10 Travel Hacks
There’s nothing like a few simple travel hacks to make you feel like an expert traveler, even if you don’t travel much! In fact, especially if you don’t get to travel much, taking these few steps of preparation can make your travelling experience that much more stress-free (and in some cases seriously save your ass!).
1. Keep digital copies of your documents
Ok, I get it, it’s a total nuisance to scan in and save all your documents but you’ll be thanking me later! I speak from personal experience when I tell you those digital documents can turn out to be a lifesaver (think a stolen passport in Indonesia, a long way away from the South African embassy). All you need to do is scan your most essential documents and mail them to yourself or save them to your Google Drive/iCloud so that you can access them from anywhere, even if you don’t have your own phone or laptop handy.
2. Make your suitcase stand out
There’s nothing more annoying than when 5 other passengers have the exact same suitcase in the same colourway as you, so that you end up having to watch the baggage carousel like a hawk, mistakenly picking up every other suitcase. Instead, rather invest in a brightly coloured suitcase (my preference is red), so that you can spot your suitcase at a glance.
3. Never run out of juice
Invest in a powerbank! We take reliable power supply for granted, but especially when travelling to more remote places, you may very well not always have the opportunity to charge your most essential travelling tool – your phone. Powerbanks are affordable and can make your life significantly easier when there happens to be a power outage on that very remote island that you chose to explore.
4. Never pay for water (and simultaneously save the planet)
Most airports and many cities are equipped with drinking fountains, so if you travel armed with a re-usable water bottle, you won’t have to pay a cent for water. Apart from that you’ll be more likely to stay hydrated, you won’t have to throw out the bottle at every security check AND you’ll be saving the planet from a plastic bottle every time you top up your re-usable one.
5. Travel during off-seasons
If you’re on a budget, consider travelling during your destination’s off-season (usually this will be their winter season). From flight prices, to accommodation and food, you’ll be able to make use of specials and save significantly relative to in-season price. Apart from that, certain destinations are even better in their off-season: you might be escaping the uncomfortable summer heat or avoiding places that are overrun with tourists! You may even find it easier to connect with locals then.
6. Use Google Flights
In this day and age, we have a multitude of tools at our fingertips that can go a long way in saving money, so use them and use them well! Google Flights is the ultimate flight tool if you know how to use it. With the help of Google Flights, you can set alerts to notify you of price changes in your desired itinerary and you can discover what time is the most cost-effective to book your flight. Google Flights also allows you to use a destinations function to find a cheap flight to a spontaneous destination or the multi-city function to add in a bonus 3-night stopover (and save on the airfare!).
7. Pre-load Google Maps
Another easy tip for saving money on your travels? Pass on buying a local SIM card and data, and instead use the wifi at your accommodation or coffee shops to pre-load the google map of the city you’re visiting, so that you can navigate around the city without having to newly load the map every time.
8. Mark your bags as fragile
This small hack is totally worth the little bit of extra effort. Slap on a “fragile” sticker to make sure that your luggage is handled with more care. “Fragile” luggage is also kept on top of all the other luggage, which means that you’ll be among the first to receive your luggage!
9. Notify your bank
This is a small step that you could easily overlook but that could also ruin your entire trip if you skip it. Be sure to notify your bank that you are going to be using your card outside of your home country (some banks also require you to list which countries your card will be used in). Failing to do this could lead to your bank blocking your card due to fraudulent activity – as well as leaving your high and dry without any funds in a foreign country!
10. Invest in a moon bag
Once shunned upon, the moon bag has found its way back into the fashion spotlight and that’s just as well, because not only is it a trendy accessory, but it’s also a highly functional travel companion. The moon bag is the perfect bag to keep your valuables together and once it’s strapped across your waist or chest, it’ll be hard for pick-pockets to dip into your belongings (or for you to accidentally leave your wallet behind).
You don’t need to be a frequent traveler to be able to travel effortlessly – applying these few simple hacks will make your travel experience so much more stress-free. Do you have any tips that I’ve missed here? Please share!