Exploring new places and experiencing unusual cultures is the best part of travel. But the actual process of packing and planning…well, that’s a little less pleasant. With airplane seats designed for children, long lines, and jet lag that can at times feel a multi-day hangover, long-distance travel can be more than uncomfortable. So, anything that can ease the pain and hassle is well worth exploring. That’s why with the help of AllTheRooms, The Vacation Rental search engine, we’ve made a list of travel hacks to help the adventurers out there save some time, money, and discomfort.
For all those still arguing “we shouldn’t be so connected to our devices”, it’s too late. Phones and computers are, at this point, essential. And that is never truer than when traveling. From being able to work remotely to checking flight statuses to even having access to your boarding pass, being “plugged in” is a huge aid on the road. As a result, many companies are making a push to revolutionize mobile Wi-Fi. Our personal favorite hotspot is from Skyroam, which provides Wi-Fi without any roaming fees, SIM configuring or unsecured connections — because being able to watch Netflix on a long flight makes a huge difference.
For those only looking to steal a few seconds of Wi-Fi in an airport, park yourself outside of the First Class Lounge or a restaurant and hop on theirs. If a password is required, trust the good people of the internet, as folks often post passwords to FourSquare.
This one is for pre-travel. By going incognito or using private browsing mode on your internet browser you could save significantly on flight prices. Private browsing prevents airlines and other travel sites from installing cookies. Once cookies are installed, various companies’ software can monitor user search history — meaning when you repeatedly search for a flight, airlines can strategically increase the price.
There are a number of ways travelers can be more efficient with their packing. The biggest time saver is, of course, taking only carry-on luggage. Invest in a good-sized suitcase or a travel backpack that can easily carry everything. Travelers should also roll their clothes, not only is this the best way to save space in a bag, it stops the clothes wrinkling.
Another way to save space, especially for those heading somewhere cold, is to wear heavier items. Carrying a big coat and storing it in the overhead bin during a flight could be the difference between carrying-on and paying a baggage fee.
Anyone that has to check their luggage, we have a tip for you too. Before leaving for the airport, buy a fragile sticker and slap it on any bags getting checked, and make sure the gate agent sees it also. Not only will this get the bag treated with more care, but it will also be loaded last, so it’ll be the first item unloaded and you can whizz through baggage claim.
Let Google Be Your Tour Guide
Wandering around a country where you don’t speak the language or somewhere where you can’t afford a tour guide? There’s an app for you! Using mobile image recognition, Google Lens is the future of learning about history and landmarks. Having expanded from its start as a barcode scanner, Google Lens evolved from Google Goggles, and now recognizes its environment and photos taken on people’s devices. When the app identifies a landmark, painting, book, etc. it provides a ton of information about it. Cool, huh?
Keep Rechargeable Batteries Cool
It might sound strange, but it works. Dealing with wires and/or constantly charging devices can be an absolute pain, especially on a short trip. So how to conserve battery? Look no further than the refrigerator. Storing a rechargeable battery in a cool place, like a fridge, makes them last significantly longer. It has been proven that rechargeable batteries that are stored in these conditions retain 90% of their full charge.
Keep Things Dry and Smelling Good
Backpackers know this issue all too well. You’ve been on the road for a while and dirty clothes are stuffed into a backpack and forgotten. The result? A musty, moldy smell radiating out for a few days. How to prevent this then? Well, the most common way to develop an err… the scent is if your backpack or jacket gets wet from rain. Beeswax is a cheap and easy fix to add water resistance to non-waterproof items. Purchase a bit and rub it on anything. Meanwhile, to prevent the stench, simply throw a couple of dryer sheets in while packing. Problem solved.
Zack is a recovering technical recruiter who traded in his suit and ties in Silicon Valley for salsa music and a passion for writing in Medellin, Colombia. When not writing for AllTheRooms you can find Zack with his nose in a book, puttering around nature, or getting ultra-competitive while watching Jeopardy.