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16 Travel Hacks To Make Your Vacation 16x Better

16 Travel Hacks To Make Your Vacation 16x Better

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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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