In nearly every aspect of life, there are tips, and then there are hacks. In the travel world, knowing a few vital hacks could be the difference between a great trip and a trip that blows every other vacation out of the water! Recently, experienced travelers converged in an online discussion to reveal their most outstanding travel hacks that no one talks about.
1. The Frozen Water Bottle
Everyone should know by now that you can pass through airport security checkpoints with an empty water bottle. But why not save yourself the hassle of filling up your empty bottle post-security checkpoint by freezing a full water bottle? Bringing a frozen water bottle is allowed by TSA regulations and is one of the savviest hacks on this list.
2. The Rental Car Trick
While renting a car is a necessary evil for many, here’s one hack to ensure that you are first in line at the car rental counter after you arrive at your destination! “If you rent from a car rental agency and have to take a shuttle from the airport, get in last – I will even offer to help other passengers with luggage so I am last,” advises one expert. “This ensures you are first off and first in line at the counter.”
3. Keep Photocopies of Your Passport
Passports aren’t a permanent fixture in our bodies (although they should be), so it’s almost inevitable that you will lose or misplace yours at some point. To combat this, photocopy your passport and keep a copy in your carry-on luggage. It’s also a good idea to give a copy to a trusted friend, just in case. Another hack is to attach an air tag to your passport holder so you can track it if you lose it.
4. Beating the Language Barrier
The language barrier can be difficult to overcome while visiting a foreign country. However, if you put in a little bit of effort, it will make many conversations easier – and fun! “Learn six phrases in the host country’s language,” says one traveler. “Yes, no, please, thank you, and goodbye goes a long way in showing respect. Also, learn how to say, ‘Where is the toilet?'”
5. Roll Your Clothes When Packing
Conventional wisdom says to fold your clothes in your suitcase how you’d fold them at home, but there are more efficient ways to pack. So instead, roll your clothes. You’ll be able to fit more, and items like socks and underwear can easily be rolled into more oversized items like pants and shirts. (Ensure you stay under your airline’s checked bag weight limit!)
6. DIY VIP Treatment
Being aware of your surroundings is paramount to your safety when traveling overseas. However, awareness – and kindness – can also score you some privileges you may not expect! “If traveling internationally, always get in the immigration line next to the VIP/ Employees/Diplomats line,” reveals one expert. “When they have downtime, smile at the person sitting idle, and most of the time, they will wave you over.”
7. Protect Your Home Against Intruders
While this hack seems a little dramatic, it’s brilliant, especially if you don’t have a home alarm system. Place a piece of tape on the outside of your home’s front and back doors near the bottom of the frame where the door meets – if the tape is broken when you come home, you know somebody entered while you were away.
8. Set Yourself up for Success in the Air
Flying economy isn’t the most preferable way to travel, but luckily, there is a way for you to tip the odds in your favor that might make your journey more bearable. “If you are flying in economy class, ask to sit next to empty seats if the plane is not full – you may end up with four seats that you can make into a bed,” advises one woman. While this method doesn’t always work, it never hurts to try!
9. Utilize the U.S. State Department Website
Before you leave for any international adventure, log on to the United States State Department website to educate yourself on any travel issues in the countries you are about to visit. Whether it’s an infectious disease or a crime warning, preparing yourself before you leave is best.
10. Call Your Credit Card Company
When your credit card transaction is denied while traveling, it’s embarrassing and needlessly stressful. So before you leave, notify your bank or credit card company about your upcoming trip. Some banks let you inform them quickly through their phone app.
11. The Ice Cube Trick
If you’ll be gone for an extended period, place an ice cube on a plate in your freezer. When you return, if the ice cube isn’t there, that means your home lost power while you were away. Of course, losing power means that you should proceed to throw away all the perishable food in your refrigerator!
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