Throughout my years of travelling, I’ve always been on the lookout for ways to make travel as easy and stress-free as it can be. Along the way, I’ve built a list of the best travel hacks around (all tried and tested by yours truly) and thought it was only right to share this wisdom.
Here are the 11 travel hacks every traveller should know about, with my first hand experiences on why they really work. But the only way you’re truly going to know if they work is if you try them out on your next travels!
4 Hacks For The Money Saver
1. Be Smart With Your Flight Bookings
There are quite a few blog posts and travel forums advising for you to book flights in the middle of the week versus the weekend. The theory goes that with most of us working throughout the week, the flight companies expect us to go flight hunting at the weekend when we have time, so of course, they have a tendency to increase their prices.
I investigated this when booking my last few trips. In some cases, the price increase was as much as £100 for the same flight dates when booking on a Tuesday versus a Sunday - that’s another night in a hotel or a couple of meals out!
So, next time you’re booking your flights, try doing it during your lunch break at work or on a weekday evening and you may just find you can stay another night for free - ahem, kind of!
Another hack to save money when booking flights is to enable private browsing when you are looking. Google Chrome lets you do this super easily by using “Incognito” mode and other browsers all have similar capabilities. When you’re researching your flights, the flight companies are tracking your every move through their website and can use this to increase prices for flights you looked at last week. But if you’re incognito, then they’ll never know you were considering booking a flight!
So, hunt for flights using private browsing in the middle of the week and voila, you know you’ve got some of the best rates out there! And with that, you have two hacks in one!
2. Opt for Homestays Instead of Hotels
This is another one of my favourite money saving tips! Companies like Airbnb and Homestay allow you to book nights in people’s homes across the globe and most often, the rates are so much better than what the hotels offer. Not only that, but a lot of places on these sites even offer you the chance to rent out the entire place!
I’ve used Airbnb for quite a few of my trips and it really has saved me money but also given me some brilliant places to stay. I’ve found myself 5 minutes from Waikiki Beach, staying in someone’s cabin in their garden in Cornwall, England and I’ll soon find myself out in the middle of the Golden Circle in Iceland - all for much less than I’ve paid for hotels in the past.
So, if you don’t mind giving up the mini bar, hotel toiletries or 24 hour concierge, then consider giving homestays a try! It's also a great way to meet locals and really get to know the place you're staying in!
3. Empty That Water Bottle!
With heightened security at airports, you’re not allowed to carry more than 100ml bottles of liquids through security with you.
Keep an empty water bottle in your carry on and you may just be able to fill it up via a water fountain on the other side. Not all airports have fountains but some do and this could save you a couple of quid instead of buying a drink at airport prices.
Simple, but money saving!
3 Hacks For The Packing Pro
1. Be Organised With Your Packing
Okay, so I admit I get a little OCD when it comes to packing for travels. I’m always one to make a list before even attempting to pack and yep, you guessed it, I check off everything as I pack it. Some of you may pity me, but I pity the travellers who leave essentials behind!
And so I tell you - get organised in your packing. Make that list and lay out your clothes before packing them away. Why would I tell you to do that? Because I’m going to tell you to halve everything you laid out - are you really going to wear 10 dresses on a weeklong holiday? Once you’ve halved your stuff, check everything off your list as you pack.
Your back carrying your bags will thank you for it. Your friends and family will thank you for not leaving any essentials behind. And you will feel like one hell of a packing pro!
2. Folding Is So Last Century
Did your mum used to tell you when you were younger to always fold your clothes and put them away? Yeah, my mum did too.
Well, I didn’t follow her advice when I started travelling - I rolled my clothes. Not only did I save space in my suitcase but I also found the clothes didn’t get fold lines along them - ahh, I love not having to iron when I’m travelling!
3. Get Your Travel Documents On The Cloud
When travelling abroad, it’s common knowledge that you should always have your passport when trying to get through airport security. But what everyone needs to realise is that it always pays to have copies of your travel documents in an email or saved to your phone in a photo.
If, heaven forbid, your passport did get stolen then you’ll thank your lucky stars that you at least have some way to prove who you are when working with the foreign embassy. It may not get you on the plane, but it will get you home so much faster than without - trust me!
4 Hacks For The Savvy Traveller
1. Take A Car Park Selfie
If you’re parking at the airport, snap a photo of yourself in front of your car.
No, this isn’t some odd way of stopping your car from being stolen, but it is a way to save you time when coming back from your holiday as you’ll definitely remember where you packed your car. Unless of course you forget you've taken the selfie ... in which case you may be looking for your car for some time!
But this is a great hack if you do remember you’ve done this as you can look for some landmarks or car parking signs in the photo to help you locate your car in the huge airport car park.
2. Make Your Luggage Unique
This hack is as old as time itself. With so many boring and samey suitcases and bags out there, you may find yourself running away with someone else’s bag, convinced it was your own.
So slap a couple of stickers on your suitcase or even just tie a colourful ribbon around the handle and before you know it, you’re spotting your case on the luggage carousel in super speedy quick time! And you can be almost 100% sure it’s definitely your case!
3. Hide Money In Strange Places
With so many warnings around that travellers are easy targets for pickpockets, I like to find inventive ways of hiding my money and change them up with each vacation. I’m pleased to say I’ve never been a victim of robbery while I’ve been away and I genuinely believe it’s down to the way I guard my money.
Think about hiding some “backup” money inside a non-suspect sun cream bottle or lip balm tube - make sure they’re empty first! Any thieves will be much more likely to target your purse or wallet over your toiletries, right?
4. Work Your Hotel TV Hard
So, you’ve sprung for a decent hotel that has a TV in your room? Or did you take my advice earlier and book in with a homestay?
If you do have a TV laying around, make it work hard.
Most modern TVs will have USB ports in the side or back, which can be doubled up as a phone charger. This could even save you some space in your suitcase as it’s one less travel adapter you’ll need!
So, there you have it - my 11 travel hacks that every traveller should know about! What did you think? Are there any travel hacks you think are a godsend? Let us know in the comments below ...