I have a confession, I LOVE to travel, I don’t care where, when, or how far we go, it could be 3 miles while geocachingor 3,500 miles (to Ireland!).In any case, with rising baggage fees, increased security, etc, it can be difficult and expensive to pack everything you need, or so you might Think! Here are some of our favorite travel hacks . . .
In order to travel, one must have a destination in mind, which generally requires tickets or travel accommodations of some sort (plane tickets, cruise tickets, hotel stays, etc). If you have time to research prices, be sure that you use an incognito window in your browser so you aren’t tracked while searching. Most major travel sites often track visits and will actually increase your price based on search history. You can also clear your cache. (This is actually common while shopping online during the holidays as well, you can read more about it here in how NOT to get Scroogled.
Use smaller 2 oz bottles to bring shampoo, conditioner, lotions or creams. Fill the bottle, place a small piece of plastic wrap over the top of the bottle, THEN screw the cover on tightly. This will ensure that the bottles won’t leak into your luggage. This works well with bottles of sunscreen as well. It also helps to add an extra layer of protection by placing the toiletries into a plastic zip-close style bag as well.
Cotton swabs fit nicely into repurposed prescription bottles.
Pro tip: Watch the freebies forum to order free samples of your favorite products for free travel-size toiletries.
If you made the mistake of forgetting the pig (the wall plug-in for your phone charger) just take a look at the back of your hotel TV. There’s usually a USB port, even when traveling abroad. Be aware the TV usually has to be on for the device to charge.
The real trick to traveling comes with getting everything into a SMALLER suitcase or carryon in order to avoid excess baggage fees.
Clown Car Suitcase Hack
Yes, this is an actual thing, particularly if you have to include shoes and there are several different ways of doing it. Basically, you stuff your paired socks into the footwear you intend to pack, wrap each shoe in a (repurposed) plastic grocery bag and tuck them into the suitcase. Be sure to place them at the BOTTOM of your bag near the wheels, as this will help balance the bag and keep it from being top heavy.
Add folded underwear along the sides and then start placing the clothes in the suitcase, leaving the shirts open so they can be folded in afterwards. I know.. confusing right?
Here’s a video:
If you’re traveling internationally, here’s a tip that can save you a lot of heartache and frustration. Scan your passport, identification card, and a complete itinerary in your computer, then email them to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft and while not official, will certainly help the real documents to be located and confirmed once you reach the consulate.
If you travel frequently, consider signing up for the TSA Precheck or Global Entry. This ensures that you will pass through security quickly with your shoes and jewelry intact and is a considerable help in ensuring you don’t miss your flight or connection due to long security lines, particularly when the TSA is on strike.
Cash, Credit, Debit
Fraud is so prevalent these days banks and credit card companies are quick to decline charges when you use your cards out of area of your home. Be sure to login to your card online or call the number on the back of your card to notify them of your travel dates to ensure your card won’t be declined when you need it most.
Regarding Cash- Don’t get sucked into using the money converters in the airport terminals as you exit the plane or disembark the ship as these usually come with their own exorbitant fees and often the exchange rates are a complete rip-off.
Instead, locate an ATM as these machines always dispense local currency and you can simply use your debit or credit card and get your money there. It ensures you’re getting the latest exchange rate and you don’t have to worry about excessive fee’s.
It can be overwhelming traveling to other countries, particularly if you’re not overly familiar with their customs. There’s an old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” – in other words, follow suit with what you see. If you’re in an area where people are dressing modestly, then do the same. Be aware that simply paying attention to a few smaller details around you can help you blend in and make you less of a target.