There’s no doubt about it, traveling is stressful. Even if you’re booking a trip to an exotic and relaxing destination, you’ll likely find that the days and weeks leading up to it may have you pulling out your hair. You may also find that anxiety and stress find you after you get there. Unfortunately, you can wreck your vacation or travel experience with a lack of preparation.
The good news is, we’ve compiled travel hacks from experienced travelers that may make your trip the best you’ve had so far.
Gone are the days when you had one option when trying to make travel arrangements. Now, you have a plethora of choices, which may make you feel overwhelmed. With these tips, however, you may find that the experience is calm and cost-effective.
Travel Cards Have TSA Perks
You likely already know about credit card rewards that can earn you free flights. Are you aware, however, that some can even get you through security quicker?
TSA Precheck allows you to go through the security screening process much faster, and some travel credit cards will pay the sign-up fee. More than 150 airports across the country offer TSA Precheck, which means you can likely get to where you are going quicker and with less stress.
Book More Flights
Instead of purchasing a roundtrip flight, look for two, one-way flights.
Finding a roundtrip ticket sounds far easier than looking for two different flights, but the benefits may outweigh the inconvenience, says Business Insider. Along with potentially saving money, you may even receive better arrival and departure times. You might have to book with two different airlines to score on that tip, however.
Pretend You’re Solo
While travel sites are often a God-send when it comes to booking plane tickets, they aren’t without their flaws. One imperfection is that they will search their seats to find the lowest fare for your entire party. This means they don’t look for single seats, which may be much cheaper.
Instead, change your ticket count to one.
“Everyone’s fare is the same price,” said Rick Seany, chief executive of FareCompare.com, to CNBC. So, if there are two of the very cheapest seats left, one that’s a little more expensive, and four that are pricier still, it’s only that last option that will show up in your family of four’s search.”
Rather, he suggests starting your seat search for a party of one. Continue adding more seats until the per seat price begins to change. You may have to book by using several transactions, but the added savings will make it worth the slight annoyance.
Fly on The Right Days
Somedays it pays to be a little inconvenienced, and those days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
According to the Daily Mail, airlines consider these days as the most difficult to travel on, due to getting off from work and making a “weekend getaway” out of the question. As such, airlines typically have extra seats on the plane on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Part of the headache of traveling is packing your suitcases, especially if you are flying. You can get through security quicker and arrive with fresh belongings when you heed this advice.
Use the Right Bags
Yes, your brightly-colored, opaque makeup bag is fabulous, but it may cause an airport security bag search to take place, especially if it looks bulky and overstuffed.
Instead, store your cosmetics in a transparent bag. It should make getting through security easier and faster.
Make Your Luggage Smell Better
Let’s face it: suitcases can become downright funky. In turn, the sneaky smell can infiltrate your belongings, including your clothes. If you don’t have access to a washer or dryer, your unpleasant scent could make the trip less enjoyable.
Prevent your dirty clothes from stinking up your suitcase and your belongings by placing a bar of hotel soap or dryer sheet in the laundry bag. This tip is particularly helpful if you are staying in multiple places during your travels.
Roll ‘Em Up
Certain clothes that are folded can take up a lot of real estate in suitcases. Rolling them, however, can save space, says Real Simple magazine.
Underwear, cotton pants, jeans, T-shirts, and knitwear doesn’t wrinkle much when it is folded slightly.
Place the rolled garments on the bottom of your suitcase, then cover them with your folded clothes. Lastly, stick a dry cleaning bag on the top of your belongings: its slippery surface can prevent wrinkles from forming. Alternatively, place a bag between the rolled and folded layer.
Use Plastic to Pack
Unfortunately, not every suitcase is given first-class treatment when flying. Some get pushed, thrown, and even left out in the rain.
Protect your clothing by wrapping it in dry cleaning bags. This little hack can prevent your clothes from becoming soaked if the suitcase is left out in a downpour on the tarmac.
During Your Travels
Spending a lot of money and experiencing unfortunate amounts of stress are the hallmarks of travel. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way when you follow these helpful tips.
Don’t Forget Your Coat
Although it makes sense to wear comfortable clothing while traveling, it’s also quite clever to wear your bulkiest clothes, too, says Forbes magazine.
Wearing your jeans or your jacket instead of packing them in your suitcase gives you more room to take your essentials with you. And since bulky clothes can add weight to your suitcase, it may save you money, as well.
Wear a Scarf
Just about everyone agrees that donning scarves is fashionable. Wearing one on an airplane not only ups your traveling fashion game, but it can serve as a source of comfort, too.
Rather than use an airplane blanket (hello, germs!) to keep warm, unfold your large scarf and cover up with it. You can also place it around your head like a hood and use it to cover your eyes if you want to take a nap.
Wearing your scarf instead of packing it also clears up room in your suitcase, which is the perfect excuse to buy more souvenirs.
Use Hand Wipes—Often
Traveling is anything but sanitary. If you think about it, you’re touching surfaces that a thousand other travelers have touched before you. This is especially the case with airplane armrests and tray tables. There’s no telling what type of virus could get picked up from there.
Prevent getting sick by storing anti-bacterial hand wipes in your carry-on. Wipe down the armrests and anything else you may touch. This little bit of effort could stop you from getting sick on your vacation.
Don’t Forget to Charge
Imagine this horrible scenario: You’re supposed to text your ride when you land at the airport, but as you pull out your smartphone you see that it lost its juice while you were on the plane.
Prevent this stressful scenario from happening by charging your devices every chance you get. Additionally, consider investing in a portable, pre-charged battery booster, suggests The Telegraph. This can give you the extra juice you need until you are able to charge again. However, check with your airline before you bring the booster into the airport.
Just be careful when packing your charging cords. Wrapping cords can damage them, shortening their lifespan. Check out how to strengthen and repair your charging cords so get more use out of those pricey chargers!