Travelers Share The Travel Tips And Hacks That Saved Them Big Time

Travelers Share The Travel Tips And Hacks That Saved Them Big Time

Every traveler wants a stress free trip, no matter where in the world they are going. Whether a trip is for business or pleasure, long lines, delayed flights or lost luggage are just a few of the things that can ruin what is meant to be a fantastic getaway. The one thing every experienced traveler will tell you is that sometimes you have to roll with the punches and stay calm. This is great advice, but sometimes a little extra preparation can go a long way in making sure your trip goes exactly as planned.

These travel tips from travel enthusiasts will hopefully make your next trip a (slightly) less bumpy ride.


54. No One Sent Me

If you are on a strip where there are a ton of restaurants and someone tells you to go to a specific one and say “[their name] sent you.” Go but don’t say they sent you, often times you will get up charged and the referral guy gets a huge kickback for it. We saw this a lot in the Caribbean, some places had two separate menus, one for referrals and another for everyone else. Don’t get ripped off!


53. Leave On Thanksgiving

If you are leaving the country (United States) and can swing it, leave on thanksgiving. It's an American holiday and people are traveling state to state. Ticket prices go WAY down if you are leaving the country. Few years ago I wanted to go to Ireland and booked my tickets 2 months in advance. Tickets were around 1,200 dollars every day except Thanksgiving which dropped to 550. Have done this every Thanksgiving since.

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52. Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

Spend less on where you stay, use those savings going it to do something. Spend less time in the hotel. The only time in in the hotel is to sleep or eat. I stay busy.

Allow two days when you get back home, off work. You'll want time to rest and recuperate.

Have your house 100% clean before you leave for vacation.

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51. Bum Rush Hour

I did this in both Bali and Thailand. When you land at the airport, you will be bum rushed by tons of “taxi” drivers. EVERYONE just comes at you. So I would wear sunglasses no matter what time of day, earphones in my ear connected to my phone and pretend like I’m on the phone talking to someone. Walk out of the airport, breathe, and then find the reputable taxi drivers. I travel alone a lot and this was huge for me. Just act like you know what you’re doing and where you’re going.

Also, when in Asia most towns now have ATM’s everywhere, but your pin better be 5 digits or less because a lot of the ATMs are old and they can’t accept more that 5 characters. I was screwed one time when this happened to me. If you have a pin longer than 5 characters, change it in the USA before you leave.

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50. Free WiFi

If you are a university student, staff, or faculty at a school that uses Eduroam WiFi you get free internet at thousands of school around the world. If you are ever in a pinch and need internet just find the nearest university. This is especially good for Europe.

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49. Did You Get That?

The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests. The person in the middle seat gets the armrests.

Enjoy your flight.

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48. I Am My Own Chef

I always, always put a couple large bottles of water, some easy snacks/food and a ramen noodle cup in my checked bag. The airplane trip gets the bottled water to a great, cold temp and when I arrive at my destination I also have something to drink and eat so I don't have to worry about getting ripped off by hotel charges and there's no stress about having to find something when I arrive. This works really well too when I am jet-lagged and get up in the middle of the night in a hotel without food options.

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On the plane, when you go to sleep, disconnect your headphones from the seat.

Regardless of the volume you were watching that rerun of friends, the announcements come through at 139 1/2 decibels, and it takes a good 45 minutes for your heart rate to return to resting, let alone sleeping.

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46. Be A Sheep

Don’t wear polyester on a plane. Polyester traps oil which is what makes you stink. Wear wool everything on flights.

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45. Do It Yourself

When staying at hotels in foreign countries, stop by a grocery store pick up some non-perishable snacks and a few gallons of drinking water for your room. It's cheaper than restaurants or room service, and this way you're not dependant on someone else for food and water.

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44. Taking Photos

Make the first photo you take of the place you're visiting a photo of the place's name (Like the train terminal or similar). That way you'll be able to work out later where you took all your photo's that day.

kevin-grieve-788994-unsplash-300x169.jpgPhoto by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

43. Big In Japan

If you're traveling to Japan, buy some hand-sanitizer and a handkerchief when you arrive. There were a ton of bathrooms that didn't have paper towels/hand dryers and some that didn't even have soap, so having a way to dry and/or clean your hands is a life saver.

Also, the two most useful phrases you could ever learn for there: 'Sumimasen' is basically 'excuse me' and it is a polite way to get someone's attention, get a waitress to come over to your table, get through crowds. Even if that's all you know and start speaking in English after, it's very helpful. The other phrase is 'Eigo no menyu wa arimasu ka?' (Do you have an English menu?). Every single place I went had either an English menu or a picture menu and you can just point at what you want and say 'Kore' (this).

Got us through so much of Japan!

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42. Living On The Road

This may be a bit extreme, but in my previous job as a business consultant I traveled about 75% of the year. Here are a few travel tips I've picked up and forged for myself to make life as stress-free as possible:

Toiletry kit

Set one up and use it on a daily basis for a few weeks. It's far cheaper to buy travel-sized toiletries ONCE and then re-use the containers (within reason - there's no point in trying to refill a travel-sized toothpaste tube) with the stuff you've bought from full-sized products.

By using them for a few weeks, you identify the things that you might have forgotten about - nail clippers, tweezers (for men, I know women wouldn't forget those, but we need them too on occasion), ibuprofen and some basic first aid (like a couple band-aids, eye drops, etc. don't go overboard, but if it's something reasonably common bring it along. If it's unlikely but possible, wherever you're going will probably have a drug store nearby. So be reasonable)

The TSA limitation on container size is something like 100ml (about 3 oz.) The natural tendency is to bring the maximum - so you've got 100 ml tubes of shampoo, hair product, shaving cream, shower gel...everything. But the fact is if you're traveling you'll only probably be gone for one or maybe two weeks. You won't use that much in that time, so why carry the extra bulk AND WEIGHT? Go with smaller containers like 1.25 oz or so, 2 oz at the most. You'll be fine.


As soon as you get to your hotel, unpack everything. This will do a few things:

  • Get you acquainted with the hotel room, which will make it feel more like home
  • Clear your mind and clear the clutter. With the suitcase put aside in the closet or wherever, you've eliminated a visual reminder that you're somewhere temporary, which again makes you feel more like home. This goes a long way in alleviating stress.

Stick to a routine

If you're of the sort to go for a run or work out in the morning, continue to do that. If you have a ritual of getting tea in the morning and reading the paper or checking email, then do that.

Our routines are the things we've learned to keep us feeling on an even keel, reduce stress, and feel organized. If you're on vacation, why would you want to feel less organized or more stressed? So fit a few of those key things into your routine. Even if it's cutting back a bit: if you're used to running three miles a day, maybe two would suffice. You know your body and mind best, so find what works.

Be a local, not a tourist

Read up in advance or learn while you're there what the local customs are, and do those. Last time I was in Vancouver I found that on nice evenings people made their way to English Bay Beach, sat on the huge driftwood logs that have been set there, and watch the sun set into the bay. So I did that and enjoyed it immensely.

If the place you're visiting is mostly vegetarian and you're not - guess what - make yourself a vegetarian for the week. It won't kill you and you might have a newfound appreciation for cooking veggies.

Remember: the people around you aren't strange because they're different from you; you're strange because you're different from them. So embrace it and participate!

Explore on foot

If you're traveling on business, it's easy to get into the habit of working during the day and living at your hotel in the evening. Make a point of venturing out every single evening and explore. Head north one evening, south the next, west another and so on. it's easy to play it safe stick to that one restaurant down the street or that one cafe around the corner. But try something different and you'll surprise yourself.

Learn the language

You don't have to be fluent by any means, but if you learn a few basic words or phrases like "please", "thank you", etc. You'll have a better time of interacting with people People will be surprisingly gracious and helpful if you show you've made an attempt to connect.

That's it off the top of my head. I'm sure there's more...

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41. Planning Ahead

I know I’m going to get flak for this because Walmart. But I like to put in an order at the Walmart for pick up when we go to Orlando. I order diapers, snacks for the kids, sun screen etc. I pick the order up when we get there. We save a ton of money because we have snacks and breakfast at our hotel. Plus then we don’t need to pack diapers and other baby items.


40. Concierge Marie

The concierge at your hotel is your best friend. If you’re looking for something interesting to do off the beaten path, ask them. Need directions? Ask them. Best food in town? Yup, they know.

While staying in Madrid one year, my mom and I decided that we wanted to see a flamenco show. We asked the concierge for his recommendation. Instead of just telling us where to go, he called up the venue for their showtimes, booked our tickets, gave us written directions for how to get there on public transportation, and told us the best place to sit when we got there. It was a fantastic night out, and he earned himself a nice tip when we left.

bill-anastas-241386-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Bill Anastas on Unsplash

39. Almost Like An Old School Map

When you're on a WiFi network, you can put your trip on GoogleMaps. Then when you leave your WiFi hotspot, GoogleMaps still tracks your location so can keep your map on and get a visual of where you need to go. It's nice for Europe where you have to walk everywhere.



38. Knowledge Is Power

Ask your hotel staff what the charge should be for taking a local taxi to/from your sightseeing destination. Then learn how to say "I know the rate" in the local language. Say it when your taxi driver tries to charge you 10 times the right price.

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37. Added Security

If you are an American or Canadian and travelling to a... less then safe country, you can go to your government website and register with them your passport, flight itinerary, etc. If anything goes wrong -- environmental disaster, political coup, random act of violence -- they can get to you efficiently.


36. Be Careful Where You Rent

If you need to rent a car, rent from a place that is within a short cab drive distance to the airport as opposed to the car rental locations at the airport itself. The difference saved me $500 on a recent trip to Florida.

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35. Use A Local Phone Service

Instead of buying an expensive international roaming and data plan from your cell provider, just buy a cheap prepaid rechargeable SIM in whatever country you need service. Having both phone and data makes for a fun traveling experience since you can keep in touch with your people and also post photos, use the GPS, and book Uber/Lyft rides, which are more convenient and usually cheaper than taxis.


34. Maps Matter And Cash Is King

The app is the best thing since sliced bread if you don't have an internet connection. We use it to avoid taxi "long routing." You show the driver that you know where you are, know where you want to be, and can track it the entire way. Also has been a lifesaver in really remote places, better than paper maps in some cases. We used it all over the Annapurna Circuit last year.

Also, keep some U.S. cash on you as a backup, regardless of where you are in the world. There will be some time, somewhere, where you're in a pinch, and I guarantee anyone, anywhere will be willing to accept U.S. currency. I've gotten weird looks when I show people our awesome Canadian money, doesn't quite have the same recognition that a greenback does.

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33. Fast Food Bathrooms Are Your Friends

If you're traveling in China or another country with squat-toilets, Western chains like McDonald's and Costa will usually have clean western-style toilets (which you wander into for free). Makes looking for toilets a lot simpler when you're out and about.



32. Allergy Medication Can Help You Sleep

Benadryl. Stockpile it. It's an allergy medication that makes you sleep with no major other side effects. Take it to sleep on the plane, to make sure you fall asleep at a decent time when you have jet lag, etc.

If you have a food allergy, get an index card and write "I am allergic to ______" in the local language (if you don't speak it). Show it to restaurant staff.

Lastly, if there's a holiday coming up, learn how to say happy whatever holiday in the local language. Also learn please, thank you, hello, and goodbye. If you need to find someone who speaks English, look for college students and young professionals or people who work in touristy areas.


31. How To Actually Prevent Jet Lag

My trick for preventing jet lag:

If the flight lands in the morning, sleep the second half of the flight. You might have a tired day, but should have enough energy to get through that first day. Go to bed at a normal time and be refreshed the next morning.

If it lands in the afternoon or evening, sleep the first half of the flight. You'll be tired and ready for bed at a normal bedtime for a refreshed day in the morning.

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30. Be Ready For Security

Be familiar with what you'll need to unpack during security before you get in line. Be ready to take off your jacket, shoes, belt, metal objects, and have empty pockets. Make sure your laptop is easily accessible, as it will need to go in its own X-ray tray. If you have any fluids in your bag, put them together in an easy-to-access location so the agent doesn't have to tear your whole bag apart.

Keep a mental note of everything you put through the X-ray, people often leave stuff behind when they get flustered.

There's nothing more irritating than fumbling around before the X-ray with half your belt off, trying to unpack your laptop from an impossible location while an angry line grows behind you.

tsa-1100x752-1530024302352.jpgGarden And Gun

29. Use Public Transportation Whenever Possible

Use public transportation, and find out how in advance. This is mainly for Americans who tend to be more car-centric than Asians and Europeans, but its often easier, cheaper and faster than flying or hiring a car.

Many cities have brilliant public transport networks which are cheap, safe, and easy to use. In Central London, you can travel all day on buses, trains, and the underground for £6.60 (about $8).

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28. You Don't Need As Much Clothing As You Think

If it's not winter where you're visiting, you don't need more than a carry-on for trips up to two weeks. Two pairs of pants, three shirts, underwear for five days. Use local laundry services. Unless you have VERY specific travel plans, you're not going to need casual, slightly-dressy and fully-dressy outfits. You also won't need three pairs of shoes. Good walking shoes plus maybe one slightly nicer pair. All of this can fit in a standard sized carry-on bag, even one that fits the smaller EU standard.

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27. Politeness Pays Off

Be. Polite. To. Airline. Staff.

Almost any travel problem can be solved by a gate agent. Being pushy or mean is not going to inspire them to come up with that solution for you. I see this so often; yelling about how your vacation is going to be ruined is not going to get anything fixed.

Coming prepared with a list of alternate flights you looked up on your phone, however, has a much better chance of success. These poor folks have like 45 seconds to fix your issue. Be proactive. If their system just sees the obvious one stop connections but you find a two stop through Albuquerque and Milwaukee, they'll probably be happy to put you on it and get another person where they need to go. Or if you see your flight is going to misconnect, you can even be proactive and try to get switched in advance.

Airlines are used to doing this stuff for their elite customers, so the tools are in the toolbox. I can't tell you the number of times I've helped an amateur friend by feeding them alternatives to suggest, and they end up being the only people on their flight getting to their destination at a reasonable time...


26. Your Feet Are Your Best Transportation

If you plan sightseeing in a city, try to go by foot as much as possible. This way you will learn much more about the city and the people. My last time in Tokyo, I was walking daily about 20 kilometers and it was amazing to see small neighborhoods and shops/restaurants which you wouldn't see because there aren't any "attractions." You get to experience the culture much more!


25. Get Additional Security For Cheap

Bring one of the wedge door stops. Use it to prevent others from opening your door at night when you're sleeping in a guest house, hostel, motel, someone's apartment, etc. It'll save you from being robbed at night when you're at your most vulnerable.

door_wedge002_1200-1530025424135.jpgSan Francisco Life

24. A Cheap And Useful Item Every Traveler Should Have

Always bring a pen and make sure it's working. You may need to fill out customs or immigration papers or even just to do a crossword to spend the time. Bringing a pen takes up very little space but can be very helpful at the right time!

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23. Don't Forget To Take Your Time

Slow down. There is no need to see all the sights. Just see a few at a leisurely pace and you will enjoy them a lot more. Good examples of this are going from museum to museum in Paris and actually not seeing anything because the collections are so rich, or driving from one national park to another in the United States without realizing how huge and how far apart they can be.

Also, plan your meal times according to local customs. Most European restaurants close at 2 p.m. for a break. Good luck getting a decent lunch after that.

midday-nap-in-paris-1530025930030.jpgJohn Batdorff

22. How To Get The Best Exchange Rate

Don't exchange money. ATMs give you the best exchange rate. Also, many credit cards do not have international fees. Get one to use on your travels. Hotel lobbies have great bathrooms. Find a luxury hotel, and go to the restaurant, have an iced tea or a Coke or something then you can use a nice bathroom, and most also have free WiFi these days as well. Go eat where locals do; food will be better, cheaper, and you'll meet cool people.

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21. Always Stay Hydrated

Keep a change of underwear, toothbrush, cash, and device charger in whatever bag will be on your body the entire time you're traveling. Lost bags happen and a fresh pair of skivvies can make all the difference.

Also, take a water bottle with you to the airport, empty it before security then refill near your gate. Most airports these days have water bottle filling stations to make it easy.


20. Check Wikitravel Before You Go

Wikitravel is a good first stop resource for practical information and tips. Also, if you travel a lot, consider getting debit or credit cards with no foreign transaction fees and with full ATM fee reimbursement (Chase, Schwab). This way you won't have to pay exchange rate fees.

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19. Represent Your Country

You are an unofficial ambassador of whichever country you are a citizen of. Every interaction you have with someone will either make or break what they think of your country and its people. Be polite, make sure you are familiar with local customs and don't talk about anything "taboo" unless you know it's 100% safe or you are willing to go to bat for whatever issue comes up.

For instance, I've had some amazing conversations with Syrian refugees throughout the Middle East, but straight up asking people who they support in the Syrian civil war would be a horrible idea. Usually, you will learn the more they talk. Also, realize that some people will automatically let their feelings loose on you simply because of where you are from. Some taxi drivers will make it known how they feel about certain countries just because you're an American. Just smile and nod, don't engage. Be the unofficial diplomat.

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18. Avoid Those Stomach Problems

The number one thing for me, which I don’t see posted elsewhere: You can take Pepto Bismol prophylactically to lower your risk of diarrhea. Take a couple before each meal, and again before you go to bed. You can get caplets so you don’t have to chew the tablets (Pepto Bismol should not be taken if you’re on doxy or some other medications; ask your doctor).

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 17. Hire A Temporary Driver

This has worked for me in less-developed nations. If you make a connection with someone providing a service (driver, daily tour guide, etc.), hire them. If I feel that a driver is doing a good job and doesn't try to rip me off, I offer to hire them for the week. That way, it is one less thing to worry about. For example, I had a great rickshaw driver in India that didn't try to hustle me or screw me over. I enjoyed his company and offered to hire him for the whole week. I said that I wanted to be picked up at 8 a.m. every morning and set a good price for his services that I would pay at the end of the week. It was awesome, no hassle, no haggling over the price after every taxi ride, and no hustle. He recommended places to eat for us, introduced us to his family, and gave us a genuine experience. He also hooked us up with his cousin in the next city we visited who we hired as well. I have done this in a bunch of countries (Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, Nepal, etc.) and really makes the trip easier.

kolkatarickshaw-1530025152094.JPGMicky And Rani

16. Know The Local Tricks

I have lived in Asia, in Europe, and traveled extensively (am from the Midwestern U.S.). A few constants:

Get a travel backpack. I have a Columbia one that was $200 and it's seven years old and still going amazingly strong. It's been to 10 different countries with me so far. I find being able to strap on a backpack makes getting around FAR easier than attempting to roll a suitcase onto public transit.

Don't just learn where the public transit system goes, but learn HOW to use it. London buses don't take cash. Japanese buses require you to take a ticket when you get on and then pay when you get off. You can get away without getting a ticket on Berlin trains, but when you get one, the machines on the trains themselves only take cash. Don't bother with getting a bus ticket in Rome, no one checks.

Thieves know all the tricks people think are clever for hiding their valuables. Wallet in the front pocket? Not even close to secure. My own father got pickpocketed with his wallet stored there. In addition to keeping digital copies of your stuff (get a scanning app like Scannable so they're legible to the embassy), keep your docs in separate pockets within a secure bag so if a thief DOES get in, you don't lose your passport AND your credit cards all at once.

And allow yourself to get lost, within reason. Deliberately getting lost is one of the best ways to 1. get to know a city and 2. stumble across something really cool, like that cafe or record shop that's out of the way and fun. Example: I got lost in Shoreditch, London, and ended up in this awesome market where locals were selling colorful hijabs in all different fabrics. It was super cool.

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 15. Create Your Personal Soundtrack

Bring new music with you when you travel, preferably by an artist or in a genre that you're already familiar with.

If you enjoyed listening to it, over time the music will "imprint" itself to your memories of your destination. And so every time you listen to it again, your mind goes back to that place.

o-listening-to-music-facebook-1530025595653.jpgThe Odyssey Online

14. Just The Essentials

Always travel light. Certainly with no more than you can fit in an airline carry-on bag. Confirm your flight at least four hours before departure. When arriving at the airport, do not board as soon as the gate opens, but wait until final call and then a few minutes more. If the flight is full, you may get a free upgrade. Especially if you have joined the loyalty club (even at the lowest level). Worth the chance. Always carry a power adapter and a fully-charged USB charging bank. Take no more than a 100 euros/dollars etc. with at least two internationally-recognized credit cards. Look up the number for your embassy in whatever destination you're traveling to and put it on speed dial. Be aware of the customs of the country you're traveling to. Lonely planet guides are great, so do your research. Make sure that at least one person other than those traveling knows your itinerary.

Above all, always, always be polite and respectful. It's okay to fume inside at some car hire receptionist or check-in in clerk, but remember you need them more than they need you. I could go on, but there are online guides that give more great tips than I could possibly do here.

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13. Quick Tip About Boarding Passes

Don't delete from your phone/throw away your boarding passes before entering your destination. I've seen border security ask for them.


12. Being Nice Results In Free Stuff

Be nice. To every single person. Talk. Learn about them and their culture. Most people are welcoming and happy to have you in their country. When you show interest, they are very happy to inform you about things you won't learn in books.

I am an extremely inquisitive person, so I like to sit in the front seat of the taxi and talk to the driver the whole way. There are two benefits to this behavior. Firstly, you will expand your knowledge and find out nice spots and hacks about the place that you're in. Secondly, I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten awesome deals just because I was friendly. In the Netherlands, I took a taxi from Rotterdam to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. It was a big fare and the driver literally took 70% off the fare. I have had very similar experiences all over the world. The most recent one was in Dubai where the front desk upgraded my room to a business suite along with access to the VIP lounge.

Just talk and be nice. It doesn't cost anything and the payoff is great.

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11. The Two Main Tips If You Don't Listen To Anything Else

I travel internationally 1-3 times a month, and the two best tips I have are:

1. Travel light. Don't bring "just in case" items. Plan to buy them at your destination if you really need them, which you don't.

2. Get a phone plan that allows free data roaming (e.g. T-Mobile in the U.S., 3 Mobile in Europe). Having a working phone is a game changer, and makes basically every aspect of travel easier.


10. Cancelation Practices

If your plans change and you need to cancel your hotel reservation against the hotel's cancellation policy, don't call and cancel. I've tried to barter with hotels many times, but truthfully unless you have a good relationship with the hotel, they have no reason to refund you.

Instead, call the hotel and move your reservation to next week. Even if it is against the cancellation policy, most hotels will allow you to alter a reservation without issue. Then (usually a few hour later to guarantee you talk to a different hotel rep) call and cancel your "new" reservation.

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9. Getting Bumped From Flight

It's becoming a bit harder and it's definitely not as easy with two people, but take a bump on a plane if there's one available and you have the flexibility in your schedule. Go right to the front desk at the gate to see if one is available and put yourself on the waiting list in case the opportunity arises.

The upside to taking a bump is tremendous; there are typically financial incentives and sometimes upgrades on your next flight. If you have to stay an extra night in your location the airline will put you up in a hotel. I've even gotten bumps that have resulted in boarding direct flights and avoiding a layover, which cut time OUT of my overall travel.

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8. Write Down Important Information

As soon as possible, become friends with a local. That will make everything 90% easier than it should be.

Also, memorize or write down the "important " phone numbers of the place you're at. Numbers such as police, firefighter, KFC... Your call :D

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7. Light As A Feather

You CAN travel around the world for months with just carry-on baggage.

The trick is to take really limited clothing, and only take clothes that are cheap and you don't mind throwing away. When necessary, chuck out one or two items of clothing and replace with cheap clothes in whichever country you are currently in.

Obviously, clothes in Asia and South America are cheap, but even in Europe or the States you'll find affordable and decent clothes at places like H&M.

When you're travelling the world, your goal is to explore and mingle with the locals, not to look nice.

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6. Extra Flying Space

If you're flying coach with a companion and you can pick your seats online, don't sit right next to each other in a row of 3 seats. One of you take the aisle, and the other take the window, leaving the middle seat empty if possible. When other people are selecting their seats, nobody willingly takes a middle seat unless there are no other options. Instead, they'll go for a window or an aisle, or if they're traveling with a companion, then usually any two seats available next to one another. If the flight is not full, then you are now much more likely to have an entire row together once the plane takes off. If, however, someone does show up for the middle seat prior to takeoff, simply tell them that you made a mistake when booking and that you'd prefer to sit next to your companion, and would you like to trade us for either the window or the aisle? No person in their right mind wants to sit in the middle seat between a couple if they have the option to take a seat on either side instead. Win/win.

morre-christophe-121633-unsplash-200x300.jpgPhoto by Morre Christophe on Unsplash

5. A Handful Of Tips

1) Take clothes that all match with each other, whatever combination you wear. Don't pack anything you can only wear with one specific outfit. Also, obvious, but roll, don't fold.

2) If you can avoid taking hold/checked baggage, do. It's really liberating not having to wait for it and then lug it around afterwards!

3) As others have said, photocopy all your important documents, credit card numbers etc, email them to yourself and someone at home.

4) Have two credit/debit cards and leave one in your room so if you get mugged, you have a back-up.

5) Buy a Kindle. Seriously. I never wanted one, I was snobby about 'real books' and 'the smell of books' etc etc, but you really can't beat having hundreds of books on one tiny device when you're on the road.

6) If you expect to stay in hostels, travel with a little padlock. They often don't provide them for the lockers.

7) Get a microfibre towel. It dries about 500 times faster than a regular towel and folds up really small.

8) Solid shampoo and other traditionally liquid cosmetics are amazing for preventing leakages in your bag. Go to Lush or other similar natural shops.

9) Dry shampoo is a gift from the gods.

sam-truong-dan-627874-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash

4. Bring Pants

The one time I didn't bring pants in my carry-on I got stranded in Chicago for three days.

Always bring pants.

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3. Lounge About

If you've got a long flight ahead of you, consider checking yourself into the airport lounge. For about $30, you can get three hours of free food and drink, unlimited free WiFi, charging stations for your electronics, comfortable seating, a great view of the planes taking off (usually), lots of boards around so you can see your flight times...

Forget upgrading to business class or whatever. You can have a pleasant airport experience for a fraction of the cost, and that'll make the eight hours you're about to spend on a plane that much less stressful.


2. Important Documents

Take photos of your documents such as passport, credit card, ID, and so on and email it to yourself. If you lose these items then they are easily accessible. I met a lady at a police station in Rome who had her purse stolen with EVERYTHING in it and she had no backup at all. Credit card, check book, passport, money, all gone. She had her purse ripped off her neck in a bus. I was at the police station because my jacket was stolen.

If you are staying at hostels bring ear plugs.

Bring a ShamWow as a towel. It doesn't take up as much room and does just as good of job.

If you have an old shirt or socks you are going to throw out anyway, bring it and wear it but throw it out before you come back that way you make room for souvenirs.

francesca-tirico-447207-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Francesca Tirico on Unsplash

1. Hostel Tips

I almost exclusively stay in hostels so my tips are for those.

Always bring a couple of clothes hangers. You never know if you'd need them to hang stuff.

I use a microfiber towel. Saves a HUGE amount of space, and dries quickly.

Be friendly in a hostel and you'd never have to make travel plans. I backpacked from Nicaragua to Mexico without making plans just by making friends and tagging along with their trips.

Even if you don't smoke, have a pack of cigerattes with you. It's a good icebreaker and is cheaper than actually giving money to panhandlers.

Make friends with locals to get a really authentic experience of the city.

Learn a few important phrases e.g. Greetings, asking directions, bargaining, ordering food, to help with taking to locals.

I never check my phone for directions while walking in the streets alone at night. Distracts you from your surroundings. If you need to check googlemaps, duck into a store (if they are still open), or a brightly lit storefront, or failing that, keep your back against a wall.

When I venture out at night, I usually take a condensed version of my wallet: ID, cash, one card so risk is minimized.

If you see a bunch of small children looking cute and begging for your attention/selling trinkets, feel free to be nice, AFTER you secure anything in your pockets. They are known to use a hug as cover to pick pockets. Happened to me in Indo.

Bring a first aid kit. Mine is really bare-bones: asprin, charcoal pills, and band-aids. Just enough to get you comfortable enough to seek real medical attention. Of course if you are going to be in the wilderness where help is further away I would pack a more extensive first aid kit.

Always bring a padlock. Some hostels provide a locker, but no lock. Alternatively you might have to lock up your valuables just as a deterrent.

Similar to how you have a panic azimuth when hiking, commit to memory a landmark, main street or bus/train station and learn to pronounce its name perfectly. You want to get the tone and accent down right because whoever you ask for help is probably not going to understand any other words you say. Figure out how to get to your hostel from there.

Learn to cook your own meals. Especially if you are normally not much of a cook. I normally boil chicken, eggs, onions in a pot for about an hour to get a cheap stew with almost no effort. You eat out of the pot, and cleanup is simple. Some people make a ton of spaghetti and then keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days worth of meals.

gilberto-olimpio-1360041-unsplash-300x300.jpgPhoto by Gilberto Olimpio on Unsplash