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Urban Surfer’s List of the 10 Best Travel Hacks!

Years of consistent travel have taught me my fair share of lessons! I have often learnt things the hard way, much like the time I showed up at the airport with my ticket, but without a visa and was not allowed on the plane! Or more recently when I messed up a visa application, didn’t think to check it, and again was not allowed on the plane!! (Yes, I definitely have a visa issue!!)

Many of these travel mishaps can be avoided and some are just part of the process of travelling! You can’t plan for everything, but you can certainly plan for most things and do your best to avoid any airport upset!

Despite numerous upsets, I have also learnt several travel hacks along the way that help to make the whole process a lot less stressful. Read on for my pick of the top tips, tried and tested by yours truly!

Travel Hack Number 1: Planning your trip

I always like to book my flights mid-week. Avoid booking on the weekend. Most people will search for flights on the weekend, this in turn can push up the price of tickets. I also like to search for flights on a private browser page or delete cookies after I do my initial search. Airlines can now see which flights you are looking for and this too can alter the prices when it comes to making your final booking,

Travel Hack Number 2: Prepare documents for your trip

Learn from my mistakes and always check the visa processes for a country! Some take longer than others, some are more complex than others and some are more expensive than others! Once you receive the visa be sure to check over all the details. Another thing I always try to do is to make copies of all my documents and store them somewhere on the cloud. This way if anything gets lost you can always access your documents from anywhere! If you’re not super tech friendly, then just take photocopies of everything!

Travel Hack Number 3: Do your laundry beforehand!

The worst thing is going to pack and finding all your favourite items of clothing in the laundry basket! This is also a sneaky way to trick yourself into planning ahead!

Travel Hack Number 4: Plan ahead!

You may not have a meticulous itinerary (unless you are like my sister!) but you will probably have a good idea of the activities that you are going to be doing. If you plan on going cycling don’t forget athletic wear, and a back pack! Check the weather and make sure you have what you need. As a rule of thumb, I always pack swimwear, no matter where I am going! You never know where you might find a pool!! Planning in advance can seriously help you from over packing too, which I can safely say I have been guilty of many times in the past! Final packing tip – roll your clothes! This avoids any creases made from folding. Simple.

Travel Hack Number 5: Make your luggage distinctive!

I will never forget that time that someone confused my suitcase with theirs and took it home! This can be so easily avoided if you make your luggage unique! Tie ribbons, add stickers, paint stripes, buy a crazy coloured suitcase – do whatever you need to do, just make it stand out!

Travel Hack Number 6: Lay out essentials the night before

This avoids any panic in the morning, or before you travel. Make sure you have all your documents, chargers, wallet, passport and any other important belongings in a place that can’t be missed. This mitigates the risk of forgetting the essentials and makes your departure day much easier.

Travel Hack Number 7: Take a car park selfie!

It is so boring when you come back on a high from an epic trip and then you can’t find your car!! Take a photo of exactly where your car is parked. I also like to take a photo of any landmarks that could help me find my way back to it!

Travel Hack Number 8: Bring a refillable water bottle

Always carry a refillable bottle with you, you can use fountains to fill it up. Some airports will even have fountains. Save money (and the environment) by bringing one with you. I am loving this yellow Mizu bottle!!

Travel Hack Number 9: Prepare for airport security

There are a number of things you can do to make airport security less of a hassle. Wear shoes that you can easily slip off. Avoid wearing belts if possible. Another great travel hack is to put any liquids you are taking with you into a little plastic Ziploc bag at home. Some airports are now charging for these bags and this speeds up the process massively!

Travel Hack Number 10: Travel with just a carry on if you can

This of course depends on how long your trip is. However, if it is short enough to skimp on a couple of extra items and travel lighter it is worth it! This way you avoid check in bags, losing bags and generally wasting any time! If you are checking in your bag, always pack an extra outfit in your carryon and all your valuables! I can’t even count the amount of times that my bag has shown up after me and I have had to go and buy a few essentials while waiting for it! Losing your luggage is always a nightmare, but it is infinitely better if you at least have one change of clothes!

 

Final Tips

  • Don’t forget adaptors! If you travel a lot just buy yourself a universal adaptor.
  • ALWAYS bring comfortable shoes!
  • Be flexible – things don’t always go to plan. Don’t let this ruin your trip.
  • Learn a few simple phrases – I always like to know how to say ‘Hello’ and ‘thank you.’
  • Ask the locals – the only true way to find the best little spots!
  • Do not judge other customs – always keep an open mind when travelling.
  • Let your bank know about your travel plans!
  • Take loads of photos!

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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