Come summer and you’ll be itching to wear your travel hat and escape to a beautiful destination to spend time with friends, family or even alone. Summer means sun and fun and if you know how to get the most of your time and resources (read, money), you’ll enjoy your vacation even better. Check out these essential travel hacks to make the most of your summer trip.
1. When searching for flights or making a booking online, use the “incognito” mode and clear cache memory to avoid being overpriced by airlines. This could happen if the airlines or travel companies know your search history and be depending on how desperate you are can actually give you a bad deal.
2. Pack light to avoid getting overcharged for luggage on your flight. You can roll your clothes to save space and also avoid clothes from creasing. Pack light weight, mix-n-match clothes and avoid packing toiletries (you’ll get them all in your hotel rooms) among other things. This is where you can save a lot of money from checked baggage fees. If you do not have to check a bag, you can also roam around with ease without having to carry a bulky bag. You can also get in and out of airports with ease. Use a price comparison website like Idealo to get the best deals on backpacks.
3. Email a copy of your passport, IDs, hotel bookings and travel itinerary to yourself, in the case of theft or loss of these documents. Another way to avoid loss or theft of passport and cash is to put them in a small pouch with a neck band and wear it around the neck beneath your top-wear. This way you can feel the pouch and also keep it away from “prying hands.”
4. If you are a thrifty traveler, you can avoid sleepovers in hotels by booking on overnight journeys. By sleeping on flights, you can save time and a lot of money on accommodations. And you’ll always arrive at your destination feeling fresh and well rested.
5. While buying your favorite cosmetics, ask for free samples. These travel-sized samples are easy to carry during your trips. If you cannot get free samples, you can use old, washed contact lens cases to carry your concealers and lotions.
6. A power pack is a must to keep your devices charged and ready while traveling. Use appropriate converters and adapters depending upon the country you are traveling to. Also look out for USB ports at the back of TVs in hotels. Most have them and you can use them to charge your power packs or other devices.
7. Use your credit cards to pay and avoid using cash as much as possible. Your bank will most likely offer you the best exchange rate. Visit your bank to inform them that you’ll be traveling and how they could offer you ways to save on transaction fees and other expenses. If you have to pay in cash, pay in the local currency and not in your home currency.
8. Download a currency converter app on your phone to avoid doing all the clumsy math. Also get a price list, in local currency, for essentials to shop with confidence and without the fear of being ripped off of precious money.
9. To avoid the long, perilous lines for the cab at “Arrivals,” head on to the “Departures” area and catch a cab from there. All the cabs will be dropping passengers at the “Departures” section and most likely head back to town or to the “Arrivals” area to get new customers. So they will welcome the chance of getting a passenger easily instead of waiting in the long queue at “Arrivals.” Hopping from Arrivals to Departures won’t be possible at all terminals, but if it is, you can save a lot of time and hopefully, get a good bargain too!
10. Never forget to pack a small DIY First Aid kit. Pack essentials like a bandage, cotton, disinfectant solution, aspirin tabs, antacids, antibacterial cream/lotion and a few Band-Aids. You can place it all in a Ziploc bag or an old sunglasses case.
11. Learn important phrases in the language spoken in the country you are traveling to. This will make your life a lot easier. If you wish to shop at local markets, this knowledge can come in handy. Pack a small pocket book of phrases for quick reference.
12. To save money on expensive hotel laundry services, pack some quick-dry clothes. Wash them before going to bed in your hotel room and they’ll be dry and fresh the next morning.
13. Avoid roaming charges by using only Wi-Fi. Hotels and most restaurants offer free Wi-Fi. You can put your phone on “airplane mode” to avoid getting charged for incoming calls. Use free services for messaging like WhatsApp. You can also use offline maps feature on Google Maps for navigation.
14. If you look like you might still be in college (even if you have graduated), bring your student’s ID card along. Students generally get discounts at museums, restaurants and a lot of other places. So you can avail of these and save money. If you are a senior citizen or teacher, get your respective ID cards along to avail of special offers and discounts.
15. To avoid your dirty laundry bag from stinking inside your luggage, throw in leftover soaps from your hotel room in them. A couple of dryer sheets will also dispel odors.
16. To get preferential treatment for your checked bag, mark it as “fragile.” It will, very likely, get a prime spot on the cargo bay and will be among the first to come out of the plane on the baggage claim belt. You can grab a cab before everyone else collects their bags.
18. If you are the curious explorer types, don’t book a direct flight. If you can find connecting flights with a multi-hour stopover, this gives you a chance to explore a new destination before heading on to your planned vacation spot.
Happy traveling! And be safe!
Eva Hines is a lifestyle blogger who frequently writes about tips related to fashion, lifestyle and more. She is travel enthusiast. Find her on Twitter @evaphines.