Top travel hacks

To help make travelling just a little bit easier, we’ve put together a few helpful tips and hacks.

Roll, Don’t Fold!
Rolling your clothes can help save on space by compressing out the air; it also has the added benefit of not creasing your clothes. It’s a small change, but it might just allow you to take that extra shirt on holiday! 

Where Am I?
It’s easy to get lost, especially in a new country. One second you’re at the hostel and the next time you’re at your new favourite pub and have no idea how to get back! To save yourself any potential embarrassment you can 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!

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 if you misplace something. 

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 much less room and dry a lot quicker than a regular towel. 

TV Charging
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… 

Tell Your Bank
It may sound obvious and a bit parental, but tell your bank if you’re going abroad. Banks usually monitor any use of cards which doesn’t follow the normal pattern and may even block usage if they suspect. You can easily tell them online, if you’ve got an online banking account, or you can give your bank a ring. You don’t want to suddenly find yourself without access to money when you’re running low on funds! 

Baby Wipes
Holiday or festival, even a stuffy lecture theatre, baby wipes are your friend. You can use them to just give yourself a quick wipe down and make yourself feel fresh. Sometimes just giving your face a wipe can drastically improve your mood. Plus, baby wipes are pretty cheap and available in all supermarkets! 

Be Careful, I’m Fragile!
When checking in bags, make sure to say that your suitcases are fragile. Even if they aren’t, it’s likely that the airline will take a bit more care with your bags. They’ll be more likely to put your “fragile” bag on the top of the luggage pile for taking off and landing, meaning that your bag should be one of the first out at baggage reclaim. You might have to sign a document saying that you won’t sue if your fragile items are broken, but as they are non-existent, you’ll be out of the airport in no time! 

Ear Plugs
This is 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 block out any unwanted noise. Perfect if your roommate is partial to snoring… 

Empty Lip Balm Tubes
If you’ve got empty lip balm tubes you might be able to use them for emergency cash. Somebody going through your bag won’t be looking for lip balm, so storing some extra notes in there should come in handy if the worst does happen. And there we have it! 10 travel hacks to help you when you’re in a far off corner of the world, from the airport to your temporary home.

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James Jackman

James is a physics undergraduate student at the University of Manchester. He has a keen interest in writing articles, graphic design and science communication.

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