Travel Hacks To Make Your Next Big Trip A Breeze
Traveling can be a wonderful experience to see the world, meet new people, and learn about different cultures. However, there are a lot of factors that can make traveling to new destinations complicated and uncomfortable.
Whether you’re currently trying to book a future expedition or are a regular traveler, these travel hacks are worth having in your backpocket. From planning and packing, tricks to make the airplane ride more comfortable, to hotel hacks to make it feel more plush, this article will help make your travel experience a breeze.
Security Policy on Frozen Liquids
Water is the most advisable drink for those who plan to hop on a plane for a long flight. However, bringing liquids along is going to be a problem once screened by security. Of course, that doesn’t mean a passenger has to sneak in a bottle of water, coffee, or tea.
The Transportation Security Administration allows passengers to bring their drinks on board the aircraft provided these are frozen, and we mean solid like a rock. You can drink up when they eventually melt during the long hours of travel.
Bring Some Goodies
Those who love to munch while on the go will soon realize that there aren’t many options to choose from at the airport, with only a few rows of shops filled with products that are invariably expensive.
Prepare an assortment of goodies for the long trip, packed separately in a plastic bag to avoid having to delve into your handheld luggage. Feel as if you’re just snacking in the living room while watching a movie on a Friday night.
Cover Your Razors
Going out on a long-distance trip implies occasional inconveniences that people try to prepare for in advance. Airport experiences are rarely luxurious or comfortable. After all, public seating isn’t ideal during these times, nor is it fun having to share a crowded public restroom with your luggage in tow.
Many travelers have cut themselves on a stray razor while rummaging through a bag of toiletries. Use binder clips as a substitute for its easily misplaced cover. Keep some handy as these clips have plenty of other creative uses as well.
Trekking in the countryside is known to be beneficial for the mind and body. It’s become popular as it allows you to get close to nature while exploring lesser-known paths.
It won’t take long for your clothes to smell in a humid atmosphere, especially once you’ve changed and put used items in your bag. Simply pack a dryer sheet in your belongings so it can absorb odor while keeping everything fresh for longer.
Wear More, Pack Less
If there’s something you can wear as an overlay or underlay to your outfit, that’s one less thing weighing down your bag. Wear it and travel lighter. Match the colors with its functionality and you can even look fashionable with your extra shirt, coat, or scarf. Throwing a jacket or hoodie over your arm can come in handy later if the temperature gets cold mid-flight.
These items can be used as a cushion if you think you’ll need one later, creating padding between your head and the wall. You get to lighten your load and feel more comfortable – wins all around!
Plan Ahead for Waiting in Long Lines
Depending on one’s location in relation to the airport, traffic is something practically every traveler has to battle against on a regular basis. Once inside the airport, passengers are greeted with even more lines that add to the delay.
This is especially true when flying during the holidays as this is a time when everyone seems to be going somewhere. Stay alerted regarding the waiting time in security lines by using the MyTSA app.
Browsing Incognito for Cheaper Fare
Book ahead of time to catch the best fares, especially during the prime booking period of a month to four months from your departure date. Oddly enough, you may notice that ticket prices go higher if you search repeatedly. If this happens, don’t panic buy.
This is because the cookies installed in your browser notify travel websites of your previous searches. They know you’ve been looking into certain flights with given rates, and they’ll use this as a starting point for an increase. To start fresh, clear your browsing history and delete cookies. Then, remember to always search for flights in an incognito window to prevent this from happening again.
Be An Early Bird
Don’t waste your limited vacation time by traveling late in the day. These flights are more susceptible to delays and cancellations. Start your itinerary early, and you’ll get more things accomplished and manage your day better.
The good thing about early morning flights is that airlines are likely to offer cheaper tickets during these hours. Planes are rarely delayed at these times too. Data also shows that flights are less likely to experience turbulence in the morning compared to late flights that are hit with irregular air motion and thermal convection.
Even if you leave the house with a fully-charged device, communications with family or business associates while at the airport might be needed, or boredom could strike and mobile games could easily drain the battery. Traveling without a means of communication is like traveling blind for most of us.
Charging outlets can be found in many places at the airport, but with so many travelers around, these are often either broken or in high demand. If you’re really stuck, look for a television set and plug your cable into its USB port to recharge your phone.
Handle with Care
Most passengers travel with at least one thing that needs to be handled with care. If a delicate item is placed in luggage that isn’t marked fragile, it could be thrown around or damaged under the weight of other bags.
Mark luggage as fragile to keep the bag from being mishandled. Even if you don’t have breakable items in it, at least you won’t have to wait long at baggage claim as they see to it that these items are prioritized.
Liquids in Vials
Reports and leaked videos sometimes show airline staff mishandling passengers’ luggage behind the scenes. If you travel without a fragile sign taped on your bags, you could be at risk of unwanted breakage of items such as perfume bottles that could spill and stain your clothes.
Instead of bringing the whole bottle on a long flight, store portions of it in vials. This way, you can bring a range of scents and other useful products like aftershave.
Advisory on Flight Departures and Arrivals
Even if you arrive for your flight well in advance, breeze through security before the lines build up, and find yourself a prime seat at your gate, complete with access to a charging station, there’s still a problem. If you want to see updates on your flight status, you’ll have to leave your seat to check the boards from time to time.
The FlightBoard app is a lifesaver in this situation, keeping you updated from wherever you are. It sends information to your phone, so you won’t have to stand up just to know what flight is up next.
Strategize Your Seating Arrangements
Sitting by the aircraft window gives you more than just a view. You also get a wall to lean on and a place to rest your head. It makes the flight a bit more relaxing, which means a lot in the long haul. The aisle seat, on the other hand, grants a passenger more space to stretch.
A duo should book both seats and leave the middle for someone else. Chances are, no one’s going to take it as long as other seats are still available. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the whole row to yourself. If someone takes the seat, at least the two of you still have the best seats possible.
The Third Wheel
Passengers who are booked in the middle seat of an aircraft will find that their flight seems to take longer than the actual travel time. Legs could get cramped in the small space, and movement on both sides can be annoying.
If you’re seated in between a couple who followed the tip above, you could be faced with the odd experience of being their third wheel. Arrange to be notified through ExperFlyer.com of any ticket cancellations and seat reassignments, so you can move out and settle in a better spot.
Unexpected Changes to Your Itinerary
Even if you’re scheduled to fly and busily imagining your escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, a last-minute change could ruin everything. The culprits could be bad weather, aircraft maintenance issues, or a previous flight delay that has a domino effect on the rest of the day’s flights.
If you want to be prioritized on the next plane out, either on a connecting flight or a rerouted trip, skip the long lines at the airport counter. Call the airline’s hotline or your travel agent instead, and get it done in minutes.
It’s not a bad idea to dress in a way that makes you blend with your environment, which is why many people like to look dapper when flying in business class. For long flights, however, the priority should be placed more on comfort than fashion.
Wear clothes that allow you to stretch when you need to, rather than unwieldy ones. Go for something comfy and smooth, which allows you to sleep well, in contrast to using rough fabric that makes you feel enmeshed in an already cramped space.
Despite the compartmentalized application of aircraft ventilation, there’s still a high chance a passenger might get a bug, if not directly from the crowd, it could be from one’s immediate vicinity. Microbes could be left on surfaces that may not have been completely disinfected, like on the elbow support, or the foldable table.
Keep wipes handy to sanitize surfaces around you. Make sure not to miss the handles, even the aircraft window where someone before you with a virus might have sneezed or rested their head. As of now, face masks are also required on flights, but this too can help keep you from catching something on your next trip.
Tune Everyone Out
A long trip somewhere might also be a time to weigh things in one’s life. It’s an opportunity to be alone, do some soul searching, or read a book that’s long overdue. This can be difficult when people are seated too close to each other, especially if one is in the middle seat.
Cancel out all the fuss around you with headphones, and say goodbye to noisy chattering, sneezing, and snoring. Play music that improves your mood, or just use it as a prop to avoid unnecessary conversation. Noise cancellation headphones are even better!
Keep the Air Vent On
Some passengers might want to turn the air vent above their seat off, thinking this would expose them to airborne viruses from other travelers. The truth is that you don’t have to turn off the air unless you’re cold. Indeed, the ventilation system will actually keep you from getting sick.
Ventilation is necessary for your health and safety in the air, and the constant flow ensures the air from other rows doesn’t reach you, acting as a barrier against microbes. So, if you can, keep the air on for comfort and safety.
No Ice, Please
Passengers like to sleep during long flights to kill time and ensure they are well-rested when they reach their destination. Iced drinks cause your body to expel the liquid much faster, translating to many more toilet breaks. This will interrupt your sleep and disrupt the passengers around you.
Your situation could get even worse if the ice served comes from water tanks – as is often the case in air travel. These tanks may not be entirely clear of bacteria. The vacation time ahead of you could be ruined if you pick up a stomach bug, so it’s worth saying no to ice!
Swap Soda and Coffee for Water or Fruit Juice
This tip is not just about the long-term effects – diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay – of sugary soda. When you’re spending long hours on a plane, soda and coffee can bring much discomfort. This can create awkward moments when you need to burp or break wind with other passengers seated close to you.
Even if you’re a dedicated coffee or soda drinker, it’s best to pause your drinking habit and choose water on flights. If that’s too much, try coconut water or fruit juices. Bonus tip: Avoid having them served over ice.
Hungover from last night’s party and can’t wait to doze off during a flight to recover? There’s a reason flight attendants approach passengers to wake them up before takeoff and landing. Some become annoyed by this minor interruption, but this is necessary.
Takeoff and landing are the most crucial stages in any flight, so it’s always best to stay awake at these times. It is also necessary to avoid airplane ear, which is caused by the rapid air pressure change. It can be relieved by swallowing, but you won’t know to do this if you’re asleep.
Keep A Bread Clip in Your Wallet
Often times traveling and vacation time equates to days spent lounging on the beach. When soaking up the sun on your beach day, flip-flops may be your footwear of choice. They are cheap yet versatile shoes and perfect for sandy shores.
The only problem is that sometimes our beloved sandals choose the worst time to break. If you’ve often found yourself in this situation, it’s time to consider carrying a bread clip with you in your wallet. If such a situation occurs whether you’re at the beach, at the airport, or elsewhere, simply use your handy bread clip to save your flip-flop.
Empty Drinking Container
While waiting for a flight at the airport, the restaurants, cafes, and colorful variety shops seem to twinkle at every passenger, beckoning for a short visit and product purchase. As tempting as these shops may be, it’s not wise to shop at airports because the prices are high to make up for their operating expenses.
Bring your own sealed snacks to save money. You can even bring your own travel mug and some sealed tea bags or sachets of coffee to make your own drinks at the airport. Empty mugs won’t be a problem passing through security.
It might be challenging to stay fresh all throughout a flight that lasts around twelve to fifteen hours. If you’re going for the whole gamut, the longest non-stop trip could last around 18 hours.
Staying fresh and comfortable is key in a situation where you’re practically tied to a chair for so long. Change your clothes, bring extra underwear, freshen up, and avoid drinking liquids other than water. You wouldn’t want to wake up the next morning smelling like yesterday.
Staying organized is key when traveling, especially when flying to a foreign country where communication can be a major barrier. Losing a passport far from the Consular Office can cause hassles, especially if a wallet is lost along with it. Renewal will take days, so it’s possible that flight schedules may have to be changed.
Have the passport and its contents scanned for backup, stored in an email inbox for safekeeping. Who knows when such records may be needed for validation and further documentation.
Say No to Reused Pillows and Blankets
This has nothing to do with being squeamish. Some people may be delighted to see that airlines offer free blankets and pillows to make you feel at home while traveling long hours, but it’s better to say no to this offer.
These can be rich sources for microbes unless they are sealed tight. The worst scenario could be that your blanket has been re-used without being washed and merely been neatly folded to appear fresh. Bring your own lightweight travel blanket if possible, and only use one offered by the airline if it is completely sealed in plastic.
Organized people get to plan and arrange for the best seats ahead of time. Those who book their flight at the last minute often get the back seats that tend to absorb more turbulence. It is also warmer there compared to the fresher air available to those seated at the front.
The most stable seats are located close to the wings of the aircraft. Sitting a little forward is also a quieter spot, best chosen for long flights.
Drink Lots of Water
Lengthy flights could mean more hours of nothing much to do for some people who, unable to move around as often as they want, prefer to drink booze until they pass out. Of course, you don’t need us to tell you that this is a bad idea.
This will only dehydrate you more, and when flying, you’re already being subjected to the dry, cold, thin air of the cabin. Drink water instead, going for an average of eight ounces per hour.
Ten hours of travel might seem like a life sentence for a bored passenger who can’t wait to leave the aircraft the moment they’ve settled. Others take this opportunity to read, listen to podcasts, and watch movies they’ve been meaning to see.
Entertain yourself with books, an e-reader, saved music, podcasts, movies, or even meditation. If you find you’re never really interested in what’s available on the flight, download some content you know you’ll love a few days before you’re scheduled to depart.
Mobile phones are now a constant companion, especially for travelers who need to contact distant friends and family. In a new city, finding your way around via the many useful apps and maps your phone has can be a lifesaver.
Phones have become indispensable, so it makes sense to bring a portable power source to ensure your lifesaving device never dies. Choose one that’s light and sleek to bring along during long flights.
Stretch It Out
Staying in the same position for a long time is not a healthy practice, but some passengers think they don’t have a choice but to stay put after take-off. This can cause muscle stiffness as well as leg cramps.
Feet may be swollen as a result of body fluids collecting around them, and the knees may feel strained, depending on one’s sitting position. It is best to stretch and move whenever possible. Roll your neck and shoulders, raise your knees, and take short walks.
Keep Clothes Dry
Experienced travelers prepare themselves for all types of circumstances. Potential dramas to be considered include a delayed flight, bad weather, and having to get to the hotel in difficult conditions.
While a cap and waterproof jacket will keep you from getting soaked if it rains, you need to protect your luggage too. If it’s not already waterproof, seal the inside with a bin liner. That way, your clothes and water-sensitive devices will be kept secure.
Forget Third-Party Booking Sites
Forget third-party platforms like Booking.com or Hotels.com – try booking with the hotel directly! Most hotels are more than happy to offer the best deals to guests who book with them directly so they don’t have to pay these booking sites a commission.
You could also score even better deals by joining their loyalty program. Most major hotel chains have one, and most are free to join! Hotels typically offer a wide range of benefits for loyalty program members who book directly, such as free night stays, room upgrades, or complimentary meals.
Inform the Hotel about Special Occasions
Whether it’s your birthday, graduation, honeymoon, or wedding anniversary, be sure to let the hotel know all about it! Write a note in the comments box when booking online, or mention it if you’re making a reservation over the phone.
Chances are, you’ll get a free room upgrade, or they’ll give you a special gift like a bottle of champagne. After all, the hotel would want nothing more than to make your stay extra memorable so you will talk to your friends and family about it!
Keep All the Toiletries
The hotel’s towels and bathrobes may not be yours for the taking, but those tiny soaps and bottles of shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, and lotion certainly are! Don’t hesitate to take as many as you can – you already paid for them, even if they don’t show up on your bill.
Even if you don’t use them right away, they will surely come in handy for camping trips, sleepovers, or long plane rides. You can also place them in little bags to donate to the homeless.
Stash Your Cash in Unlikely Places
Your hotel room is supposed to be your home away from home. However, unlike your actual home, other people – like hotel staff – can easily access your room. If you have some extra cash lying around, remember to hide it before you leave your room.
If your room doesn’t have a safe, you can hide your money in your hairbrush. Just peel the rubber portion of a flat hairbrush then place your cash underneath. Put the rubber part back into position, then keep your brush in your suitcase.
Use a Hanger to Keep Curtains Closed
If you’re feeling jet-lagged, you might find yourself dozing off in the middle of the day. However, no matter how exhausted you are, catching up on sleep may be a challenge if your hotel room has those curtains that always seem to leave a gap in the middle.
To remedy this, grab a few hangers from the closet and use the clamps at the bottom to keep the curtains tightly closed. You’ll never have to worry about unwanted light entering your room ever again!
Use the Ironing Board as a Desk or Table
If you don’t have enough space in your room for all your personal items, check the closet for an ironing board. If there isn’t one, try asking the folks at the reception desk if they can have one sent to your room.
Aside from using the ironing board as an extra shelf, you can also use it as a work desk or as a dining table. Just remember to cover the ironing board with a towel to avoid staining it!
Keep Food and Drinks Cool with a Makeshift Cooler
If your room doesn’t have a fridge or if you’ve run out of fridge space, you can still keep your food and drinks cool with the help of a makeshift cooler! All you need is some ice – lots of it – and your sink!
Just fill your sink with ice from the hotel’s ice machine or a nearby convenience store and carefully place your food and drinks on top of the ice. This will keep them nice and cool for several hours.
Use the Kettle for Some Disinfecting
If you intend to use the mugs, glasses, spoons, and forks in your hotel room, it would probably be a good idea to disinfect them first. Just boil some water using the kettle and use the boiling water to wash them.
If you’re really super paranoid about germs and want to go the extra mile to get rid of them, just head on over to a nearby supermarket or convenience store and grab a travel-sized bottle of dishwashing liquid and a sponge.
Use a Mug as a Makeshift Speaker
Packing light is a must for any traveler. This means leaving your bulky Bluetooth speakers behind! If you want to play some music while you unwind in your hotel room, here’s one cool hack that you can try out.
Simply get a mug or bowl and place your phone inside it. While you can’t expect the same sound quality as a high-end Bluetooth speaker, the sounds will surely be louder! Just don’t play the music too loud to avoid disturbing the other guests.
Pack Tennis Balls in Your Carry-on Luggage
If you’re preparing for a long flight, you may want to pack a tennis ball or two in your carry-on. Why a tennis ball you ask? Well, this compact, everyday object is easy to fit in your luggage, it will get past TSA without an issue, and it will serve as a makeshift massager for long flights.
That’s right, rolling a tennis ball along your body on longer flights will help stimulate blood flow throughout the trip and help prevent blood clots. Sitting down for hours on a flight at high altitudes has been known to cause blood clotting. That’s why it’s often advised to get up, walk around, and stretch your legs once in a while. However, with a simple tennis ball, you can also get your blood circulating by massaging it along your arms and legs. Doing so may even save your life!
Use Shower Caps to Store Your Dirty Shoes
Picture this: you’re in your hotel room packing your bags before catching your flight when, to your horror, you realize you don’t have anything to store your dirty pair of shoes in. It’s late at night, and all the shops are closed. What do you do?
The answer is simple! Head into the bathroom and look for an unused shower cap. Simply wrap the shower cap around the soles of your shoes, toss your shoes into your luggage along with the rest of your stuff, and you’re good to go!
Put the Laundry Bag to Good Use
Many hotels have a laundry service for their guests, which is why laundry bags are provided in each room. However, if you’re not planning to take advantage of your hotel’s laundry service, why not use the laundry bags for something else instead?
You can use the laundry bag to separate dirty clothes from unused ones in your luggage. You can also use it to store snacks or act as a trash bag to keep your car clean during the long drive home.
Wrap the Remote Control in Plastic
With so many rooms to go through each day, there’s always the possibility that cleaners will cut corners. No matter how clean your room looks, there will always be certain areas and things that are covered in bacteria and germs.
The remote control, for instance, is one item that rarely gets disinfected. Just think about how often you clean your remote control at home! To reduce your chances of getting sick, simply wrap the remote control in a clear plastic bag.
Keep the “Do Not Disturb” Sign on the Door
If you don’t want people to enter your room and do some housekeeping while you’re away, just leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Hotel staff will see this sign and stay away from your room even if you’re not actually there.
Leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign at the door can also keep away thieves who might try to break into your room while you’re away. Consider doing this if you’re checked into a hotel with rooms that have doors on the outside of the building.
Place An Empty Glass on Your Door Handle
This tip is used to protect you, especially when you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb and are concerned about the security of the area. If you’re fearful of intruders that could potentially put your life in danger, before going to bed, lock your door and put an empty drinking glass on the inside handle.
This way, if an intruder jiggles the handle and enters your room, the glass will fall and break. The sound of the breaking glass acts as an alarm system for yourself to alert you that someone has entered the room. It may serve as an alarm for the culprit as well. The noise may scare them away or perhaps they’ll immediately step onto the broken glass within the room, giving you more time to act.
Child-Proof Your Room with Band-aids
Unfortunately, most hotel rooms aren’t designed with babies and small children in mind. If you’re traveling with your kids in tow, it might be a good idea to pack some band-aids in your luggage so you can use them to child-proof your hotel room!
Use the band-aids to cover any open electrical outlets to keep your children safe from electrocution. You can also use them to keep electrical wires or extension cords pinned down so that your kids won’t accidentally trip and injure themselves.
Use the Heat from the Toaster to Defrost Butter
Getting cold, hard butter served to you at breakfast can be frustrating. Trying to spread the butter will probably result in bread that’s torn, or a piece of toast with a large chunk of butter in the middle.
If you want to keep this from happening, try putting the small packs of butter on top of the toaster while you’re warming up your bread. The heat from the toaster will help melt the butter and make it easier to spread.
Use the Shower as a Garment Steamer
Trying to fit all your clothes into your suitcase will surely get them wrinkled. This can be especially annoying if you’re traveling for an important business meeting or if you’re attending a wedding and you want to look your best.
If you want to get rid of those wrinkles, simply hang your clothes in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. All that steam can help get rid of most (if not all) of those wrinkles in no time!
Keep Your Toothbrush off the Bathroom Counter
You probably don’t lay your toothbrushes directly on your bathroom counter at home, so why would you even think of doing that in a hotel room? If you want to keep your toothbrush germ-free, consider this simple solution.
Just flip a paper or plastic cup upside down, then poke a hole in the middle using the toothbrush handle to create a makeshift toothbrush holder. Now, you no longer have to worry about the toothbrush bristles touching the countertop.
Use a Matchbook to File Your Nails
Most hotels no longer allow smoking on their premises. However, some hotels still give out matchbooks as a souvenir. Other hotels also sell these at their gift shop. If your nails require a quick touch-up but you forgot to bring a nail file, use the hotel matchbook instead.
Here’s a fun fact: a matchbook’s striking surface is mostly made of the same material as a typical nail file, so this should be perfectly safe to use on your nails!
Use the TV to Charge Your Phone
If you left your phone charger at home, there’s no need to panic! If you have your phone’s USB cable with you, just plug it into the USB port of your hotel room’s TV. Most smart TVs these days have one!
If this isn’t an option, try dropping by the front desk to ask if they can lend you a charger. They most likely have a bunch of chargers in the lost and found that you can borrow.
Jog Off Jet Lag
Traveling across different time zones will make you feel out of sync when you arrive at your destination. The body will need time to adjust, and jet lag may make you tired, vulnerable to mood swings, and unable to slip into your desired sleeping pattern.
Step outside and slow jog in the morning sun. Run your pace, and don’t strain yourself. This will help the body adjust as you’re exposing it to the new daytime hours, leaving you energetic for the rest of the day.
Redirect the Air Coming from the A/C Unit
If your hotel room’s air conditioning unit is positioned too close to the bed and you’d rather not have a stream of cold air blowing directly on your body or face while you sleep, try moving some furniture around.
If your room has a sturdy chair, try placing it right in front of the A/C vent to redirect the flow of air. You can also do this using other objects like a couch, an ironing board, or a piece of luggage.
Block out Light and Noise with a Towel
Some hotel rooms have a huge gap under the door, allowing light from the hallway to enter the room. This can be annoying if you’ve had a long day and all you want is to get a good night’s sleep.
To block out the light, take one of the used bath towels in the bathroom and place it under the door. Depending on how thick the towel is, this can also be a good way to muffle the noise coming from outside.
Keep Your Phone within Reach
Not all hotel rooms have a bedside table on either side of the bed. If you want to keep your phone, glasses, wallet, or other personal items right next to you while you sleep, then you’ll love this simple hack!
All you need to do is to untuck the top end of your bed sheet and rewrap it to create a horizontal pocket. Now you have a nice little storage space to keep everything you need within your reach.
Keep the Room Humidified Using a Wet Towel
If the air in your hotel room feels a bit dry and you don’t have a humidifier, try using your room’s air conditioning unit instead. All you need is a wet towel and something to hold it in place, like a luggage rack.
Just drape the towel over the luggage rack and place it near the A/C unit. If you want to keep your room properly humidified through the night, just keep one end of the towel soaked in a bucket of water.
Keep Your Wet Swimsuits in Ice Bucket Bags
If the hotel you’re staying in has a pool, then you’re probably going to use it at some point. Once it’s time to pack your bags, are you just going to stuff your wet swimsuits into your luggage and risk getting your other clothes wet?
If you want your clothes (and other personal items) to stay dry, take the plastic bag in the ice bucket and toss your wet swimsuits inside. Make sure that the top of the bag is properly tied before placing it in your luggage.
Connect Your Laptop to the TV
When you’re visiting a foreign country and don’t speak the local language, the chances of finding anything good to watch on TV in your hotel room are pretty slim. If your room has WiFi and a smart TV, why not stream your entertainment through your phone or laptop instead?
Just plug in a Chromecast device (or something similar) and watch a movie or TV show from whatever streaming service you’re subscribed to. You can also connect your laptop to the TV using an HDMI cable.
Make Yourself a Snack with the Help of an Iron
Most hotel rooms don’t have a microwave or stove, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a late-night snack! If you’re craving a grilled cheese sandwich, you can easily make one in your room – all you need is an iron and some aluminum foil!
First, prepare the sandwich as usual and wrap it in aluminum foil. Then, press the hot iron against either side of the sandwich. This should be ready to eat in a matter of minutes!
Solve Your Pillow Issues with Some Towels
Have you ever been in a situation where one pillow in your hotel room is too soft, and the other one is too low? If this happens to you, consider this easy fix.
If your pillow is too low, take a few towels from the bathroom and place them underneath the pillow. Add more towels if necessary. As for those extra-fluffy pillows, fold a towel and stuff it inside the pillowcase – this should help add a bit more firmness to your pillow.
Use Duct Tape to Cover Bright Lights
Falling asleep when you’re in a new environment can be tough, which is why it’s important to minimize distractions. But what do you do if the blinking lights from the smoke detector and other electronic devices in your room are keeping you awake?
The answer is simple – grab some duct tape or electrical tape and use it to cover those pesky blinking lights. These can easily be removed the next day after you’ve enjoyed a good night’s sleep.
Make a Facial Scrub with Sugar and Lotion
Give yourself a DIY facial treatment without spending a fortune! All you need is a packet of sugar and a bottle of lotion, both of which are readily available in most hotel rooms.
Simply open the packet of sugar and empty the contents into the bottle of lotion to make a facial scrub. Gently apply the mixture to your face, leave it on for several minutes, then rinse. This should help make your skin feel nice and smooth in an instant.
Hack Your Room’s Key Card System
To reduce electricity costs, most hotels these days use a key card system. Your room will most likely have a slot on the wall where you’ll need to place your key card to activate the power in the room.
If you need to charge your phone while you’re at the pool, just replace the key card with a business card or loyalty card and the power should stay on. This may not work in all hotels, but it’s worth a try!
Make Delicious Meals with a Kettle
Eating out all the time when you’re traveling on a limited budget might not be such a good idea. If you want to save money, you can easily whip up delicious meals in your room – all you need is a kettle, some water, and a little bit of creativity.
Aside from using it to boil water to make instant ramen or oatmeal, you can also use the kettle to boil some corn or hotdogs. You can even chop up some veggies and make soup!
Forget Room Service
It may be tempting to just order room service at the end of an exhausting day, but you’ll have to pay extra if you want the convenience of having a plate of chicken fingers and fries sent to your room.
If you want to pay less for that same meal, get yourself out of bed and go down to the restaurant to eat. You can also order it to go instead if you’d rather enjoy your meal in the privacy of your room.
Save Some Food for Later
If you have a long car ride ahead of you, it may be a good idea to save some food from the breakfast buffet for later. Try getting a few slices of toast or some packets of peanut butter and jelly in case anyone wants a sandwich.
If you want something healthier instead, get some fruit like bananas or apples. You can also pick up some packs of yogurt for the fridge – just don’t forget to bring disposable spoons.
Score Some Freebies at the Gym
Even if you don’t intend to work out at the hotel gym, you might want to check it out anyway – hotels usually provide guests using the gym with all sorts of freebies which might come in handy later.
If the gym offers free water from a dispenser, for instance, be sure to fill up your water bottles before you check out. If they have complimentary bottles of water, go ahead and take a few. This will help you save money as you won’t need to buy some water while you’re on your way home.
Put Luggage In The Bathtub Upon Arrival
Once you enter your hotel room, it may be a good idea to put your luggage immediately in the bathtub or at the very least leave your belongings in the hallway. Why is this odd luggage placement an important hack? Basically, it can save you and your belongings from bed bugs!
Although the chances of hotels having a bedbug infestation are relatively low, if you’re worried you can temporarily place your luggage safely in the bathtub as you search the bed, mattress, and box spring for bed bugs. Once your search is complete, move your luggage to a luggage rack. Placing your bags on the bed or hotel floor can be dangerous since if bed bugs are present, they may crawl into your luggage and cause an infestation when you return home from your travels.
Placing An Empty Toilet Paper Roll or Red Cup Under The Toilet Seat
This will serve as a warning to others when they enter the bathroom to see the strange set up. It’s a sign to help them realize there’s no more toilet paper left, thus stopping them in their tracks. A red plastic cup can also serve as a bright colored warning.
Put A Cup Of Water Under The Bed
Traveling can be an exhausting and stressful experience. This new trend is a popular way to rid yourself of those travel woes. If you believe in energy levels and chakras, this hack may be for you!
Some people believe that placing a cup of water with salt and vinegar under or by the bed can rid the room of negative energy by absorbing that negativity. Some even report that it helped them sleep better and feel more refreshed. It’s your choice whether or not to believe it, but at the very least trying out this hack can’t hurt!
Keep A Crayon In Your Wallet
This next hack comes with a few different purposes. If your wallet is prone to bending your cards or leaving them disorganized, adding a crayon to the bottom will act as a spacer to keep your cards straightened out. Secondly, if you’re traveling with kids, having a crayon wrapped in a piece of paper can be a simple way to keep them occupied on car rides, planes, or while waiting in restaurants.
The last reason has to do with emergency situations. If you need to write a note reliably, a crayon will always work. It’s not a marker or pen that may run out of ink or a pencil that may break and need sharpening. If you need to write a note whether on a parked car or something more serious like in a hostage situation, your crayon will work, and the color will make it stand out to others in case of an emergency.
Sprinkle Baking Soda on Your Hotel Bed
Hotel rooms are your convenient home away from home while traveling, but have you ever thought about how many other people have slept in that hotel room before you? While hotel staff do thoroughly clean each room, if you have any concerns about the room or bed’s cleanliness, a bit of baking soda wouldn’t hurt!
Baking soda is a great household trick when it comes to deodorizing spaces or absorbing moisture. If you’re concerned about how clean your hotel mattress is, simply sprinkle some baking soda on the mattress and let it sit for about an hour. This will give the baking soda time to shine as it absorbs moisture, odor, and mold particles. Now vacuum the baking soda up, and your hotel mattress will be clean and odorless!
Spotting An Abandoned Phone Charger
When you first arrive to your hotel room, you’ll want to do a decent inspection of your temporary living quarters. Not only do you want to search for cleanliness and make sure bed bugs aren’t infesting, but you should also be alert to any out of the ordinary objects.
If you spot a phone charger left in the room, you’ll want to report the issue immediately. Items like this may seem ordinary, but they can also be hidden cameras infringing on your privacy. To check for other cameras, use your smartphone’s flashlight to scan your room in the dark and see if any objects reflect the light to identify possible camera lenses.
Meet New Friends
Traveling in the company of old friends is hard to organize in a real-world setting. It can be hard to agree on a given date, and money could be an issue, among many other things. Still, it’s nice to have somebody to share your adventures with.
Thankfully, apps like Backpackr and Travel Buddies allow you to meet other travelers for these exact reasons. You can chat, meet up, and travel together if you wish. At the very least, you can swap travel hacks and advice.
Navigating the Easy Way
When out and about on an adventure, it is a good idea to use a map to familiarize yourself in advance. Wireless connections are not always guaranteed in all areas, and your network operator might have roaming connectivity issues in the location to which you’re heading.
Download the map when you have the chance for a quick study. That way, if Google Maps can’t be accessed when in the field, your offline version can be pulled out, allowing you to navigate to wherever you want to go.
Spontaneity Is Key
A long flight to a new city or country can be an escape from everyday life for those who are tired of uniformity. It is symbolic of a new start and a brand new outlook that is exciting and spontaneous.
There’s magic in knowing you’re going places unplanned, without the typical restraints. Enjoy a trip without an itinerary and see where each day takes you. You may be surprised at how relaxing and enlightening such an adventure can be.
Blend in with the Locals
Instead of going out to popular tourist spots for selfies, delve in and meet the locals. It can be a fascinating experience to gradually learn a new language and be immersed in customs and traditions other than your own.
Party with a Local is an app that allows you to get to know the locals, and of course, party with them. It also gives updated suggestions on where to hang out when you’re in the area.
Touring and Backpacking
To go on a tour or backpacking excursion requires more detailed planning. Otherwise, the journey could quickly become costly and time-consuming, which defeats the purpose of attempting to become the pro-traveler all backpackers are perceived to be.
You don’t have to unload your bag at every hostel you visit for a quick stay. Only take out what is needed, and plan what those items will be. Place them in easy reach in your bag to save time getting prepared for the next adventure.
Finding a dependable tour guide can be tricky, especially for a first-timer in an unfamiliar region. If you’re traveling solo, any tour you take could be priced as a one-on-one, making it many times more expensive than regular group tours. It’s even more challenging when traveling off-season.
With this in mind, it might be best to be your own tour guide. If you haven’t done this before, now is as good a time as any. Use the Google Goggles app to take pictures of landmarks and other beautiful locations, and the app will send you interesting facts about them.
Exercise Before You Takeoff
Long hours in a car or on a plane can be brutal. Sitting for extended periods of time can be even worse. This is especially true if you are accustomed to getting lots of physical activity each day. That’s why you should workout before you depart.
Tire yourself out. Hitting the gym or going for a run can burn off any extra energy. You may even fall asleep on the flight faster. But exercise affects your mood too. Working out boosts endorphins, which will help keep your mood upbeat and positive during the stressors of travel.
Book an Early-Morning Flight
Going to the airport early in the morning comes with several benefits. Primarily, there are fewer crowds. This makes checking in, getting through security, and finding your gate much quicker.
This is supported by science too. Since thunderstorms and lightning require warm air that is heated by the sun, these are more common in the afternoon or early evening. For this reason, traveling in the morning hours brings less chance of turbulence.
Treat the Flight Attendants Well
Be kind. A smile can go a long way. This should be common sense. Despite working hard to make the flight comfortable and safe, being a flight attendant can be a thankless job. They are truly appreciative of any travelers who are nice, polite, and grateful.
While it’s just overall good advice, it can also produce some rewards too. When you are kind, flight attendants are much more likely to return the favor. This could mean added refreshments or perks.
Bring Along Tea Bags or Other Drink Packets
Snacks and beverages may not be free, depending on the flight. Yet requesting some hot water might be. By packing a tea bag, you can enjoy a warm cup of tea. Added bonus: sipping tea is both calming and relaxing.
If tea isn’t your jam, powdered drink packets may do the trick. Not only will these fit in any pouch or pocket, but all you need is an empty bottle and some water from a fountain. Your flight just got a little more delicious.
Get Access to an Airport Lounge
Airport lounges aren’t as exclusive as you may think. Many people incorrectly assume that business or executive class lounges are for first-class travelers only. However, you can usually gain entry by paying a one-day fee. While the cost may range up to $50, it may be worth it for some peace and quiet.
Paying for this experience will give you a far more enjoyable trip. Choose a comfortable seat, charge your device, and knock out some work. Food and alcohol may also already be included in this price. If you are on a budget, look for the chapel or prayer room. Although it won’t grant any of these benefits, this location provides a low-cost place to relax, escape, and enjoy some silence.
Call Customer Service if a Flight is Cancelled
No need to stand in line if you don’t have to. If you are waiting for a flight and find out it has been cancelled, avoid the mad rush up to the service counter. Simply get out your phone and dial customer service.
Calling customer service from the airport is the quickest way to get help. This little-known secret can save you a lot of hassle. They will rebook your flight in only a few minutes. This sure beats standing in line for hours.
Sign Up for TSA PreCheck
Speaking of lines, skip right past most other travelers by signing up for TSA PreCheck. This is a must for frequent flyers. It will greatly speed up the security process.
Essentially, with TSA PreCheck, you are joining a process where a global network of fliers have passed through security ahead of time. All airports have designated lines at security to expedite these travelers. You can learn about this process on TSA’s website.
Some passengers need to get to their destination without delay. If you’re not in a special hurry and wouldn’t mind hanging around for a couple more hours until the next flight is up, you can give up your seat on a fully booked flight as a humanitarian gesture.
Generosity is often rewarded by way of more perks, like being bumped up to business class. You can even save money with offers of free meals and overnight accommodation.