We’ve combed the internet to learn from travel experts everything from when the best time to buy your ticket is, to how to stay safe as you travel. We’re sure that these hacks will help make your trip the dream vacation you’ve always imagined!
Let It Roll
With the threat of delayed flights or long lines, we can’t always guarantee that you’ll make it to your destination looking or feeling fresh. That said, by rolling your clothes, at least your clothes will arrive at their destination looking their best.
Frequent travelers swear by rolling (instead of folding) to ensure clothes stay wrinkle-free. Not only does rolling packed clothing prevent wrinkles, but rolled-up clothes take up less space meaning you can pack more in the same luggage - perfect for unexpected outfit changes during your trip!
While traveling can be an amazing and life-changing experience, it can also be an expensive one. When it comes to planning a trip, hotels and other costs can quickly add up.
One unexpected way to save money is to research if there are any travel perks with your existing association memberships such as AAA or AARP. These memberships often offer discounts on hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions. These little-known perks can result in big savings on your next trip.
Pockets Full of Storage
When it comes to bringing all of your possessions on a trip, being smart about storage makes all the difference. One way to ensure that you have room for all your small items is by traveling with cargo pants or a jacket with many pockets.
Cargo pants offer tons of storage for small items like socks or other things, leaving room for other important items in your carry-on or backpack. Scared of looking like a stereotypical tourist? Ditch the traditional khaki cargos and wear a pair of black discrete ones.
Makeup That Won’t Break Mid-Trip
Whether it's wanting to look perfect in your #VacayVibes pictures, or just out of habit, many of us don’t leave the house, let alone for a trip, without our trusty cosmetics bags.
But all that travel and moving around can easily result in a broken powder compact or cracked eyeshadow palette - and that would be a travel nightmare. An easy solution? Place a thin cotton round on top of the powder product to act as a cushion during your travels, just make sure the compact is completely sealed before tossing it into your cosmetics bag!
Waterproof Shoes For Unexpected Rain
Depending on where you’re traveling, the weather can change pretty quickly, leaving you struggling to know what to pack. One good way to avoid having to pack an additional (and might we add, very heavy) pair of rain boots is either by packing waterproof shoes or boots.
Though many people buy products specifically designed to waterproof shoes, if you can’t buy or find that product but still need to waterproof your shoes, you can use beeswax. Beeswax provides the perfect protective film that repels water, keeping your feet dry and traveling easier.
Candy Containers With Multiple Uses
Besides providing much-needed breath freshening after a long flight, that little container of tic-tac mints can actually be really handy during your travels. Many travelers swear by these plastic containers to hold bobby pins, safety pins, or other small items.
If you’re not a fan of mints, no fear, any small container or even an empty medicine bottle can work equally well when it comes to storing travel necessities. Not only are you recycling, but you’ll be thankful for this travel organization hack when you get to your destination.
Stand Out…In a Good Way
When it comes to traveling, most people don’t really want to stand out. But one area in which you should go all out is when it comes to putting an identifying item on your luggage.
The similar colors, brands, and styles of luggage can often result in travelers getting lost in a sea of black luggage with tiny identifying tags. Avoid the headache and confusion by buying luggage in a bright color or tying a brightly colored ribbon onto your suitcase to easily identify it when it comes around the luggage carousel.
Always Be Prepared
Even on a good day, travelers always run the risk of their checked luggage not arriving at their final destination. During the holidays, or during other peak travel seasons, the likelihood of missing or delayed luggage increases even more.
For this reason, you should always pack a spare change of clothes in your carry-on. Extra pairs of socks and underwear are also a good idea in case it takes the airline several days to locate your belongings. Having a spare change of clothes can also be a quick way to freshen up after a long-haul trip.
When traveling, one of the most common questions travelers ask is, “what do I need to pack?” Well, the days of being clueless when it comes to packing are over thanks to modern technology.
Frequent travelers have long relied on spreadsheets with a set packing list to stay organized. Going somewhere new or with a different set of customs or religious beliefs? Simply google the recommended packing list for that specific city or country. Fellow travelers usually love to share their packing tips or recommended packing lists based on their experience, so take advantage of their knowledge.
The Multi-Tasking Must-Have
While there are many travel necessities that have multiple uses, one of the best items you can pack for your trip is a light shawl.
Not only does a light shawl double as a sarong or even towel on a beach trip, but it can make a quick blanket for chilly flights or public transportation with strong air conditioning. Shawls or other coverups are also a necessity when visiting certain religious sites in order to be respectful or gain entry. You can even fold or roll up the shawl to make a simple pillow for some much-needed mid-travel naps.
Not to scare you, but one of the most germ-ridden items during your trip are your shoes. From maneuvering around airports to running around some less-than-sanitary outdoor markets, your shoes get quite the workout during a trip.
That’s why we suggest storing your shoes in an actual shoe bag or at the very least, a plastic bag from a grocery store. Separating your shoes from your clothing is a good way to keep your items clean during a trip. Can't find a plastic bag? Some travelers simply use the hotel’s provided shower caps to wrap around their shoes!
Two Is Better Than One
While traveling can be a great experience, there’s also unfortunately an experience that many travelers dread - being pickpocketed. In certain countries and cities, walking in the streets can make you a target for experienced and highly-skilled pickpockets.
One way to stop their plans is by using a decoy wallet also known as a mugger’s wallet. Decoy wallets can help in situations where you’re told to hand over your valuables. Many travelers fill their decoy wallets with small amounts of cash, expired bus passes, and even old receipts to make them look more believable.
Email Copies of Important Documents
It's every traveler's worst nightmare - losing your passport or other important documents. While this may be unpleasant to think about, it can be a scary reality. For this reason, many savvy travelers email themselves a copy of their important documents such as their passports, tickets, and other documents.
By having an email copy, they can easily access or even print out their document in a local internet cafe, even if they don’t have a phone. It’s also a smart idea to email your loved ones a copy of some important documents in case of emergency.
According to experts, the air circulating around most airplanes is typically a lot dryer than normal as humidity levels drop the higher you are. What does this mean for travelers? You’re much more likely to feel tired and dehydrated by the time you reach your destination.
The Aerospace Medical Association recommends drinking about eight ounces of water every hour while you’re flying. And as tempting as grabbing a coffee or adult beverage may seem, keep in mind that these beverages can further dehydrate you.
Book Directly With Hotels
Thanks to sites like Expedia or other third-party travel sites, many people tend to book their hotel rooms online without ever contacting the hotel directly.
While it can be easy to use these sites, particularly the ones that aggregate various rates in one place, many experts suggest contacting the hotel directly to book your room. Not only are you more likely to get a better rate, but you may also even be able to negotiate an upgrade for a better room (such as one with a view or a quieter floor for light sleepers).
Game-Changing Packing Cubes
It can be hard to imagine a small cube-shaped piece of fabric changing someone’s life, but “life-changing” or “game-changing” are often the terms thrown around when travelers are describing packing cubes - square-shaped fabric bags that help you organize your suitcase.
Not only do they make organizing and finding specific items easier, but they help condense piles of clothing into “easy to toss into your suitcase” cubes. No more looking for where you put your pajamas or “going out clothes,” this hack makes it easy to keep things organized and makes travel that much easier.
Keep Clothes Smelling Fresh
Let's be honest, after a few days of traveling, things can get a bit stinky. From long hikes to even spending entire days exploring a city, it's only natural that our clothes will pick up some rather unpleasant smells.
To keep things more fresh than funky, a good travel hack is to throw in a couple of fabric softener sheets into your luggage. Not only do these dryer sheets impart a nice fresh scent, but gently rubbing one against your clothes can actually prevent annoying and embarrassing static cling.
Shop Like a Local
Though there are some pretty special meals that are worth splashing out on (looking at you, authentic pizza in Italy), eating out while traveling can quickly add up. Even simple snacks can get pricey. That's why many travelers hit up their destination’s local supermarket to stock up on drinks and food during their trip.
While we don’t expect you to make a three-course meal in your hotel room, local supermarkets sell water, snacks, fruit, bread, and sandwich ingredients for far less than it costs to eat out.
Read Up On the Neighborhood
When booking a hotel, most travelers automatically look for a hotel that is near the tourist attractions that they want to see. While this initially makes sense (who wants to spend hours on public transportation?), it can backfire as some areas near tourist attractions aren’t the best or safest.
Make sure you fully research the area where you will be staying. For example, some neighborhoods seem perfectly safe during the day but become completely empty or even dangerous at night. Sites like Tripadvisor often give you a complete picture including pictures taken by actual guests.
Use a TV to Charge Your Phone
With all of the documents, clothing, and other items to pack, it's no wonder that we often forget to pack a charger. That said, being without a phone while traveling isn’t an option for most of us.
One travel hack that even we were surprised to learn is that you can actually charge your phone using the outlet on the back of most television sets in hotel rooms! Simply use a USB cable to connect your device to the television to give your battery a boost!
Keep Snacks on Hand
If you travel frequently enough, you’ve probably experienced the less glamorous side of travel - flight delays or just general inconveniences and long waits.
For this reason, it's important to always carry some sort of snack on you. Non-perishable snacks like granola bars or nuts are great for when you’re waiting for your flight or the restaurants/shops of the airport haven’t opened yet.
Beware of People Being “Too Nice”
Though every country has its own communication styles, it's generally suggested to be suspicious of anyone being TOO nice to you on your travels.
People placing bracelets or jewelry on you, stopping you to ask directions, or making small talk often either want you to pay for something or are distracting you while another person pickpockets you. It goes without saying that you should never accept food or beverages from a stranger as this is also a common tactic to take advantage of tourists. Ultimately, it's better to be considered standoffish but stay safe.
Have a Plan to Get Home
Having a night out on the town during your trip can be fun, but it can sometimes leave you vulnerable to price gouging. Many tourists don't take the time to learn about a particular city’s public transportation system, particularly the hours of operation.
Staying out long after the buses or subway has stopped running can mean that your only option to get back is a pricey taxi cab and locals are often more than happy to take advantage! Before you set out gallivanting around town, familiarize yourself with the city’s public transportation.
The Life-Saving Travel Must-Have
As you pack for a trip, it's easy to focus on the stuff you want to take versus the things you "need" to take. And while it’s important to leave room in your luggage for that perfect outfit, flashlights are an invaluable travel necessity in the case of an emergency.
There are many stories of travelers being caught off guard during emergencies in hotels such as fires where the electricity has been cut off, forcing them to navigate their way out in the darkness. When in doubt, pack a small keychain-sized flashlight just in case!
Take the Guesswork Out of Bag Sizes
As airlines get more and more particular when it comes to luggage dimensions, buying luggage for your trip can quickly become a confusing nightmare. Thankfully, some luggage manufacturers are actually making luggage that corresponds with the unique dimensions required by certain airlines.
Amazon can be a great place to find these bags. Just make sure to check the website before you purchase our bag as these requirements can sometimes change. Getting the correct size luggage can save you time and money as you won’t have to pay additional fees for oversized bags.
Never Get Lost, Even Without Internet
When you're traveling outside of the country, having a stable internet connection can be a challenge. And while uploading to your “‘Insta” can certainly wait, there are times when you really do need to use your phone while traveling such as looking up directions.
Thankfully, Google Maps allows you to still access their maps and other navigational features even if you have spotty or nonexistent WiFi by saving a map of a specific area. This is especially important since many of us are no that great at navigating!
Keep Your Jewelry Detangled With This Tip
After you’ve packed the essentials like your passport and other documents, it’s time to focus on the fun stuff - clothing, and accessories. But while it can be nice to bring your favorite jewelry pieces, it’s not fun to spend hours trying to detangle a mess of accessories.
Keep your jewelry organized and tangle-free by fully extending your necklaces or bracelets and then wrapping them in plastic cling wrap. The cling wrap is not only lightweight and bulk-free, but it ensures an extra layer of protection for your special pieces.
Extend the Love
An extension cable might not be the first thing you may think to pack on a trip, but hear us out. Many hotels and hostels have limited plugs, and sometimes they’re located in inconvenient places. An extension cord allows you to have more flexibility.
If you've ever stayed at a hostel, then you know that plugs can be a valuable commodity with guests often fighting for the same coveted outlets. Having an extension cord or power strip can quickly quash any struggle over outlets and will probably win you a lot of friends!
Add On in the Moment
When you’re booking your trip, you may only be focused on purchasing your airplane ticket, but the truth is that many travel experts suggest you think beyond that. Many websites will often offer you various add-ons like seat reservations, extra luggage, and other services or upgrades that can help your travels.
These prices are often lower when booked at the time you purchase your ticket compared to buying them later. Wait too long and you may miss out on the special low prices being offered or risk paying a lot more at the ticket counter.
Get Two Trips for the Price of One!
When it comes to traveling, many of us are trying to get the most bang for our buck. One clever way to maximize your travel experience is by booking a ticket with a long layover in another city.
Depending on the hours of the layover, you may be able to leave the airport and tour an entirely different city and possibly even stay overnight before reporting back to the airport. Just keep in mind the distance between the airport and your city, and leave enough time for security and other pre-boarding procedures.
Fake Being Fragile
If you’ve ever seen luggage being handled by baggage handlers, you probably know that their focus is on making sure baggage gets quickly on the plane, and less on your precious souvenirs.
One way to ensure that your belongings make it home in one piece is to mark your bag as “fragile,” not only will fragile bags be handled with more care, they typically get placed at the top of the baggage pile meaning they’ll be sent out first in the luggage carousel. “Fragile” stickers are available at the ticket/check-in counter at no additional cost.
Read Up On Local Holidays
When it comes to traveling, there are times when doing a bit of research can save us a lot of stress. One example is knowing the local holidays. Whether they are religious, secular “bank holidays” or week-long celebrations, these special times can mean that shops, tourist attractions, and restaurants are generally closed.
Certain holidays can also mean that public transportation, banks, or even supermarkets are closed which can make travel a nightmare. If you can’t avoid the holiday, make adequate plans such as stocking up on groceries or getting all of your sightseeing done beforehand.
Double-Bag and Tape Toiletries
Known as the “mystery leak,” many people open their luggage only to find that their clothes and other belongings are soaked with some strange liquid. The culprit? Usually a bottle of shampoo or other toiletries that exploded or leaked during travel.
Between changes in air pressure and overly rough baggage handlers, the possibilities of a cap unscrewing or bottle breaking are great. Using tape to seal caps and then wrapping those taped-up bottles in large waterproof plastic bags will ensure that your suitcase stays dry and your shampoo lives to see another day.
Catch Some Zzzzs On the Go!
One of the biggest expenses when it comes to booking travel is booking accommodations. Even the most basic of hostels can quickly add up on a long trip, and most travelers look to save money on this expensive part of their travel budget.
One hack is to book an overnight flight or overnight bus in order to save money on accommodations. Overnight flights let you sleep comfortably (or as comfortable as sleeping on an airplane can be!), allowing you to arrive at your destination well-rested.
Give Your Credit Card Company the Scoop on Your Plans
Though it can be easy to forget, notifying your credit card company about your upcoming trip is a must on every traveler’s “to-do” list. Many companies automatically freeze your credit card or flag transactions as fraud if there is any activity that they deem suspicious (especially charges in a foreign country).
Getting stuck abroad without a working credit card is stressful and can even be dangerous in the case of an emergency. Always alert your credit card company about your travel plans and when you will be coming back.
Take Advantage of Freebies
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, can all add up when you’re traveling, especially if you’re new to a city. One way to save a bit is by staying in a hotel with a complimentary breakfast.
Many hotels offer a free breakfast including coffee and other refreshments. Eating a big (and free) breakfast can help save you money as that's one less meal that you have to pay for. Some hotels even offer other complimentary meals or snacks throughout the day or offer complimentary coffee or tea. Don’t be scared to take advantage of these perks.
Get a Multi-Pass Public Transportation Card
Many cities offer a wealth of options when it comes to public transportation. But with all of these options, knowing how to get around can be a bit confusing. Thankfully, many cities now offer an all-in-one transport pass that includes access to buses, subways, and even above-ground trains.
Some of these tickets even offer discounts on tourist attractions or let you skip the line - a win all around!
Get Happy at Happy Hours
When you travel, it's almost expected to indulge in the local cuisine. But eating out all the time can quickly get expensive on even the shortest trip. So what’s a budget-conscientious foodie to do? Find out if there is a local version of happy hour in the destination where you are traveling. During happy hour, not only are many drinks half-price or discounted, but the food is also often cheaper.
Some countries also offer less expensive “business lunches” that include a beverage and serving of food for a less expensive price than a dinner portion.
Learn the City’s General Schedule
When researching a destination, we sometimes tend to focus on tourist attractions and not on local customs. For example, in some countries, certain days of the week are devoted to religious practice and thus shops, banks, and most tourist attractions are closed.
Some countries close for a set amount of hours every afternoon known as a “siesta.” Doing the proper research can make sure you're getting the most out of your vacation days.
Choose Free When it Comes to Tours
Though sitting on an air-conditioned bus as you're shuttled from tourist attraction to tourist attraction can be tempting, it can also be expensive. Tours can easily reach into the hundreds of dollars, and that can take a big bite out of your travel budget.
One useful hack is to join a free walking tour that can be found in almost every city. Not only are these tours a great way to see the different sides of a city, but you’ll also be getting some exercise and meeting other travelers - all for free.
Timing Is Everything When Booking Travel
There’s no denying that timing is one of the most important factors, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to travel. Though many people have bragged about finding amazing last-minute deals, experts agree that the best prices for travel can be found about 24 weeks before your departure.
In fact, the savings you can accumulate by booking far in advance can be significant according to various studies done on data related to travel. In general, flights are cheaper when purchased in advance, at least a month and a half before your departure.
Don’t Leave Your Favorite Makeup Products Behind
Whether it's trying to cover up the evidence of a long flight, or wanting to look your best in your vacation photos, traveling without your makeup is not an option for many of us. But with many products housed in heavy glass containers, makeup can easily weigh down luggage.
So what’s a cosmetics connoisseur to do when traveling? Simply squeeze out a bit of your favorite cosmetic product like foundation or moisturizer into a contact lens case. Make sure you close it tight and throw it into your carry-on or purse!
Compression Socks Are a Must-Have
Between the long hours spent sitting, the lack of hydration (who wants to use airplane bathrooms?), or kicking back a few mini-bottles of adult beverages, your legs can get very swollen during travel.
The swelling doesn't just look unsightly, but for many people, it's physically painful and can make you feel fatigued and uncomfortable - things you definitely don't want to feel when you land and plan to hit the ground running. Frequent travelers swear by compression socks to help prevent painful swelling and boost circulation on long trips.
Taxi Drivers Know Where It's At
Between social media and endless amounts of online information, you can now find out just about anything about the place you're traveling to. That said, never underestimate the knowledge of a local - specifically a taxi driver.
Taxi drivers have typically lived in an area their whole lives or a long period of time, they've seen their city at all hours of the day and have driven through every nook and cranny throughout their career. Most cab drivers are happy to share their city with tourists and can be an irreplaceable source of knowledge.
Learn What “Shoulder Season” Is
Most of us know what shoulder pads are, but did you know that there is a “shoulder season” when it comes to travel? Shoulder season is the season between the typical high season and low season of a travel destination - in basic terms, it's when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds have cleared.
Shoulder season can depend on the destination so it's important to research the specific shoulder of that specific destination. Not only are conditions great during this season, but tickets are typically significantly cheaper.
Use This Beauty Sleep Hotel Hack
Even when you're exhausted after a long trip, it can be hard to get to sleep in a strange room. One of the most annoying parts about staying in a hotel room is that little sliver of blinding light that seems to always get in your eyes as soon as the sun rises.
Light sleepers may want to jot this next travel hack down - use the pants hanger that many hotel closets offer to pin the hotel blinds closed, making sure that no light permeates and ruins your precious beauty sleep.
Noise-Canceling Headphones Are a Game-Changer
Even the most technophobe traveler has moments when they wish they would have splurged on a pair of noise-canceling headphones. From screaming babies to overly-excited tourists, airplanes and airports can be terribly noisy places, making it hard to get a few hours of rest on your journey.
Noise-canceling headphones can be a great way to find a bit of zen in an otherwise very stressful and loud environment. With so many different brands and price points, these headphones are no longer a luxury, and are now considered a travel essential!
Keep a Pen Handy
Sure a pen isn't the most glamorous travel accessory (it’s no monogrammed passport holder), but it is actually one of the most useful items to bring with you on a trip. Having fast access to a pen can mean quickly filling out customs forms and other documents instead of relying on seatmates or flight attendants.
A pen is also a great way to jot down important addresses or names of places without having to reach for your phone. Weighing practically nothing, this travel must-have is a surprisingly useful item to pack!
Skip the Independent Currency Exchange Spots
Though it may be tempting to use the currency exchange places in the airport or other exchange houses, it is typically financially smarter to just withdraw money from an ATM. Currency exchange centers in airports and other locations add on their own (typically high) fees and don't give good exchange rates.
It's usually recommended to just use your debit or credit card at an ATM to withdraw the money needed. When looking for an ATM, try to use an ATM associated with a large banking chain in that country for added security.
Think Beyond Big Airports
When it's time to book your trip, many people will automatically plug-in specific airports, particularly larger airports. While these airports may be a bit more convenient, they can also be more expensive.
If you can, try researching prices for flights departing from various airports in a region. Some areas are serviced by various airports, each easily accessible by public transportation. Considering that you may be able to save hundreds of dollars on a flight, it might be worth taking a short train ride to another airport.
Yes, you want to look your best and also be prepared for any unexpected wardrobe change, but the truth is that you're probably overpacking… by a lot. Most trips can easily require just the contents of carry-on luggage and a backpack.
With airline restrictions and fees getting worse every year, packing light is not only easier to manage, but it's also a lot cheaper. Instead of packing a bunch of clothes you probably won't wear, packing lightly makes you focus on what you really need. There are plenty of online guides to minimalist-style packing.
Keep Walking to Find Better Deals
We’ve all been there - you’re walking near a major tourist attraction when you suddenly get very hungry. Unfortunately, savvy restaurant owners know this and often set up shop near major tourist hubs offering usually lackluster food and criminally expensive prices.
Try walking a bit further from the touristy spots, even a few blocks away to dine where the locals dine - you’ll probably get better food and will most likely pay a lot less for it, all while getting a more authentic taste of your destination!
Credit Card Rewards - Use Them
If you’re going to use a credit card anyway, you should probably use one that rewards you for your purchases. Depending on who you bank with, many credit cards offer benefits such as discounts on hotel rooms, restaurants, and even some tourist attractions.
Some credit cards even let you accumulate miles that can be used to purchase flights. Though it may seem small, these miles or points can quickly accumulate and before you know it, you’re well on your way to a free or close-to-it vacation - another way to save on your trip!
Airbnb Isn’t Always Cheaper
Yes, we know we might ruffle a few feathers of loyal Airbnb customers, but the truth is that the popular travel website isn’t actually always the cheapest option. Depending on the season or how far ahead you book your stay, you may actually find a decent hotel for less than the average Airbnb booking.
Considering many Airbnbs tack on an additional cleaning fee or other added costs, a hotel may be cheaper especially if it comes with benefits such as free breakfast or shuttles to the airport. Never just assume that vacation rental companies are cheaper.
Look Up Local Freebies
When we travel, we often want to get the most out of our trip … for the least amount of money possible. Luckily, many cities actually offer tons of free (or close to free) activities to do. Some cities have weeks or days when museums or other attractions are free or heavily discounted.
Some cities even have exciting local fairs, celebrations, or other exhibits open to the public that are also free of charge. Before you travel, you should join local groups on social media pages where these free activities are often advertised.
Take Advantage of Hotel Shuttles
Sometimes, when you travel, the logistics of getting from point A to point B can really add up. Thankfully, many hotels actually offer free or discounted shuttle services to important places such as the airport, city center, or even tourist attractions.
Because hotels are transferring groups, the rates for these shuttle services (if they aren't free) are typically less than if you were to book them privately. It is also a lot less stressful to coordinate as you literally just have to go outside of the hotel.
Stay Next to Public Transportation
While clicking on the cheapest hotel option on a vacation booking site may be tempting, do a little digging. Many cheaper hotels are actually further from the city center, especially further from public transportation.
A good rule of thumb is to stay about a 15-minute walk away from a bus stop or a train station. Being so far from public transportation can not only mean long and expensive taxi rides every time you want to enter the city, but it can also be dangerous to walk around an unfamiliar place, especially late at night.
Be Green While Saving Some Green
Staying hydrated while traveling is very important, but sometimes finding bottled water can be difficult or even expensive. In addition to that, many of us are aware of the environmental consequences of using single-use plastic water bottles every time we get thirsty.
A better solution is to bring a reusable water bottle with you especially if you are traveling somewhere where the tap water is safe to drink, or clean water is easy to find. If you’re worried about having to hold a clunky heavy bottle, there are now collapsible reusable bottles available.
Travel Like a Local
Yes, ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft can be a godsend when traveling, but they can be very pricey, especially at certain times of the day. The same can be said about depending on taxi cabs too. Instead of using these modes of transportation, check out how the locals get around.
Alternative modes of transportation such as public buses, trains, ferries, and even tuk-tuks may not only be cheaper but sometimes even faster. Do your research beforehand and don't be afraid to ask the hotel staff or other locals about these local alternatives.
Cook Your Own Food
While sampling traditional cuisines can be fun, eating out while traveling can get expensive, especially when you’re eating out at various times a day. Consider renting a home or staying in a hotel that is equipped with a kitchen so that you can make your own meals.
Not only is it exciting to grocery shop like a local, but you will probably save a considerable amount of money. If you still want to indulge in some of the local fares, commit to cooking breakfast and lunch at your hotel/home rental and splurge on a dinner out.
Work to Stay
While the idea of working seems to be the complete opposite of going on vacation, the two can actually coexist! There are many hostels around the world that allow you to board for free in return for working a few hours a day.
There are also some farms that look for seasonal help that also provide free room and board in exchange for some help around the place. This allows you to set up a base in a location and gives you the chance to explore a new place on your days off while meeting like-minded travelers.
Be Selective About Seasons
When you're ready to book a trip, it's not just about where you go but also when you go. Destinations can be completely different depending on the travel season, and you may have an entirely different experience depending on when you book your trip.
For example, many popular summer destinations such as the Greek Islands tend to be empty during the winter with many islanders retreating to the mainland during the winter and many hotels and businesses closing. Doing your research can ensure that you have the best time when traveling and are not disappointed.
Book Flights During the Week for Lower Fares
Though many of us may have difficulty booking a flight midweek, many travel experts believe that fares during the week are typically less expensive than flights on the weekend. Days like Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually associated with cheaper domestic flights within the United States.
According to research done by travel giant Expedia, Sunday is generally the cheapest day to book a flight, with some research suggesting that booking at the end of the weekend can save you up to ten percent when it comes to booking an international flight!
Pack With Comfort in Mind
We all want to look stylish when walking around our destination, but the truth is that when it comes to packing for a trip, comfort will always trump style. Without realizing it, you may walk miles upon miles in unfamiliar terrain as you sightsee.
Walking uphill or downhill or on rough surfaces requires sturdy and comfortable shoes. While you can bring a pair of more formal shoes for nights out, sneakers or other comfortable walking shoes are a much smarter choice when packing. Exploring a place on foot doesn't have to be painful!
Follow the Dress Code
While it's great to have a unique sense of style, standing out can be a bad or even dangerous thing when you travel. Many destinations have general dress codes that locals follow, many of which are dictated by different cultural practices or even religions.
The last thing you want to do is offend the locals, or be barred from certain religious sites because you’re not dressed appropriately. Check out local social media groups, or do research on the local dress code of the place where you are traveling to avoid embarrassment or even risk offending others.
Research the Good and Bad Areas
It is a universal truth that while some destinations have amazing places to see, they often also have less-than-amazing areas. Sometimes, these dangerous areas are close to touristy spots or near the center of the city.
Some neighborhoods can drastically change within just a block or two, meaning one wrong move and you can be in a very unsafe location. Make sure you’re aware of a city’s rougher neighborhoods or dangerous areas to avoid getting lost or accidentally entering them. Ask locals which areas should be avoided, and which areas should be explored.
Don’t Depend on WiFi or Expensive Phone Plans
Though many cell phone service providers offer international calling and data plans, these are often expensive and full of hidden fees. What many budget-conscientious travelers do is purchase a local sim card at their destination or purchase an international sim card before their trip.
Using a local sim card means having a stable and reliable source of internet which is important while traveling for online maps and using apps like Uber or Lyft. Sim cards are typically inexpensive and can allow you to call local numbers if needed.
Share Your Itinerary
While most of us don't like to envision the worst-case scenario, it helps to be prepared for anything. Before departing for your trip, make sure you send a copy of your itinerary, contact information for your hotel(s), and other important information to your loved ones.
This is especially important if you will be visiting various cities or countries during your trip. There is also a way to register your travels with the local embassy for added reassurance in the case of an emergency when your loved ones are trying to locate you.
Cool It With the Social Media
We’ve all been a bit guilty about bragging about our upcoming trip on social media. Here's the problem - by telling everyone you’ll be out of town, many experts would say you’re practically inviting someone to rob your home.
Also, if you’re constantly “checking in” to places during your travels you never know who is following you and now knows your every move. Wait until you’ve left the actual location before posting or tagging yourself in photos. Better yet, put down the phone, and upload the photos when you’re on your way home.
Local Isn’t Always Better
Ah, street food - with its intoxicating smells and tempting prices, it's no wonder many tourists tend to turn to these cheap eats when their stomachs start rumbling. But beware - in many countries, street food is prepared and stored in a way that is a much lower standard than you may be used to.
While many locals have grown up eating these dishes, your body may be more sensitive. The last thing you want to have to deal with on a trip is food poisoning!
Traveling through an airport today requires you to go through various steps and stages in security, wearing the right clothes can save you (and the people in line with you) time. For example, slide-on shoes versus shoes with tons of laces or complicated buckles save you time if you need to remove your shoes.
Wearing socks acts as a barrier between you and the questionable airport carpet. A zip-up jacket can be easily taken off to be scanned versus a sweater or other bulky top which may even require you to be manually patted down.
Do Your Own Laundry
From food stains to sweat stains, our clothes can get pretty dirty throughout our travels. And while many cities and even hotels offer washing machines, sometimes the easiest solution is to just wash our clothes yourself.
Since taking heavy bottles of detergent is not recommended, toss a few laundry detergent pods into a plastic bag and into your suitcase. These concentrated capsules dissolve in water such as the hotel’s sink or bathtub and you can hand wash your clothes. Washing your clothes throughout the trip allows you to pack less, and let's be honest, smell better!
Microfiber Towels - Travel Must Have
Depending on where you stay, some hotels and hostels do not provide complimentary towels or allow their towels to be taken down to the pool or beach. For this reason, many people choose to bring their own towels when they travel.
The problem, however, is that towels tend to be bulky and can take what seems like forever to dry. Flashforward to microfiber towels. Not only are microfiber towels very absorbent, but they dry much faster and can easily be folded into a thin and small pile. They can even double as a light blanket!
Double-Check Your Passport’s Expiration Date
So you’ve just purchased your tickets, now it’s time to get your travel documents in order. But here’s where many travelers get in trouble. Most people typically focus on the date of expiration printed on their passports and while that date is important, it's not the only thing.
Some countries actually require that a passport be valid for six months beyond the date on which you intend to return! The rules regarding passport validity can vary depending on the country you intend to visit so it’s best to always do your research.
While we're sure this travel hack may seem strange, it can, unfortunately, be necessary. When it comes to traveling solo, many women wear a fake wedding ring. Not only does the ring deter persistent people who may try flirting, many travelers feel safer if others think they’re traveling with a spouse and not alone.
For this reason, many solo travelers will also say that they are staying with their significant other in a hotel, or that their significant other is waiting for them. At the very least, it gives you an excuse to get out of an otherwise uncomfortable situation.
Difference between Day and Night
Let's be honest - even the safest-seeming city can seem a bit seedy as soon as the sun sets. Most cities completely change character as soon as night falls, and sometimes that change is less-than-positive. Our travel tip is to book departure and arrival times in a way that you can arrive during daylight hours.
Not only is navigating through a city after hours difficult (with limited public transportation options), but it can even be dangerous with fewer people around or people with ill intentions around late at night.
Have a Plan Before You Land
We don't know about you, but when we arrive at a new destination, we’re typically exhausted. The last thing we want is to figure out the logistics needed to arrive at our accommodations. For this reason, it’s so vital to have your plan ready and up-to-date before you arrive.
Speak to the staff at your hotel in order to learn the best way to get there, then write down or save this information on your phone. Download local transportation apps that will inform you of any changes or can tell you the best route.
Walk With Purpose
Traveling may be a positive experience, but it can also quickly turn negative. When traveling to a new destination, you may unknowingly be giving off a signal that you’re a tourist (which many people may sadly take advantage of).
One tip that many experienced travelers swear by is to walk quickly with their head up - walking with purpose gives the impression that you’re familiar with a location and not a tourist. The last thing you want people to see is you fumbling around with a map on your phone or with a confused expression on your face.
Translation Apps Will Be Your Best Friend
When you travel to a foreign country, you may find that getting around can be difficult due to differences in language. And while learning a bit of the language of your destination is always suggested, it can be hard or nearly impossible to learn an entirely new language before you land!
Thankfully apps like Google Translate allow you to translate text into the local language and even have an option to scan and translate images in real time - a lifesaver when trying to decipher a menu in a restaurant or instructions!