Travel and holidays

Top 10 travel hacks

Heading off travelling and looking for some advice on what to pack for your trip? Well, look no further - from protecting your money abroad to learning how to fold your clothes to utilise space, these helpful travel tips and hacks are sure to help you to make the most out of your next adventure.

Our top 10 travel tips and hacks

1. Roll, don’t fold!

It’s a common misconception that folding the clothes in your suitcase is the best way to pack for your holiday. However, rolling your clothes can actually help save on space by compressing out the air, as well as ensuring that everything doesn’t get wrinkled during the journey. It’s a small change, but it might just allow you to take that extra shirt on holiday!

Knowing how to pack your suitcase is a simple travel hack, but not one you want to forget. While remembering techniques for packing your suitcase might not be your top priority, you may be surprised by just how handy a trick it can be. Not only will you be able to fit more in your suitcase, but you’ll also avoid the hassle of having to iron your outfits when you arrive.

2. Where am I?

As exciting as travelling is, the idea of wandering aimlessly around an unfamiliar country can also seem quite daunting, especially if you don’t travel very often – and it’s easy to get lost too. One second you’re at the hostel, and the next you’re at your new favourite pub with absolutely no idea of how to get back!

To save yourself any potential embarrassment, use your phone map to your advantage. Simply press down on the location and the pin will appear, guiding you back.

A similar tactic for car parks is to take a picture of your parking space and the surrounding area. Perfect for festivals and theme parks where there seem to be more cars than people!

3. Scan your documents

Wherever you travel, you’re bound to take some important documents with you. This will usually be your passport, credit and debit cards and other forms of ID. Make sure that before you leave, you scan all your documents, print off copies and keep them in a safe place (such as a hidden compartment in your bag).

To be extra secure, you can e-mail the pictures to yourself and also store them using services such as Dropbox and OneDrive. Having these copies means you’ve still got that information available should you misplace something.

4. Microfibre towels

Microfibre towels are one of the greatest purchases a traveller can make. There’s not much to say here other than they take up much less room and dry a lot quicker than a regular towel, making it an incredibly useful item to pack in your suitcase for your trip abroad.

5. TV charging

Remembering to charge your phone and other gadgets is unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind while you’re on holiday and exploring new places.

So, what’s the best way of charging your mobile phone when you’re on holiday?

Most smartphones and similar devices can be charged using a USB cable. If you’ve found yourself at a hotel (or fancy hostel) and you’ve run out of plug sockets, normally the TV will have a USB slot where you can charge your phone! You’ve just got to remember the cable…

6. Tell your bank

You might be thinking, ‘do I need to tell my bank that I’m going abroad?’

Well, it may sound obvious (and a bit parental), but it’s important to notify your bank if you’re jetting off anywhere, as banks will often flag any use of a debit or credit card that doesn’t follow the cardholder’s normal spending pattern. They may even block usage if they suspect that it’s been stolen – which could turn out to be a bit of a hassle if your card is declined just as you’re trying to buy a round of drinks!

If you have online banking, then you can easily notify your bank online or give them a quick ring to let them know. After all, you don’t want to find yourself without access to money when you may already be running low on funds!

7. Baby wipes

Baby wipes might not be the first thing you think of when you think ‘holiday.’ But whether you’re heading off to a music festival or a historic museum, baby wipes are your friend. After a full day on your feet, you’ll be glad to be able to give yourself a quick wipe down to freshen up – especially if the sun is out! Sometimes even just giving your face a wipe can drastically improve your mood.

8. Be careful, I’m fragile!

If you’ve ever had a long wait at an airport terminal, then you’re probably already in the know on how your bags are likely to be treated as they’re packed on the plane by the baggage handlers – not particularly carefully, that’s for sure! You’ll gasp at the speed at which they’ll be thrown about, dropped, and ultimately crushed into a fairly confined space with everyone else’s luggage.

But, despite the risk that your belongings will be squashed, it’s probably worth it if the plane sets off on time.

Even so, if you’re worried about your thoughtfully packed suitcases being thrown onto the plane, then there’s an easy fix.

When you go to check in your bags, make sure to say to the check-in desk that they’re ‘fragile’. They’re unlikely to ask why, so you probably won’t have to explain to them that you’re worried about wrinkles.

By telling them that your bags are delicate, the airline will be far more likely to put a “fragile” sticker on top of your luggage, effectively ensuring that it lands on the top of the pile for take-off and landing. And the best part is that, if your bag is right at the front, then it’ll probably also be one of the first out at baggage reclaim on the other side. They may ask you to sign a document stating that you won’t sue the airline should your fragile items get broken during transit - but seeing as they are non-existent, then this probably won’t be a problem…

However, if you do have any fragile belongings or expensive gadgets that you’re planning on taking on holiday, then it’s a good idea to make sure they’re protected by a suitable travel insurance policy. In fact, research shows that one in four young people mistakenly assume that the UK Government will cover their medical expenses if something goes wrong overseas. With this in mind, it’s important to cover yourself against damage, theft and loss by taking out travel insurance that is tailored to your trip.

Alternatively, it might be a good idea to leave any particularly expensive items at home, where they’ll be safe and sound.

9. Ear plugs

We all know how tiring travelling can be, which means that getting sufficient, adequate sleep is crucial. Investing in some ear plugs will make it much easier for you to catch some shut-eye.

This is especially good advice if you are sharing a room with anyone. If you need a good night’s sleep after a long day travelling around or seeing your favourite bands, a pair of ear plugs will help to block out any unwanted noise. Perfect if your roommate is partial to snoring…

10. Empty lip balm tubes

If you’ve got any empty lip balm tubes lying around, then you might be able to use them to store emergency cash. It’s unlikely that an opportunistic thief is going to be looking for lip balm, (unless they have very dry lips, of course) meaning that they’re far more likely to overlook your hidden cash supplies. Storing some extra notes in there could come in very handy should the unexpected happen.

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