When you’re traveling, there are countless elements you can’t control. If your flight is delayed, there’s not much you can do about it. You can’t control the weather. Heck, you can’t even stop the person in front of you from reclining into your lap.
That’s why it can feel so empowering to take charge of your journey wherever you can. Sometimes, there are small changes you can make that multiply your enjoyment—and that’s where we can help. Today, we’re sharing our staff’s tried-and-tested travel hacks, which are bound to make your next trip comfier, cozier, and less wasteful.
A great trip begins with a smart pack-job. We recommend sticking to a carry-on bag whenever possible since it will save you time and money (in the form of checked baggage fees) at the airport.
Tip 1: Pack Items of Clothing that You'll Wear at Least Three Times
Think of your travel clothes as a capsule wardrobe. Everything you pack should be mix-and-matchable, allowing you to create different outfits with the same ingredients. Be sure to pack wrinkle- and stain-free items, and you won't have to worry about strange pleats and spills.
Tip 2: Pack Socks and Underwear in Your Shoes
Fill every space in your suitcase, including empty water bottles and the inside of your shoes. We swear by packing cubes, but minimizing unused space doesn't have to involve spending money.
Sometimes, it's just about finding the unused nooks and crannies and filling them with small items. You can fit one pair of Allies and two pairs of Companions in a medium-sized woman's shoe. That takes care of your sock needs for up to 15 days, and you'll still have another shoe left over for extra storage.
Tip 3: Roll Clothes Instead of Folding Them
This advice is so simple, but it's still one of our all-time best travel tips. Rolling clothes enables you to see everything at a glance and save space. Plus, you won't have to rummage through your luggage to find what you need. For some reason, when things get jostled around in transit or repacked at a security check, rolled clothes tend to stay neat.
Tip 4: Bring Dryer Sheets and a Separate bag for Dirty Laundry
Most people don't want to do laundry on vacation. As an alternative, we recommend bringing a bag for storing your dirty laundry. Pop something in the bag to keep it smelling fresh, and you're good to go. You can use a dryer sheet or a satchel of charcoal—anything that works to neutralize harsh odors.
Small extra fees may not seem like a big deal when you're in the vacation mindset. But paying for WiFi, parking, and other extras can add up fast. That's why some of our favorite travel hacks have to do with spending smarter.
Tip 5: Sign Up for a Travel Credit Card to get Free Miles and Lounge Passes
Airline lounges give you access to free food, drinks, internet access, newspapers, magazines, and showers.
Depending on how much you usually spend during a layover, you can score major savings by using them. You get free access to lounges with certain travel credit cards, or you may be able to buy one-time access. With credit cards, you may also get other rewards, such as early boarding and free miles.
Tip 6: Set Up Price Alerts for the Cheapest Flights
Most travel sites allow you to set up alerts for certain routes. Let's say you want to travel from New York City to Beijing. You can request to be notified when that route drops below a certain price.
Tip 7: Don’t Exchange Currency at the Airport
You may think that things are cheaper at the airport—that's why people load up at the duty-free shop, right?
Unfortunately, the currency exchange booths at international airports charge you more than a regular ATM. They sometimes take commissions and foreign transaction fees. Whether you use ATMs, banks, or currency exchanges, pay attention to the exchange rates and fees so you know exactly how much you're paying for that local currency.
Tip 8: Get a Free Shuttle to Your Hotel
Many hostels and hotels have free airport shuttles. In many cases, the shuttles can get you to the hotel faster than a private car service would. Only pay for a taxi if there's no public transport available, or if the transportation seems too tricky to navigate with jetlag. Often, making a few calls before your trip will give you enough information to hop on a free ride without any extra stress.
Travel Day Hacks
Travel days can be hectic. Between the security checks and the time changes, it's normal to feel disoriented by the time you hit baggage claim. We've got a few sneaky power moves that keep us feeling energized, even after a few too many layovers.
Tip 9: Wear Compression Socks on the Plane
You can also count on compression therapy to improve your blood circulation and prevent your legs from swelling. At the end of the day, our knee-high Companions will leave you feeling light on your feet even after a long flight.
Tip 10: Switch to Your Destination Time Zone as Soon as You Hit the Airport
When you travel to different countries, try to adjust to each new time zone before you touch down. Changing your mindset at the airport can be the best way to avoid jet lag. It can be tempting to sleep through a long flight, but that's not always advisable. If it's daytime where you're headed, download some Netflix episodes or pick out a good book to pass the time.
Tip 11: Wear a Big Scarf that Can Double as a Blanket
In some cases, it makes sense to sleep on the plane. Bring earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones and the sounds of the toddler sitting next to you will fade to a distant murmur. Grab your scarf and snuggle up. The accessory can transform into a blanket or a pillow.
Tip 12: Carry Important Documents and Medicine on Your Person
Suddenly, you're left digging through cables and toiletries in the middle of the aisle. We recommend carrying your essential items in a separate bag or pouch, so you can easily access them. That way, you'll have the medication and paperwork you need, no matter what happens to the rest of your luggage.
Clarke MJ, et al. "Compression stockings for preventing deep vein thrombosis in airline passengers." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Iss. 9, 2016, pp. 1-40, John Wiley & Sons,Ltd., https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004002.pub3/abstract