We all love to travel, and we are free to go anywhere we want to again. Little compares to that feeling of flying to a new destination, putting your worries behind you for a moment in time. With a few essential travel hacks, you can reduce your anxiety and travel stress-free with a little planning.
Follow these smart travel hacks and tips, and be on your way to a smooth sailing holiday.
There is nothing more disappointing than booking your dream holiday, to find out later that you could have gotten your flights for much less than you paid for them. The key to booking your flights is to constantly look for deals with multiple airlines. You can also engage a travel agent or use flight comparison websites to help you do this.
We’ve also found that airfares will vary according to the time of year that you book. Avoid booking at peak times such as school holidays and during the festive season. It could also be cheaper to book a flight mid-week.
When you book your flights, aim to choose a package that allows you to choose your own seats. The front row seats will often incur a small fee, but if you’re tall, need to stand up frequently, or need the bathroom often, they’re the best option to take.
Also, look for seats that have empty seats next to them. These seats might get booked as the airplane fills up, but not always. So, if you’re fortunate enough to have a spare seat next to you, it allows you to stretch out that bit more.
When it comes to comfort on a plane, some airlines allow you to bring an inflatable seat extender. If not, use your carry-on bag to rest your feet on. Also consider bringing an inflatable pillow with you, because the airline pillows are flimsy. And, I always take a small pack of hygiene wipes with me to wipe down the trays and clean my hands.
And finally, let the airline know if you have any special dietary considerations, or alternatively, take your own food onto the plane… just don’t take leftovers off the plane at the other end!! That’s a no-no.
Have you ever shown up to the airline counter to be asked if you have your visa or visa waiver, and you didn’t know that you needed one? I have. Fortunately, I was able to complete it online at the airport and received the document on the spot.
Always make sure that your passport has at least 6 months left on it too, and that you have your travel visas for different countries. Then, make a copy of them, along with your itineraries, accommodation bookings, and entertainment bookings. That way, if you lose anything, you’ve got a copy of your booking numbers, etc. Take a photo, print out a copy, and store a copy on a USB.
And most importantly, take out a travel insurance policy before you take your vacation. That way, you can have your luggage protected, and ensure that you avoid hefty medical bills if you get sick or hurt yourself while you’re holidaying.
You can usually save on accommodation as you can with flights. There are a few tricks that you can do. Why not consider a homestay or house swap? You’ll get to live locally, immersing yourself in the culture, at a cheap cost (or even for free!)
If a homestay isn’t for you, you could consider venturing away from the big tourist cities. An idea is to stay on the outskirts of the city, as long as there’s public transport close by to take you to where you’d like to sightsee. You could also consider exploring other spectacular parts of a country that have much on offer at half of the cost.
Another important step to take before you travel includes telling your mobile phone provider. Ask them if you can use your data overseas and if it will incur an extra fee. If you can’t use your data, turn off data roaming before you leave. And check that your phone is unlocked so that you can buy a pre-paid SIM card at your destination.
Furthermore, it’s really important to tell your bank where you’re travelling so that they don’t freeze your card for suspected fraud. Banks often charge fees for international transactions too. There are a couple of steps you can take to avoid these fees. One way is to take out a lump sum of cash when you get to your destination so that you’re not constantly getting charged fees on transactions. Another way is to exchange your money for the local currency before you travel.
Now that you’ve got your flights and accommodation booked, it’s time to think about packing. This is a big one! Saving space and packing the ‘right’ items is a must. Look up the weather forecast at your destination before you pack. That way, you’ll know what you need to pack, such as a rain jacket, or thermal undergarments.
There are a lot of tips online regarding folding. We still use the popular “roll your clothes” trick. That doesn’t suit everyone, but it is a great space saver. In any case, do a google search to find the right folding method for you before you get started. If you’re taking a big coat with you, take it on the plane. Don’t pack it in your suitcase as it will take up too much room!
The best tip of all when packing your suitcase is to use zip lock bags. You can buy extra-large bags for bulky items such as shampoo or shaving cream. We recommend that you put anything that can spill or leak into one of these. You can also put cords, USBs, and any technology in zip lock bags to protect them. And, put your shoes in a bag first. You don’t want the dirty soles of your shoes getting all over your clothes and making them smell.
Finally, weigh your suitcase before you get to the airport. Getting caught out with excess luggage can be so expensive
I never travel without a scarf or wrap. They are the most versatile garments that double up as a blanket, a mask or a cover-up if needed.
And always bring one change of clothes in your carry-on baggage. You can use this to freshen up before disembarking, and they come in handy if you’ve had an unfortunate spill on the plane.
Always bring your own headphones. Bring noise-canceling headphones if you have them. They’re great if you want to sleep. Also, the airline-supplied headphones hurt your ears and they’re not the best quality.
I always take a pen on the plane with me too. This is mostly to do important things like crosswords. However, a pen comes in handy when you’re filling out your landing documents before you disembark. It saves time when you’re going through customs, eliminating one extra step when you get off the plane.
Last but not least, when planning your carry-on luggage there are some beauty/ hygiene products that are a must bring. These include moisturizers because planes are so drying! Also pack a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and some deodorant. You’ll feel so much fresher with these extra bits and pieces.
There are a few things that you can do to feel better during your flight, and when you get to your destination. The obvious one is to get some sleep on the plane, but we all know that’s easier said than done. There are a few other steps you can take to keep your body feeling good.
On the plane, it’s a great idea to wear anti-embolic stockings to reduce the risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Additionally, move your body as much as you can during the flight as this will make you feel better. When the seatbelt sign is off, use the opportunity to stretch your legs and walk around the plane.
Finally, as much as you might not feel like it when you get to your destination, try and push yourself to take a walk and enjoy the sights before you go off to sleep.
Firstly, if you’ve got both cash and cards with you, don’t keep them all together. Split up your cards and split up your cash. Only take what you’ll need for the day, and leave the rest in your hotel safe, or in a safe place at your apartment. And put a little bit of money under the insoles of your shoes in case you lose your wallet.
We all love to capture our vacations in long-lasting images. Nowadays, most of us use our mobile devices to do this. But unfortunately, items can get lost when you’re travelling. A great hack is to back up your photos to a cloud each day so that you’ll still have them when you get home if for some reason you misplace your phone or tablet.
Knowing where you want to go sightseeing on your holiday is great planning. Better planning is working out how you’re going to get there. Learn the local transport system, and get the necessary cards, etc. to use them.
Find all the free things to do at your destination. This will enhance your enjoyment without the added costs. You can search google, local government websites, and apps such as TripAdvisor to get the information that you’re looking for.
The final travel hack is a beauty. Google Maps! Did you know that you can access google maps offline? By adding the Google map app to your mobile phone beforehand, you won’t get lost and you’ll be able to keep having fun.
Did you like our travel tips and hacks? Check out the Retirement Now Travel page for more helpful travel information.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission.
Join our network and receive exclusive offers, the latest eNews and retirement eGuides.