Traveling whether it’s on a three-month backpacking excursion or a weeklong holiday can be incredible, but time-consuming and stressful to get right. When you are investing a lot of time and money into planning the perfect trip, you want to take advantage of anything that will make the experience easier and cheaper. Travel hacks have emerged through the internet and travel blogs to make this process easier. Many seasoned travellers have experience in this area and have begun to share their knowledge with the world. They are able to offer “travel hacks” to simplify the logistics, planning, packing, and travel. When the “hack” is good, it can enhance your experience and ensure that you have a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
However, not all of these tips and tricks are tried and true. Many of these “travel hacks” aren’t helpful and might only exacerbate the problem. Navigating this sea of information can be daunting, so here are 25 Incredibly Useless Travel Hacks That Women Still Listen To (so that way you won’t make the same mistakes)!
25 "Treat Yourself, You're On Holiday" - Hemorrhage All Of Your Savings In One Trip
Let’s be frank, a holiday is already a treat. Eventually, those things add up, and a reasonable vacation becomes something you have to pay off over a couple months. There is no problem with treating yourself to an ice cream or doing that once in a lifetime snorkeling tour… but eating out at five-star restaurants every night or upgrading yourself to a five-star resort hotel is maybe unreasonable. Spending a ton of money on one experience prevents you from taking future trips, or it puts you further into debt.
24 "Try And See As Much As Possible" - Exhaust Yourself And Ruin Your Experience
Trying to see as much as possible is ultimately unachievable. According to the website ‘News’, places such as Europe can cause this type of mindset because of the close proximity of everything. Trying to fit everything under one itinerary can be stressful and you won’t thank yourself for it. You will spend more time in transit between destinations rather than exploring the place that you travelled to. Instead, make a plan that is realistic and achievable and budget time in your schedule for incidentals or new spontaneous opportunities.
23 "Plan Out Every Second" - Don't Allow Yourself To Be Spontaneous
Upon arrival at your destination, you might be taken aback with everything you want to see and do. You might end up scheduling every second of your day with sights, tours and experiences. All of that can be fun and exciting, but it can be very exhausting and can prevent you from appreciating where you are. Have a plan for what you want to do but allow for downtime and time for new discoveries.
If you stroll past a small art gallery that sparks your interest, you’ll be able to step inside and appreciate it, rather than rushing to the next location.
22 "Stay Away From Strangers" - Don't Use The Opportunity To Learn From Locals
This one obviously requires sound judgement, if someone seems sketchy, you should of course stay away. However, if you meet people while traveling then don’t hold yourself back. People always have something to share or offer. Use the opportunity to speak to locals, listen to their experiences and insight that they have on their area. You might get the best travel advice or learn something new.
Don’t shy away from sparking a conversation, you never know where or what it might lead to! After all, what is the point of going to Peru and not speaking to any Peruvians?
21 "Never Travel Alone" - Hold Yourself Back Forever
If you wait for the right moment to travel it might never come. It can be scary venturing off on your own, but there won’t always be someone who can or wants to join you. Why should you hold yourself back waiting for a travel partner though?
So many women now are traveling solo and loving every second of it. You’ll meet people along the way, but you will still be in charge of your trip. You’ll have the freedom to decide exactly what you want to do and what you want to see.
20 "Don't Eat Local Foods" - Miss Out On New Cultural Experiences
Obviously don’t drink the tap water if the locals don’t, however, you should put yourself out there and try new cuisines (even if you aren’t sure about it). If something doesn’t look appetizing, you don’t need to eat it. You can still use your own judgement. But what is the point of traveling to Indonesia if you are going to just eat a hamburger.
Trying the local foods provides the cultural experience to your trip. You might like it, you might hate it, but at least now you can say you tried it.
19 "Buy Guide Books!" - A Heavy Waste Of Paper
Travel guides can really spark your interest and can be a great tool in planning out your trip, but leave them at home on your bookshelf. Skim through before you leave, make notes and make your plans. You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy book through Paris.
Many companies have begun to publish ebooks for purchase so if you feel like you really need a destination specific travel guide, download the guide onto your phone and save yourself the space! It becomes much easier to transport and you can still access the information when you need it.
18 "Buy Language Books!" - There Is An App For That
Technology has completely revolutionized the way that we travel now. Language guides might have been great in the past for translating key phrases, however, there are now apps like Google Translate that can do that for you. Just download the language of your destination on your phone and you can use it at any time.
Their technology allows you to translate images as well as phrases, to make sure that you can understand the language anywhere you go. The app will save you space in your bag and make it much quicker translating things when you are in a bind.
17 "Book Everything Months In Advance" - Spend More Money Than You Need To For The Same Trip
Booking a trip months in advance doesn’t actually save you very much money and you don’t need a long planning period before taking a trip. If you wanted to go on a trip in two days from now, you could still plan that and not be charged high prices and fees. In fact, companies often drop the prices and deals at the last minute if no one has filled the spot to entice last-minute buyers.
Sometimes, waiting until days before can save you money and allows you to be spontaneous.
16 "Book Vacation Packages" - You Are Paying For The Convenience
It is so great having everything taken care of, and not needing to do any work by purchasing a vacation package. However, you can easily save thousands by booking each aspect of your trip yourself. If you book your flights, hotel and activities yourself, you will save a lot of money.
Vacation packages charge much higher fees and you might end up paying for things you don’t want or you will need to follow their schedules. Booking things yourself lets you make the decisions and you can capitalize on deals or interesting opportunities.
15 "Pay For International Roaming Fees" - Not Worth The Expense
Most phone plans don’t accommodate for international roaming and will charge you extreme prices if you use your phone abroad. Investigate your options before paying those fees. Oftentimes it can be much cheaper to buy a local prepaid SIM in your country upon arrival.
Then you will be assured that it is functioning and you have a set amount that you will pay. You can save yourself a lot of time and stress, and you will be able to use your phone on those excursions!
14 "Bring Travelers Cheques" - Outdated And Not Accepted By All Businesses Anymore
Travellers cheques were a long-standing trustworthy method of payment for vacationers when organizing their travel money. However, with the growth of popularity of debit cards, credit cards and prepaid cards, travellers’ cheques have become outdated and not useful. Many local businesses such as cafes and restaurants no longer accept travellers cheques, and cheaper options have become available.
Consider looking into credit cards specifically designed for use abroad, which limit additional chargers, or look into prepaid cards which are a more modern version of a travellers’ cheque.
13 "Buy Foreign Currency Before Arriving" - ATMs Are Universal
Exchanging and purchasing foreign currency before departing on your trip has become an outdated practice. Although it is reassuring to have a small amount of currency prepared for your arrival, almost all airports, train stations or bus stations have access to an ATM. If you are able to use a credit or ATM card that charges little to no transaction fees, capitalize on the ATMs at your destination. Exchanging money before departure or in the airport is often an unnecessary expense.
Take out just enough to be used in emergencies and consider dropping your spare change at the end of your trip to a homeless person or donation bucket.
12 "Print Out Documents, Maps and Directions" - Just Cutting Down Trees Unnecessarily
Technology has eliminated the need for printing out every travel plan and document. Although it is good to have physical copies of things such as your passport in case of incidentals, you do not need to print off maps, directions and confirmations.
To save on paper, you can download apps such as Google Trips which compiles your confirmation details into one application and helps you plan out the perfect itinerary. The best part is that it connects with Google Maps so that you can mark down important locations such as your hotel, museums, galleries and delicious food options. You can save these details to be accessed offline, making the need for paper obsolete.
11 "Bring Your Passport Everywhere" - Risky Business
Your passport is your most important piece of identification that you carry when travelling. For many activities or places, you will be required to show your passport for entry, but if you are just walking down the road to have lunch consider leaving the passport in a secure place at your accommodations.
If you happen to lose your passport, it is a stressful, costly experience which you want to avoid at all costs. Do research in advance to find out if you need your passport with you and leave it at the hotel when you don’t. Carry a photocopy of your passport in your wallet to be used in case of incidentals.
10 "Just Use Your iPhone To Take Photos" - This Is Exactly What Your Expensive Camera Was Made For, Use It
Phone camera technology has grown over the years and now many phones can take photos that surpass the quality of some cameras. However, if you have invested in an expensive camera then use it. This is exactly the opportunity that it was made for. Ensure that you have a neck or wrist strap to prevent you from dropping or damaging the camera in transit and consider the best moments to use it.
If the area doesn’t feel secure, keep it in your bag. However, if you are picnicking in front of the Eiffel Tower, surrounded by tourists, bring it out. You’ll find that your camera offers many settings your phone doesn’t to capture those incredible moments.
9 "Buy Travel Fanny Packs" - Unnecessary, End Of Story (Backpacks And Purses Are Just As Functional)
Be aware of your surroundings. Although fanny packs are now a style trend, don’t believe that you need to purchase one to secure your valuables while travelling. It’s good practice to keep your valuables closest to your body but don’t feel that you have to keep everything in hidden pockets. You can use a purse and a day pack, just be conscious of your surroundings and be aware of areas heavily pick-pocketed.
Keep your credit cards and cash in front pockets or interior pockets of your jacket and you’ll be okay. However, you can use a bag to carry your water bottle, sunglasses and lipgloss.
8 "Buy Travel Sized Toiletries" - Not Worth The Expense
Buying travel sized toiletries can be bad for the environment and the products can easily spill in your bag. If you’ve purchased them in the past, consider just refilling the bottles you already own. If you don’t have any and don’t want to bring your regular products consider buying shampoo and conditioner bars. Companies such as Lush have developed products in bar form that don’t use plastic and can be easily used while travelling.
There is no risk of product spilling in your bag, they can be easily thrown in your carry-on and they aren’t a liquid, so you don’t need to worry about them at security!
7 "Use Straws To Carry Powders or Liquids" - Bigger Risk Of Products Spilling In Your Bag, Just Keep Them In Your Drinks
Although this became a viral travel hack on the internet, it is useless and bad for the sea turtles. Using straws to carry liquids such as shampoo or sunscreen or powders such as dry shampoo is a disaster waiting to happen. It's very easy for straws to get bent and broken.
Unless you want product all over your brand-new bathing suit, you might want to invest in a different option. If you need something to put product in, consider using other things laying around at home such as a jar or a pill container.
6 "Eat Out For Every Meal, You're On Vacation" - Check Out The Local Markets To Save A Little Cash
When you are at home you don’t eat out for every meal so why would you on vacation? This practice can be extremely expensive and can make you feel bloated and gross. Switch it up occasional by going to the grocery store or local food market.
Consider going the market to buy fresh local fruit for breakfast or purchasing a picnic at the grocery store for lunch. It will help you feel better and it saves you a couple more pennies to spend on a treat of gelato or that special dinner.