15 Travel Hacks All Tourists Should Know
Planning your next summer holiday? There are many tips all travellers should know to help them save time and money when travelling. We’ve put together the top 15 we can think of, to help ensure you get the most out of your holiday.
Be flexible with your dates of travel
If you travel with set dates in mind, you might run the risk of losing out on a cheaper alternative. Be flexible with your travel dates, if possible. The best way to ensure you get a good deal is to use a travel comparison website such as Kayak or Skyscanner. Here you can check for flights to a specific destination throughout the month and discover the cheapest rate and date to fly.
Two flights can be better than one
Are you having difficulty finding a cheap long-haul flight? One way to save money is to investigate booking two separate flights. This can be more time consuming but can end up saving you a lot more money, especially if you can find some budget airline alternatives.
Invest in a prepaid travel card
Instead of paying costly ATM withdrawal fees and conversation rate fees from your bank, why not invest in a prepaid travel card? These cards work similarly to a debit or credit card, all you need to do is top it up from your direct debit account and you can then use it to withdraw money and pay for items fee-free. There are a variety of options out there with cards from the Post Office to Caxton or Revolut available. It’s best to read and compare each card as it will all depend on what country you are travelling to and what currency you need. Be aware there may be added fees, so always read the small print!
Set up Google Maps for offline
This is an absolute lifesaver, did you know that by typing, ‘OK Map,’ into Google Maps this will save your map for offline use? There’s nothing worse than having to use data or search for a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi to access your online map. This handy tip will ensure you never have to worry about it again!
Set up Google Translate for offline
If you are travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language having a translator app can be handy to help you get by, but you will often find it requires an internet connection. However, with Google Translate you can set it up to be used when offline. To do this download the Google Translate app, go to settings and opt for offline translation. This will allow you to download the language of choice so you can use it offline. You can also enable Google Translate on your phone’s camera, simply tap the camera icon on your Google Translate app and hold it up to the writing you want to be translated. It will translate before your eyes in real-time, as if by magic!
Use a currency converter app
When travelling, it can be hard to keep up with the latest conversation rates for currency. By downloading a currency converter app, you can always stay one step ahead and make sure you aren’t getting short-changed! One of the most popular apps out there is XE Currency. With this app, you can watch rates of up to ten currencies at a time and transfer money globally.
Email yourself any important documents you will need
You never know what might happen to the hard copies, so always back up any important travel documents by emailing them to yourself. This means that if the worst happens and you lose anything, you will be able to print off a copy from an internet café or library.
Solid toiletries are your friend
Travelling with a carry-on case or fed up of your toiletries adding extra kgs to your overall luggage weight? Invest in solid toiletries, not only are they environmentally friendly and will cut down your use of throw away plastics, they aren’t subject to liquid restrictions and will weigh less in your bag. Lush do a fantastic new ‘Naked Range,’ which offers solid alternatives to shower gel, body moisturiser, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and face wash.
Always bring a first aid kit
Wherever you travel and even if you have travel insurance, always bring a first aid kit with you. This should include antiseptic, basic plasters and bandages for cuts and grazes, stomach medicine and rehydration medicine in case of stomach upset and over the counter pain killers. If you have a medical condition and take regular medication it is important to declare this when travelling, especially if the medication you take is a controlled substance in the country you are visiting. Have a letter from your GP outlining the medication you take and any health issues you may have. If possible, have a translated version available, if it’s likely English will not be spoken at your destination.
Always travel with insurance
You never know what might happen when you are travelling, so don’t make the mistake of not investing in travel insurance. This will help protect you in case of illness, theft or if your airline or hotel goes bust. There are a variety of options out there, so make sure you read the policies to ensure you are getting the cover you need. Also, if you are from the EU, remember to apply for your EHIC card, which will allow you to access healthcare across the EU. However, if you are from the UK there is no guarantee this will be upheld after the UK leaves the EU.
Rent a car in the city, not at the airport
Going on the ultimate road trip? You might discover that renting a car is cheaper from outside the airport. Prices can often vary depending on the route and whether you are returning the car to the same depot. Always compare prices within the nearby area and double-check it isn’t cheaper outside the terminal!
Always carry a purified water bottle
Buying bottled water not only is costly but isn’t good for the environment. Cut down on throw-away plastics and invest in a purified water bottle. These water bottles have a built-in purifier so you can drink tap water safely. It’s important to ensure that you pick one that will treat bacteria and effectively clean the water. The most popular band out there is LifeStraw. Their bottles come with an in-built straw filter that can filter up to 4,000 L of waterborne diseases and parasites.
Bring an infinity scarf
An infinity scarf is a great item to carry with you whilst travelling as it can have many uses. You can use it as a scarf, as a way to gain privacy in a hostel, as a makeshift pillowcase, as a wrap to cover your legs or shoulders from the sun, or as a makeshift headscarf if you need to cover your head to enter a place of worship. Some even include lightweight zipped pockets for you to store any essential items that you always want to have on your person. It is an incredibly versatile piece of material and if you are backpacking can be an absolute gamechanger.
Always stay connected with a solar power charger
When you are travelling long-haul or backpacking, you never know how long it might be until you get to an electrical plugin. Instead of buying a traditional battery charger, invest in a solar power one as the only thing you’ll ever need to charge it is daylight. When you choose which solar power charger to invest in, double-check any wattage restrictions, to charge a mobile phone you will need at least 7 watts or for a laptop between 10-15 watts.
Send your luggage ahead of you
Save money on the excessive fees to put your luggage in the hold and send it ahead of you to your destination. My Baggage offers a fuss-free solution that will ship your bags from your home straight to your destination. No more baggage fees, no more carrying heavy cases through departures and no need to waste time at the carousel. Learn more about travelling luggage-free here.