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Become A Smart Traveler: Use These 15 Awesome Travel Hacks

Become A Smart Traveler: Use These 15 Awesome Travel Hacks

Everyone loves the idea of travelling. But, not everyone is in love with the concept of booking expensive flights, losing your week’s worth of luggage and being denied accommodation at a foreign country you’re not familiar with. How do you save money and still get to enjoy your travel experience? These travel hacks from professional travelers got your back:

1. Clear your browser’s cookies

Booking websites usually store your browser’s cookies so they know how many times you’ve looked for a hotel or flight deal. Since they want you to book quickly, they show you higher prices for you to take the bait. Prevent this from happening: clear your cookies and use an incognito browser window.

2. Track your airfare

Websites such as Yapta and Skyscanner allow you to monitor your airfares and give you alerts every time it changes. Just give them your email address and strike while the iron is hot! If the airfare seems cheap enough for you, book it already. You may not have the second chance in the future.

3. Fly Red-Eye

Don’t want airport hassles? Choose red-eye (overnight) flights so you avoid rush hour, long lines and grumpy personnel. You can always sleep on the plane and wake up energized when you arrive at your dream destination.

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4. Pack your luggage “Russian Nesting Doll” style

One of the famous travel hacks is to fold your clothes. Why don’t you take it one step further? Rolled up socks and underwear go inside your shoes. Rolled up shirts can safely store your digital camera or sunglasses. Put the items you’ll frequently need (liquids and items you’ll use mid-flight) at the very top.

5. Wear your extra luggage

Wear the bulky items that you will need but you don’t want to pack – a jacket, a pair of boots, a hoodie or your gym clothes! If you’re really extreme about it, you can also try Jaktogo so you can wear your luggage literally.

6. Make your luggage stand out – in a good way

Consistently checking every luggage that moves is not easy so you want your own luggage to be noticeable at first sight. Don’t use ribbons or bows because these can get stuck. Instead, put colorful and bright stickers on your luggage.

7. Choose your security line

Don’t line up behind senior citizens and children as they tend to take the most time in getting through security. Instead, look for people in business suits; they tend to move more efficiently as compared to others.

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8. Go through priority lines anyway

If you see that the line is excruciatingly slow, go to the empty line for priority/first-class passengers. You can actually ask them if you can just go through, or if you want, you can always pass by and they’ll wave you in. More often than not, you won’t even need to flash your frequent flyer card anyway.

9. Request shopping bags from airport gift shops

Ask for a big shopping bag and put all your remaining stuff there. Because everyone will assume that you just bought this from the airport’s gift shop, you won’t get charged for an extra carry-on baggage. If it’s not free, consider buying it. A shopping bag price is still cheaper than an overweight fee.

10. Bring an empty water bottle with you

Pass through security by making sure your bottle’s empty. Once you’re in the holding area, fill it up at the tap or water fountain and smile. Now you don’t need to shell out to pricey airport stores just so you can quench your thirst! If you’re extra cautious, you can bring an empty water bottle with a built-in filter.

11. Roll back your computer’s clock

Only given one hour to enjoy the free WiFi? Before the one hour is up, roll back your computer’s or smartphone’s clock. This way, you get more Internet time.

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12. Consider house-sitting

You can technically live rent-free if you do house-sitting. Join a house-sitting membership sites like TrustedHousesitters.com, sign up for notifications and reply quickly to any messages. Also, make sure to have a written agreement with the homeowner so that you know what and what not to do while living in their house.

13. Join free local guides

You can check out the Global Greeter Network for free local guides. You get free tours, new friends and perhaps even free meals, if your “greeter” is generous enough!

14. Make one meal the highlight of your day

Don’t splurge for every meal – you’ll spend more money faster if you do this. Instead, use one meal and make it the highlight every day. For example, for breakfast, stick with cheese and bread, yogurt or affordable fruits that you can buy in your nearest supermarket. Then for lunch, look for scrumptious yet cheap lunch set deals. For dinner, you can either eat street food or even make do with the food that you took home with you. You don’t need to eat like a king every time to enjoy your travel.

15. Have your USB stick with you

One of the most-ignored travel hacks is about safety: in an encrypted USB stick, include your ID pictures, bank/insurance company phone numbers, insurance policy, credit card statements and passport photos. This way, if you ever get robbed, you can immediately get back on your feet and take action.

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Which of these travel hacks are you familiar with? Share in the comments below and let’s talk!

Featured photo credit: 0qtowsuC.jpg/5demayo via cdn.morguefile.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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