The Most Useful Travel Hacks From The USA

The Statue of Liberty,  © Anthony Delanoix
The Statue of Liberty, © Anthony Delanoix
Photo of Erin Geier
10 October 2016

Planning a trip can be incredibly daunting, as well as a real burden on the wallet. The following tips can show you how to plan an excursion that won’t break the bank or the brain.

Get the Best Value

Airlines and hotel rooms often cost a fortune, but you don’t always have to take these prices for face value. Online platforms like offer up to 70% discounts on everything from room rentals to plane tickets. Chameleon John also offers free shipping on select items, extended warranties, and exciting freebies and promotions sourced directly from the merchants. With over 100,000 deals on offer at any one time there’s multiple options for saving money on every aspect of your trip.

Get out into the wild | © Rosan Harmens

Fly on Weekdays

Research shows that the best time to book a flight in the United States is on Tuesday at 3 PM EST. Why so specific? This is when airlines tend to release the most sales, with competitors often following suit. Travelers can also save big by opting to fly on unpopular days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with the vast majority of Americans leaving for vacation on Fridays and returning on Sundays. If you’re a night owl, consider taking a red-eye flight to significantly reduce the cost — and the traffic — on your journey.

Where will you go next? How about Preikestolen, Forsand in Norway | © Alexey Topolyanskiy

Ditch the Drowsiness

Heading to a faraway location can be a thrill, but nothing is worse than having a getaway plagued with grogginess. With time zone changes, noisy cabins, and the potential for turbulence, it’s easy to see why so many of us fall victim to jet lag. The Mayo Clinic and the Center for Disease Control suggest reducing its effects by gradually changing your sleeping habits in anticipation of your trip. If you’re going west, it’s recommended that you hit the hay one hour later each night for a few days leading up to your trip, and If you’re headed east, go to bed one hour earlier. Although some may be tempted to take to the skies with a Bloody Mary or a sleeping pill in hand, simple common sense measures like eating a balanced meal and getting a good night’s sleep beforehand are more effective ways to curb travel exhaustion.

Want to travel in the USA? Try visiting Fort Ebey State Park in Coupeville | © Patrick Fore

The Art of the Fold…and the Roll

When planning a vacation, packing is half the battle. Too much junk in the trunk can be a real buzzkill on a cramped road trip, and excessive or heavy luggage can add as much as $100 to the cost of your flight. While we’re all inclined to pack a year’s worth of clothing on a weeklong vacation, making a detailed list of every item you’ll need will cut down on unnecessary and last-minute whimsical additions to your suitcase. Once you’ve streamlined your kit, the simplest trick for a well-organized bag is to roll soft fabrics (cottons, wools and knits) instead of folding them and line them at the very bottom of your bag. Fold sensitive and starchy fabrics atop your base layer, and place a limited selection of shoes at the very top to seal your clothes in place and secure the creases on the starchy clothing below.

Leave your excess baggage at home and make the most of BelleWood Acres & Distilling in Lynden | © Patrick Fore

Safety First

The thrill of travel lies in the opportunity to see things we’ve never seen before, but the simple fact is we are at our most vulnerable when exploring unfamiliar territory. Regardless of how safe your final destination may be, always keep others in the loop prior to leaving and notify them as soon as you’ve reached your journey’s end. For long distances, notify credit card companies beforehand to avoid surprise cancellations, and always carry cash in the event that your card becomes unavailable. For aggressively touristy areas, avoid broadcasting your lack of local awareness to prevent falling prey to any pickpockets and purse-snatchers within earshot.

Sky’s the limit! Venice Beach and Boardwalk, Los Angeles | © Matteo Paganelli

Have Fun

People become so overwhelmed by hectic travel plans and real-life distractions that ‘needing a vacation from a vacation’ has become a commonplace saying. While having your phone available for emergencies and quick photo ops is certainly reasonable, Forbes recommends leaving as many digital devices at home to detox and detach from your everyday life and truly immerse yourself in the local experience. And remember: vacations go fast. Take time to focus on the present and enjoy where you are instead of where you’ll be.

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