savers—travelers won’t need to research how to get discounted admission and all the participating attractions will be listed.
7. Effective Hotel Room Workouts
For those who benefit from equipment and exercise, resistance bands and a jump rope are the ultimate lightweight travel workout partners providing cardio and strength training in two easily-packable items.
8. Cut Costs With Free Museum Days
Take advantage of free museum days. Cities like Warsaw, Poland, and Washington D.C. are popular tourist destinations that offer numerous city attractions free of charge. Do your research in advance, especially for one-week trips since you won’t get another opportunity if you miss the free day for a desired attraction.
9. Help Stop the Stink
Place dryer sheets in your luggage to keep clothes smelling fresh during one-to-two-week trips when you don’t have access to a laundry machine.
10. Take Travel Problems to Twitter
Gone are the days when travelers call in to report a travel-related problem. These days, smart travelers go directly to Twitter.
Travel-based companies like Airbnb, Priceline, and major airlines have representatives that simply monitor their social media accounts to assist travelers when problems arise. You might be surprised how quickly you get a response.
11. Out-smart Thieves
Want to protect your valuables at the beach? Stick them inside a rolled-up diaper. No one will ever think to look inside a soiled, dirty diaper.
12. Utilize All the Space in Your Luggage
Maximize every space in your luggage to potentially turn a checked luggage situation into a carry-on trip only. Stuff boots and shoes with socks and toiletries. Store more valuable items in zipped pockets. Of course, using packing cubes with rolled clothing is the ultimate space saver.
13. Carry an In-flight Essentials Bag
Long-haul flights and bus rides are probably one of the worst aspects of traveling. Ease the pain by preparing an in-flight essentials kit. Once onboard, stow away your main bags and grab your bag full of everything you’ll possibly need for the duration of your trip. Tuck the pouch into your seat pocket to avoid fumbling in the dark or having to go into the overhead bin.
Items for your essentials bag may include the following: antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, lip balm, medicines (e.g., the best motion sickness pills, antacids, ibuprofen), ear plugs, mouthwash, rewetting eye drops, gum, mints, pantyliners, eye mask, headphones, and a pen for immigration forms.
14. Keep Technology Organized
Managing tech equipment is one of the biggest challenges of the modern-day traveler. For example, charging cords always get tangled, memory cards and charging cubes get left behind, and we can never find our flashlights when we quickly need them.
Smart travelers should find a technology organization system that works for them. Extremely popular with business travelers, Cocoon is a company specializing in flat tech organizers, which come in a variety of different sizes. Those looking to store their tech with a little more privacy and protection may prefer a pouch organizer.
15. Carry on an Empty Water Bottle
Water bottles in airport shops are purposely expensive, especially once you pass security. Pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on to fill at water fountains before and after your flight. For instance, a great option is this collapsible water bottle, which is lightweight and packable.
16. Save on Entertainment
Contact local zoos, nature centers, children’s museums, and other area attractions and ask when they have free days throughout the year.
17. Be Room Resourceful
If your accommodation is missing a desk, an ironing board placed in front of the bed is a surprisingly adequate replacement.
Read: Check out some inspiring, fresh quotes for your Instagram photos.
18. Don’t Buy Grocery Bags When Traveling
Save money by grabbing extra produce bags while out grocery shopping. Rather than buying costly baggies, use them to wrap up items like fruit and sandwiches to place in backpacks while out exploring or to keep food sanitary inside a travel cooler. Having a few extras may come in handy to separate dirty clothes, bag wet bathing suits, and secure leaky toiletries in luggage too.
19. Hotel Breakfast Items = Snacks for Later
Not a big breakfast eater? If your hotel offers a breakfast buffet, grab some fruit, cereal bars, bagels, and peanut butter to enjoy later for snacks or a light lunch later in the day.
20. Memorize One Credit Card Number
This travel hack is actually helpful across all scopes of life. Memorizing one credit card number comes in handy when you find yourself in a bind. For example, you can make emergency hotel reservations while driving on Bluetooth or make quick purchases online without digging out your purse or wallet.
21. Use the USB in the TV
Families traveling together may find themselves fighting for outlets in hotel rooms and Airbnb. Don’t forget that most modern TVs have a USB slot to easily charge your phone, especially if the unit isn’t wall mounted.
22. Lighten Your Load…of Laundry
Laundry detergent sheets are lightweight, hassle-free, and take up minimal space in luggage. Each sheet merely weighs the same as a piece of paper.
23. Ziplocs – The Poor Man’s Packing Cubes
Compression bags are a lifesaver for travelers who want to bring extra garments or heavy clothing items. Unfortunately, who wants to buy a costly and bulky compression bag vacuum?
Fortunately, two-gallon Ziploc bags offer a more budget-savvy packing option using the same concept—place your bulky clothes in a large plastic bag, roll the air out, and seal the bag to keep the item compressed in your luggage. After traveling, store the bags in the suitcase to reuse the bags for the next trip.
24. Stop Paying Airbnb Fees
What started out to be a budget-savvy way to experience a destination has now become the laughingstock of the travel community. In fact, Airbnb’s fees have gotten so extreme that the company is frequently roasted on social media. Fortunately, there are surefire ways to get around the Airbnb fees.
For example, new listings often underprice their unit for less to establish those first initial reviews. Extending the length of your stay is another way to attain discounts that apply for either one-week or one-month stays.
25. Take Advantage of the Hotel’s Gym but Not for Workouts
More likely than not, if your hotel has a gym then they have a filtered water station or free water bottles. Bypass the costly water bottle station at the front desk and opt for the free option in the gym instead.