As fantastic as traveling is, it can be stressful at times – you have to pack and keep track of everything you need while navigating a new environment. But fear not, friends. We collected 14 travel hacks that will help you MacGyver your next trip: we tell you why you should always use the shower caps in hotel rooms, why you need to buy diapers even if you don’t have a baby, and why dryer sheets are best used before doing laundry. And that’s only the beginning.
1. Scan important documents
Scan or photograph your most important travel documents, such as passport, ID, visas, driver’s license and hotel confirmations. Then, email the files to yourself, store them in the cloud of your choice or forward it all to your parents or a trustworthy friend. In case something happens, you will be able to access your documents easier and save lots of time, money, and headaches.
2. Avoid a leaky mess
Prevent your shampoo bottles from leaking during traveling with saran wrap: put some plastic foil over the opening of the bottle, screw the cap back on, and done! Even if the cap comes loose during the trip, it won’t result in a giant mess right away. For an added layer of security, put the bottles in plastic bags before packing them in your toiletry bag.
3. Call your credit card company
Before you depart, call your credit and debit card company, and tell them where you are going and how long you will be there. That way, they will not block your credit card because they think someone stole it and went shopping in Australia. Additionally, make sure you have the phone numbers to block the cards in case someone really does use your card in Australia while you’re in Miami.
4. Have all the paperwork handy
You might not have Wi-Fi everywhere, so we recommend you print out all of your tickets and confirmations. If you prefer storing things in one place or want to add an extra layer of convenience, just take a screenshot of all of your documents, so they can comfortably be accessed without having to connect to the Internet.
5. Wear your heaviest clothes
If your luggage is too small, too heavy or you need extra space for souvenirs, just wear your heaviest coat, biggest sweater, and clunkiest shoes on the plane. Your coat can make for a nice pillow, all other things can be taken off as soon as you sit down.
6. Carry on the essentials
You can find all kinds of packing tips here and here, but if you don’t want to go there, just remember two things: roll your clothes for more space and pack your essentials, such as chargers, a change of clothes, and whatever else you need to survive in case your luggage is late, in your carry-on bag.
7. Find the weirdly perfect hiding spot
Ok, you need to just trust me on this one: A good place to hide valuables – like money, jewelry or passports – are diapers or the wrappers and boxes of feminine hygiene products. I know it sounds weird, but that’s exactly why it’s the ideal hiding place. (It also works for candy that you don’t want to share.)
8. Spread your wealth
Don’t keep all of your money and documents in one place: if said place is lost or stolen, you’re sadly out of luck. To avoid this headache, wear a (slightly uncool yet incredibly practical) fanny pack, hide some emergency cash in your shoes, get a fake wallet that can distract people with bad intentions, don’t put your credit cards in your passport, and so on and so forth. Just make sure you find everything again when you need it.
9. Fill those bottles
Bottled water is a waste of money and resources, so just pack an empty or reusable water bottle and fill it up after you go through the security checks.
10. Put a sticker on it
If you put a “fragile”-sticker on your luggage, it will not only be handled with extra care, it will hopefully be stored on top of the luggage pile on the plane and will therefore be put on the conveyor belt first. Baggage-claim-race: won.
11. Use the shower caps
Have you ever been to a hotel and wondered who on earth uses the shower caps? Savvy travelers, that’s who. These rather unfashionable head pieces make for great shoe covers that keep your clothes and suitcase nice and clean.
12. Never be lost, always be found
If you don’t want to be “the tourist” who carries around a travel guide and a map, simply download the Google maps of your new neighborhood to your phone and access them offline – it’s that easy to never look (too) lost again.
13. Keep an eye out for TV sets
In case you lose, forget or run out of chargers and adapters, check the back of nearby TV sets – they often have USB outlets that let you charge your phone and gadgets. If you stay at a hotel, ask for a charger at the reception – if you’re lucky, they have some spare ones that you can use.
14. Smell like a million bucks
Whenever you travel for an extended amount of time, your luggage will probably start to smell – especially when you’re backpacking. Not if you know this simple little trick: putting dryer sheets or a soap bar (thank you, hotel bathroom!) in your luggage will make you and your things smell like roses and ocean breezes in a jiffy.