17 TikTok travel hacks that will blow your mind (and save your wallet)!

With the tourism industry making a strong post-pandemic comeback, TikTok travel hacks have grown more popular than ever. You’ll find hundreds of tips, from widely known advice to life-changing workarounds.

Despite their popularity, you might still have reservations. TikTok videos aren’t exactly reliable resources—testing different hacks will require extensive trial and error.

To help you get the most out of your trips, we compiled 17 popular TikTok travel hacks that work, what they do, and how to execute them. So spend less time researching tips and more time traveling.

1. Apply for TSA PreCheck

Airport security checks typically take 10 to 30 minutes. Some passengers wait one to two hours in super-busy airports, although these rarely happen.

To speed up the process, apply for the TSA PreCheck. Qualified travelers breeze through security screening since they don’t have to take off their shoes, remove light jackets, discard bottled liquids, take out laptops, or unbuckle their belts.

The TSA says that members wait less than five minutes. They can also use their Known Traveler Numbers in 85+ airlines and 200+ airports nationwide.

Shawn Plummer, the CEO of The Annuity Expert Advice, shares that the TSA PreCheck is essential for anyone who loves flying.

He says, “Don’t worry about the TSA PreCheck application process. Although accomplishing the paperwork takes one to four weeks, the five-year membership justifies the long wait.”

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2. Compute Whether It’s Cheaper To Buy or Earn Points

Travelers rarely advise buying points and miles. You can earn credit card rewards through purchases, promotions, and sign-up bonuses, among other transactions.

With that said, paying for points isn’t always impractical. You might save a few bucks if the total credits cost less than the product or service.

Let’s say you need 100 points to stay in a $1,000 room. If your card-issuing bank sells its points for under $10, purchasing them would make sense.

You can apply this sample computation with other purchases. Factor in add-on expenses, e.g., taxes and booking fees, apart from the reward’s market value.

3. Check Couchsurfing.com

Solo travelers who love making new friends should check out Couchsurfing. It connects locals and travelers.

Travelers can look for homes to sleep in for free, while homeowners can guide visitors around their town. You’ll gain a new friend, whether you’re a local or a tourist in this arrangement.

Note: The platform currently has more travelers than homeowners. Consider other affordable travel destinations if you can’t find a host yet.

4. Stuff Your Clothes in Vacuum-Sealed Bags

Although rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones, they wrinkle more easily. Light, crisp garments look terrible after getting rolled.

To maximize luggage space without ruining your stuff, use vacuum-sealed bags. Fold your clothes, slide them into compression bags, then suck out the air with a vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum sealing should double your free luggage space. Just make sure you avoid packing anything that sets off metal detectors; otherwise, airport security might ask you to undo your sealed bags.

Pro Tip: Fly even lighter by leaving behind non-essential travel items. Vacuum-sealed clothes still weigh the same, and you can’t exceed the weight limit for carry-on luggage.

5. Book Flights as Early as Possible

Contrary to popular TikTok travel hacks, there’s no “best day” to book flights. Airlines update ticket rates early in the week, but you can’t always expect great deals.

Instead of waiting for specific days, book your flights early. Most companies increase ticket prices 21 to 28 days before the flight date—secure your seats beforehand.

As for promos, follow your preferred airlines on social media. Regularly visit their pages to spot special deals and discounts quickly.

6. Turn On VPN When Booking Flights

Try booking flights from another region. Airlines sometimes offer country-specific deals, which you can only access through VPNs.

Make sure you use multiple servers. You should see some price changes if you clear your cookies, refresh your cache, and use a reliable VPN app.

7. Sit Near the Front of the Plane if You Easily Get Motion Sickness

Sit near the front of the plane if you quickly get motion sickness. The front rows generally get less turbulence during flights, even when experiencing rough altitude changes.

If these seats are taken, try other ways to prevent air sickness. Look away from your devices, stop reading books, chew ginger tablets, and avoid consuming alcohol in the air.

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8. Avoid Booking Fees by Buying Plane Tickets in Person

Read the fine print when buying tickets. Many airlines charge extra online booking fees, especially if you purchase through a third-party website.

They could spike upward of $20. Unless you’re getting a special online deal, at least consider driving down to the airport for your tickets.

9. Give Goody Bags When Flying With Babies

If you’re flying with your kids, you might fret about how they’ll react during the trip. Everyone knows babies cry, but you don’t want to annoy others.

Consider handing out goody bags before the trip to get on the good side of your co-passengers. Each packet could have snacks, earplugs, and a short note.

John Gardner, the co-founder and CEO of Kickoff, shares that most goody bags consist of junk food like candy, chocolates, or chips. Although tasty, they might give some passengers an upset stomach.

He says, “Opt for healthy, organic options. Delicious treats like dried fruits, unsalted nuts, crackers, and sugar-free gum are just as appealing as junk food.”

Warning: Only give goody bags to the rows around you. You’ll disturb the flight attendants if you interact with everyone on the plane.

10. Use Pillowcases as a “Free” Carry-On

Airlines only allow one carry-on bag. Everything else must be delivered to the sorting center as checked baggage—you’ll get them back upon landing.

Some flights offer checked baggage allowance. But in most cases, you must pay for every pound of luggage.

To work around this policy, maximize your carry-on bags. Apart from bringing a large suitcase or backpack, stuff extra items in an empty pillowcase.

The TSA allows pillows in carry-on baggage. So whether they consist of pillow stuffing or extra garments, you should have no problem getting past security.

Warning: This trick will only work if the airline considers all types of pillows as personal items.

11. Carry Extra Items in Duty-Free Shopping Bags

If you’re iffy about carrying a large pillowcase stuffed with personal belongings, use Duty Free bags instead.

Most airlines let passengers carry multiple shopping bags. They rarely check for receipts, so you can probably sneak in some stuff from home.

But be discreet about them. Anything bought outside the airport doesn’t classify as a personal item and thus follows the standard baggage policy.

As a general rule, only carry small objects. Overstuffing bags with thick garments will attract too much attention.

12. Go to TrustedHouseSitters.com

Animal-loving travelers should check out Trusted House Sitters. Here, you’ll find dozens of pet owners who need temporary sitters to care for their pets while they’re away.

Homeowners often have cats and dogs. However, some might need sitters for horses, birds, fish, and reptiles, among other animals, so broaden your search if you have experience with them.

You’ll get more orders as your profile gains credibility. Jesse Hanson, the content manager at Online Solitaire, encourages using this platform at least once a month to get better ratings.

He says, “Trusted House Sitters is currently the largest pet-sitting site. Invest time in building your profile so that you’ll get better orders as the platform further grows.”

13. Switch to Ride-On Suitcases

If you often travel with kids, consider buying a ride-on suitcase. It’s a unique rolled luggage type that doubles as a bag and a pulley stroller.

Kids can ride them when they get tired. Place them atop the stroller, secure the attached seatbelt, and pull the telescoping handle.

Hauling strollers is much easier than carrying your kids. You’ll find them most useful while walking around the airport, navigating unfamiliar cities, and waiting for flights.

For added convenience, explore premium ride-on suitcases. They offer extra features like built-in charging ports, electronic locks, app-enabled control systems, and GPS trackers.

14. Politely Ask For Seat Upgrades

Travel content creators claim you can ask for free seat upgrades. Although most viewers are doubtful, they’re also curious whether this TikTok travel hack works.

Business class costs 5 to 10 times more than economy. You’ll save a lot on flights if you consistently score complimentary seat upgrades.

Unfortunately, airlines rarely award them to random passengers. Assuming these TikTok videos weren’t scripted, their creators were probably in low-demand flights during lean periods.

Mark Pierce, the CEO of Colorado LLC Attorney, shares that the only way to get “free” upgrades is to become a loyal patron.

He says, “Stop flying on different airlines. Choose one company, sign up for their frequent flyer program, then rack up points by traveling. Preferred clients often get special treatment.”

15. Always Bring Dry Cleaning Bags

Add dry cleaning bags to your essential travel accessories. Whether you’re going on a quick getaway or a week-long business trip, they’ll serve several functions.

Firstly, plastic bags set apart dirty and clean clothes. If you have no time to do laundry while traveling, stuff your used garments in a designated bag.

Secondly, cleaning bags prevent wrinkling. Your crisp button-down shirts and dresses will stay wrinkle-free if you fold them in clean, dry plastic bags.

Lastly, extra bags keep clothes dry. Tory Jon, the founder of Camper FAQs, shares that waterproof backpacks can’t always withstand harsh weather conditions. Rainwater might still seep through them.

He says, “Place your clothes in dry cleaning bags. Doing so keeps them clean and dry regardless of the weather. Never use soiled garments. You could get sick if you wear damp clothing for extended periods.”

16. Invest in Travel Credit Cards

It’s a common misconception that only frequent travelers use travel credit cards. Anyone can maximize travel rewards.

However, you need the right card for your lifestyle. Ask your preferred commercial banks which products they’d recommend you.

Accounts come with several freebies. Apart from removing foreign transaction fees, they offer travel insurance, free checked baggage, and VIP airport lounge access.

Avid travelers could also try credit card churning. The process involves opening and closing credit accounts to rack up points.

Although it yields some benefits, executing such a high-risk strategy could hurt your credit. Ensure you maintain a healthy credit utilization ratio.

17. Filter Flights by the Cheapest Dates

Airlines follow dynamic pricing algorithms. Ticket rates could spike based on seasons, oil prices, weather conditions, and competitor prices. In-demand flights generally cost more.

Although you can’t predict future ticket prices, most airlines will tell you their lean seasons. Just hit the Cheapest Dates filter when booking online.

Low-demand flights are very affordable. Airlines may slash 50% to 90% off prices to fill seats during lean periods.

Just make sure you consider the weather.

For instance, while vacations in tropical countries might be cheap during the rainy season, they’ll also be dangerous. Find other ways to save money on beach vacations instead.

Extra Tips for Finding New TikTok Travel Hacks

Feel free to explore other TikTok travel hacks. If you search #TravelHacks, the Discover page will display hundreds of related videos—some might not be in the above list.

Just make sure you take them with a grain of salt. To filter which tips are worth your time, assess them based on the following factors:

  • Timeliness: Hacks that capitalize on loopholes become obsolete quickly. Once the company involved takes notice, they’ll create clearer, more definitive guidelines. Overlooking these updates could lead to costly, inconvenient blunders.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Stop obsessing over cutting your expenses. Only proceed with a travel hack if the savings justify the time and energy spent executing it.
  • Safety and Legality: Never push through with unsafe and illegal hacks. Taking advantage of loopholes is one thing, but deliberately breaking guidelines is another.
  • Limitations: Travel hacks have limitations. Blindly relying on them and ignoring the risks of failure will compromise your trip.

Use Effective TikTok Travel Hacks to Revamp the Way You Travel

Should you test these tricks during your next trip? If you want to cut travel expenses and avoid minor hassles, enjoy doing TikTok travel hacks.

Just note that executing them requires prior research. If you’d rather pay for luxuries than study the above tricks, TikTok travel hacks might not interest you.

Whatever the case, keep an open mind. There’s no right or wrong way to travel—broaden your perspective to learn new tricks online that you wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Alejandra Leyva