When’s the last time you daydreamed about your ideal vacation? I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t that long ago. Whether you’re toiling away at a 9-5 job or packing your bags to leave tomorrow, here are 16 travel hacks that are sure to serve you well.
1. Bring earplugs on the plane
Better yet, get yourself some noise cancelling headphones.
I used to be one of those travelers continually complaining about jetlag. I thought it was all to do with the time difference. But I’ve realized that the biggest killer on my energy was actually just the 12 hours of constant ambient airplane noise keeping my brain awake.
Now, my strategy is to have those earplugs and headphones locked and loaded before I walk on the plane. It makes for some funny moments when the flight attendants tries to ask you what you want to eat for dinner, but at the end of the day, I get off the plane feeling so much fresher than otherwise.
2. Try and sneak a free row or business class seat
It’s actually not that hard to sneak into Emirates First Class — I did it!
It’s true, another massive factor of jetlag is the mere fact that we generally don’t get much sleep on those long-haul flights during the times when we would otherwise be getting our 8 hours.
My solution: scout out a free row down in the back of the plane or get yourself a sneaky in-plane upgrade for that sleep you only ever dreamed of.
3. Bring a power board to cut down on adaptors
Ever been caught only being able to power one thing at a time because you only have one travel adaptor?
Well, this is easily fixed. Grab yourself a travel power board to get all your appliances going at once and in your local socket.
4. Get the right credit card
Getting the right credit card can not only ELIMINATE your conversion fees, but it can also save you on the cost of insurance.
Regardless of the payment method you end up choosing, always remember to call your bank to make sure they know you are travelling before they freeze your card on your first attempted transaction.
5. Bring photos of all your important ID info
When we travel, we are always on our toes in new environments.
For me, this leads to just generally forgetting stuff and leaving things on chairs to never be seen again, like the time I left my wallet with $1,000 in it in the Dubai airport.
A lot of people suggest printing off copies of your ID. This is all well and good, however I suggest taking photos of them all on your phone so you have a better chance of accessing them when you need them.
6. Bring a case for your Smartphone
I’m not sure about you, but I need a case. I drop my iPhone all the time, and that’s when I’m in my hometown.
When travelling, we are always in new environments, out hiking, wearing different clothes with different pockets, swimming etc. Getting a case like the one from LifeProof has saved my phone and my cash balance many times!
7. Use Dry Bags, not plastic bags
In the good ol’ days I would always pack some big garbage bags to put my shoes or dirty clothes in.
These days, I’ve gone a little heavier duty and better on the environment by stocking up on these bad boys. Dry bags are the way of the future. Not only are they made from really good quality material, they can be rolled up to squeeze all the air out and keep everything inside waterproof. Perfect for a day out rafting or just to keep things airtight in your luggage.
8. Bring an empty pillowcase and stuff it with a jacket
I remember on my first few holidays actually packing a full pillow in my suitcase just to be sure I had a good night sleep.
Yes, I agree, this was ridiculous.
So these days, instead of packing the whole pillow, I just bring a pillow case and stuff it with my puffy jacket if I never need an emergency pillow on a night bus or in a hostel dorm.
9. Roll your clothes, don’t fold
Better yet, get some packing cubes.
If you really want to be efficient about how much you pack, as well as how long it takes to find stuff, packing cubes will do the job. It makes it so much easier for me to swap things around on the go.
10. Check out Airbnb and HostelWorld
If you’re want to stay in a hotel, then by all means hotelscombined.com is the best site for you to find the cheapest deal. Take my word.
But if you want to be a little less conventional, you can use Airbnb or HostelWorld for the most comprehensive list of hostels around the world. Your pick.
11. Always mark your luggage as fragile
This one is a little crafty, but it works every time.
For no reason other than to just get a one-up on the world, mark your bags as fragile at the check-in counter.
This will have the handlers treat your luggage with a little extra care, and also have your bag coming out first on the carousel because it was generally the last thing to be loaded in the first place.
12. Bring your own water bottle everywhere
Be environmentally conscious!
Not only will getting around with your own reusable bottle save the environment from the scourge of plastic bottles filling our landfills and oceans, but you’ll also save a tonne of cash by not buying fresh bottles every day.
If you’re worried about the quality of the water in the country you’re in, consider investing in a water purifier as well.
13. Download Duolingo and Dict.cc to get yourself around foreign languages
There is nothing more frustrating for me than getting to a new city and having zero idea what the symbol translates to in English. Some languages are just too hard to read for me.
But, at the very least, apps like Duolingo will help with the basic pronunciations and directives to get you to your hotel and out of paying $200 for an apple.
For a big list of the best travel apps, check this out!
14. Use TSA approved locks
If you’re travelling in the US, this is mandatory. If you don’t, you’ll end up losing your locks and having TSA guys sniff through your delicates.
Regardless, getting a good TSA-approved retractable lock is my suggestion. It works just like a normal lock, but can be extended to also keep your bag secured to a bed leg or seat on a bus while you sleep.
15. Set your browser to private browsing when booking tickets
When you’re booking your flights, you might be interested to know that airlines actually set the prices for you based on your home location and how often you check the prices. It’s their way of keeping the prices as high as you’ll possibly pay.
To get around this, clear your cookies before searching and set your browser to “private browsing” so that the sites don’t know where you are searching from.
16. Remember to keep your carryon toiletries below 100 ml
This one is simply about saving some cash. If you want to bring your hairspray or personal items on the plane, that’s fine. Just remember to keep them in small containers, otherwise the customs officers will confiscate them. Otherwise, just keep your toiletries in your checked in luggage.
Do you have any tips of your own to share? What do you do to make your travels as hassle-free as possible?