Here are some travel hacks that I’ve picked up over time, especially while traveling ‘low cost’:
1. Book window seats on international flights. You use the window bulkhead to rest your head as well as enjoy beautiful take off & landing views. If you have long legs or tend to use the restroom often, you may prefer the aisle seats.
2. Book seats close to the front so you can make the start of immigration & border control lines.
3. In lines, don’t stand behind families because they tend to take forever. Instead, get behind business travelers, they move fast.
4. Don’t lose your boarding pass or take a picture of the luggage tag barcode, just in case the airline loses your bag.
5. Email a copy of your passport, bookings and important documents to yourself so you almost always have access to them, if needed.
6. Always pack a lock. You never know when you may need them, especially while checking in your bags on low cost airlines.
7. Pack earplugs and earphones to ensure undisturbed sleep. Here's entire list of what to pack in your carry-on!
8. Always pack an international adapter. Also, pack an extra USB charger, just in case!
9. Get a local sim card. It’s cheaper and easier to call home and to coordinate with your travel companions. Plus, there’s no excuse not to stay safe and connected.
10. When you check-in to your hotel, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade. They tend to have a lot of flexibility, and it doesn't hurt to ask. The same goes for your flight check-in counter!
11. When you go out, take only what you need like limited amount of cash, a bank card, an I.D. card (preferably driving license over passport), room key so if something does happen, you aren’t totally stranded. Also, keep your hotel's address with you at all times.
12. Don’t be afraid to ask for the wifi password at cafes, bars or restaurants.
13. Carry an extra bank card and credit card with you so you have backup in case you lose your card, get robbed or your bank randomly blocks it! Also carry emergency cash incase you can’t use a card somewhere and can’t find an ATM.
14. Don’t exchange currency at the airport or in any main tourist attractions areas. Try to go to more local-friendly areas to find exchanges. They offer a better rate or at least eliminate conversion fees. You should also try to negotiate for a better rate, if you exchange big amounts of money.
15. Get travel insurance. This is something I highly recommend, for your safety and to cover you financially, in case of a health emergency.
16. Know the emergency numbers. It’s always helpful to know the emergency helpline number for the ambulance and police, especially while traveling alone.
17. Carry a basic first-aid kit. Better to be safe than sorry. Pack bandaids, antibacterial cream, and basic medicines for headache, stomach ache, cold and cough, allergies etc.
18. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
19. Learn some local phrases. You never know when they can be useful, lead to a friendship or even just help you in a sticky situation.
22. If you tend to travel a lot, join a frequent flyer program. Being loyal to one airline has many perks like earning miles, upgrades and even free flights. If you don’t travel that often, its better to fly the cheapest and most convenient (timings wise) airline, because collecting miles requires a lot of travel and miles expire.
20. Say YES. While traveling, you often get a chance to try new and different things so don’t hold back. You only live once. So say yes to trying something new: go bungee jumping or take that salsa lesson or try an exotic cuisine.
21. Take lots of photos! And I mean, lots! Years from now, you’ll want to look back on those nights you can’t remember and the people who made them memorable.
I hope these tips are useful for your future travels. And I'd love to know if you have any travel hacks and tips from your previous travels! Share them with me in the comments below?