Most of us love traveling, visiting a different country, or even another city or state in our own country. But for those who travel often, you also know that it is a bittersweet experience, and at times, can be downright frustrating! From weight restrictions to language barriers, traveling does have its negatives. Even though the good does outweigh the bad. Here are 5 game-changing travel hacks that will make your life a whole lot easier the next time you go traveling.
Roll up Your Clothes
Having enough clothes when you go on vacation is always a concern. You never know what might happen, especially when you are in a hot country and need to change your clothes several times per day. A great way to make enough space in your suitcase to fit all your favorite outfits is to roll up your clothes. Fold the luggage item in half, and then roll it into a tight ball in the same way you would roll a burrito. Sounds weird, but trust us, it works!
Scan Your Passport
One of the worst things that can happen when you travel is to lose your passport. You never know what might happen, it could get stolen, you might leave it in a taxi, there are plenty of ways your passport can go missing. If the worst does happen, you will need to find your local embassy and get a new passport, not only is this extremely time consuming, but it is also very expensive.
To avoid getting stranded, scan a copy of your passport and email it to yourself; once emailed, you should download the picture to your phone’s camera so that it is available whether you are connected to the internet or not. In this way, no matter what happens, you will always have it with you. It is also a great way to ensure that you don’t lose your passport because you can leave it in your accommodation and won’t need to carry it around with you. It’s also a good idea to take screenshots of your journey confirmations. This means you won’t need to carry out printouts, and you will have access to them whether you are connected to the internet or not.
Put a Fragile Label on Your Baggage
If you have ever witnessed baggage handlers putting luggage into the bottom of an airplane, you will know that they just pick up the bags and throw them into the plane. I know I have arrived at my destination only to find that my creams or hair care products have exploded and gone all over my clothes no matter how tightly I had packaged them. You can ensure that this doesn’t happen by marking your baggage as ‘fragile.’ Not only does it mean that baggage handlers will treat your luggage with the proper care and attention it deserves, but they also put fragile luggage on top of the pile, and so yours will be one of the first off the plane.
Use Local Cash Machines
The worst place you can get local currency is from a bureau de change, and especially at the airport. They charge extortionate fees, and their exchange rates are not great. You can save yourself a lot of money by withdrawing money from a local cashpoint in the country you are visiting. Your bank will charge you a small fee each time you withdraw funds, but it will be a lot cheaper. It is also important to mention that it is safer to take out small amounts from a cash machine than to carry large wads of local currency with you, which is what people tend to do when they change money at a bureau de change — see more from the Busy Tourist.
In most countries, you won’t have any difficulty in finding a cash machine. You can ask hotel staff, or a taxi driver to direct you to the nearest one. Small towns may not have as many ATMs, so to avoid getting stuck for cash, just make sure you’ve got enough money before you set off.
It is also much safer to withdraw cash from bank-run ATMs instead of private ones. You will find them outside the bank, you should also use cash machines while the bank is open in case your card gets swallowed. Thieves are less likely to target bank run cash machines because of the security cameras in place. If you are traveling to Europe, you will find that a lot of European banks house their cash machines within an entry lobby. This protects users from bad weather and from anyone trying to watch you while you are withdrawing cash. You can gain access by inserting your debit or credit card into a slot by the door.
Stay away from independent ATMs such as Cashzone, Cardpoint, Your Cash, Moneybox, Euronet, and Travelex. They are typically stationed next to bank ATMs; this is a strategic placement in the hopes that people will be too confused to know the difference. Their fees are borderline extortionate, so avoid them at all costs.
Its easy to withdraw money from foreign cash machines, the instructions on the screen are in English, the only difference is that they give you foreign money. It is also better to use a debit card instead of a credit card because the fees are lower.
Bring a Portable Phone Charger
We all know the feeling of arriving at your destination, your battery is dead, you get out your charger, but it doesn’t fit because the plug is different. You can avoid this by buying a portable USB charger that doesn’t require plugging in. Not only are they universal, but you can carry the charger around in your bag and use it to charge your phone no matter where you are.
Voila! And there are your five game-changing travel hacks! By applying these tips, travel should be a lot easier and simpler for you no matter what part of the world you flying to! Say goodbye to stressful travel and say hello to new and improved stress-free journeys!
Looking for more travel hacks? Check out this great list by Gathering Dreams.
Image by Porapak Apichodilok