Want to learn how to level up your travels?
With the ever-expanding internet comes more tools, more efficiency, and cheaper options. As a result, there is a whole new world out there to learn and navigate in order to get the best deals to save on energy better spent somewhere else, especially in the world of travel.
Travel has drastically changed in the last decade, and continues to do so. In order to put our money where it counts and not where it doesn’t, it’s essential we keep up with the times.
The following travel hacks will help you streamline your vacation and save you time, money, and overall energy and allow you to focus more on Piña Coladas and Vitamin D. Read on to find more ways to travel more for less.
1. Use packing cubes
These organizers will limit clutter and improve your packing experience so life stays tidy when you are required to dig around a luggage or backpack every single day.
2. Remember to pack an international adapter for international trips
But in case you forget, many standard USB ports are located on the back of TVs in hotels and hostels in many places around the world.
3. Use Google Maps or Maps.me offline
Using a smartphone when you’re in a city in which you won’t have or don’t want to use your mobile service, download the map for the area you’re in before you leave the WiFi zone. Open it up while offline to use like normal.
I’ve found Google Maps to be helpful but sometimes incorrect, so I’ve started using Maps.me in conjunction. The functionality of either will depend on your location.
4. Look into your credit card’s policy to see you can take advantage of included travel insurance
If you’re using a credit card to book your reservations (to accumulate miles), you may be able to avoid paying for a separate policy.
5. Get cash in your destination city rather than in the airport
This helps avoid the higher fees charged to clueless tourists. Some ATMs in your destination may be free of fees, so ask your hotel, hostel, or host for more information on the best place to withdraw cash. This allows for major savings on time, energy, and money, and is one of my favorite ways to travel more for less.
6. Sign up your kids for frequent flyer miles
Some travelers don’t realize your kids are just as eligible as you are! Some airlines require you sign them up online or by phone.
7. Use Hotels.com to book accommodation and collect free nights
For every 10th night booked with them, customers receive a free night.
8. Track your miles with awardwallet.com
Having so many airlines to choose from results in a lot of disorganization. If you don’t mind giving out a few passwords for your Frequent Flyer award programs, this tool can help you keep track of rewards programs more wisely. View your rewards all in one place and avoid losing out on expiring mile credits.
9. Combine your family’s frequent flyer miles
Many airlines, though not all, will allow you to combine accumulated miles of multiple people in your family. Some applicable airlines may include (but are not limited to) JetBlue, EGYPTAIR, and their partner airlines, as well.
10. Take good care of yourself while traveling
Keeping up with exercise, multivitamins, drinking plenty of water and eating lots of healthy food will go a long way to giving you the energy you need to do what matters most while traveling. You’ll feel good, which will consequently cause your holiday to be that much better.
There’s no shame in going out drinking for a night or two on the town. There’s also no shame in chugging a bottle of water or two when you get back to the hotel and spending the next day recovering.
11. Don’t drink the plane water
Studies have found the tap water on board to contain everything from salmonella to insect eggs. A better bet is bottled water or juice. Same with ice… better safe than sorry.
12. Check out secretflying.com
If you are flexible in booking dates and your destination location of choice. The website collects and displays prices that have been posted in error by airlines, which happens all the time. Keep checking back frequently as deals are snatched quick and rotated out for new ones every day.
13. Think twice about the vaccine that may be “strongly recommended” or even “mandated” in the country you are visiting.
Many vaccines may take care of an immediate problem but end up doing more long-term harm than good in our bodies. No doubt, there are some useful ones out there that have improved human health drastically. Even still, please do your research and trust yourself on what is best for your body. After all, you’re the one who knows your body best. And you’re the only one who is going to receive the effects of it, good or bad.
14. Fly into a hub airport and travel by land from there
Many times it is worthwhile to fly into a large airport where traveling around cities is easy, most affordable, and most efficient rather than spending a little . Examples of “hub” airports include Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Fort Lauderdale International Airport (Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA), Frankfurt Airport (Frankfurt, Germany), and Keflavik International Airport (Reykjavik, Iceland).
15. Think real well about that night of sleeping at the airport you think might save you some cash
I’ve made the mistake of spending a night in the Fort Lauderdale International Airport, thinking I was saving money, and instead spending as much on airport food and a good night’s sleep as I would have in buying a direct flight.
Airport food is super expensive, so chances are you could end up spending close to, or more than you wanted to save. Plus, you may discover after spending a night on thin-carpeted concrete, a simple bed and your creature comforts are worth a little extra energy.
16. Be aware of the possibilities (both bad AND good)
Okay, this one isn’t a hack, per say, but it is so worth saying. If you’re flying to an area that isn’t in the greatest shape economically, chances are you will want to keep your eyes a little wider than when in an area full of people with all they need to survive and thrive. While having fear while traveling is perfectly normal and even a little healthy, too much of it can do us more harm than good.
It’s good to remember that people who live with less than they feel comfortable with think less about the feelings of others and more about their own situations. As a result, we tend to see less compassion and more crime in the more impoverished areas.
For this reason—and unless you are willing to dance with the devil on this one—stick to calling taxis/Ubers/Lyfts/etc., limiting your time on the streets alone after sunset, and above all, trusting your gut feelings.
Check out these great ways to make a remote income while traveling.
17. Expand your accommodation options
The world is changing big time, and gone are the days where we are limited to hotels and motels. Especially thanks to the internet, travel is easier and cheaper than ever. Check out hostelworld.com, booking.com, and airbnb.com for accommodation, but also remember to check general search engines like Bing and Google for the best options for your area.
- You’ve probably noticed search engines will take out keywords you type in to come up with what they think as “better” results for you. Because of this, put quotation marks “ ” around keywords for the area you want to search so that the search engine takes the entire word or phrase and makes sure it’s in the results they provide.
- Using Google or Bing, type in “site:_____” and include the website(s) in which you want to search for accommodation, along with the area of your destination.
Example: type in the search bar in a popular search engine: “site: airbnb.com” “site: booking.com” panama City, panama, and it will come up with results containing those website keywords in Panama City, Panama.
- Use a dash mark to exclude certain words or phrases you want to make sure aren’t in the results.
Example: type in the search bar in a popular search engine: eco-hotel accommodation in venice, italy -“hostel”, and it will come up with results related to your keywords that DO NOT contain the word “hostel”
18. Think about renting an apartment, if you’re staying for more than a week or two
You can try for any of the previously mentioned accommodation search engines, or Google the area you’re in and include “rent” or “apartment” in your search.
Zumper.com (USA & Canada) and Facebook Marketplace are also good resources for apartment hunting. The online tools you can use are endless, but those will definitely get you started.
Short-term apartment rentals save on money in the long-term and lets you travel more like a local.
19. Check for free city tours in your area
Some hostels will offer free city walking tours, so be sure to check out their options.
Freecitytour.com is also a great resource for this. Also, try general search engines and Facebook groups for your area of interest.
20. Open a bank account that will reimburse you for international ATM charges and other foreign fees
Charles Schwab Bank is a great option for this. They have really great customer service and do all of the above, and more. The only drawback (or benefit, depending on your perspective) is it’s an online bank so you can’t pull cash out of it.
Other options include Revolut and N26. Just remember to do your research on banks or money services you want to use, as some are much worse than others and could really end up screwing you over when you need their service the most.
Always having a back-up account is a great way to avoid the issue of not having access to your money while traveling.
It’s important to use several of these services and compare them against each other in order to get the best price possible. For more tips to find cheap flights, check out this article here, where I’ve compiled 17 of my best tips to get the best price possible.
22. Use these great transportation tools
Car2Go.com: share a car with others to avoid car payments, maintenance and repair, gas, and insurance. Use a car for the day, an hour, or a week and park it anywhere. You don’t even have to fill the tank! This isn’t an affiliate link, I just think it’s a great idea for digital nomads and travelers alike.
Check out some of the prices (in US dollars) below for the Denver, Colorado area and look at the website to see if it’s already available in your area. Car2Go is in many major cities around the world and they accept International Driver’s Licenses.
I have never used this tool before but I only recently found it and will be using it on my next stay-cation. Let me know what you think!
Uber: Like a taxi service, but run by individuals employing themselves. Prices vary by area, weather, traffic, and times.
Lyft: Very similar to Uber, but the prices are arguably more competitive. Prices vary by area, weather, traffic, and times.
Rome2Rio.com: From their website: “Enter any address, landmark, or city as your destination and we will instantly display all your travel and booking options, along with information about accommodation and things to do, in one convenient spot.” This may not account for funky transportation alternatives like gondolas and cable cars, so be sure to do a little extra research on the area’s options if you feel like something different.
Keep an eye out for free or paid bike stations (or businesses) provided by the city or individual enterprises. In Medellín, Colombia, for example, bikes are provided FREE; there are stations all over the big city to leave the bikes on rotation for anyone to use. Just one of the many reasons to love Medellín . . .
People are traveling now more than they ever have before and technology must accommodate the demand. As a result, the ways of travel are changing fast, so it makes sense now more than ever to stay updated on the best ways to get the most for your time, money, and energy. These are some of my best tips to travel more for less; I hope you found what you’re looking for to have your best holiday yet. Happy travels!
Have a tip of your own? Comment on this article or message me using the contact form at the bottom of the page.
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