Easy Travel Hacks
If you’ve been in the travel industry as long as I have then you see a lot of things which make travel easier. Today I’m going to give you my top travel hacks from a deodorant safe to free upgrades.
Grab yourself a deodorant stick, remove the insides or better still use it for a few weeks before you travel. You will then discover that when you slide the deodorant all the way out that there is room underneath to store a little emergency cash. An alternative is to bore a hole lengthways into a bar of soap and slide in some rolled up notes, just don’t forget that they are there.
Waterproof your bag with Nikwax or a similar product. When travelling there’s nothing worse than getting caught in a downpour. Unless you have someone to kiss in the rain but that’s a different blog. Your backpack or daypack will carry all your essentials so this helps to ensure they don’t get wet if you get caught outside in the rain. Alternatively, use a garden refuse sack inside your bag to protect all your belonging.
Place a piece of paper in a protective cover inside your suitcases with your contact and flight details on. If your bag goes missing and someone looks inside it you have a better chance of getting it returned quickly. In addition to this tip, it is a very good idea to take a photo of your luggage before you set off. This makes describing it easier if you have to report it missing.
On a practical note, if your luggage zip is a bit stiff then scribble over it with a graphite pencil as this will lubricate the zip and make it work easier. There’s no point in locking luggage which has a zip unless the lugs fit into a lock attached to the case. A zip is easily popped open with a biro and can even be made to look like it was never opened. The best way to prevent damage or theft from a zippered suitcase is to have it shrink wrapped at the airport.
Even though luggage is tagged and will be barcoded it’s still a good idea to put your own labels on your cases. Do not put your home address though as this only advertises that your home is empty whilst you are away. The best information to put on a luggage label is your Name, Travel Company, Airline, Flight Number, Email & Phone Number.
Avoid lengthy queues and even the check-in desks altogether by sending your luggage using a service like www.sendmybag.com/mrjholt This way you can travel light but still have the kitchen sink with you on holiday. This service is ideal for families as you don’t have to worry about all your luggage, you can focus on having quality time with the kids.
This is similar to Hack No:3 but for families, on the day of travel but before you leave then take a photo of your children. If they get lost then other people will easily be able to identify them by the photo rather than a description. Also, put your contact details in your kids’ clothing preferably sewn into their clothes. You’ll be surprised how many children have gone missing over the years I’ve worked in tourism. I even had a 7-year-old left on a coach before now.
Depending on the time of day you are travelling pack a picnic for the airport. Airports are extremely expensive and can drain your holiday budget before you even fly. Airports are designed to empty your pockets so be strong and plan ahead. Take a reusable water bottle with a filter and once through security you can fill it up. You can use this on holiday to save on expensive bottles of water.
Since we are talking about Travel Hacks then this is a corker and will give you more room on a flight. Just before you check in, go online and view the aircraft seat plan and book seats where there is an empty row. Some airlines allow you to do this right up to boarding, although I wouldn’t leave it that late. Alternatively, you can book the window and aisle seats as it’s unlikely someone will book a centre seat.
Take the cabin crew sweets or chocolates! I have done this on every flight for the past 14 years and have been upgraded to business class, received free drinks, given vouchers for food in the airport, had free access to airport lounges and best of all had a night out with the crew in resort.
Dress smart and board last! First, you may notice that the crew only inspect your seat at the door, so if the flight is quiet you can sit anywhere. Especially if you remembered the chocolates. Alternatively just politely ask if there are any upgrade available for the flight.
Did you know you can ask for free food! On any flight where a meal is included food which is left over will just be thrown away and the crew will give these out as it saves them time at the end of the flight. So if the flight meal doesn’t fill you up then feel free to ask for more.
To prevent jet lag then follow these simple steps! As soon as you board set your watch to your destinations time. Only drink water during the flight and lots of it, this is because you dehydrate during any flight. On a night flight avoid eating, this is because on a flight even though you may be awake your stomach will go to sleep at its normal time. You will then feel bloated and will struggle to adjust.
Ever noticed that as soon as an aircraft lands everyone jumps to their feet? Well, relax and get off last. It takes luggage a long time to get to the luggage belt and every one who leaps off first will only have to wait at the belt. Also, you can thank the crew and guess what if you supplied chocolates you may even get invited to go through customs with the crew. Yep! You can get to queue jump as there is no rule that says you can’t join the crew.
Depending on the airport you arrive at you can avoid all the queues and rush by accidentally going the wrong way. If you didn’t manage to get invited to go through customs with the crew then following the transit signs can get you to where you want to go quicker. If you are travelling with hand luggage only you’ll end up outside a lot faster. You will arrive at some sort of checking point be it customs/security or a gate agent, they’ll point out that you went the wrong way and then point you through a doorway designed for just this eventuality. Low and behold you are either at the customs/security point or if you’ve been through security you’ll be outside.
Gather your thoughts and take a break at the airport of your destination before heading out to your hotel or resort. Depending if you are on a package holiday or travelling independent. First independent travellers usually make their own way to their accommodation so you can relax and let the crowds go before you continue your journey.
Hack No:16 A (Independent Travellers)
These tips will depend on the layout of the airport but If you have booked a hire car call ahead and say you’ve been held up at the luggage belt. Most agencies only have a limited number of economy cars so all those people who rushed will be collecting theirs. When you arrive not only will the queue have died down but they will have run out of economy cars and will have to give you a free upgrade.
Hack No:16 B (Independent Travellers)
Airports are expensive but all airports have a cafe for staff which is a lot cheaper, also most airports have a police station where you’ll find a very cheap vending machine. Just ask any airport employee or holiday rep where the staff cafe is, most are accessible to everyone.
Hack No:16 C (Package Holiday)
Call the hotel ahead of time and ask them if they have a courtesy car to collect you from the airport. A large number of hotels will collect you from the airport at no charge. Sometimes they have an agreement with a taxi company to offer preferential rates.
Hack No:16 D (Package Holiday)
Prior to leaving home check how far your accommodation is from the airport and if it’s close by then get a taxi to the hotel. This ensures you beat the hoards of people on the transfer coach. You’ll then be checked in and by the pool before everyone else has even arrived.
Contact your accommodation ahead of time and pre-check into your room. This is a hidden secret as very few people know you can do this ahead of time. You can either email your passport to the hotel reception or drop it off when you arrive.
Hotels across the world have a check-in time of approx 15:00 hrs but did you know there are several ways to check in and get access to your room before this time. 1.) When booking email the hotel and make it a condition of you booking their hotel. Accommodation is extremely competitive and hoteliers will do whatever it takes to get your business. 2.) Contact the hotel ahead of time and inform them you need to check in early, some hotels charge a small fee but most don’t. 3.) To guarantee to check in on arrival book an extra day with the hotel and then email them to say roughly what time you will arrive and that you will require your room immediately.
As with check-in times, 99% of accommodation have check out times but depending on your flight time you can check out whenever it’s convenient for you. 1.) Email ahead of time and let the hotel know what time you’ll be checking out. 2.) Book an extra day, which means you leave before you are due to check out.
Always let everyone involved in your holiday know that it’s a celebration or special occasion, whether it is or not. There are free upgrades/meals available to be given out by hoteliers for these events. One hotel chain I worked with had a honeymoon package which was free to all honeymooners. It included free spa treatments, a la carte reservations, Wi-Fi in their rooms and a late check-out. They also have allocated 1 gift or free service for every booking, so if it’s your anniversary you get champagne and fruit in your room and an a la carte meal.
There are more easy travel hacks out there and if you have any tips for other travellers then drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll include them in my next travel hacking blog post. Enjoy your trip!