If you do something often enough, you soon pick up a few tricks of the trade to make things quicker, easier and cheaper for yourself. It’s exactly the same with travel. The more you do it, the more you find ways to get the best out of the system.
I haven’t travelled as much this year but I’ve still taken my share of planes, trains and automobiles over the years and I’ve learnt a thing or two which I want to share. What’s the point in knowing the best travel hacks if you can’t share the love a little, hey?
We know how annoying ads on the internet are, right? I mean you take one look at that gorgeous pair of shoes, or that dreamy vacation accommodation and then BOOM. You’re hit with ads stalking you around the web for the next few weeks. However, there are times when this can work in your favour.
I often compare my flights through Skyscanner and then book direct through the airline to be in their good books – hello free upgrade! I did this once when booking my flight to Nepal. I found the best tickets with Etihad through Skyscanner, went to the Etihad website and found the same flight on there. I was about to book and then got distracted by food or something so I went back to book it an hour later but got distracted – getting distracted is a constant theme in my life – by Facebook. Thank goodness I did though because right there was an ad. An ad offering me 10% off my flight from Manchester to Kathmandu. Hello £50 saving! Just goes to show you that ads can sometimes be a blessing and not a curse…
I’m a pretty huge fan of booking direct. Yeah, I’ll use comparison sites to plan my trip and arrange my trip and find the cheapest fare but there are perks when it comes to booking direct. There are no booking fees with Northern Rail for example and I know booking fees are usually a small amount but hey, I would much rather spend that money on a chocolate bar than a stupid fee.
One time, when I went to America, my friends and I were planning on driving from Norfolk, Virginia to Salvo in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. A 2.5 hour drive that we did not have a car for. But luckily for us, there were a ton of car hire companies in Norfolk Airport that we could choose from. So, we went to the first stand, got a price. Went to the second, third and fourth stand and got a price, went back to the first and second stand to see if they could do better than the third or fourth…
We eventually bargained our way to a cheap and good deal for a seven-seater car for 1 week. It might not have been the most ethical way to do things but can you blame 5 friends needing to road trip on the cheap for trying to find the best price. We could’ve probably booked it online but where’s the fun in that?
Another free WiFi hack here that I bet a lot of you know about already, especially if you’ve been travelling around Australia. Don’t pay the crazy prices the hostel charges, unless you want to sit somewhere a bit more comfortable to skype back home. Head to the nearest Maccy D’s, grab a coffee, a portion of fries or a Big Mac Meal and take advantage of the free WiFi they offer. It’s cheap and you can get food while surfing the web. Sweet!
Okay not really a travel hack as such but if you’re short on time or just want to get your bearings around a city as soon as possible, go on a free walking tour or on a bus tour. Both will give you invaluable information about your new location and you might find some hidden spots you want to go back and explore later on your trip.
If you’re like me and take hand luggage wherever possible then you know the struggle of getting all your liquids into one bag. Even lip-balms and stick deodorants count as liquids now so you really have to be on you’re A-Game when packing your liquids. It’s super convenient being all prepared with 100ml size shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles all ready to go but if it means not being able to pack your fave perfume or that lippy that will make your evening outfit, why not buy the shampoo etc after security? There’s usually a Boots around the terminal before you board your plane and I know, it’s not that cost efficient, but it’s a great tip if you’re short on space for your liquids.
Do you have any tips you need to share? I’m sure there are many more travel hacks I haven’t discovered yet and I’d love to know about them!
This post is in collaboration with Northern Rail but as always, all opinions and travel hacks are my own!