21 January 2020 by Anna Staford
Travelling exposes us to new cultures and adventure. However, sometimes the side effects of travelling can weigh us down, such as jet lag, long airport waits and trying to fit 101 things into our bags. Here are 10 winning travel hacks to make travelling a great deal easier.
Google Maps is one of the world’s favourite web based world mapping service offering satellite imagery, aerial photos, street maps, 360° panoramic street views and a lot more. If you download the App to your smart device you will be able to find the best route available whether travelling by foot, car, bicycle, or public transport. Avoid using your data or unknown Wi-Fi networks by astutely downloading your routes and the area you’re visiting in advance so you can then access downloaded maps offline.
No universal plug converter? Forgot your phone charger? Perhaps you are charging multiple devices already. You’re in luck if you are staying in a hotel with a television in the room, as you can use it to charge your devices. All you have to do is to connect the USB to the port on your phone and the other end to the television and you’re good to go.
It’s safer to keep your passport in a hotel safe or a hidden compartment in your bag. Having a scanned picture of your passport via email or cloud storage allows you to access passport details without constantly having your passport to hand. So it’s a great hack for saving time when filling in forms, or travel passes. It keeps your passport safer too. And if the worst happens and it does go missing or get stolen, you have all your details to hand to help identification and the embassy issue emergency travel documents.
One of the most frustrating delays to our travel adventures is waiting in the airport for our luggage. By marking your bags as ‘fragile’, you won’t only better protect your luggage by ensuring the airline handle it carefully, but you can also substantially reduce waiting time. Fragile goods are often processed first in line before regular bags, so you raise your chances of a quick exit from the airport.
Jet lag fatigue can feel a drag, and might leave you unable to sleep at a normal local time due to changing time zones. However, by staying well hydrated, eating light meals and exercising before your trip you can reduce the impact of jet lag and feel less lethargic at your travel destination. Its also worth carefully choosing your flights to dovetail arrival times that will help you adjust to the new time zone.
Dryer sheets have a thin layer of lubricant and are made up of chemical fabric softener that keeps clothes soft and fresh while travelling, and also prevents electric shock from static build up on the fabric surface.
Wearing a jacket is a great means of extending your pocket count, and being able to take more items outside of your bags. However, in some cases the place you’re travelling might be super warm. In that case, wearing cargo trousers can be a great way to extend your pocket options without getting too hot or carrying unnecessary jackets.
If you’re travelling through the cold seasons, or across the equator, make sure you take a shawl or scarf with you. They fold up small or can be tied to the outside of your bag when not in use. They will not only keep you warm on your journey (especially if travelling overnight), they can also be folded into great pillows for comfort on long journeys.
Opting for the window seat on a plane means you come into contact with fewer people, so you’re less likely to catch any bugs and illnesses to or from your destination. Moreover, it means you get to enjoy the great views and have an added head rest if you prefer to sleep.
Last but not least – its arguably a hack - and definitely an essential part of travel - Travel Insurance is crucial for protecting ourselves and our families. No matter how careful we are on our travels, even a simple virus or case of food poisoning can result in doctors or hospitals with bills running into thousands. By comparison, the cost of travel insurance is a negligible – especially for your peace of mind. Travel insurance also helps protects your luggage, and compensate you for travel delays, missed departures, and much more. Check out some travel insurance options as soon as you book your trip.
Wherever you travel always check FCO’s travel advice to help you stay safe and travel aware.