Simple travel hacks can transform average travelers to wanderlust whiz-kids. For harried parents looking for a little rest and relaxation, preparing for a trip with these helpful tricks can make all the difference.
When vacation time hits, be ready with insider tips to stay organized, save time traveling, and maybe even snag a few perks.
Before You Go
“Travelers are always more comfortable and have a better overall experience when they prepare and plan for their travel,” says James Zambon, a private pilot who covers up to 500 thousand miles a year. Take this advice to heart, and follow these four tips:
1. Find Affordable Ticket Prices. Clear your Internet cookies regularly, so travel sites don’t know just how badly you want those tickets. Many websites raise prices when they notice a user keeps looking at a particular trip (especially if you’re addicted to the refresh button).
2. Stock Up on Duct Tape. Slap a swatch of decorative tape, like this adorably patterned variety from Duck Tape, on your luggage to spot it quickly and prevent theft at the carousel. This can help save time traveling since you’ll easily be able to keep track of everything—even young kids and all their bags. Plus, duct tape is a known survival favorite in case something needs repair. Keep it on hand.
3. Make a Cord Kit. Skip having to unplug and bundle up all of the cords for your electronics, hoping to remember them all, and praying your phone doesn’t die in the night (since your charger is packed). Buy extras and make them your travel cords. Find ones that work across numerous models, like the Lightening USB Data Charging Cables, so obsoletism doesn’t wreck your trip.
4. Copy Your Docs. Make copies of your state ID, passport, and insurance card—especially if you’re planning to really let loose, which might lead to losing things. The Lion Weatherproof Poly Envelope is a safe storage bet. Leave the envelope at your hotel.
Along the Way
The proper preparation can help travel plans go smoothly, but there are also considerations that you’ll need to take into account during the trip. Here are six tips to keep in mind while traveling:
1. Ask for More. There are a few creative ways to get more for your money. “Gate agents have all sorts of autonomy,” shares Zambon. “Try to know the answer to your question. For example, check online to see if there are exit row seats. They need people in the exit seats.” For taking on the extra responsibility, you can be rewarded with more legroom. Additionally, some credit cards offer promos for show tickets through Broadway.com or other outlets. Car companies, hotels, or airlines may cross-promo points or miles with partners, too. Just ask.
2. Color Coordinate. Try a little clothes-coordination with your partner. Same-style hats or light jackets in spring tones are simple travel hacks to make sure nobody gets lost in a crowd—without getting too matchy-matchy. Stay fashionable in almost-but-not-quite his and hers Water-Repellant Stand-Collar Jackets from Brooks Brothers.
3. Handle Your Bag. Sleek, stylish, lightweight, organized, and gets through security . . . The perfect travel bag can be a tall order, but it’s so worth the investment. In addition to all that criteria, The Cycle 3Way Shoulder Bag by Head Porter is water-resistant, has easy pockets, and converts from messenger to backpack. “Backpacks are a hidden gem for travel,” reveals Zambon. “Airlines almost never weigh them.”
4. Sunshine Time. You’re often outside more than you realize when traveling. Splurge on high-quality sunscreen, so you’ll put it on frequently. Kate Somerville’s Daily Deflector Waterlight Sunscreen plays nice with cosmetics and other formulas. Plus, it easily totes around in your pocket. Don’t ruin your trip—or your skin—with a sunburn.
5. Take Your Vitamins. Rather than lose a day to jet lag or migraines, take two Ibuprofen Tablets an hour before you really wake up. Your body will process it while you sleep, so that when you do get up, last night’s margaritas or your hyper-excited kids are all but forgotten.
6. Prepare for Landing. Spring for Internet on your return flight and order healthy, easy food (to be delivered to your home as you are arriving) through a local grocery service like FreshDirect. Of all the simple travel hacks, this might be the most underrated. There’s no place like home, but there’s no shame in letting yourself hang onto that vacation vibe as long as you can.