Don’t Leave for Your Next Trip Without Going Through These 12 Overlooked Yet Essential Travel Hacks

Any well-planned trip starts with the basics: booking flights and hotels, packing your bags, and setting aside some extra cash for emergencies. But there are certain things that might seem trivial at first, but are actually essential in making your travel experience smooth and stress-free.

Here are the 12 most overlooked yet helpful travel hacks you need to know before you leave for your next vacation:

1. Pack Sunscreen

Beautiful Young woman with sun cream on face.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / verona studio

While you might assume you’ll be able to easily purchase sunscreen and bug repellant in sunny, buggy areas, that isn’t necessarily true. The language barrier makes it difficult to know exactly what products you’re purchasing, so you could mistakenly buy a regular moisturizer without sun protection. Your best bet is to pack plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin on your trip.

2. Keep Toothpaste Handy at the Airport

A woman smiling while holding a tooth brush and Toothpaste
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There’s nothing like a ten-hour flight to make you feel the need for a shower. But after you land, you need to exit the plane, wait for your checked bags, and travel to your hotel before you can even think about taking a shower. One thing you can do to feel a little less dirty after a long flight is to have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some face wash readily available in your carry-on so you can clean up in the airport bathroom.

3. Use the Restroom Whenever You Have the Chance

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Even if your bladder isn’t yet bursting, many travelers recommend others stop and use the bathroom whenever they can. It’s never fun to be in the middle of a boat ride or a museum tour when the urge to pee hits. To avoid the distraction of having to use the bathroom while enjoying your trip, make sure to stop whenever you can spot a restroom.

4. Consider Jet Lag When Creating Your Schedule

A girl sitting at the airport looking exausted
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Jet lag is very real. For the first couple of days in a new time zone, you might feel exhausted in the middle of the day and wired in the middle of the night. Don’t assume you will be able to power through the jet lag immediately when you arrive. Try to schedule quiet time on your first day abroad to make sure you don’t burn out.

5. Pack Light Rain Gear on the Go

Toronto, Canada - 26 June 2017: Crowd of people with umbrellas and rain ponchos on a rainy day
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Rain can quickly ruin your plans if you’re not prepared. Pack a light rain poncho or jacket in your day bag on every excursion while you travel to protect yourself from the elements. Sometimes, you can even access tourist areas that are packed on sunny days and emptied out when the rain comes.

6. Photocopy Your Passport

Young beautiful tourist woman on vacation wearing swimsuit and hawaiian lei holding passport very happy pointing with hand and finger
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Your passport is your lifeline on a trip abroad. Protecting your passport is essential, but some tourist attractions require you to bring your passport as a form of identity for admission. To prevent theft or misplacing your passport, you can bring a color copy of the document on your trip to carry daily. Leave your real passport back at the hotel in the safe.

7. Research Local Scams

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Before embarking on your exciting getaway, it’s important to research local scams in the area you’re visiting to protect yourself. If you know what to look out for, avoiding scams and staying safe is much easier. Research typical local cab fares to guard against those scams too.

8. Sunrise Exploration

Whitaker Point, Arkansas
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Have you ever traveled abroad and wished you could witness the city’s sights without other tourists crowding the area? Try waking up before sunrise to explore the city while it sleeps. Watch the sunrise and get a unique solo experience that many travelers only dream of.

9. Grab Your Hotel’s Business Card

A receptionist handing over the key card to a guy
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If you’re like me and have a terrible sense of direction, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid getting lost. One great tip is to carry your hotel business card with you everywhere you go. That way, you can ask locals for help and directions by pulling out a piece of paper. If you’re in a city with a language barrier, you can hand taxi drivers your hotel’s card so they know exactly where to go.

10. Carry a Fake Wallet

Women's hand Using a credit card, she pulled the card out of her wallet.
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If you’re traveling to an area with high levels of petty crime, consider carrying a fake wallet. Fill it with your expired driver’s license, expired credit cards, and a small amount of cash to disguise it as your genuine wallet. That way, if you’re ever mugged, you can hand over your fake wallet instead of your actual bank cards.

11. Choose a Signature Scent

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For those who love reminiscing about their past trips, this tip is for you. One user suggests choosing a signature cologne, perfume, or candle to use daily on your trip. Once you return home, you can sniff your signature travel scent to be instantly taken back to your vacation.

12. Bring Solid Soaps and Shampoo

woman buying shampoo
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Did you know that soap, shampoo, and conditioner come in solid forms? Bringing solid shower products on your trip can help ease anxiety over spillage, liquid limits on flights, and more. All you have to do is throw them in your suitcase, and you’re ready to go.

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