Important travel hacks to remember for your next trip
MANILA, Philippines – Travel is the best way to break the daily grind, unwind, and pick up a valuable lesson or two straight from experience.
It’s something we work hard for and look forward to every year (or several times a year), that’s why careful planning is essential to ensure yourself a memorable and stress-free trip.
Here are a few hacks on packing like a seasoned traveler, touring your destination as locals do, and scoring the best airfare deals to help make your next trip the best one yet.
Pack like a pro
You already know about the ol’ “roll, don’t fold” rule. After all, it’s a genius space saving hack that lets you travel light and even save money on check-in luggage. But what other packing tricks do you need to know?
If you’re bringing clothes that wrinkle easily, lay them as flat as possible inside dry cleaning bags before folding. Or fold them together with Japanese paper and keep them on top of the pile. The plastic/paper will help prevent creases and wrinkles.
For the ladies: keep the shape of your bras and save space by stacking them one on top of the other, then stashing your folded underwear in the cups.
No matter where you’re headed, bring a scarf. You can use it not just to shield yourself from the cold or the sun, but also to sit on in case you decide to go to a park or garden, or to control natural light that hits your camera’s lens while you take photos.
Here’s another packing trick that's especially useful if you intend to go shopping: pack your usual stuff inside a duffel bag, then store it inside your luggage. This way, in case you go over the limit, you can just pull out the duffel bag and store your things inside the luggage. It then gets weighed as second luggage.
Go around like a local
The best way to enjoy a new destination is still to see it from a local’s perspective. Visit famous spots especially if it’s your first time, but also drop by places that only locals know about.
Unfortunately, not all of us are lucky enough to have friends and acquaintances from all over the world, or at least who have been to where we want to go. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get local advice anymore. In the age of social media, you can join travel groups and forums on Facebook or follow travel bloggers to get direct access to pieces of advice on where best to go and which food and activities to try – even which popular tourist spots are worth visiting and those you can do without.
Better yet, you can also download apps like Cool Cousin, which lets you connect with a local for their favorite spots and advice on how to best enjoy their city; and Sidekix, which helps you find the best walking directions based on your interests and preference with curated suggestions from locals.
If you’re going to a city with an organized train or bus system, download an app that tells you the timetables and which lines to ride to go to a specific destination. Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store are teeming with apps that cater to country-specific subway-, train-, and bus lines, and more. Of course, the comprehensive Google Maps will always be helpful.
Complete the local experience by coming home everyday of your trip to an actual home instead of a hotel room. For many travelers these days, Airbnb is the way to go. And it’s not because it’s cheaper than major hotel chains: since Airbnb has listings from homeowners all over the world, accommodations here are often unique in itself and/or located at places with breathtaking views. Look for homes that allow you to cook your own meals, is located in a safe neighborhood, and offer all the amenities you need. Payment and reservation is hassle-free, too, as Airbnb lets users pay using their credit card.
How to score the best (aka more affordable) airline deal
Normally, airfare alone can take a bulk of your entire travel budget. But if you plan wisely and early, it’s possible for you to get two-way tickets for as low as only a few hundred pesos!
Take note of Tuesdays. According to frequent fliers, this is the best day of the week to get plane tickets because many airlines – budget and not – normally slash their prices on this day. Sunday is said to be another day to get better deals on plane tickets, too.
Take the time to sign up for membership and subscribe to newsletters of your favorite airlines. Often, they send first dibs alerts to their members on when they will be dropping their next sale, with some even opening such sales exclusively to their members 24 hours before. Get your airline’s app, too, because sometimes they offer deals exclusively on it.
Mix things up by booking return tickets from different airlines. Sure, it’s convenient to just book return tickets from one airline but sometimes, doing so can cost you more. Try scouring different airlines for the lowest deals. Bonus: you’re also likely to get your preferred time of flight.
If you have a flexible travel schedule, choose red eye flights. Not only are the seats cheaper, there are also fewer passengers at the check in queue at this time, too.
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