Travel can be stressful, but a few tips can make hitting the road simpler and easier for even novice travelers. Not sure where to start? Consider these 15 travel hacks, which cover everything from rolling your clothes to always carrying a power bank:
Roll your clothes.
Rolling clothes in your suitcase is one of the oldest travel hacks in the book — and for good reason. It takes up less space and helps to reduce wrinkles, meaning that you can fit more clothes into the same suitcase. If the garments are still a bit wrinkled when you unpack, hang them up in the bathroom while you shower and the steam will release some of the wrinkles.
Buy some packing cubes.
If you’re wondering how you will keep your newly rolled clothes organized inside your suitcase, packing cubes are the answer. These modular bags zip closed and make it easy to sort your clothes by outfit or type of garment. No matter how big or small your suitcase, packing cubes will keep them organized.
Be willing to do laundry.
Want to avoid checked bags, or maybe you’re going for a longer trip? Doing laundry at your destination is the key to both of these dilemmas. While doing laundry in a new place can be intimidating, it’s the best way to cut down on your luggage. If you don’t want to bother with a laundromat, you can hand-wash items in the sink and hang them in your room to dry overnight.
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Use inflatable pillows.
Packing a traditional pillow is a big waste of space and weight, which is why we recommend inflatable pillows for longer flights. You can also bring a pillowcase and stuff it with clothes or jackets in a pinch if you don’t like the feel of an inflatable pillow.
Pack travel-size toiletries.
Full-size toiletries take up a large amount of space in your luggage and are also heavy enough to weigh your suitcase down. Get a set of travel-size toiletry bottles and transfer your essentials into them to free up extra space. Then, seal them in a waterproof bag to prevent leaks.
Bring an empty water bottle.
Stay hydrated and avoid price gouging at airports by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it up after going through security. While we love sturdy stainless steel water bottles, they are quite heavy, so many people prefer plastic or even collapsible reusable water bottles.
Put essentials in your carry-on.
Sadly, checked luggage is more likely to be lost than a carry-on, and even an AirTag case won’t make it materialize out of thin air. That’s why we recommend packing essentials such as medication and travel documents in your carry-on, as well as at least one change of clothes.
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Bring a power bank.
Never let your phone run out of battery by packing a portable power bank (and a cable). This will allow you to charge your phone even if you aren’t near a power outlet. Speaking of fast chargers, don’t forget to pack outlet converters if you’re traveling to a foreign country!
Get a tech organizer.
Tired of your cables tying themselves in knots inside your suitcase? Invest in a tech organizer, which comes in many different shapes and sizes — from a small roll-up to a huge zippered bag. Double-check the dimensions to make sure that it fits in your carry-on bag.
Download offline maps.
Did you know that you can download offline maps in Google Maps as well as many other apps? You should do this before you leave since many of them require a steady Wi-Fi connection to work. Then, you won’t have to rely on the internet or cell service to navigate around before you get lost.
Take pictures of documents.
We recommend taking pictures of essential documents such as passports and credit cards and storing them in both your phone and your email. That way, if the worst happens and your documents get stolen, you will still have copies that you can provide to embassies or banks to establish your identity.
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Wear compression socks.
Sore, swollen feet are a byproduct of long-haul travel — but they don’t have to be. Wearing compression socks, which are kind of like Spanx for your lower body, will help to prevent swelling and will promote good circulation during long flights and drives. Lightweight compression socks are usually safe for anyone to wear, but it’s best to check in with your doctor first just to be safe — especially if you have a history of circulation issues.
Earn points and miles.
If you’re a frequent traveler, you should use a travel rewards credit card to book your flights and accommodations. You should also have rewards accounts at every airline and hotel chain that you use to accumulate points and earn free upgrades and stays.
Travel during off-peak seasons.
To save money and avoid the crowds, travel during off-peak seasons when the weather is still nice but demand isn’t as high. This varies depending on your destination. For instance, beaches are usually deserted in the winter, while ski resorts are packed at the same time.
Use private browsing to book flights.
Airlines sometimes use website cookies to track your browsing habits and will drive prices up to encourage you to book a flight. To circumvent these price increases, use a private browser window that blocks cookies from tracking you.
We know that we’ve barely scratched the surface of travel hacks here. Veteran travelers have just about hundreds of hacks that they use to make their travel experience less stressful. Let us know your other favorite hacks in the comments below.