Whether you’re a long-term backpacker, a short-term business traveler, or occasionally head off for your annual luxury vacay, certain aspects of travel can be difficult. There are tons of helpful sources – like Bookaway, Skyscanner, and Airbnb – assisting with travel planning nowadays. But even with the recent advances in travel technology, parts of the travel experience are just downright unlikeable.
Let’s face it, nobody enjoys a 15-hour flight, overnight train ride, or having to check a bag that is just slightly over the carry-on weight limit. If you have experienced the annoyances that come along with exploring the world, all is not lost. These 6 helpful travel hacks can change your entire experience while on the road for the better.
Never Travel Without a Pillowcase
Bringing a pillow along for your travels sounds like a great idea, but more often than not you’ll want to abandon the bulky ball of fluff along the way. Especially for those travelers moving from spot to spot, traveling with a pillow will be more annoying than comfortable. However, there is a solution, and that is to bring a pillowcase without a pillow.
If you ever want to get comfy while on the road, simply grab your pillowcase and stuff it full with some of your clothing items. You’d be surprised by just how many uses you’ll get from a pillowcase. You can even use it to compress some of your larger clothing items in order to save on precious luggage space.
Always Travel with a Reusable Water Bottle
OK, so this one isn’t so much of a hack as it is common sense. Do your best to always head to the airport with an empty water bottle that you can fill later on. You don’t have to worry about an empty bottle while going through the TSA lines, and you’ll never be subjected to outrageous airport prices on bottled waters.
All you need to do is find a water fountain, which most airports around the world are legally required to have. The best part of all is that you’ll be practicing environmental-consciousness by cutting down on single-use plastic. If you have enough space in your luggage, you might consider doing the same with a reusable coffee cup.
Download the FourSquare App
FourSquare might just become your new best friend while on the road. The FourSquare app/website is a handy tool for travelers since it gives helpful tips on restaurants, bars, and other businesses around the world. A lot of travelers are using the FourSquare app to get their WiFi fix. We all know that traveling without an international SIM card can be difficult, especially when WiFi isn’t around.
With FourSquare, all you have to do is scroll down to the “Tips” section beneath each establishment. Your fellow travelers understand your pain when it comes to finding WiFi, so many will post the WiFi information in this section. You’ll never have to pay for a coffee you don’t even want, just to ask for the WiFi password and hop on the internet. WiFi Map is another great tool for this, which can be downloaded on GooglePlay or iTunes.
Google Translate has an Offline Setting
There’s no point in having the Google Translate app if you’re rarely able to access it. A lot of travelers assume that using this translation tool is a no-go when there’s no data or WiFi. This is not the case at all; many languages in the app are able to be downloaded for offline use. You just need to have a WiFi connection when you download translations for using offline. After that, you can use it whenever, wherever, even while offline.
The Same Goes for Google Maps
Just as Google Translate has an offline mode, so does Google Maps. Many travelers claim that the Google Maps offline mode is a lifesaver for navigating a foreign place. While you have an internet connection, download a few maps of the area you’ll be heading to. Then when you get lost with no WiFi, you can easily refer to these maps to help you find your way.
Label Your Luggage as Fragile
So this hack is a bit on the sneaky side, but you’ll feel completely fine with your sneakiness when your luggage comes out first at the baggage claim. If you haven’t noticed before, all the first bags and boxes to come out are labeled as “Fragile”. Simply label your bag as fragile and you’ll be leaving baggage claim before anyone else. Another perk of this is that the airport staff is more likely to be careful with your belongings.