Whether it’s business or pleasure, traveling can be the perfect temporary escape from reality (whatever reality that may be). Work stresses, family obligations, social dramas - you name it, we’ve all been there. It’s safe to say, we all need a little break from our not-so calm lives every now and again. Often these getaways are planned way in advance with months of anticipation between booking and actually taking off. As the final days approach, we mark giant X’s in our calendars to give our departure date that dramatic countdown it deserves.
But let’s be real. Travelling isn’t all fun and fantasy now is it. Waiting in lines, unanticipated delays, lost luggage and that bland airplane food can put a serious damper on anyone’s travel plans! This is where preparation comes in. From reservation bookings, packing lists, and itinerary planning, here are some travel hacks to ensure your travels run smoothly and you get that relaxing escape that you deserve!
1. Set your preferences to private browsing. Ever notice how prices can go up from one hour to the next? If a travel website has seen that you have visited them recently, they will quickly bump up the price the next time you return. Private browsing (or “going incognito”) will stop them from seeing your latest activity and they won’t be able to break your wallet as they so deviously planned.
Our top pick: Booking.com -- This website offers a wide array of prices making it easy to match different budgets, as well as a variety of hotels and other sorts of lodging options.
2. Browse for affordable living. Hotels aren’t the only option anymore. Airbnb has climbed its way to the top of the accommodations list. With several amenities included (such as laundry machines, free wifi, and a full kitchen), this offer crushes that of a 4-star hotel. For the same price, or even slightly cheaper, you can find an Airbnb that will be in the perfect location and have everything you need to enjoy your vacation.
3. Fly for cheaper. A lot of flyers may not know this, but it can actually be cheaper to book two one-way tickets than one round trip ticket. Who would’ve thought?! Now that you’re in on this best-kept secret, override the norm and take that trip to Italy without spending a fortune.
Our top pick: KAYAK -- This is one of the best airline comparison websites out there! With its detailed search tool, you can truly narrow down your search options to fit solely the criteria that you have punched in. This saves a lot of valuable time, without having to check all of the other websites individually to compare flights.
4. Rolling for space. This one is a tale as old as time; pretty much everyone is familiar with this hack. Roll your clothes to save room in your suitcase. While it will salvage space, it will also avoid wrinkling and fold lines in your clothes; a big setback. Who has time for ironing when they’re trying to enjoy their five days of sunny Punta Cana?
5. Cases for wires. Even though we are quickly approaching the age of wireless technology, there are still certain cables we can’t live without. For example, phone chargers and certain headphones have long, messy cables. How can you pack this efficiently without them getting lost or tangled? The trick is to neatly roll, tie together, and position them properly into a glasses case. You won’t have to search for them or have to detangle the knots, which would just waste more valuable vacation time of course.
6. Stay tidy! No one wants to start their vacation on a bad note. If you open your suitcase and find all of your clothes are dirty and scuffed up, there’s only one item to blame: your shoes. The soles of our shoes are filthy -- we need to protect the rest of our items and precious clothing by wrapping our shoes in shower caps. It might look funny, but it sure does do the trick! P.S. We recommend buying a new shower cap for showering purposes...
7. ALWAYS carry a pen! Now this trick was truly the first hack ever written… get it? Customs lines at the airport are grueling and brutal. Do yourself a favor, speed up the process by having a pen ready to go! Without having to worry about borrowing your neighbor’s inkless pen, come prepared with your own and continue on this stress-free getaway.
8. Packing list. Make one, and keep it! For packing, it’s an obvious helpful tool. But what not many people realize, is just how important it is for the way home as well. To help ensure that you don’t leave anything behind, go through your packing list before you come home too. Realizing that you came home with everything you left with will help make that first day back all the more peaceful… well, you know, before your boss drops a stack of files on your desk the minute you return to the office.
9. Free Wifi. Ever at a coffee shop or hotel and just can’t seem to get the Wifi password? The Internet has truly outdone itself with this one. To get free Wifi practically no matter where you are, log in to FourSquare and get the password. It’s that simple! Check the comments that people leave on the location listings, and land on the specific restaurant that you’re at.
10. Get out of your comfort zone! The final tip, and possibly the most important one, is the reminder to be as adventurous as you can. Not only with your drinks and meals, but with your activities as well. Don’t let fear stand in the way of having the time of your life. These vacations may not come as often as you’d like them to, so we need to take advantage while we can! Leap into the unknown, jump off the cliff, and dive into life’s adventures.
‘Tis the season of travels! Ensure a stress-free getaway and become the pro-travel hacker you were meant to be. Take your travels even one step further and gift yourself something from this exclusive list of pro-travelling gifts (hey, you deserve it!)
Safe & Happy Travels!