Traveling is one of the few universal things around the world that brings cultures and communities together. Embarking on a new travel journey opens up endless opportunities to life-changing experiences. Still, we can’t deny the headache that often comes along with making travel plans; especially with a large group of people for extensive periods of time. Whether someone is traveling to a different region or a completely different country, it’s super important to be overly prepared to make sure to get the most out of their experience. While they might have done everything right up until now, from making sure they have their itinerary to booking their flights perfectly, there are a few pretty cool traveling hacks they should check out before takeoff.
Their trip might already be set, but we have a few ideas that will make it easier, more fun, and really convenient. Plus, we also threw in a few common mistakes that travelers often make, that create inconveniences that could have otherwise been avoided. Because who wants a trip to be ruined by missing their final flight because the layover was too short? Everyone should check out a few travel hacks and mistakes for their next trip!
Ugh, jet lag. While some of it actually feels good because it means you are in a completely different time zone and far away from home, it can also be a major pain. One of the best ways to shake it off is to go for a run (even though a nap will most likely feel so much better and be super tempting). It’s important to get moving so you can get used to the time difference. This will also be helpful when you get back at home after you’ve already adjusted to the temporary time zone from your trip.
We know that one of the best parts about traveling is snapping pictures. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the top ways you miss out on the best parts of your trip. We’re not saying don’t take any pictures at all, we’re just reminding you not to forget the experience. Don’t get so caught up in getting the perfect angle of yourself standing next to a statue or the most aesthetic shot of your food that you don’t really get a chance to enjoy it. Pictures are great, but memories are what really last.
Thankfully, the social networking community of travelers is more of a close unit than most think. Who knew you could find WiFi passwords in FourSquare comments? Locals and tourists are more generous than not when it comes to not only offering up reviews for local coffee shops and restaurants, but also providing everything else you’d need to know to enjoy your visit, like the WiFi password. Because we clearly can’t survive without WiFi. While most places give these out for free, it wouldn’t hurt to check just to see what’s out there.
We can admit that an ideal day isn’t one spent at the airport. So we totally understand if you book your flights with really short layovers. But this can also become a major problem when you don’t account for other setbacks. What if your first flight is delayed and you miss your layover completely or are left running from one end of the airport to the other in hopes of making it? We would recommend having a layover of at least 90 minutes to account for any unexpected changes.
Yeah, we were pretty amazed by this one too. How cool is it? Instead of trying to find something to keep your chargers together, or letting them hang out all willy nilly, make sure they stay organized by putting them in a glass case. If you don’t have one, you could borrow one from a friend or even find one at a second-hand store like Goodwill. Fortunately, if you’re really big on appearance, there are literally countless of options for you to choose from that won’t cramp your style.
It’s just as important to tell your bank and credit card companies of your upcoming travels as it is to inform your cell phone provider. There’s almost nothing worse than making a purchase, whether it’s a hotel or a souvenir, only to get your card declined because your bank thought it was stolen and you were a victim of fraud. Relieve yourself of any unnecessary headaches and simply reach out to all of your financial institutions and let them know about your travel plans ahead of time.
The idea of traveling is already fun in itself. But what if you could connect with others who are on the same journey? Downloading apps to meet and link up with fellow travelers is a pretty cool hack to help enhance your lifechanging experience. Travel Buddies, Tourlina, and Backpackr are some of the most well-known apps that will help you out. And don’t worry about meeting someone who you might not get along with, it also matches you based on your personalities. Plus, all profiles are public.
Ah, the travel bucket list. Everyone pretty much has one for every place they visit whether it’s San Francisco or Rome. But don’t get too hasty. Putting too many to-dos on your itinerary can almost make your trip even more stressful by trying to do it all. On the other hand, having less items on your bucket list could let you really enjoy and take time to explore your destination. It also allows for a little rest time that will be much needed.
Watching a TSA worker pour out your favorite water that you literally just bought at the gas station before you got to the airport, is not the best feeling in the world. So here’s a suggestion to save you from the heartbreak. Save an empty water bottle, or purchase a new sustainable one, and take that through security. With this method, you don’t have to worry about the amount of liquid being over the legal limit. Once you get past security, refill the water bottle and be on your way with no love lost.
While a hotel or restaurant might have beautiful pictures, that could mean nothing more than the idea that they have a great photographer or camera phone. You can get rid of a lot of headache and frustration by reading reviews in your vacation town to see what the place is really like before you set your heart on staking your claim there. The good thing about reviews is that they are the best way to get the honest opinion of others on a venue, so you’re not just hearing what workers and owners have to say.
This hack has a number of benefits when it comes to trading in your U.S. dollars for the currency of your international destination. The main benefit is that it can save you money and time, but most importantly money. Most exchange centers charge ridiculous prices because they know you need to trade in your funds. While banks charge fees too, the exchange centers are typically much higher. Save your time and your money and go to an ATM or a simple cash machine.
As exciting as traveling to a new country or city outside of your time zone can be, it’s important to factor in the time change during your trip; especially in the moments that you arrive and before you depart. You might cross over multiple time zones before you get to the one you’ll be in for the duration of your trip but knowing what time it is where you are compared to your hometown is imperative for those moments you arrive and depart.
If you’re like us, one of your favorite parts about traveling is the packing part. We see our favorite characters packing their clothes in a suitcase all the time. But even they are doing it all wrong. While folding your clothes might be a good feeling as you pack your suitcase and embark on your trip, you’ll save a ton more room by rolling them. That way, you can either bring even more clothes with you (hey, a few extra options never hurt), or save space to pack items you pick up during your trip.
This one might be a no-brainer, but you might be surprised to find out how often things get stolen just because they aren’t put in a secure place. Yes, you might be traveling to a super nice area where the crime is much lower than on our side of the pond. But you can never be too cautious. Be sure to place your items out of plain sight, even in your hotel room. As much as it’s nice to trust others, you might be better off being watchful and guarded.
Who knew those containers that remind you what pills are for what days could also double as a mini storage unit for your jewelry? It’s quite perfectly actually. The fact that the containers are separated by day give you a couple of options on how to organize your jewelry for the trip. It seems like the most sensible one is to separate the items by the day you want to wear them. But you could also use it to separate the type of jewelry. Your earrings might fit just right in the Sunday and Monday box.
We know how easy it is to click “No” and opt out of travel insurance under the notion that you’re actually saving money. But if you think about it, most travel insurance is less than $30. This could look like chump change compared to how much you could really be out if you have to cancel your trip or if something unexpected comes up like a medical emergency. Be sure to read the entire insurance plan so you can see exactly what’s included.
It prevents wrinkles! Whether you’re traveling for work or for fun, ironing is certainly not a chore you’d be excited to perform once you arrive. One of the best ways to help prevent wrinkles is to put a tumble dryer sheet in your suitcase on top of your clothes. This is also a benefit for longer flights and trips because it will help make sure your clothes don’t have a stench or odor by the time you open it. Be sure to pack a few extras to sustain you during your trip.
It’s super easy to forget, but can you really go the whole trip without using your cell phone? If not, you definitely want to tell your cell phone provider about any upcoming trip. They typically only take a day or two, if that, to update your plan so you can use your phone internationally. Trust, this is the best option instead of just going overseas, or even to Canada or Mexico, thinking you won’t use your phone because just one phone call or text can get really expensive.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. But unfortunately, not a ton of people are aware of it. It’s been said that popular travel sites have a tendency to not only monitor how often you visit but boost up the price when it notices there’s a pattern of you looking consistently. While this is completely unfair, there’s a way to avoid this. Simply search for flights using the private browser and boom, you’re determined to get the fairest prices.
You’re pretty smart, so it’s safe to say you know that every city is different. You might only be a couple hours away from home or a couple of time zones, but the taxi fare is going to be different wherever you go. Your top solution to prevent any confusion or misunderstanding (especially if it’s a place where the dominant language is unfamiliar), is to get a clear idea on how much the taxi is before you take off. Don’t be afraid to ask the driver, even if the price is posted.
So it’s pretty safe to say one of the go-to hairstyles for vacation is a messy bun. And a messy bun calls for tons of bobbi pins. While you might have found a number of ways to keep yours together, because we all know they have a mind of their own and can end up anywhere from between the couch to on the bathroom floor, this one is a surefire win. You might not have noticed before, but a Tic-Tac container is actually perfect to keep your bobbi pins in one place.
Yes, it’s been said the more options the better; especially if there isn’t a key itinerary for your trip. But when there’s not really a plan, you run the risk of overpacking. And if you’re checking your bag, this can get even worse because it could go over the limit for the airline, which is typically 50 pounds. It’s also helpful to think about steering clear of extra bulky clothes. An easy fix is to make a list of what you’re going to wear on what day, so you don’t feel like you have to bring everything in your closet.
Even if it’s technically not. Putting the fragile label on your suitcase(s) can increase the chances of it actually being treated with care. Of course, there’s another benefit that you might not have considered. Bags that are marked fragile tend to be at the top of the pile to, you know, make sure a ton of other suitcases aren’t stacked on top of it. Now, you’ll be one of the first people to get your bag instead of the last waiting in line at baggage claim.
Even if you have the funds to ball out on your vacation, we highly recommend setting a budget. You run yourself the risk of overspending for absolutely no reason when you go to a new city without an idea or plan of how much you really want to spend. While you might think of a budget as a way to prevent you from being great on your vacation, it’s actually the opposite. It gives you a freedom to at least be aware of what you’re spending so you’re not shocked when you get back home.
If you weren’t sure of this trick, it might even work on those days you aren’t traveling. But when you’re out and about away from home, it certainly comes in handy. Your batteries have a better chance of not only holding a longer charge but also staying fresh in cooler spaces. Word is it keeps 90% of its full charge when its housed in colder temps. What space is cooler than on top of the refrigerator? A key bonus is that you won’t have to charge them as frequently.
It might seem like a good idea to check your medicine and items that you know you can’t live without during your trip. But if you think about it, it’s not the best thing to do. Instead, the safest place for items like medicine, electronics such as an iPad, or other objects like expensive jewelry is to stay with you in your carry-on. There are so many things that can go wrong from lost luggage to tampering so you’re just asking for those items to not arrive safely if you check them at the airport.
Resources: Lifebuzz, Hostel World, Ordinary Traveler, Globe Treks, Savored Journeys