Alleviate the everyday stresses of travelling with these top travel hacks:
1. Pack efficiently
Packing is an exciting but frustrating venture. Roll up your clothes inside your bag or suitcase – it’s more space efficient and decreases the chance of wrinkles. You can even roll underwear and socks within your clothes for extra room.
2. Lie about your luggage
We don’t usually encourage telling tales at Rough Guides HQ, but if you mark your bags as fragile, even when they’re not, airport staff will take better care of them. They’re also likely to be first off the flight so you’re first out the door.
3. Be an exchange expert
To avoid being ripped off by airport money-changers, buy your currency before you go. Exchanges in airports often charge commission and their rates are generally worse than those online or on the high street
4. Get extra insulation on a budget
When camping in the cold, insulate your sleeping bag with two car windscreen reflectors. Stick them together at the edges and put your sleeping bag inside – they’ll reflect your body heat back onto you. Alternatively, use your backpack as an extra layer to cover your feet and keep in that extra warmth.
5. Keep cool
Use duct tape to insulate metal water bottles. It’ll keep them cool (or warm if you’re a tea drinker), and stop your fingers from freezing to them in sub-zero conditions.
7. Be sanitation savvy
Use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips of soap – that way you won’t have a squashed bar of soap on your hands and you won’t have to carry a hefty bottle of gel.
8. Refrigerate your batteries
Keep your batteries in the fridge. Apparently most rechargeable (nickel-metal hydride) batteries retain 90% of their full charge when kept in the cold, so when you stop at your hotel, pop the batteries in the mini bar. Note that alkaline batteries aren’t quite as effective (they’ll only last 5% longer after being refrigerated).
9. Carry your identity on everything
Don’t get caught short without your passport or identity card. Scan and email yourself a copy of any important documents, then open them and save them onto any tablets or smartphones you’re taking with you; this means you can access them offline too.
10. Don’t let go of that H2O
Giving up your water bottle at airport security is a pain. Take an empty bottle (plastic or metal) and fill it up for free at a tap or drinking fountain when you get through the gates.
11. Keep your clothes dry in the rain
There’s nothing worse than having to make a dash for the nearest shelter when the heavens open and the next monsoon downpour threatens to drown you and your backpack. Here’s a handy tip: line your backpack with a bin bag for extra waterproof protection. This means your clothes will stay dry and you’ll avoid having to buy that hand-carved statue at the shop you take cover in.
12. Enjoy lukewarm water
Now, one of my travel companions may disagree with me on this (after we tried and tested the theory in Malaysia), but if you’re short on water sources and conditions are getting sweaty, try putting a peppermint teabag in your bottle to freshen up that lukewarm liquid. It’s an acquired taste, but it works for me!
13. Be frugal with your flying
Use a site like Momondo, Skyscanner or Kayak to compare flights across all airlines and agencies to find you the best deal for your trip. Momondo even gives you a nice graph of how flight prices vary so you can pick the cheapest day of the week.
14. Be smart with your smartphone
Seven in ten people in the UK now have smartphones, so we should be using them abroad as well as at home. From flagging you a taxi to finding you a friend, some of these top travel apps and websites will make your travelling life easier: the top travel apps and websites for 2014 >