Hands up! Who loves a great travel hack? After spending the last 16 years backpacking, I’ve picked up many travel tips and tricks along the way but I always love learning new travel hacks.
So I asked my travel writer colleagues about their favourite travel tips and advice to save money, travel smart and travel safer. From packing hacks to tips for meeting other travellers and saving BIG on flights and accommodation, my travel friends have come up tumps today!
But before we take a look at all of their favourite travel hacks, I wanted to tell you about the Smart Travel Super Bundle which is on sale March 4th & 5th 2020.
This is an incredible resource for any travel hackers, first time travellers or those starting a new adventure like a solo travel trip, an RV road trip or going abroad with a baby of a young family for the first time.
This particular travel bundle is made up of 30 products – 13 e-books, 10 e-courses, 5 printables and 2 workbooks, collectively worth $1286.58. But for 2 days only, it is available for $47! That’s a 96% discount!
I’ve had bought similar bundles before and they are always amazing value.
Whilst anyone who has an interest in travel hacks and learning to travel smarter may benefit, from looking at this years content, I’d say the following groups of people are most likely to benefit from this bundle:
- Families looking to take an adventure with their kids and need some tips for how to make this happen in the most stress-free way possible
- People thinking of taking a road trip in an RV or a campervan – there are so many useful resources here even including an RV maintenance course!
- People wanting to travel on a budget, with resources for saving, budgeting, accommodation and flight hacks and tips on finding the best deals when you travel.
- First-time solo travellers who help to plan and book their first trip as well as deal with solo travel anxiety!
If you’re interested in getting the bundle, you can get it HERE. If you’re a little early, you will be offered the chance to sign up for a reminder when the sale launches. Remember it only runs for 2 days.
Right now, let’s get back to those travel hacks…
What you can expect from this article...
The Best Travel Hacks to Save money, Travel Smarter and Travel Safer
Budget Travel Hacks
Make the most of big sales
By Elisa from World in Paris
I always save lots of money by doing some of my bookings during big sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the January sales. For example, during Black Friday there are always big discounts with flight companies and hotel companies whilst big online marketplaces for tours, and activities prefer to let the tour owners decide to propose discounts or not.
My main strategy is to place all these big sales on my calendar and write down “shopping lists” with all the things that I need to book or buy for my next trips. I also subscribe to the newsletters of my favourite marketplaces so I am always informed when random sales come up.
Suggested by Holly from Four Around The World
One of our favourite ways to save money is travelling off-season. This means avoiding school holidays and peak holiday seasons such as Christmas and Easter or over summer. This gets a little trickier if you have kids and limited to school holiday trips. However, you can still be creative and go for destinations where it will be off-season during your school holiday period.
Not only will you find flights are cheaper during these less popular travel times, it often means cheaper accommodation and transport. Keep an eye out for travel deals as well.
Get a Local Sim card to save on data roaming fees
Suggested by Allison of Flights To Fancy
My local Aussie mobile provider charges exorbitant roaming costs which I simply refuse to pay, but there is a way to stay connected while you are away for next to nix.
Just grab yourself a local SIM, pop it into your unlocked phone and you are good to go in seconds.
I purchased a Metfone Cambodia SIM card in Siem Reap for less than USD$5 and I have used local SIMs in Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and the USA saving myself thousands of dollars in the process.
Get a Travel friendly debit card
Suggested by Milene and Paul from Surf and Unwind
If you want to avoid paying crazy expensive exchange fees when you travel abroad, you should definitely consider opening an account with an online banking service such as TransferWise, Monzo or other similar services that may be available in your country.
TransferWise, for example, is super easy to use and the whole process from opening an account, receiving a debit card to topping up is super easy.
It’s widely accepted, from Brazil to the Philippines, and, because they use real mid-market exchange fees, you’ll end up with more money to spend on your holiday.
Take Free Walking Tours
Suggested by Or from My Path In The World
As much as I love exploring a city on my own, I also like to take free walking tours.
Apart from the fact that they’re a budget-friendly activity (usually, it’s customary to leave a small tip), they provide an opportunity to get to know a destination through the eyes of a local guide.
Plus, if you’re travelling alone, taking a free walking tour is a great way to meet other travellers.
Carry water and snacks when going out for site seeing
Suggested by Sapna Kapoor from My Simple Soujourn
Sometimes we feel hungry while exploring a new city. Most of the time the price of snacks and drink prices is higher near popular tourist attractions. Moreover, when we are looking for something to suit our taste we waste time going from one shop to another. Even then sometimes we don’t get the items of our choice.
I hate the fact that sometimes the price of a simple water bottle is higher near tourist attractions.
I always carry a water bottle in my bag when I go out for the day. This helps me to save money and time. I can always splurge the money saved on these for something else for a memorable experience.
Use Air miles
Suggested by Hayley Plotkin from Ready Set Jet Set
Before I was a travel blogger, I booked free travel using credit card points to go all over the world. On my backpacker budget, travel credit card points allowed me to snag international flights for free and only pay the taxes.
If you pick the right card, you get a sign-up bonus usually worth enough to get you to Europe and back, and then can keep earning 2X or 3X points on categories like travel and dining that you can apply back towards your flights, hotels, etc.
Seriously, I never pay for flights. Points are the best travel hack there is!
Get a premium credit card with airport lounge access
Suggested by Julie Laundis from Wandering Sunsets
Complimentary access to airport lounges is one of the greatest travel hacks! With many premium credit cards offering unlimited access to select airport lounges, you no longer need to be flying business to access the lounge before your flight.
For frequent flyers, this is one credit card perk that is worth splurging for an annual fee. Whether you are grabbing a meal and a glass of wine before a long flight, or stretching your legs during a long connection, airport lounges really make for a much more comfortable and pleasant travel experience.
Use the Hopper App
Suggested by Julianna of The Discoveries Of
My top travel hack for saving you money is to use the Hopper app. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and now check it religiously before I book my flights.
The benefits of using Hopper are two-fold. First of all, if you add in your destination and dates, the app uses AI to tell you if your flights are likely to get more expensive or cheaper if you wait to book, as well as giving you information on when the best time to book your trip is.
Secondly, because they’re app-based and not picked up on price comparison sites, airlines often give them brilliant deals that are much cheaper than you’d find elsewhere.
Sign up for flight email alerts
Suggested by Nikki from She Saves She Travels
One of my favorite travel hacks is signing up for email alerts for the best flight prices. Yes, our email inboxes are stuffed full. But what if you could save 50%, 60%, or 90% by this one hack?
Sign up with airlines directly or get an affordable subscription for airfare deals (typically under $50 per year). By spending a small fee, you’ll get airfare errors and flash sales.
The subscription fee will be worth it after just one trip! My favorite subscription sites are Fare Drop and Next Vacay. I booked a budget trip to Turks and Caicos with Next Vacay and got over 40% off my flights!
Take Carry-on only
Suggested by Whitney at Designs For Travel
The best travel hack is to pack carry on only! You can fit everything you need, for any length of a trip, into one carry on suitcase. With some good planning and organization, you may even have extra space in your bag to shop along the way.
Travelling with a carry on suitcase (and a handbag) makes travelling so much easier. It will save you lots of time and money- no more standing in lines at the front of the airport, spending extra money, or waiting around to collect your bag when you arrive. Practice the hack of carry on only – try it once, and you will never want to check a bag again!
Use solid shampoo
Suggested by Larch from The Silver Nomad
Whether you are travelling with hand luggage only, or taking a suitcase with you, carrying bottles of shampoo and conditioner can be a bind. Either you have to take bottles under 100ml or you run the risk of them leaking in your case.
Instead, grab a solid shampoo from Lush; ‘Honey I washed my Hair” is a great shampoo and conditioner or try Friendly Soap’s Travel soap which is shampoo, body wash and laundry bar in one!
Solid shampoo bars don’t have to be put in your liquids bag when going through customs, they are lighter than your full bottles, will last longer, will make you smell amazing and you won’t feel guilty for adding to the plastic pollution.
Line your backpack with a plastic bag
Suggested by Lavinia from Continent Hop
If you’re travelling to a country where it rains unexpectedly and you have a backpack that is not waterproof, then it is quite easy to ensure your belongings don’t get wet by using this simple trick.
Use a wide plastic bag and place it inside the backpack so that all of your items can then be placed inside the bag.
Leave space so that you can then securely fold the top to avoid water entering the bag.
Even if the backpack gets wet, all your items are sure to stay dry!
Use packing cubes
I wouldn’t travel without packing cubes again, they save me so much time and stress. I’m naturally a little untidy and when I’m moving bases frequently, my hotel room can begin to replicate a war zone when I want to find something lurking at the bottom of my bag.
Packing cubes have solved this for me. I use 2-3 for clothes (underwear / tops / trousers and dresses,) 1 for tech and 1 for laundry. Occasionally I also use one as a shoe bag.
Bring a Filter Water Bottle
Save money on buying bottled water and help reduce unnecessary single plastic use by getting a water bottle with a filter. It will keep you safe, save you money and is super convenient. you can even fill it up from a river or stream so its also perfect for hiking. An absolute backpacking essential.
Bring a powerstrip
Suggested by Megan from MeganStarr.com
One of the best things to pack for your trip is a power strip. No matter where you’re going, investing in a lightweight power strip with both plugs and USB ports is wise because you won’t have to invest in more than one adapter and won’t have to scramble around finding more than one power outlet in the wall.
I have been travelling with a power strip in my carry-on luggage for years and it has been the number one tip I give to people whether they are looking to plan their packing list.
Use the Eagle Creek Garment Folder
Suggested by Heather from Raulerson Girls Travel
A great new travel hack to packing I recently discovered is the Eagle Creek Garment Folder. This handy packing tool helps keep dresses, slacks, and dress shirts compact and wrinkle-free.
It aids you in packing more with less space taken up in your luggage by compressing your clothes after you folded them in layers.
The garment folder comes with a lightweight folding board with instructions on how to pack and fold your clothes. The folders come in three sizes-small, medium, and large which can hold up to 12 items, so you don’t have to limit your travel choices.
Solo Travel Hacks
Take a free walk with the International Greeter Association
Suggested by Paula from Expert Abroad
With a motto of ‘Come as a guest and leave as a friend‘ there is so much to love about the International Greeter Association.
There is no better way to get an insider’s view of a place you are visiting. People who volunteer are known as ‘greeters”. They are locals who are passionate about their hometown and love to show it off.
Along with making a new friend, greeters offer great insider tips and can really make your holiday something special. The association operates in 122 destinations so be sure to check before your next trip.
We had our first greeter experience in Paris and loved it so much we are now volunteers in our hometown of Sydney
Join a dinner party with Eat With and meet some locals
Suggested by Charlotte from The Millenial Runaway
There’s no better way to immerse yourself into the local culture than by indulging in the local cuisine, but let it be known that the best restaurants aren’t restaurants at all.
Instead, experience a private dinner party in the home of a local through Eat With – an online platform connecting locals and tourists through good, home-cooked food. It’s the very best of social dining with a taste of authenticity you won’t find anywhere else.
Try it at the start of your visit to pick up recommendations from a local and know you have a friendly face should you ever need help during your visit.
Check out Eat With HERE
Safety and Security Travel Tips
Carry a Spare Wallet
Suggested by Soujanya Rai of The Spicy Journey
Carrying a spare wallet while you travel is a proven way to avoid multiple types of tricky situations.
For example, in countries such as India or Indonesia, where the police is known to be corrupt, it can help avoid an unnecessarily hefty fine or bribe.
Additionally, if you’re travelling in areas where there’s a chance that you might get mugged, once again, having a spare wallet loaded with a few fake cards (such as library cards) and small change separate from your main wallet can come a long way in avoiding losing all your money and important cards.
Use Key Card Locks
Suggested by Constance of The Adventures of Panda Bear
Key card locks are great ways to keep your luggage safe and secure. Not only do you not have to worry about losing a key or memorizing a combination, but you can easily stick the key card in your wallet and you’re good to go! They are some of a traveller’s best tools, don’t leave home without them.
Make photocopies of your passport
Suggested by Disha from Disha Discovers
When travelling abroad, it’s imperative that you make photocopies of your passport. Firstly, having a copy of it is helpful if you happen to lose it on your trip.
Leave a copy at home too with your friends and family is useful just in case you lose it.
Also, some countries require you to carry your passport on you at all times when you’re out and about. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable having my passport on me all the time. Therefore, carrying a copy of it works just fine in situations like this.
Take photos of your bank cards
Suggested by Maria of San Diego Explorer
On a recent trip to Paris, my dad’s wallet was stolen in the metro. While this was a very unfortunate event, we learned a lot from it wish we had done this before. So here are my top tips for dealing with wallet theft:
- Split up your money and credit cards. I always leave some money and one credit card in the hotel room hidden in my suitcase and split up the rest between my front pocket (for easy access and so they don’t spot where my main stash is), my purse, my wallet, and my phone.
- Take photos of your credit cards (front and back), so you have the credit card number and phone number to call to cancel your credit and debit cards.
- Save your bank’s phone number in your phone so you can alert them right away and lock your accounts.
- Do some research about how you can get money in case of emergency before you leave, such as getting money via Western Union etc. Have a relative or friend that you talk to about this before you leave, so they know what to do.
- Don’t let it ruin your trip. Solve the problem, but then let it go and try to make the best of the situation.
When you are pickpocketed, robbed or simply lose your wallet, you will most likely be very stressed out. But the better prepared you are, the faster you can resolve the problem and enjoy the rest of your vacation.
Road trip travel hacks
Use the Park4Night app
Recommended by Ania from The Travelling Twins
For the last four months, we have been travelling in the camper around Europe. Our road trip around Greece wouldn’t be so easy if not the Park4Night app.
Thanks to this app, we found different places to stay for a night – not only camping sites but as well as wild spots which other travellers used before us. Thanks to the Park4Night app we didn’t have a problem with finding laundrette, freshwater, camping place or cool site to see.
Every site has the exact location, photos and comments of previous visitors.
The app is free to use, but the free version requires an internet connection. Payable version is available as well offline and allows to add comments to sites and new places. It cost only $9,99 per year and its worth every cent.
Get a ACSI Discount card
Suggested by Darren and Rebecca from iZog Adventure
If you have a camper van you can wild camp or stay at aires (stopover places) if you’re adventurous but the security and facilities that a campsite offers are worth spending your budget on. We save on campsite costs by using an ACSI discount card.
Travelling around Europe in our converted van, we have stayed in some amazing locations that include lakeside and mountain views. Using an ACSI card pays for itself, we never pay more than €20 a night during the low season. The ACSI app is great to find amazing campsites in locations you might not have thought about visiting.
Download an Offline Map of Your Destination with OSMand+
Suggested by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker
The best way to never get lost upon arrival at a new destination is by taking your destiny into your own hands. I never travel anywhere without first downloading an offline map on my Open Street Maps app.
Before I go, I save the location of my accommodation and other points of interest. When I’m on the ground, I use GPS to get to my accommodation without getting lost or scammed by taxi drivers. This way I also save precious time and money by not needing to connect to dodgy WiFi networks or using roaming. It also helps with orientation.
Get 3rd party car hire insurance
I have saved hundreds of dollars on car hire insurance by booking through a 3rd party provider like ‘I car hire insurance.’ They charge so much less than the hire companies directly.
This was a huge blessing when I was road tripping around Iceland on a budget where everything is so expensive including car hire and insurance.
Only use this if you have a financial buffer as you will usually be required to pay upfront and then get reimbursed. I had to make a claim once and the process was stress-free and uncomplicated. I had my money back in a timely manner.
If you are part of the LGBTQ community, check out MisterB&B
Suggested by Derek from Robe Trotting
One travel hack for LGBTQ travellers is to use Misterb&b to find LGBT-friendly hosts in cities around the world.
It’s a similar platform to Airbnb, but you know you’re being hosted by members of the LGBTQ community and allies.
This alleviates awkward situations like having to explain that you want to share a bed with your same-sex partner or more severe matters of worrying about safety and discrimination.
Having an LGBTQ host also means getting local tips on where to go, what to expect and what to be wary of in your destination. That’s especially valuable in destinations with a less-visible community.
Join Trusted House Sitters
Suggested by Kelsey of Sights Better Seen
I used to spend a fortune on accommodation while traveling, but when I became nomadic, I knew that had to change. So, I signed up to join Trusted Housesitters, and started watching people’s homes and pets while they were away on vacation.
Since I started house sitting last year, I’ve saved 6+ months of accommodation, and have stayed in some amazing places I’d never be able to afford otherwise. I’ve house sat in a beautiful town house in London, a flat in one of the coolest neighborhoods in Hamburg, a home in Norway with an amazing view of a lake, and so many more!
Save $45 on Airbnb with a coupon code
If you sign up with this link you will automatically save $45 (or £35) off your first booking with Airbnb, even if you don’t book straight away.
Once you are signed up, you will also be able to get a referral code like this one to give your friends and you’ll earn money every time they book through your link. Why not send it out in an email or post it on social media? This has saved me about $600 on accommodation fees. If you want to know more, check out these Airbnb hacks
Did you find some new travel hacks there? Remember if you want more travel hacks, check out the Smart Travel Super Bundle available on March 4th and 5th only! You’ll get 30 travel resources to help you travel smarter, cheaper, better and safer worth a whopping $1286.58 for just $47
Grab your copy here (or get on the waiting list if you are early) :
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