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A family travel often heralds the opportunity to venture forth and discover the world – whether it involves taking flight to a foreign land or dusting off the camping equipment for a long-awaited road expedition. Nonetheless, orchestrating travel arrangements can swiftly introduce a layer of stress into the mix. People on an online forum share their biggest travel hacks to help make your adventures as smooth as possible.
1. Let Others Know Your Plans
No matter where you’re going in the world, it’s always smart to let a friend or family member you keep in touch with often know where you’re going. This might include giving them a detailed itinerary or agreeing to regularly check-in, even if just by text or email. That way, if you find yourself in trouble, you can rely on someone out there to know how to start searching for you.
2. Save Money on Flights
A user shares their experience with hacking their way to a cheaper flight in South America. “Try searching for flights in the airline’s original language. I once saved $700 booking tickets in Peru by using Spanish rather than English.”
3. Ask the Right Locals
I love this next tip because it makes total sense. A user writes, “If you’re asking for an opinion, don’t ask the opinion of someone who’s being paid to provide it.
Want to know where the best meal near your hotel is? The cleaner isn’t getting a kickback from the nearest steakhouse, but the concierge probably is.
Want to know the easiest way to get to the airport? The front desk clerk is going to tell you to hire the hotel preferred transfer, but the barman will probably tell you what train to catch for 1/20th of the price.”
4. Always Remain Stupid and Cheerful
A man writes that being belligerent and rude when running into trouble will not get you far. However, he notes that people will be much kinder and take pity on you if you remain “stupid and cheerful.” He says he met a couple that followed this mantra as they drove across Africa with no major problems.
5. Bring a Clean Pair of Socks
There’s nothing like freshening up after a long day of travel. While many of us might think to grab our toothbrush or deodorant, one man recommends bringing a fresh pair of socks to change into. He reminds everyone to bring a ziploc for the old pair of socks to safely store away without getting everything weaty and stinky in your bag.
6. Become a Packing Master
There were a few different pieces of advice related to packing a bag. The two top comments included rolling everything (rather than folding) and using packing cubes. These both help save space and keep everything significantly more organized. Bonus points for rolling your stuff into a packing cube!
7. Choose Your Companions Carefully
This next piece of advice is perhaps the best one of them all: “Who you go with is way more important than where you go.” Others agreed, remembering past vacations that were terrible due to the people they chose to go with.
8. Download Maps Ahead of Time
You never know what your phone service will look like in another country or whether you’ll have wifi when needed. Before heading out, make sure you download the entire map of the area you are visiting on Google Maps (or other programs like Maps.me) to use online.
9. Avoid Crowds and Wake Up Early
One user shared he was amazed when he got amazing shots in Rome just by getting up at dawn. He couldn’t believe how quiet the streets were for exploring. He recommended getting up early, then getting breakfast and heading in for a nap when the rest of the tourists start coming out in hordes.
10. Upgrade at a Cheap Hotel
One user offers practical advice for traveling on a budget. “The best room in a cheaper hotel is often better than a standard room in a more expensive hotel. When looking for luxury on a budget, don’t overlook the cheaper hotels – they often have fantastic suites for what you’d pay for a standard room somewhere pricier.”
11. Don’t Stand in Line at the Airport: Use Your Phone
Someone offers, “Don’t stand in line to talk to an agent when flights get canceled. Call the airline.” Sometimes call centers can be inundated, though too; I’ve found it’s best to do both (stand in line while on the phone and see which one comes first). Some airlines now allow rebooking via their apps too.
12. Search Forums for Food Recommendations
A user shares that finding threads about the best food or restaurants in a specific city has never failed him in finding excellent choices. These threads are much less biased than Yelp or Google, where restaurants often pay for reviews.
13. Bring a Power Strip with an Extension Cord
One seasoned traveler points out that sockets for charging devices always seem to be in the most inconvenient places. He brings his own extension cord that splits 3 ways so that he can charge with ease in airports, hostels, or anywhere else he ends up.
14. Make Room for Souvenirs
A woman shares a genius tip for taking home souvenirs. “I bring old underwear, socks, clothes the kids are about to outgrow, etc, and then throw them out before we leave to make room for souvenirs.” Don’t like the idea of tossing stuff out? Grab cheap (but nice) clothes from a thrift store that you can donate when you leave.
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