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12 Top Travel Hacks You Need to Know

Picture of Alex Jordan
Alex Jordan
Travel Editor
Updated: 19 July 2017

From clever ways to pack more into your suitcase, to tech tips that make sure you never get lost again, these travel hacks are a game changer no matter where you are in the world. Here are some useful tips and tricks for holidaying with ease, picked up over years of travelling.

Vacuum pack or roll clothes, but don’t fold

Now that most of us fly only using a carry-on, vacuum-packing bags have become an invaluable way of saving space in small suitcases. Manually pump the air out of the plastic containers causing them to shrink wrap, allowing you to take way more outfit options and shop abroad with peace of mind. If you haven’t picked up a vacuum-packing bag, the next best option is rolling clothes instead of folding them.

Download the Culture Trip app of course!

What better way to get to know your new surroundings than with the Culture Trip app. It automatically knows where you are in the world and recommends attractions based on your personal preferences. It’s also a great way to dive into the culture of a destination and learn more about its musical, literary and artistic history and find out more about today’s tastemakers.

Take a prepaid currency card

The best way to avoid a stolen purse or lost wallet ruining your break is to use a prepaid currency card like Caxton, which offers £5 free when you exchange £100 of holiday currency. These cards are perfect for travellers and can be topped up and managed online via the Caxton app. The cards can be used anywhere in the world with competitive exchange rates, saving you the hassle of finding an ATM abroad.

 

Use a prepaid SIM card

There’s nothing worse than being stung by expensive roaming charges, so if you know you’ll need data it’s better investing in a prepaid phone or SIM card. There’s also good news for all EU citizens: from June 15 2017 travellers can use their data roaming throughout Europe at no extra charge.

Bring an e-reader

Another space-saving tip is to invest in an e-reader. Not only can you store your favourite titles in one place, but the newest generation of products are also waterproof up to two metres, so you can read in the pool without worry. It also stops your favourite (and sometimes expensive!) books from falling apart in the heat, and you can download new titles in seconds, which should keep even the biggest bookworms busy.

Rent cars in cities, not airports

The temptation is to use a rental service at the airport, but don’t unless it’s absolutely necessary. The daily rate is often higher because of the convenience, and most inner-city rental companies offer a free transfer to and from the airport.

Freeze your favourite drinks to get them through security

This travel hack lets you bring your favourite fresh juice smoothie or home-ground coffee through security without falling foul of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules. Clever travellers are exploiting one crucial detail in United States Homeland Security laws: if frozen, the liquid ceases to be a liquid and can be taken through. But be warned, anything less than completely solid won’t fly.

Make a checklist

This is a practical tip for ensuring you don’t forget anything, especially during long trips and when moving from hotel to hotel. As you pack before your trip, carefully note down what you’re bringing and email yourself the list to check each time you re-pack. This should avoid that sinking feeling of remembering a phone charger or favourite t-shirt when it’s too late to go back.

Wear all your jewellery

Another space-saving tip is to wear all the jewellery you’re bringing on the flight. This way you’re not tempted to overpack and are less likely to misplace any jewellery that’s easily lost.

Refill your mini-travel essentials instead of buying new ones

Investing in a set of refillable travel-sized containers is a great way to save money and means you’ll never fall foul of airport security guidelines and be forced to leave your favourite beauty products behind. You can also make your own using straws and some sticky tape. Hey presto! You have yourself a ready-made travel-sized container.

Type ‘OK Maps’ on Google Maps to save an area for offline

Not many people know this, but not only can you use Google Maps offline to generally get around, but you can also save destinations in rich detail by typing ‘OK Maps’ into the search bar. The app then saves what’s on the screen including points of interest, restaurants, shops and stations for you to use at a later date. Never get lost again!

Put your headphones and cables in a spare glasses case

This timeless tip is great for anyone who loves bringing all their tech with them abroad. Simply repurpose an unwanted glasses case to house all those fiddly accessories and chargers, not only keeping them tangle-free, but also placing them easily to hand should you need to reach into your suitcase without upsetting all that neat and tidy packing!