Going on holiday is exciting; you get to meet new people, discover new places and experience different cultures. With that in mind, we asked bloggers to share their top travel hacks which will help make your holiday go as smoothly as possible.
Before you go
Make copies of important documents
Our first travel hack is to take a couple of photocopies of your passport to pack in your hand luggage and in your suitcase.
It is worth taking one of the copies with you during outings to act as your ID while abroad and keep your actual passport locked away in the hotel safe along with other precious belongings.
As well as photocopies of your passport, it is also worth scanning other travel documents and emailing them to yourself as Sandy from Eating Covent Garden explains: “Scan travel insurance and holiday bookings then email them to yourself as this will make it easier to retrieve and replace them if they are lost or anything is stolen.”
Be organised and make a list of all the items you want to pack and be mindful of space and weight. Lola from Lolita Bonita suggests rolling your clothes to help keep everything neat and tidy as well as being a good space saving hack. She explained: “I always use the rolling technique; it has never let me down. Also invest in plastic-free toiletries, most of the time they come in solid form and last.”
Buy an anti-theft bag
No matter where you decide to spend your holiday, it is always important to keep your wits about you and stay safe. Kirsty from World for a Girl said she invested in a travel handbag several years ago and it is still going strong: “Worried about carrying around wads of cash in busy ports and cities? Don't wear a bum bag or flimsy handbag, they're too obvious for a pickpocket. Instead, invest in a good anti-theft travel bag. Look out for features like security clips and reinforced anti-slash fabric. If you're not into handbags, look out for travel belts, shawls and backpacks with hidden pockets. Whilst they are an investment, they last for years.”
This feature is important for backpacks because the bag is not in plain sight, it is behind you. Anti-theft bags are designed to take some of the stress away from keeping your belongings safe while travelling.
Freedom Travel Gear sells anti-theft bags in a variety of colours and extras which regular bags don’t have such as hidden zips and secret compartments. The bags are made from a strong, yet light-weight material which is slash-proof.
Learn the language
If you are heading off to a foreign country, spend some time learning some basic words and phrases. Brushing up on some keywords before travelling abroad will come in handy throughout your trip as Lola explained: “I have found that learning a little bit of lingo is great. You don't need to be able to roll into a full conversation about the country’s political state, but a hello, please, thank you and ‘can I have a beer’ will go a long way. Not only do I find it respectful, but it's a great way to meet people and make friends along the way.”
You can search for free translator websites such as Linguee, or buy a pocket translator book to keep on hand for when you are out and about on holiday.
During your holiday
Pack a small bottle of talcum powder in your beach bag
This may sound a little strange, but talcum powder can come in handy for those beach days as Jamie from Thrifty Mumma Thrifty Bubba explains: “This hack works wonders on sandy hands and feet. Simply sprinkle the talcum powder over any sandy areas and brush away, you will be amazed at how quickly the sand comes off.”
Take a spare plastic card with you
Keep an old points card or supermarket card in your wallet to put into the air conditioning slot in your hotel room is another useful hack to be aware of. Often you are given a plastic room key card which you put into a slot in the wall which powers the air conditioning.
Jamie told us: “Put a spare card into the air conditioning slot and leave it in the room while you are out. This means that you return to a sufficiently cool room and you won’t have to wait for the temperature to drop.”
If you are in south-east Asia Download the Grab app
If you decide to travel to towns and cities in south-east Asia think about downloading the Grab app.
The app allows holidaymakers to arrange transportation around the area quickly, easily and safely. It has grown in popularity since its introduction in 2012 and can be used in eight countries in the region. It is a similar concept to Uber where you key in your pick-up and drop off locations to get an estimated fare for your journey, Grab will find the nearest available driver before they are sent to collect you and take you to your destination.
To give travellers extra peace of mind, the app allows people to share their journey with loved ones to keep them up to date with their whereabouts.
Downloading Grab is something Kirsty suggests: “This ride-share app is easy to use, safe and eases communication. What's more, in most south-east Asian countries, including Malaysia and Thailand, you can pay with cash (in the local currency), not just debit and credit cards. This makes it really easy to set up and a great option for short-term tourists to get around cheaply and easily.”
Give your cabin some homely touches
If you are planning to go on a longer holiday, then consider giving your cabin some homely touches as recommended by Claire and Laura from Twins That Travel: “After a long day of exploring, sometimes all you want to do is get into bed and catch up on your favourite shows, maybe with some room service to really complete the experience. For the last few years, we have travelled with the Google Chrome Cast device. Compatible with nearly all televisions, you simply plug the Chrome Cast into the back of the TV and from there you can cast directly from your phone to the screen. There's nothing better than lying in a giant bed, watching Line of Duty on the television after a long day of travelling.”
Another way to make yourself feel more at home during your holiday is to try to properly unpack your suitcase, hang all your clothes up in the wardrobe and neatly arrange your toiletries in the bathroom. This simple holiday hack will help you feel organised and able to see all your belongings without rummaging through the suitcase.
Make use of Google maps offline mode
Google Maps offline mode lets you find your way around even when the internet is slow, mobile data is expensive, or if you can’t get online at all. You can save an area from Google Maps to your phone or tablet and use it when you are offline.
Charles told us this travel hack is something he uses frequently when abroad: “Everyone travels with a smartphone these days but most people don't bother getting an out of country data plan or pick up a local SIM card in the country they're travelling in. That puts them in the awkward situation of not always knowing where they are or where they're heading to. We always have an offline map of our hometown plus any major city or area we're travelling to. That way we're never forced to rely upon Wi-Fi or expensive cell data. Not only can Google Maps display all the roads and major landmarks but the offline map also contains the location of major attractions as well as restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals and police stations. We've used offline Google Maps everywhere from charting our meandering paths through Marrakech's souks and medina's to finding a vegetarian restaurant in the Galapagos Islands to planning our hike in Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas.”
Pack a sea day bag
Packing a sea day bag for those long stretches of cruising is another helpful hack to help make things easier.
A sea day bag will save you time and will help keep you organised during your time on deck. All inclusive cruises are packed with lots of exciting activities so a sea day bag will help keep you organised and save you from having to walk back to your cabin.
Some of the essentials include your cruise card which also acts as your ship ID, a reusable water bottle, a cover-up, sun cream, a change of clothes and sensible shoes.