Travel Hacks: How to be Smart and Efficient

“If we were meant to stay in one place we’d have roots instead of feet”  Rachel Wolchin

 

In the past, I found myself basing café choices on establishments that were openly willing to share their wifi with me.  Do you know what it feels like to be smack dab in the middle of a foreign city with no clue how to proceed or communicate?  Well, gone are the days where I travel without access to unlimited free data, thanks to T-Mobile.  Phone calls are pretty reasonable as well.  However, there are undoubtedly times when wifi just works better.  A quick way to access wifi is to utilize the Foursquare app to find passwords for the places around you.  Handy for travel abroad, low mobile signal or when you just can’t foot the bill.

 

Bring a power strip so you can charge all of your devices at once.   (OK, and maybe his, too)

 

Bring your own thermos and tea bags.  As a daily tea drinker and enthusiast, I find the tea offered on airplanes to be unappealing.  I also prefer to indulge in a bit more than a tiny styrofoam cup’s worth at a time.  That being said, my Thermos has traveled the world with me for many years and I’ve never regretted it.  It adds a touch of home to foreign hotel rooms and it’s ability to keep the contents either cool or hot for about 8 hours, makes it great for life on the go.

 

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For those that travel for extended periods of time, you know that the hard plastic vitamin box either doesn’t last as many days as you need it to or is just an inconvenience to lug around.  I do, however use a vitamin box at home since I only need to refill it once a week.  Alternatively, it can be utilized to store smaller jewelry like earrings and delicate necklaces when traveling.  As far as my vitamins go, I store each daily dose in small jewelry sized resealable bags, or as some might know them by…dime bags.  You can find these at any craft or bead store.  Since I tend to dine out more frequently when traveling, its incredibly convenient to throw one in my day bag to take later on after I’ve eaten.   A little switcheroo that saves space and makes life a little easier.

 

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Try sites like AirBnB, VRBO or Homeaway for a more intimate, unique way of experiencing a city.  Renting an entire apartment can cost you just as much, if not less, than a hotel and I find that it’s so much more rewarding.  You can pretty much guarantee that the owners will be more than accommodating and happy to dish out some advice for the best local digs.  It can also save you money depending on your length of stay, not to mention the ability to shop at local markets and prepare meals or snacks in a home environment.  Now that has a good feeling to it.

 

Many of us run out to get manicures just before we jet set but as you know, they don’t usually last very long before chips occur.  I used to get acrylic nails many eons ago in order to keep my nails looking fresh throughout my travels but since I’m au naturel these days I’ve found two things that help me keep my nails in tip top shape.  First, ditch the square nail shape for a more rounded, almond shape.  This simple alteration in how I file my nails has improved overall sturdiness and they break or flake WAY less!  Secondly, try wearing a polish with glitter or sparkles.  There’s something about them that last longer.  I’m not saying you have to opt for anything crazy.  There are many beautiful, chic polishes out there that don’t scream Lisa Frank.  If you’re really not into it, just add a couple extra clear coats on top of your regular manicure for longer wear.

 

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Most tv’s have a USB port now,  just in case you forgot the wall plug.  Take that, MacGyver.

 

To save a map in the google maps app, type “ok maps” and it will save the shown area offline.  This has saved my butt on many occasions out of the country.

 

If traveling with a partner, reserve the window and aisle seat on a flight.  Most people won’t want to reserve a middle seat, leaving you with a whole row.  Now you just have to decide who gets to lay down first.  Might I recommend rock, paper, scissors?

 

If traveling to a tropical destination, or one where a pool may see its way into your future, having a sarong can come in handy.  I have a couple Sandcloud towels for that very reason.  Use it as a blanket or shawl on the plane, wear it as a sarong or use it as a cute towel for laying out.  There have been many occasions where my hotels didn’t offer towels for beach use or charged a fee, if so.  This takes care of that problem and doesn’t take up much space at all.

 

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Bring an empty water bottle with you in your carry on bag so you can fill up at a water fountain instead of buying one inside the terminal.  Unless you actually like paying $5 for it…

 

I haven’t tried this one yet but I’ve heard its quite a useful travel hack.  Use a binder clip to wrap and secure headphone wires so they remain untangled when not in use.  You can also use a binder clip to cover the head of your shaving razor to prevent accidental nicks.

 

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My sunglasses cases have lasted much longer than the actual glasses themselves over the years, leaving me with plenty of cases to use for things like: carrying international plug converters, jewelry, charging cables, feminine products, hair ties and bobby pins…you name it.

 

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Stuff your shoes with your socks/underwear to save additional space.

 

This is a MUST!  When searching for flights, tickets or any kind of booking online, ALWAYS enable your private browsing before you begin.  Bots track your searches and often times will raise the price to match sites you’ve already visited or will predict what you are capable of spending and adjust its price accordingly.

 

 

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Dryer sheets are great to throw in suitcases for a fresh scent and to keep clothes static free.  (I also heard a rumor that dryer sheets can help to repel bees, gnats and mosquitoes…)  Alternatively, you can throw a bar of hotel soap into your dirty clothes bag to keep the smell from penetrating your clean clothes.

 

Pick your seat with confidence using seatguru.com.  You’ll be able to view current seating charts for all flights, review baggage requirements, make reviews, find out which rows may not recline or if there are seats with extra leg room.

 

 

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Download your airline’s app.  They will provide you with information and updates regarding your flight and usually offer paperless tickets as well.  Saving time AND the environment!

 

Before you begin the packing process, go online and request free trial size samples from each of your favorite bath and beauty companies.  These are great for travel and don’t cost you a thing!

 

Some airlines offer free stopover’s in their hub cities.  My very first trip to Dubai came about in this way.  Emirates flies to 140 destinations around the globe via Dubai and encourages you to spend a few days exploring the city!  This link for Emirates will take you to the page with the offer.  I might also add that Emirates is my favorite airline to travel on thus far.  This being just one of the perks.

 

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A multitude of credit card companies offer benefits for those who travel.  The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card waives foreign transaction fees, doles out reward points for travel and restaurants and gifts you with a 40,000 point signup bonus upon registering.  There is an annual fee but it’s much less than American Express and can save you a significant amount of dough when you redeem your points.

 

To make fashion easy, pack clothes that fit in the same color schemes.  Neutrals and black are always a safe bet and are versatile for night and day.

 

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Ladies, how many times have you gotten out your makeup bag after a long flight, only to discover that your favorite pressed powder has been broken into a thousand pieces?  A quick trick to help prevent such things from happening is to stick a cotton ball inside the case prior to flying.  That way if anything gets dropped or knocked around, your makeup will still be intact.

 

Fun fact:  You are allowed to bring miniature bottles of alcohol on your flight.  I learned this a little late in the game but, better late than never!

 

And lastly, keep a copy of your passport and credit cards in your email.   Hopefully you’ll never have to thank me for this one.

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Related DeziStyle articles on travel:

Travel Hacks:  Beating Jetlag

Travel Tips:  How to Keep Your Immune System Happy & Healthy on the Road

8 Great Gift Ideas for Jet Setters

Travel Tips: 9 Ways to Make Life Easier

 

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