50 Useful Travel Tips and Hacks Every Traveller Needs to Know! Save Time and Money On Your Next Trip!
Sometimes, travelling can seem like preparing for a examination. You need to know what are the things you can do, where to eat and drink, where to stay, how to save money, how to book the cheapest flights and so much more.
Of course, you can just wing it, which we sometimes do.
One thing that is constant though, is tips, tricks and hacks gleaned from our travels and experiences, which we try to apply each time we go on vacation.
You might see some that will set you thinking “that’s common sense”, or some that might be against the usual advice, but no matter the tip, be sure to at least give it a try once. You might be surprised.
Let’s Zip Up and Go!
What's covered in this post
- 50 Useful Travel Tips and Hacks Every Traveller Needs to Know! Save Time and Money On Your Next Trip!
- 1. Online Check-in
- 2. Ride Hailing Apps
- 3. Power Bank
- 4. Passport
- 5. Money
- 6. Cards
- 7. Currency Exchange
- 8. Withdrawals at ATMs
- 9. Spare outfit
- 10. Short Layovers
- 11. Long Layovers
- 12. Beat Jetlag
- 13. Entertainment
- 14. Fast entry
- 15. Maps
- 16. Staying connected
- 17. Packing
- 18. Carry on bag
- 19. Luggage handling
- 20. Colour of your check in bag
- 21. Care for your check in bag
- 22. Safe use of your devices
- 23. Know where you plane is
- 24. Boarding
- 25. Flight booking
- 26. Cheap flights
- 27. Charging multiple devices
- 28. Lounge access
- 29. Water
- 30. Cooler seats
- 31. Cleaning your seat
- 32. Choosing direct or indirect flights
- 33. Free accommodation
- 34. Free Walking Tours
- 35. Flight delays/cancellation
- 36. Get more sitting room
- 37. Security check lanes
- 38. Speed up at security
- 39. Last minute charger
- 40. Crucial cable
- 41. Hungry in flight
- 42. Travel Insurance
- 43. Save money with free activities
- 44. Speak their language
- 45. Free Upgrades
- 46. Expensive meals
- 47. Shoes
- 48. Right time to travel
- 49. Getting around
- 50. Memories
- What travel tips do you have?
- Logistics before travelling
1. Online Check-in
These days, many airlines will allow you to check in 24 hours before departure, unless you have upgraded your ticket or something else.
Take full advantage of this to secure the seat you want, and in many cases, choose the food of your choice too.
Do this as early as possible. We recommend setting an alarm 10 minutes before the check in opens.
Also, if you are not taking along check in luggage, you can print out your boarding pass and head straight to customs, saving you precious time.
2. Ride Hailing Apps
Before travelling, it is useful to check out the ride hailing apps that your destination country uses. A lot of times, these apps such as Uber offers more competitive prices than getting a taxi.
For example, taxis in Paris charge a flat rate of €55 or €60 depending on which side of the Seine you are heading to. With Uber, we paid less than €40.
There are often promo codes for first time users too, which allowed us to ride for free for 6 times in Paris with Kapten during our visit.
Another tip is to download at least 2 to compare ride prices.
3. Power Bank
You never know when you will need a power bank when you travel, especially if you are out for hikes or to places you might not have a power source.
Seriously, you won’t want to find yourself out of battery when you want to take a picture right? We recommend the Anker 20000mAh charger. It gives you 5 full charges (iPhone XS) and allows you to charge 2 devices at the same time.
Make a few copies of your passport. Print one out and take a photo of it too. In the unfortunate scenario if you lose it, you are still able to reference the details.
Always try to get your big notes broken down once you arrive at the airport. You don’t want to show people when you are in town.
Although you should not have too much cash on you, it is important to stash some money for emergencies. We usually have $200 in local equivalent.
If you are bringing your bank cards along for your trip, make sure to inform your bank. For credit cards, bring just one with you.
Above all, we want you to apply for a TransferWise account right now. It is a service that allows you to spend in overseas currencies at rates closer to the spot rate. To explain further, spot rate is kind of like a market rate, but you and I consumers will never get this rate with our usual credit cards.
If you had used your credit card overseas before, you know that the rates can sometimes be pretty ridiculous. With TransferWise, you get much more attractive rates, plus you can withdraw money at ATMs at a cheaper fee too.
What’s more, you can also use TransferWise to send money all over the world.
Do yourself a favour, at least check out their site and learn more. If you are sold, apply for a card immediately as it will take some time to reach you. It is free to use!
7. Currency Exchange
If you are unable to exchange for the destination currency in your home country, then your only option might be to do so when you land.
In such situations, always exchange the bare minimum you need to get to town where the money exchanges will have friendlier rates. If you can avoid using cash, that’s even better.
Airport currency exchanges are notorious for charging extremely high rates. Don’t be fooled by “promotions” they carry out.
8. Withdrawals at ATMs
It is best to make a list of banks that do not charge or offer low withdrawal fees when using the ATM, but that is highly unlikely. If you really need to make a withdrawal, make sure you get a TransferWise debit card.
9. Spare outfit
Pack an extra outfit in your carry on in case luggage gets lost or delayed. That includes your undies and socks!
10. Short Layovers
Layovers that are too short should be avoided. There might not be enough time to transfer luggage over (meaning lost or delayed luggage) and if your first flight is delayed, that adds extra stress to you. Who wants stress on a vacation? Choose to have at least a minimum of 1.5 hours for layovers.
11. Long Layovers
If you are not rushing, you can consider opting for a long layover to take advantage of free tours or even just to explore a city for 24 hours (or less).
This is a great way to see a city that you might have thought about visiting but never got around to planning it. There are free tours being offered to such travellers such as Touristanbul.
12. Beat Jetlag
If you are flying long hours, and especially if you are going eastwards, jetlag is likely to set in. There are several ways to beat jetlag, which includes having your meals and sleeping at the same time as your destination.
Whether you need music or movies, be sure to download offline versions to your app or device. Spotify and Netflix both allows your to do that.
14. Fast entry
If you are a frequent flyer, you might want to check out fast travel options for your home country. For a small fee, you can pass through customs at faster clip. In the US, go for Global Entry, which includes TSA Precheck. Other fast track options can be found here.
Most of us use Google Maps at some point during our travels, but did you know that you can continue using it even if you don’t have internet?
Before your trip begins, go to your phone app and access offline maps from your settings. Search for the place you are visiting, and you can choose the area coverage you need.
It does take up space in your phone, but you can delete if once you leave the place.
16. Staying connected
If you want to have access to the internet while travelling, there are a few ways to go about it.
You can check with your telco for roaming rates, but they are hardly favourable.
Another thing you can do is to buy a SIM card when you reach the destination airport. That means you might need to have a spare phone or you will have to switch out your home SIM card, or you can bring a mobile router along.
One more option, which is what we usually do, is to pre-book a mobile router/pocket Wi-Fi and pick it up right at the airport. It comes fitted with a data SIM card and is ready to use the moment you arrive. Go here and search for Pocket Wifi.
Use compression bags to save space in your luggage. They can help to squeeze out air which takes up huge amount of spaces in your luggage. You have no idea how much this hack can help in saving space.
18. Carry on bag
Keep all your important items in your carry on, such as your ID, phone, cards, cash, cables and anything else you need easy access to.
19. Luggage handling
Lots of travellers we see use a roller suitcase of some kind, and they usually have another bag that they try to place on top of their roller. But as you know, it does not work as there is nothing holding on to it. Get yourself a luggage hook and look like a pro whizzing through the crowd.
20. Colour of your check in bag
Avoid using a black coloured luggage that you check in. If you have a black one, consider buying a cover in a different colour.
It will make life a lot easier for you when you arrive with a full flight and the bags are unloading onto the carousel. A bag that is easier to spot makes it harder to go missing.
Not only that, a cover also helps protect your luggage from scratches. Here’s a cute one.
21. Care for your check in bag
Ask for a Fragile sticker when you check your bags in. The cargo handlers will usually place these types of luggage at the top of the pile, which means they are likely to come out first on the carousel. They probably don’t throw it around as hard as usual too.
22. Safe use of your devices
Assuming you are carrying a few electrical appliances with you, such as shaver or hair dryers, you might end up with a nasty experience if you don’t check the voltage requirement before hand. Get a converter and adaptor combo for your next trip to prevent this.
23. Know where you plane is
In case there are some delays or the airport is really busy, and no one seems to be available to answer your questions, you can use FlightAware to know exactly where your plane is. Key in your flight number and the app will show you its location, whether it is still enroute to you or already at the gate. They have an app too.
Make your way to your gate at least 15 minutes before last boarding, you never know how far you have to walk!
We were the last to board at Istanbul as we underestimated how long we had to walk. It took us almost 15 minutes walking briskly/slow jogging!
You should also keep a copy of the airport map saved in your phone. Also, set an alarm to go off 30 minutes the gates close.
25. Flight booking
Most industry experts reckon that the best time to book a flight is 6 weeks before you travel, and you should do it after 3pm on a Tuesday.
We think that is not always accurate, and frankly, sometimes 6 weeks is not enough time.
Instead of waiting for that exact day to come, set up a price alert for all your bucket list destinations throughout the year.
26. Cheap flights
It is really possible to find cheap flights, and you just need to have some patience. Lots of travel experts suggest using incognito mode to get the best prices, but we can tell you that is not necessarily the right way.
Use both your mobile and laptop browsers, in both regular and incognito mode to check tickets. Yes it is true that websites have cookies that track your online behavior, but it doesn’t mean that they will offer your higher prices if you used regular browsing mode.
Another way to snag cheap tickets is to use Skyscanner. Type in “everywhere” in destination and choose “cheapest month” when trying to select dates. In one screen, you will see the cheapest places and time to travel.
27. Charging multiple devices
Use a travel power strip to charge all your devices at the same time. You can even share it with your travel partner!
28. Lounge access
We tend to get to the airport, especially our home airport, 2-3 hours ahead of time. That gives us plenty of time to check in, get our boarding passes, walk around a bit and just take things easy. The last thing you want is to hear your name called over the intercom and death stares when you are the last to board.
Some credit cards offer free visits to airport lounges, usually once or twice a year, but if you travel more frequently than that, we highly recommend you sign up for Priority Pass. It is a membership that allows you to access over 1300 lounges around the world.
Some of these lounges are only available to Business Class flyers, so it’s a pretty sweet deal. Not only do you get a quiet place to relax, you can help yourself to the food spread as well as the bar.
What we really like is the use of bathrooms. In cases when your flight is in the late evening or at night, and you have checked out since 12pm, a bath is a real treat, particularly if you have a 10 hour flight ahead of you.
Bring along an empty water bottle in your carry on next time you fly.
While you can’t bring water through security, an empty bottle is not a problem.
These days, there are many airports that fitted with water fountains or dispensers.
Trust us, you would want to have your own water when your in flight.
Our choice is from HydraPak, which is perfect for all kinds of travel, holds a lot of water, and can fold down to store easily in any of our bags.
30. Cooler seats
This is pretty straightforward. Window seats are usually cooler.
31. Cleaning your seat
Always pack anti-bacterial wet wipes into your carry on. You have no idea how dirty a plane is. Read our post about it here. You will bring them the next flight we guarantee.
32. Choosing direct or indirect flights
If you are travelling to a smaller city, consider flying into the nearest large city as flights are usually cheaper.
Especially in Europe where buses and trains are very well connected and cheap.
However, the opposite might be true if the small city is served by budget airlines, which would then make more sense.
As usual, patience in checking your options will save you money.
33. Free accommodation
If you want to stay for free during your next vacation, try out Housecarers. It is a platform that connects house owners and house sitters. You watch their house, and in return, you stay for free.
34. Free Walking Tours
In many major cities across the world now, you can sign up for “free” walking tours, where a guide will bring a group (anything from 8-25) and show them around the city and tell its stories. It is free as stated, and tips are encouraged.
We have been on a number and it is extremely good value. The amount your spend is cheaper than a full service tour. Well, obviously, these free tours will be rather basic, so that’s not really comparing apple to apple.
35. Flight delays/cancellation
In the unfortunate event that you are stranded at an airport, use sleepinginairports.net to get tips on how to survive your time there.
36. Get more sitting room
If you are travelling with another person and it is not high season, consider booking the aisle and window seat. Seldom will people volunteer to book the middle seat, which means more space for both of you!
If there turns out to be a booking, simply ask to change seats with them. Hardly anyone will reject you.
37. Security check lanes
Turn left at security checks. Most people are right handed and will head right so the left lanes are typically faster. Of course, keep an eye out for the number of open counters too. Following behind business travellers helps too as they tend to be fast. Avoid families!
38. Speed up at security
Put all your belongings into your jacket or into your bag when clearing security. This will speed up the process and reduce the risk of losing anything.
39. Last minute charger
Try asking for a phone charger at the lost and found of airports. Most airports have rules that state that the items can be given away if they are not claimed in 90 days.
40. Crucial cable
Always have at least a charging cable in your carry on. You can use devices such as TVs to charge your phone. We recommend that you buy one and keep it in your travelling bag/pouch permanently.
41. Hungry in flight
If you are still hungry after having your meal, you may ask the attendant for extra food after the first service. There are typically a few extras, either because someone did not show up or they did not want to eat. Please ask nicely.
42. Travel Insurance
Not much explanation required for this. Always buy travel insurance no matter where you travel and how short the trip is. One event is sometimes all it takes to ruin everything.
43. Save money with free activities
Search for free things to do before travelling to save while on vacation. You will be surprised how often the best things to do are free too. Find out 21 free things to do in any city now!
44. Speak their language
Learn some basic words and phrases. A little goes a long way towards getting to know locals and talking to them. If you put in the effort, they will be more willing to open up to you. Soon enough, you will be best friends!
45. Free Upgrades
Always ask for upgrades, whether at the hotel or at the airport. Try asking the flight attendant at the boarding gate if there are any better seats you can move to. This way, it is non intrusive and they likely will know where is a better seat than the one you currently have.
If you are celebrating an occasion like a birthday or anniversary, don’t be shy to let the hotel know ahead of time. There is a good chance you will be surprised with a cake or even champagne.
46. Expensive meals
If you are interested in something fancy or maybe eyeing a Michelin star restaurant, consider going during lunch. You get the same high quality but at a much lower price. For example L’Agape in Paris, which has a 4 course set lunch for only €35.
Always bring at least one pair of good shoes. It helps protect your feet from the elements and you will feel much better after walking the entire day.
48. Right time to travel
Always plan your travel around shoulder season if possible. Prices are lower and there aren’t as much crowd to deal with.
49. Getting around
Get out of your hotel as early as possible. You get to enjoy the place to yourself and take beautiful pictures with the morning sun.
Take lots of photos!
Sign up for Google Drive (free; 15 GB storage) and use Wi-Fi to upload your pictures when you’re back at the hotel. This creates a backup and you can even delete your pictures in case you run out of space.
Now that phones are so advanced in their capabilities, you should also take videos to record down memories that will last a lifetime. Get a gimbal that can help to stabilise those shots and amazing videos!
What travel tips do you have?
We hope that these 50 travel tips are useful to you, and will help to make your future trips smoother and much more enjoyable.
Do you have any trick that you always fall back on? Share with us in the comments down below!
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it on social media and pin it to Pinterest!
Logistics before travelling
Find cheap flights.
Air tickets are usually the bulk of your expenses. Set up an alert and snag cheap fares with Skyscanner.
Find the best accommodation.
Book a place ahead of time to get good rates. Booking.com has transparent fees and excellent rates.
Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.
Your mobile phone can do a pretty good job, but if you need an upgrade, we recommend the Sony A6000 (US) (International)
You don’t need us to teach you to be a responsible adult, do you? Get a quote here.
Planned for you activities.
Need a guide to show you and your group around? Lots of operators here to choose from here. You know who they are and how they are reviewed.
More resources to help you.
All other useful travel resources we use when we book our trips.