Here are some travel hacks that will make your next adventure a little bit easier. I have compiled some of my favorite tips that will help even the most seasoned traveler.
1. Try Airbnb – Rent a Flat or Home Instead of a Hotel Room
Instead of a hotel, look into reserving a home if traveling with a family or a single room if alone. Websites like Airbnb can provide homes, apartments and private rooms from homeowners who are renting them out, usually offering better accommodations than hotels.
This way you can live like a local instead of traveling like a tourist.
Plus, most places may offer free wi-fi, washer/dryer for your laundry, bigger fridge to hold groceries, and often times a local who can provide invaluable insight into the city (i.e. events, hidden gems etc.)
The best part is that renting a home or flat in the desired area is often comparable to, or even cheaper, than a hotel room. Also, real homes have more character and you can typically find a home with more perks (tv, internet, balcony…) than a hotel room with the same price. Airbnb hosts may be more flexible with check-in and out times than a hotel.
2. Pick the hidden flight combinations
Kiwi.com, formerly known as Skypicker, is an online travel agency with innovative Virtual Interlining technology and a focus on outstanding customer service. Their unique flights combination algorithm allows combining flights from independent airlines onto a single itinerary, resulting in significant savings.
You will be able to find flights with fares up to 90 percent cheaper than traditional search methods, including those employed by sites like Kayak and Orbitz.
The founders said they’ve developed an algorithm that uses all carriers, so your itinerary can include connections with airlines that don’t cooperate with each other, unlike standard searches. The result is a series of cheap, connecting flights to get you where you want to go.
You just need to make sure you have extra time to get there — since you’re essentially paying with time instead of money: On average there’s one layover each way for short trips and two for long ones. If you are not in a hurry, this is a perfect chance for you to see extra cities for free.
When you book through kiwi.com, you are covered with their guarantee and assistant services. In case that your flight is rescheduled, delayed or cancelled, kiwi.com will offer you a reasonable alternative flights or other means of transportation to your destination, or a refund of the price you paid for any unused flights.
3. Get access to the best hotel deals
If you prefer to stay in a hotel instead of a private property booked with AirBnB, you should check out the booking.com website.
Booking.com now claims to be the number one online hotel reservation service in the world with the largest number of bookable rooms.
I have been using Booking.com as my primary source for hotel reservations in Europe, and never had a single problem with them, including the several cancellation/rescheduling I’ve need to do online.
I have used booking.com for well over a hundred reservations, and only once was a hotel not able to honor the reservation. They drove me to a better hotel with which they had an arrangement for overflow. The second hotel honored the booking.com price for the reservation, even though their prices were listed about 25% higher.
The rooms can be usually booked without prepayment so you have the peace of mind when you need to change your plans later.
4. Pack like a pro with space bags
To put it mildly, my packing skills leave something to be desired. I’m a “Systematic Suitcase Stuffer.” I pack for a trip by trying to shove most of the things I own into a suitcase. Unfortunately for me, this strategy doesn’t get me too far.
I’ve wanted to try travel compression sacks, also known as Space Bags, for ages. They’re airtight, space-saving bags that compress your items by allowing most of the air inside the bag to be pushed or sucked out. Most Space Bags require a vacuum nozzle for air removal. Other brands, such as the Eagle Creek bags I purchased, don’t need a vacuum; these are more useful for travelers who won’t have access to vacuums in their destinations.
Here’s what my suitcase looked like before I used the compression sack. You’re looking at a bag packed with eight shirts, two jackets and one raincoat:
I folded everything in a semi-neat fashion and slid the clothes into the large compression sack. According to the instructions on the package, you have to “roll to expel air and compress.” The bag is designed so that air gets pushed out when the bag is rolled. As I twisted and rolled, I could hear the air shooting out of the far end of the bag.
I’m impressed with the results. My clothes are condensed into a tight bundle, and now I have tons of space left in my suitcase. Using spacebags you can make the bags flatter which also prevents wrinkles in your clothes.
There is, however, one thing you should keep in mind when using compression bags – the bundle of clothes is very compact and you might to pack more stuff than you are allowed by the airline. Watch out for airline weight limits when packing with compression sacks!
5. Choose the best credit card for travel
Travel perks differ, so you need to figure out what your priorities are, like whether you want to earn more miles or get foreign transaction fees waived.
One of the best travel credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which gives you 2 Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 spent on travel and restaurants, as well as 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere.
It also waives those annoying foreign transaction fees, offers a signup bonus of 40,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening an account, and boasts 20% off travel when you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That said, it charges an annual fee of $95.
Please use credit cards responsibly. Don’t charge what you can’t pay back at the end of the month.