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35 Awesome Travel Hacks That Instantly Make Vacations Much Better

MonicaJanuary 28, 2022

Taking vacations in a new city or country can be stressful. There is always a plethora of new sights and sounds that can feel overwhelming, especially during the first few days. That’s why taking the time to plan things before you leave is nearly as important as the trip itself. Thankfully, there are many travel hacks available to make your vacations easier. Planning a trip effectively before you leave is the most proven way to relieve the stress and burden of travel.

Just like airplane tips to make you a better traveler, these travel hacks will make you a more efficient traveler. Everyone loves to travel when it’s seamless but since so much can go wrong when you travel, it’s always a good idea to be extra prepared. The less stressful your trip is, the more enjoyable it will be. Everyone wants a smooth journey, so dive into these travel hacks to give yourself the freedom of ease on your next trip.

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35. Carry Your Heaviest Things With You

On your way to the airport, you’ll feel a mix of excitement and apprehension. It could damper your trip if you arrive at the airport only to be told your bag is overweight. That usually means you’ll have to pay a large fee before flying. That’s why carrying the heaviest things with you on the plane could potentially save you a good amount of money. Books, your laptop, and camera are several items you’ll want to have with you on the plane. And this is not only to prevent an overweight bag but in the event your bag is lost or delayed. Carrying your heaviest items is one of the best travel hacks to make your vacation easier (via Travel and Leisure). 

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34. Marie Kondo Packing Method & Packing Cubes 

The way you pack your bag will make or break you on a vacation. If you throw all your clothes into your backpack, it’s going to take up tons of space. If you pack your items neatly, you’ll be surprised to learn just how much extra room you have in your bag. There are several ways you can pack your bag, including the well-known Japanese method called Marie Kondo, a method to fold your clothes for optimal space and minimal wrinkles. You can also choose to roll your clothes or use packing cubes, which help contain your clothes in compact space. Some packing cubes are better than others, so do your research before buying (via Travel and Leisure). 

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33. Pack A Head Torch

Bringing a head torch can be one of the best travel hacks to make your vacation easier. Whether you’re visiting Asia or Europe, it’s always a good idea to have a head torch in case there’s a power outage at night. It’s not always the best idea to rely on electronics like our phone for everything, which is why an extra light source always comes in handy when you least expect it. There are tons of different head torches you can choose from depending on what sort of trip you’re planning (via Independent.co.uk). 

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32. Reusable Water Bottle

Not only is a reusable water bottle good for the environment, but it saves you money in the long run. Without having to purchase water every time you want a drink, a reusable bottle will grant you the ability to fill your water at many different points on your journey. You can also purchase a UV light disinfection water bottle, which gives you the ability to drink any type of water around the world. The UV light disinfects the water. Whether you’re in Asia or Europe, you’re able to drink tap water, river water, or lake water. This is especially handy if your trip itinerary involves hiking or camping in the wilderness. Look into self-cleaning water bottles before you leave so you don’t have to think about keeping the bottle clean and sterile (via CNet). 

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31. Pack An Extra Memory Card

Running out of space on your camera’s memory card could potentially ruin your trip. You’d be left without the ability to document the trip. This also comes in handy in case you run out of photo space on your phone. It’s good to have a backup just in case and it’s also very easy to pack a memory card. Make sure you buy the best memory cards with maximum space so you don’t run into any issues with the memory card failing or not working with your electronics (via Business Insider). 

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30. Keep Small Jewelry In Pill Case

If you want to bring small jewelry with you on your vacation but are worried about losing it, worry no more. Packing your jewelry in a pill case is one of the best travel hacks to make your vacation much easier. By placing your jewelry in a pill case, you won’t have to worry as much about misplacing it. The pill case ensures it won’t fall out or get lost in the abyss of your clothes. You can even use the pill case to organize your jewelry according to which outfit you’re planning to wear that day (via Travel and Leisure). This will save time when you’re choosing your outfit, turning it into time you could spend exploring a new city. It’s killing two birds with one stone.

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29. Place Heaviest Items On Bottom 

If you place the heaviest items on the top of your bag, you risk damaging all the items underneath. Placing the heaviest items on the bottom of your bag will also ensure your bag is stable and isn’t going to topple over. It also prevents any items from getting damaged, especially if you have fragile items like electronics stored in your bag. Make sure the heaviest things are also near the wheels so they have that extra support at the bottom of your bag (via Love Exploring). At the end of the day, it’s better to leave your heaviest items at home, especially if it’s something you think you’ll only need only once or twice.

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28. Fold Clothes Inside Out

This seems counterintuitive, but it’s one of the best travel hacks to make your vacation easier. Think of folding your clothes inside out as risk insurance. If one of your shampoo bottles explodes or your makeup leaks, this prevents the exterior of your clothes from getting stained or potentially ruined. If something bad does happen, the inside of your clothes will only get damaged and are still wearable! This is also a tip you can use at home after doing your laundry (via Apartment Therapy). 

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27. Rehydration Tablets

This is one of the best tips to make your vacation easier, especially if you’re going to a tropical climate where you’ll be sweating a lot and losing a lot of electrolytes. Adding a rehydration tablet to your water will ensure you are replenishing any lost vitamins and minerals. This minimizes any possible visits to the doctor. Not all rehydration tablets are made equal, so make sure you’re purchasing the best rehydration tablets you can find (via Rolling Stone). 

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26. Skivvy Roll Method

This is a popular packing method used in the Marines. The Skivvy Roll method is a technique to skillfully roll your clothes to ensure maximum packing space in your suitcase. By nailing this technique, you may be able to bring twice as many clothing items if you used any other common packing method. This tip may make your vacation so much easier that it might change how you travel forever (via Today). 

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25. Small Combination Lock

Bringing a small combination lock is one of the most helpful travel hacks to make your vacation easier. This greatly prevents the possibility of theft during your trip. You can use the small combination lock for important items in your hotel room or your bag during your flight. Locking your bag will deter thieves from taking your most precious items, like your phone, wallet, or passport.  Some locks are better than others, so it’s important to purchase one that’s secure (via NBC). The harder it is to get into, the less likely a thief is going to mess with your items. Getting something stolen during a trip could potentially ruin it, especially if it’s an irreplaceable item, so pack a lock to help prevent it. 

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24. Probiotics

Getting an upset stomach while traveling is unfortunately more common than not, especially if you’re traveling to Asia. No matter how many times you wash your hands, there’s always the potential possibility to ingest bacteria another way and get sick. This can come from food that’s not cooked or handled properly or by simply touching something infested with bacteria that your body isn’t used to.  Packing probiotics will help replenish your gut bacteria and may even help prevent you from getting sick in the first place. While you can do this with kimchi or yogurt, it’s always a good idea to also have probiotics too. Not only that, but there are many benefits to probiotics aside from helping your upset stomach (via NY Times). 

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23. Luggage Cover 

Having a luggage cover for your bag helps prevent it from getting soaked in the pouring rain or snow. Having all of your items ruined by precipitation is a sure way to ruin any trip abroad. Luggage covers are small, compact, and  easy to carry. You’ll only need to touch it if you have to walk through rain or snow. Luckily there are many amazing ways to prevent your bag from getting wet while traveling and this is just one of them (via Trip Savvy). 

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22. Know Your Itinerary

Knowing your itinerary before you travel will not only save you time, but also money too. Knowing where you’re staying, how much a taxi costs, and the excursions you want to partake in while you’re traveling is a great way to make your vacation easier. With this knowledge, it’s much easier to travel and explore with ease. You can even download a variety of apps, like money converters, maps, and a translator to make your trip easier (via Travel and Leisure). 

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21. Bring Laundry Bags

Laundry bags will help prevent your dirty clothes from getting mixed in with your clean ones, especially if you’re unable to do your laundry every day. Keeping your items separate will not only keep your bag organized, but help you feel cleaner because you won’t rewear dirty clothes. There are even washable laundry bags you can purchase, which will give you the ability to keep everything clean and smelling fresh (via Travel and Leisure). 

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20. Bring Dryer Sheets

This is an awesome travel hack to make your vacation much easier. Dryer sheets are a great way to keep your bag clean. The smell from the sheets will leak onto your other clothes, which means they’ll always smell like they just came out of the dryer. They’re small and easy to pack. There are multiple ways you can use dryer sheets to make traveling that much easier (via Traveling Mom). 

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19. Wrap Scarf

A wrap scarf is one of the best items to make your vacation much easier. Wrap scarfs are versatile. You can use them at the beach, around your head to prevent sunburn, around your shoulders instead of a jacket, as a pillow, or even wrap them around your body. It’s definitely a travel hack that will come in handy at some point. There are some awesome travel scarves out there too, so pick a design that you love (via Travel and Leisure). 

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18. Buy Travel Insurance

This is one of the most important tips that can make your vacation easier. No one can predict accidents so it’s better to always be prepared in case something happens. Purchasing travel insurance before your trip will ensure that you’re covered should something happen. This is not only important, but it’s smart too. You wouldn’t want to be stranded in a foreign country with no way to pay a hospital bill. This is important whether you’re traveling on holiday or traveling during retirement (via CNBC). 

 

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17. Check Vaccines 

Some countries require a vaccine before entering and that’s especially true right now. Make sure you have all your vaccines sorted before you leave, including typhoid and tetanus shots. Some countries in Africa require proof of yellow vaccine, and some countries in Asia recommend the Japanese Encephalitis and rabies vaccine. You can chat with your local clinic before traveling to see what vaccines they recommend. Also, you should keep an eye on countries you can travel to without a vaccine since not every country is the same (via Independent.co.uk). 

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16. Visit the Doctor & Dentist Before Traveling

It’s always a good idea to get a health check before you travel anywhere. Visiting both your doctor and dentist ensures you won’t have any unknown health issues to worry about when you’re abroad. The last thing you want to deal with during your vacation is a health issue that could have been dealt with before you left for your trip. Your doctor might also be able to recommend certain vaccines before traveling abroad. Worst case scenario, there are ways to find a doctor anywhere in the world, with the right research (via Travel and Leisure). 

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15. Straws for Jewelry

One of the best travel hacks to make your vacation much easier is to use straws for jewelry. This will prevent necklaces, bracelets, and anklets from getting tangled and knotted up while they’re in your bag. One of the worst things is picking up your favorite necklace out of your bag only to find that it’s tangled into a knot that’s nearly impossible to untangle (via Mirror.co.uk). To prevent any theft, make sure you leave your most prized jewelry at home. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing it or having it stolen while you’re traveling. 

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14. Open A Bank Account That Waves International Fees

One of the most annoying parts about traveling abroad are the ATM fees. Some banks charge up to $10 USD to withdraw cash plus international fees. If you do that multiple times during your trip, that can add up to a lot of wasted fees. Consider opening a bank account that waves these international fees before you leave. That way you’re cutting significant costs that can add up quickly (via CNBC). Think about it as extra money saved for excursions, food, and hotels. Everyone loves having a little bit of extra cash with them on vacation. 

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13. Bag Within A Bag

One of the most tactful travel hacks to make your vacation much easier is to stuff bags within a bag. At first this might seem a bit strange, but it’s definitely one of the best ways to save space. You’re optimizing all the empty space when you stuff bags within a bag. You can also stuff items like scarves and underwear inside hats to save space and pack extra items inside shoes (via travel.usnews). 

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12. Luggage Scale

You can also make sure you weigh your bag before you get on the airplane. Purchasing a luggage scale before you leave is a worthwhile investment. You wouldn’t want to show up to the airport and have to pay a huge fee just to get your bag on the plane. If you realize your bag is overweight, it’s better to figure this out before your flight, not when you’re at the airport. If your bag is overweight because you’re bringing necessary items, then it may be a good idea to pay the overweight fee before you arrive at the airport (via SkyScanner). 

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11. Pack Lightly 

This is one of the most obvious, but still one of the most helpful travel hacks to make your vacation easier. It seems simple, but it’s incredibly easy to overpack. By packing only the essential items and things you know you’re going to need, you’re lessening the chances of overpacking. This is also one of the best ways to minimize anything getting lost or stolen. If you don’t have much with you to begin with, then there’s less of a chance that you’ll end up losing anything. There are also so many different ways to pack lightly (via CNTraveler). 

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10. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is definitely an essential item when traveling. If you get a cut or scratch, you’ll have the supplies to clean your wound and keep it covered to prevent infection. Items in a first aid kit include band aids, ointment, antibacterial cream, and painkillers. You can easily find small travel first aid kits at your local pharmacy. Nowadays, it’s also a good idea to pack hand sanitizer, face masks, and disinfectant wipes when you travel (via Forbes). 

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9. Plug-In Adaptors

Purchasing a universal plug adaptor before you leave for your trip will help prevent any stress once you arrive at your destination. A universal plug adaptor ensures your plugs will work anywhere in the world. They’re small and easy to throw into your carry-on bag on the airplane. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination only to realize you can’t charge any of your electronics and have to purchase a new adaptor. There are different kinds of plug adaptors you can purchase, so choose one that best suits your needs (via NYMag). 

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8. Keep Your Valuables Locked Or With You

It goes without saying that you must keep all of your valuables with you on the airplane. That way you don’t have to worry about your valuables while you’re flying. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in case your checked bag gets lost or stolen. There’ve been reports in the past of bag handlers going through traveler’s bags and stealing important and valuable items (via CNTraveler). When you leave your hotel room, always make sure you keep your valuables locked inside the hotel safe as an added measure of safety. 

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7. Quick Dry Towels

One of the best travel tips to make your vacation much easier is to purchase a quick dry towel. These towels dry incredibly fast and are great to bring to the beach or use after the shower. For example, if you use it at the beach during the day and have to catch a flight at night, your towel will be dry within an hour after use so you won’t have to worry about packing a damp towel. There are few things worse than your bag smelling like wet clothes when you arrive home. There are quick dry towels out there that are sand-free too (via Travel and Leisure). 

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6. Portable Charger

Imagine going on a trip only to realize your camera or phone is dead. With a portable charger, you won’t have to worry as much about the battery life of your electronics. Portable chargers are small, easy to carry around, and ensure that your electronics are always charged no matter what. They are especially helpful in cold climates when the battery life of your phone doesn’t last as long because of the cold temperatures. There are quite a few different types of portable chargers with different sizes out there, so it’s important to do some research before choosing the best one (via Travel and Leisure). 

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5. Put Fragile Tag On Your Bag

One more travel hack to help your trip is to put a fragile tag on your checked bag. Even though it’s not guaranteed that airport staff will handle your bag with care, it at least gives you peace of mind. If you have fragile items in your bag – or even if you don’t – it’s always a good idea to mark it as fragile just so your bag isn’t tossed around or damaged. This is a great tip to make your trip easier. Just make sure to get rid of any old fragile tags or stickers and replace it with a new one for each flight (via CNTraveler). 

4. Keep Copies Of Passport & Credit Cards

Having a copy of your passport and credit cards is not only a good idea but is also extremely helpful should you lose either. If you need a visa to travel to a certain country, having a photocopy of the visa is also a good idea in case you lose your passport. It’s better to have more copies of documents than not enough. If you need to go to the embassy or call your bank, you will know you have photos of your important documents and their ID numbers. This would be  worst-case scenario but nonetheless it’s always a good idea to have some sort of backup. Try to keep at least two printed copies of each (via CoverTrip). 

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3. Bring Your Kindle

Carrying books around with you while traveling seems counterintuitive. That’s why having a Kindle is one of the best alternatives. Not only is it lighter and smaller, but you have millions of books ready with the click of a button. Kindles are great on planes, trains, buses, and the beach. Reading on a Kindle is a great way to spend downtime in between adventures while you’re traveling. Research different Kindles before you purchase one so you know what sort of perks it has. There are ones out there that are better for travelers than others (via Travel and Leisure). 

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2. Purchase an International SIM Card

Using your phone abroad can incur hefty fees. You can either choose to buy a local SIM card or easily ask your phone carrier for an international plan while abroad. That way you can use your phone wherever you are and don’t only need to rely on WiFi. This is incredibly important to have if you’re planning on using your phone for maps and to get around. It’s also helpful in case you get lost. Luckily, purchasing an international SIM card isn’t the only way to use your phone abroad and there are many other tips that work (via JayRide). 

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1. Pack A Universal Power Strip

A universal power strip will make it incredibly easy to charge multiple electronics anywhere you go. This is especially handy if you’re someone who travels with multiple electronics and find yourself needing to charge your phone, laptop, kindle, iPad, and camera all at the same time. Now you won’t have to worry about fighting about the outlet, especially if you’re trying to charge your electronics in a cafe or hotel room with only one outlet. This is one of the best travel hacks to make your vacation easier. Purchasing one with a surge protector is also a good idea to prevent any potential damage to your devices (via NYTimes).

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