Starting this thread to crowd-source travel hacks for 2022/23.
A "travel hack" can be any piece of advice to help make travel better or easier — such as sustainability tips, clever strategies, or new apps to search or book travel.
👉 Add your travel hack below, and upvote your favourites!
I'll go first... here are my top 3 travel hacks:
1. I use search.brave.com as alternative search engine (the Brave.com browser also blocks ads). The search results are different to Google and you can often find more relevant results. The search engine is also privacy-focused so you won't get re-targeted based on what you search for. (It's one of the reasons we use Brave as our fall-back search here in Travel Massive.)
2. If you haven't heard of it already, Flightradar24.com is an awesome app to see what's in the air and where it's going. If you are departing a small airport (my home base is Hobart, Tasmania) then it's a very helpful tool to see where the airplane for your next flight actually is.
3. This "hack" gets more obvious every day... but travel light! Even before the pandemic I travelled internationally with carry-on only. Getting your luggage down to less than 10kg means a brutal prioritisation of what you really need. Traveling with carry-on is an awesome feeling of freedom that I simply can't recommend enough.
1. Pet Sitting: If you love animals and have experience caring for animals, there are thousands of people who are looking for pet sitters all the time. You can stay somewhere for free, and get pet cuddles on top of that.
2. House swap for women: I am part of a few Facebook groups for house swapping for women all over the world. It's a good and safe way to find accommodation, meet people and save some money.
3. This travel hack is to fight "loneliness" – when travelling somewhere new, I try to join coworking and coliving spaces. Great way to meet people, socialize and get inside knowledge about the destination. My favourites are Coworking Bansko in Bulgaria (duh!) and Sun and Co. in Javea, Spain.
Please share the house swap for women I'm interested
My "hack" (as you say, Ian, making #travel better and easier) right now is to skip flying when possible and drive instead. For the past two years, road trips have been about 90% of my travel. Compared to probably 10% the five years before that.
And in Europe, I love rail. www.seat61.com/european-train-travel.htm
Yes! The rail system in Europe is amazing ( they complain about it, but Canadians have no real choice). Doing my journey next month from Uk to different parts of Italy via rail.
...and combining Italian rail (love them) with a ferry to the Albania & Montenegro side of the Adriatic Sea is a further hack - see www.jadrolinija.hr/en/home :=).
One website I learned about which has saved me some "money" is www.point.me. I am decently proficient at earning points, but never great about redeeming them for flights. This year, I was tying to redeem for business class on Ethiopian Air from Douala to Bangkok. I used United which is in Star Alliance with Ethiopian Air. The redemption was 150,000 miles for one way. I checked in with points.me who scanned all of the different options. If I redeemed through Air Canada (Star Alliance) for the same flight, it would only cost me 86,000 miles. A big savings!
As I rent apartments when I travel, I use Google Earth to check out the neighbourhoods of new locations. This way I can get an idea of supermarkets etc and can see landmarks when navigating from airports, train or bus stations.
yeah, packing light is the true travel hack. only carry one bag - not "a carry on and a personal item", seriously just one bag. And even that shouldn't be packed full.
Stay with friends whenever you can. If you don't have friends somewhere (yet) check out hospitality orgs, like Servas.org, or trustroots.org and make new connections.
I'm cheap, but I've come to believe in paying for a food tour when you get to a new place. always ends up with better food and knowledge than I could have done myself.
Try buying eye drops in Cambodia, when all the ingredients are in Khmer and the pharmacist doesn't speak your language either. That's why I always carry a drug store in a quart-size Ziploc bag. In fact, I carry one for internal brands (think Alka-Selzer) and one for external (think Neosporin). journeyswithstephen.com/why-carry-a-drug-store-in-a-ziploc-bag/
One hack I use a lot is www.rome2rio.com. It's a website that pulls up many different modes of transportation between two locations, including trip time, prices, where to book tickets, etc.
It's saved me hours of researching logistics for travels, such a great service!
One hack I use is the Honey browser plug-in - www.joinhoney.com/ref/ts8oet2 which pops up with discounts on applicable hotel and retail websites. So I always get the best bang for my buck when booking hotels and shopping for trips.
1. I always travel with charcoal pills and other over the counter stuff in case I am traveling somewhere remote and I need them, especially the charcoal pills.
2. Using google maps to mark locations and suggestions so that when Im in a certain area I can just look on the map to see some checkpoints Ive already researched nearby.
3. I try not to fret too much at the airport/traveling when things don't align how I expect them to. The biggest currently has been flight delays, but remaining calm and allowing it to flow has been very helpful. It makes for a more enjoyable ride when the plane eventually takes off.
4. Travel alone when you can.
Use www.staypia.com to check out any additional discount on hotels available before paying for accommodation ;) I also use Google map to plan my itinerary. I don't like having to check in and out/pack and unpack often, so I try to find one place that's central to all the tour spots in that city even if it's a bit pricey.
Packing Hack 1 - use "shaving oil" not cream or foam. Comes in very small bottles (10-20ml). Need 4-5 drops for a shave. Can also be a post shave balm. Fantastic for carry-on only travel
Wear on board hack (long haul) - bring tracksuit pants or loose cotton pants with you. Change out of your jeans when you get on board, then change back just before you land
Booking hack - always login and create and account. The best rates are always (almost always) behind a login wall. [especially if you book on Agoda :) but works almost everywhere]
Roaming hack - if you have a modern phone checkout eSIM roaming providers like www.airalo.com. Super easy to use, good prices for data, no SIM swapping.
Packing Hack 2 - I have fallen in love with Packing Cubes. Zip sleeves that go in your bag. Shirts in one, socks and undies in other, work out gear in a third. Never again will you experience the messed up bag in the hotel shuffle. I have a Bagail 6 set. Love it.
For me it's fairbnb.coop to book & contribute, similarly the very local ones like www.ruralholiday.me/en and for those MSME creating sustainable tourism, our free resources where to start, www.thelongrun.org/breaking-down-barriers-sustainability-accessible-to-all/ 💚
Here are a few that I have!
1. Credit card hacking: This is the tried and true way of getting a large amount of points (airline or hotel) which after a few years of concentrated efforts can lead to stays at aspirational properties or big flights. That said, I know there's a bit of a North American bias here but curious if this works in other parts of the world.
2. Make sure you know your low cost carriers: If you only use the big players like Kayak and Skyscanner, you might miss low cost carriers that don't show up so I always do a quick search to see which LCCs are in the region you're going.
3. Handwashing your clothes: Pack light by knowing you'll be handwashing your clothes along the way. This works well if you're not on the move everyday but make it a habit to wash your clothes every day or every other day and you'll always have something fresh to go ;)
1. Use points whenever possible - we charge EVERYTHING to a Marriott Bonvoy Amex and often stay at Marriott hotels for free because of it.
2. Carry-on luggage ALWAYS. Especially right now. (We love our Cabin Zero backpacks.) If you check luggage, our #1 piece of advice is to get Air Tags.
3. We like Will's advice to handwash clothes...and we'll piggyback on that and say get Tide packs (they have travel packs on Amazon) and HEGS clothespins. They rock. (We have them all pinned in our Amazon shop. Hope it's okay to post: amazon.com/shop/sometimeshome)
If you genuinely enjoy immersing in culture, the #1 hack is getting to know locals *before* and during your trip. They'll give you tips and perspective that you simply won't get from searching online.
My favorite resource for this is HelloTalk (www.hellotalk.com), a language exchange app. You can chat with locals 1-on-1 or make community posts that they will all see and reply to. It's like a crowdsourced travel feedback tool. Just be respectful of the community and try to help others.
Couchsurfing used to be the best option, but we're all aware of that community's decline :(
For the wine lovers, my hack is to travel with a Champagne stopper. As I often travel solo, it's handy if you can't finish that welcome bottle of bubbles! Also, I travel with a Wineskin (www.wineskin.net) they are light and flat and can transport a special bottle of wine you might pick up on your travels.
I've also just bought an Airtag (www.apple.com/au/airtag/) to avoid lost luggage.
Jet lag: homeopathic jet lag pills (Amazon) & 5 htp supplement.
My Dopp Kit is always stocked and ready to go with travel sizes of all of my regular branded toiletry items, including spare contacts, solution, etc. so I never need to pack anything out of my bathroom. Just grab & go.
Remembered another few:
- Always bring gums on flights: helps with sinus pressure, airplane headache is a thing!
- Always have mint gums or candies handy: helps with car/road sickness!
Being stuck in China for a while , perhaps ( if not outdated ) some of the travel hacks for rest of the world will include :
1. www.atlasobscura.com and
2. www.spottedbylocals.com for many attractions, bars, venues off the beaten path
3. when arriving to a new city I try to join local free tour. good way to get to know basics of the city and also can ask the local guide re anything specific and authentic. in addition, good way to meet independent travelers to do things/visit places together.
4. On a completely another topic, recently discovered wax earplugs, it works amazing during flights and if you share dormitory with snoring orchestra!
Just learned another genius hack:
- Have a neck pillow? Take out the filling and store clothes inside instead through the airport. That way you have space for more clothes! And it's still soft and usable!
Save time when packing by leaving an extra 10-20% room in your travel bags! I've traveled everywhere in Italy over the past couple of years always carrying my 30L Patagonia bag. Traveling light keeps me agile. When you leave home make sure your bag has extra room. When your bag is filled to the top you have to play packing tetris, which is annoying and takes time. They extra space will allow you to "stuff and go" ensuring that you can move around quickly.
Airports are anxious places. To see how much beer/work time you have ahead - or how fast you should be running down the concourse, a relatively old-fashioned hack is to track the location of your inbound flight using flightradar24.
Start by finding your own flight number. You can often see the registration of the aircraft that will service your flight. Since these birds are in the air all the time, see if you can find where it is *now*, meaning, what flight is it operating just before yours. All the better flight tracking services let you check this out. You'll be able to spot if there's a major delay. Bear in mind that smart airlines might change planes for your flight, so keep checking back.
30 minutes of time on your agenda or 30 minutes scrolling at the gate? This one's one of my favourites.
Always ask your host what you should see and do in their city or country. It's the easiest way to get a bit of local knowledge.
The best travel hack I know, which surprisinginy isn't well known is a very simple cure for mosquito bites. There is an actual device calle3d a mosquito clicker that produces a very Leo electrical current that inhibits the production of histamine that causes the itching. Heating a lighter for half a second and applying the warm metal to the skin also has the same effect.
UnTours helps travelers spend the time in one new special place to experience it as a local and take home meaningful cross-cultural understanding.