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10 of the Most Useful Travel Hacks
You can’t plan for everything.
I didn’t plan on being mauled by an escaped raccoon named Loco in the highland jungles of Guatemala. But after I was, I was glad to have packed some bandaids and was that I was insured!
years on the road, I’ve amassed quite the list of how to figure out what you need on a trip. These are my go-to tips for making the traveling life ever more graceful.
1. Use Binder Clips to Keep Cash and Cards in Your Pockets
You know that feeling on the edge of chaos where all your things are crammed in your pockets ? You want to stop and organize and get yourself together, but it seems there’s
never time to organize the compounding pandemonium that lives in your pockets!
Luckily, there’s binder clips.
I love them. I clip them onto my pockets to neatly contain my things. I know where my money, airline
tickets, and credit cards are and have the confidence that, even if I do a cartwheel, they won’t get lost.
Binder clips will also protect the heads of your razor. They can also keep that mess of electronic cords organized. Having
a few always comes in handy. Que Viva the binder clips!
2. Use Private Browsing When Searching for Cheap Flights and Set Your Flight Alert in Advance
Many online airline ticket sales sites use complicated algorithms that pinpoint your location to figure out the level of desire you have towards a
Airlines increase their price if they think you really need to be on a flight. Officially, this is called point of purchase sales. You don’t need to take it — just turn on private browsing when searching for airline tickets
and no one needs to know how much you absolutely have to be on that flight!
3. Use Airbnb Over Hotels
A few traveling friends and I were musing the other day. We were surprised that hotels were still in business. Considering that on Airbnb you can usually rent an entire apartment for the price of a universally bland
hotel room — hotels better be careful. People are getting better spaces and paying less on Airbnb.
4. Download the Map of Where You’ll be Offline from Wi-Fi
Without Google maps, I’m not even sure how people used to navigate . I’m surprised I ever made it home from my wanderings without Google Maps as an aid.
But all the help of Google maps can’t help you if you don’t have the internet in your country of destination. Before you go, download the maps of the areas you will be so they are available when you are offline.
5. Duct Tape, for All Your Travels
I can’t even begin to tell you all I want to say about duct tape. Should I tell you about how duct tape saved Christmas in Columbia? The time I made a suit out of it and went to prom? Maybe I should tell
you about the time that my broken bag was never going to get checked out of Kathmandu without duct saving the day?
With duct tape, you don’t even need a place to stay, you can build one! But please don’t take my kidding to mean
I’m not absolutely serious about this — duct tape will save your life in ways you could have never imagined. You don’t need to bring the biggest roll, a folded, compact roll is perfectly sufficient for most saving the day situations
(and can be used as a bookmark).
6. Pack a Dryer Sheet
When you open your bag, it’s either going to be a nice smell or a not so nice smell that greets you.
Few smells great us with as much sunshine as clothes coming out of the dryer. If you pack a few dryer
sheets with you, you can keep your bag and clothes smelling fresh even after you’ve worn them.
7. Use Google Translate to Cross Language Barriers
I’ve spent thousands of hours and years of my life learning foreign languages. I wish I had known that Google was going to make an app for that . . .
not nearly as rewarding as the real thing — the technology has grown pretty effective and can save you many misunderstandings.
8. Email Yourself a Copy of Your Passport and Other Important Documents
If you ever do lose these documents, you will have instant relief knowing photos of them have been safely stored in an email inbox that can be accessed anywhere.
9. Pack Your Shoes in a Hotel Shower Cap
If after reading tip number three you still ended up in a hotel, save the shower cap. It’s the best way to keep your dirty shoes from messing up an otherwise clean bag.
10. Print Photos of You Take of Locals and Give to Them
This is as much a heart-hack than a travel hack, and one I hope to spread to you. Often when I travel to a developing country and am going to be around for a little while, I find a photoshop
and then ask the locals I’ve been seeing if they’d like a picture of themselves. You can do it easily with an iPhone and most photoshops let you email them what you’d like to print.
People seem to get ecstatic
in their appreciation of this gesture. It’s a simple way to leave some kindness behind. That’s the sort of trace you’re allowed to leave!
About the Author
Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.Read more of Luke’s blogs
Visit Luke's website travelwritesing.com