Travel Hacks, Tips and Advice: The Definitive Guide

Last Updated: 2 January 2017

We’ve scoured the internet and the travellers of the office to compile the most complete list of travel hacks, tips and advice that a traveller could ever desire. Prepare to transform yourself into the expert you’ve always dreamed you’d be.

While we have compiled this comprehensive list for now, we hope to keep growing it over time and to inspire new hacks, tips and advice to share – if you have one we have not included, please let us know in the comments beneath!

Booking Travel Hacks

1. Once you’re ready to book part of your trip, always get travel insurance first, in case you need to cancel.

2. If you already had a travel insurance, shop around before renewing it: Compare what you’re paying with competitors’ rates, and ask your provider for a discount if they’re overcharging you.

3. Check terms and conditions to see what happens if you do cancel (or something gets cancelled on you).

4. Book the part of your trip that has the least spots available first; generally it will be tickets to a festival or seats on a tour, then book your flights after.

5. Know which dates you want to go as early as possible; it will increase the likelihood of getting time off work, as well as being eligible for early bird specials.

6. When looking at flights, try on private/incognito browsing mode as airlines can track website visits, and if you have friends in the destination country, you can ask them to check locally as sometimes prices will vary from country to country.

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How to find your incognito settings.

7. Once you know what type of plane you’ll be on, use seatguru.com to get a layout of the plane and know which seat will suit you best. It even has information on equipment boxes under seats, seats susceptible to heat/cold, and seats with lots of bathroom traffic.

8. When selecting airline seats for two people, choose the window and aisle seats – someone likely won’t sit in between you and then you get to keep the row all to yourselves! If they do, you just ask to swap with them.

9. Alternatively you can sometimes select seats last minute from the airlines app, even once you’ve checked in.

10. A simple Google search before booking can yield some pretty impressive discounts. Start by searching “[airline name] + promo code” or checking an airline/hotels Facebook page can often reveal a 5% or 10% discount simply for liking their page or signing up for a newsletter.

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What to put in Google’s search bar.

11. Always check aggregation or comparison sites as well as booking directly with companies. While sometimes booking directly might cost the same as booking through the aggregation site, often the site will have discounts or rewards programs which will save you money the next time you book.

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Reap the rewards!

Packing Travel Hacks

12. Put clothes into packing cubes to make it easier to organise, as well as underwear and socks in shoes to save space.

13. If you do have clothes that need to be folded, use tissue paper to reduce wrinkling or roll them rather than fold.

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Packing efficiently is an art form.

14. Get a pill container and roll of tape from a dollar store – pill container is perfect to store jewellery, and tape always comes in handy for many, many things while traveling.

15. Ditch the blush, brightener, and lipstick and instead use an all-in-one makeup product. Will save you space and headaches, and allow more room for souvenirs!

16. Wear your heaviest clothes and shoes on the plane to save weight. Big jackets and coats can double as a pillow and a pair of flip flops can be worn once on the plane.

17. Lots of pockets means more things you can carry – you’d be surprised at how much you can fit in cargo pants and vests!

18. Always wrap your liquids in cling wrap or snap lock bags. This will protect your other belongings from any leaks

19. Use a shower cap as a small lightweight barrier for footwear, to save your clothes and bags from smelling like your shoes.

20. Glasses cases from the dollar store are perfect for carrying charger cables for electronics.

21. Pack a pillowcase. Not only can you use the spare pillowcase when you’re feeling iffy about the one in your hostel but it can also be used to separate dirty clothes from clean ones.

22. Pack some dryer sheets in your checked-luggage to keep your belongings smelling fresh.

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How to pack your electronic cords.

Travel Hacks While In Transit

23. Wear something that has a big pocket, so you have easy access to your passport, plane tickets, phone and wallet.

24. Sick of being stung by airport liquid procedures? Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it after passing security instead.

25. If your flight gets cancelled or delayed and you think you’re likely to miss your connecting flight, wait in line at the customer service counter and call the airline at the same time. This way you will be looked after as soon as possible by whoever you reach first.

26. If you do use travel containers, refill them each time so you don’t have to keep buying them.

27. Wait to use an ATM to withdraw or convert money as they always dispense local currency. Currency exchanges desks in the airport generally have bad conversion rates, as well as extra fees.

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Using local ATMs isn’t always a bad option.

28. On long flights wear a night moisturizer – it will keep you hydrated on the dry plane.

29. If you have trouble sleeping on planes, try taking your own relaxing drink; make up a thermos with a slice of lemon, honey and your own tea bag, and ask the attendant to fill it with hot water.

30. Large scarves have multiple uses while on the road. They can be a blanket if you’re cold, rolled up as a pillow, or used to block light out if you’re trying to rest.

31. An oversized hoodie will keep you warm and act as an eye mask for when you’re trying to sleep.

32. Leggings are great for traveling. They’ll keep you warm and can be worn under dresses and skirts.

33. Always pack a spare pair of underwear in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost.

34. If you need the bathroom when you land, go to the second one as it will be far less busy.

35. If you have a stopover on a long haul flight, see if there is an executive lounge with a shower you can visit. You will never regret asking.

36. You can access executive lounges through frequent flyer programs,  certain credit cards, or even just by paying a once off access fee

Travel Hacks While Traveling

37. Arrive at the hotel and realize you’ve forgotten your charger? Ask at receptionist, they almost always will have a box full that have been left by other travellers.

38. To prevent damage and frustration, wrap headphones around a binder clip.

39. Tic Tacs will help keep your breath fresh, and the empty container is the perfect size for hair clips.

40. Stop lint and cotton getting caught in your shaver head with a binder clip.

41. Buy in bulk: Make a list of those things you need on a constant basis: toilet paper, your preferred deodorant, staples for your home office.

42. Be a relentless bargain-shopper: Try to buy at high-sale times whenever possible. Think bathing suits in December and skis in July.

43. If traveling for business, use belts to line collars to keep them looking sharp.

44. Travel can be tough on electronics – use a spring from a pen to prevent them from bending and breaking.

45. To stop post holidays confusion of where different photos are from, you can use Instagram’s location settings to geotag each of your photos. If you’re artistic, you can also take a couple of sticks of chalk with you, and make your own handwritten sign on the ground whenever you enter a new destination.

46. If it’s very hot and you are in a major city with no beach around, the hotels and hostels will often have pools. Simply taking your swimwear in a bag, getting changed in the bathroom and ordering a drink poolside, will often get you access without a question or blink from the staff.

47. City tourist cards can be a great way to save money in cities with lots of attractions (like Paris). It can often save money and time from buying entrance to each attraction individually and typically include access to public transit.

48. The emergency phone number from mobile phones is 112 in many countries, and is a free call.

49. If you often forget the name of your hotel, grab a business card on the way out the front door. It’s free and will have the name and address on it to show taxi drivers or locals if directions are needed.

50. Don’t get too caught up with trying to visit all the recommended places in a guidebook- try asking your tour guide or maybe the hotel reception for some hidden gems (or read this article).

Travel Technology Hacks

51. Save your Google Maps for offline access by viewing the area you want to save, then typing “OK maps” into the search bar.

52. Free WiFi passwords can usually be found by checking comments on FourSquare.

53. Scan your passport, identification card, and itinerary and email them to yourself. This will give you an easily accessible second copy in case of loss or theft.

54. Take a cheap unlocked GSM phone with you as your “travel phone” – you can buy SIM cards and use it to make local calls when needed. Learn more about saving money without sacrificing your data by reading this.

55. Free internet can usually be found at the following: food outlets (McDonalds, KFC, restaurants, cafes, etc – check receipts for the code), any electronics or department stores (Apple stores etc), Executive/First Class/Business Class lounges at airports (even without access, you can sit nearby and access it easily)

56. Take a small 3 or 4 port power board, and just one travel adapter. This way you will have access to many power points to charge your tech goodies on.

57. For those times when there is a ‘power emergency,’  power banks will often provide enough to charge your phone at least once.

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Look for outlets everywhere and enjoy the free charging.

58. Charge your phone or camera anywhere that there is a USB port. This can include the electronics or department stores (the same place you are using the free internet), TVs in hotel rooms, even TVs in McDonalds and other fast food places. Make sure to put your phone on airplane mode for quicker charging.

59. The MetrO App is a free download on the iTunes store which allows your to find your way through the maze of public transportation systems in more than 400 cities worldwide.

60. You’re not a real traveller until you have slept in an airport. The people at http://www.sleepinginairports.net/ rate airports around the globe for sleep comfort as well as the services and amenities on offer.

Travel Hacks for Saving Money Before You Leave

61. Set yourself a challenge for saving money – only spending $4 per day on food, not catching taxis or ubers, etc

62. Make a grocery list, and stick to it: Before heading out to the store, spend 5 minutes making a shopping list, and try not to let anything jump into your trolley if it’s not on that list!

63. Every time you go to buy a beer/takeaway meal/glass of wine, think to yourself “would I rather have it here, or in Rome?”

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Save your money and enjoy an extra glass of the good stuff while away.

64. Set up a separate bank account specifically saving for your travels. Read more about how to do that here.

65. Attack your credit card debt with a vengeance: Stop paying absurdly high amounts of money toward credit card interest.

66. Start a piggy bank to put all your loose change in at the end of the week.

67. Sell anything you don’t need on ebay/Craigslist/gumtree – a big clean out might be unexpectedly profitable!

68. If traveling for an extended period of time, use a dedicated foreign exchange service to get better rates than your bank. (Check out our case study on this here)

69. For USA citizens, TSA Pre-check for domestic flights or the GOES (Global Overseas Entry System) might be costly, but both get you through the Security lines much quicker and could save you money in the long run.

Have you got a great travel hack, tip or advice to add? Let us know in the comments!