10 Travel Hacks to Travel Smarter

We’ve all heard the advice to “work smarter, not harder,” but what about traveling smarter? We champion anyone who sets out to travel hard—cramming everything they want to do into as few days as possible, or using precious vacation time to go all-out on a mountain climbing expedition—but every traveler should know how to travel smart, too. Whether you’re traveling hard or taking it easy on your next trip, here are 10 hacks to save you time, money, and headaches.

1. Shop from the shadows. Enabling private browsing for any web-based travel shopping might prevent you from paying more based on your geotag or the fact that you’ve been to a particular travel site previously. While airlines deny that they hike up prices based on the fact you’ve been stalking that itinerary for weeks, some skeptics aren’t so sure.     

2. Find your way without WiFi. Did you know you can use Google Maps even when you’re offline by typing “Ok Maps” into the GM search bar? Well now you do.

Photo credit: Guilherme Stecanella

3. Be a WiFi password sleuth. Relying on hostels, cafes, and random local hotspots to connect to the internet can offer countless “character building” moments. Save yourself some stress by getting your Inspector Gadget on and checking FourSquare for WiFi passwords in your locale.

4. Give your liquids the Elsa treatment. Worried about getting your must-have liquids through security? Freeze your toiletries, supplement beverages, or other liquids to make them temporarily solid. Like your travel plan.

5. Make e-copies in case of e-mergency. Scan your passport, identification and itinerary and email them to

yourself. Every traveler’s worst nightmare is having their wallet go missing or get stolen, but savvy travelers are prepared to make alternate plans and have replacements sent by having all the necessary information saved electronically.

6. Make sure your money is good here. Cash can occasionally be advantageous over plastic, like when bartering with street vendors, paying for taxis, or shopping at remote mom and pop shops. Make sure you’ve got the right kind of cash by using ATMs to get local currency, then make it rain as you see fit.

7. Get to 100% with one cable. No need to purchase special adapters for every country you visit or pack a bunch of extra charging cables just in case. Nearly all TVs have USB outlets hidden in the back these days, so a simple USB cable should be sufficient to charge your devices from any television-equipped accommodations.

8. Stop folding, start rolling. Rolling your clothes can create more space in your suitcase than folding them, and more space in your suitcase means more room to bring home local souvenirs.

Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez

9. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Your travel sized toiletries, that is. Rather than travel with full-sized products or buy new minis for every trip, buy a set of reusable travel sized bottles and top them off before each trip.

10. Be a tough traveler with “fragile” luggage. If you’re checking a bag, marking your baggage as fragile will likely mean that the airline loads your bag on top of the pile, which means it will be unloaded first, which means you’ll be out of the airport and onto your adventure before anyone else.

Bonus: Use Skiplagged to fly cheaper and smarter. Skiplagged makes it easy for you to find the best rates on airfare by showing you flights the airlines don’t want you to see.

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