Thinking Out Loud

8 Travel “hacks” you need to know before your next vacay

By Theagarajan_CML

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So some of these things you may know, some you may not. Traveling can be full of pitfalls if you’re not careful; even the most extravagant tropical paradise can be ruined by an overpriced restaurant, hotel room or seedy tourist trap. I have a tendency to plan my vacays around finding local hidden gems, but on a budget.

Here are some of my go-to travel tips:

  • Contact your bank. Be sure you do this before you travel abroad. There’s nothing worse than arriving in a foreign country and your card gets declined; then you’ll be getting a phone call reporting suspicious activity. You’ll end up spending more money on long-distance charges calling your bank sorting it out. Try ordering foreign currency ahead of time from a bank and avoid brutal exchange rates at the airport. Never. Exchange. At. The. Airport.

  • Get some long-distance minutes. Speaking of long-distance charges, I have a couple of favorites when it comes to making phone calls when abroad. Depending on how long I’m gone and where I am going, I’ll either call my carrier and add a monthly international package (which normally costs me $10-$25 for a 3-4 week period) OR if I’m gone a while (more than a month) I will take my unlocked phone and order a sim card from GiffGaff. If your phone isn’t unlocked already, I recommend using iPhoneOSUnlock.com to take care of it.

  • Store cables. Store your loose cables and chargers in an old sunglass case.

  • Bring reusable water bottle. DO NOT spend $6 for a bottle of H20 at the airport. Bring an empty water bottle with you to fill up once you go through security (tip: Starbucks will normally fill your bottle with filtered water for a quarter at most).

  • Beware of public browsing. Enable private browsing when searching for flights online. Travel sites can track your search history which can actually result in increased prices. Also try clearing your cache.

  • Stuff your socks in your shoes. SPACE SAVER. Also invest in some plastic “vacuum” clothing bags.

  • Charger. If you forgot your wall plug-in charger check the back of the TV in your hotel room — there is usually a USB port.

  • Finding cheap accommodations. If you want a change of pace, check out Airbnb.com. I got into Airbnb years ago and I’m SO stoked more and more people are using it. I will never pick a room with a host that has less than five positive reviews. It’s a terrific way to learn a new city from a local. Plus they’ll advise you on great local spots and where not to go. That’s as good as gold as far as I’m concerned.

There are SO many do’s and don’ts when it comes to travel, particularly if you’re jumping across the pond into really unfamiliar territory.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: try and look and act like a local. Be respectful no matter where you’re going and do the locals the courtesy of learning some survival language (if you don’t know it already). The reaction you’ll receive if you at least try and speak the language versus not is usually vastly more positive.

Travel safe, travel happy. xx

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