For the past two years I have been traveling like crazy. In 2016 alone, I took around 35 flights and snatched up a few travel hacks while globetrotting. I’m sure you already know the major basics, like rolling your clothing to make space in suitcases, using tissue paper and dryer sheets to avoid wrinkles and smells (respectively), and having major airline travel apps on your phone to ensure quick check-in and updates on flight status.
Here are some that you may not have heard of, and may be of great use:
A hack to save money
- Hopper App: this app was rated Apple Store’s Best of Travel 2015, and it seriously rocks. I mean, who doesn’t wonder when the “best time” to book travel is, and LOVE getting the cheapest deals on flights? I used this to figure out when to book flights for all of my interviews and vacations. It lets you chose your travel dates, tells you if it is the right time to buy or not, and if it suggests you wait, it watches the flight prices for you and sends you notifications when it is best to buy. Then you can literally buy the flight right from the app.
More details for Hopper can be found here!
- Travel Size Beauty/Skincare: Are you a beauty/skincare freak like me and have products that you can’t throw in your carry on because of the size? The obvious thing to do is just get travel size empty containers and stuff your products in them, or go to the drugstore and buy the limited brand stuff. I did this until I discovered a little something called Ipsy, BirchBox, and Sephora Play.
Each of these three companies create personalized beauty subscription boxes for you. Every month, you receive a package of beauty and skincare items ($9.99/mo) – and they’re all travel size! Then, if you really like one of the items, you can buy it on the website with a member discount.
This saves you room, money, and ensures you have the best items with you for that beautiful face of yours. The best part is that all the brands are of high quality. I have a surplus of face washes, lotions, face masks, eye creams, mascaras, lipsticks, chapsticks, highlighters, you name it… that I can take along with me when I travel.
All products are personalized to my skin type, tone, and texture. Here is an example of products I have personally received (travel sized versions) in my Birchbox’s. Again, it’s $9.99/month for 5 items, and you can see the full price comparisons listed here. I got all of these a few months ago, and still haven’t finished any of them! Serious bang for your buck! I also have ipsy, which I equally love!
A hack to help packing
- I am a serious overpacker and feel like I need to bring everything with me “just in case”. Everyone (I hope) already knows to roll their clothes to make more room in that suitcase. Truthfully, i’m not too nifty with DIY travel tricks (pinterest is a great resource for that), but here are some that I use religiously and are easy to remember:
- Put your socks, undies, and anything else small, in your shoes.
- Stuff your undies in pant pockets before rolling them up.
- If you’re peculiar about wrinkles, use tissue paper when folding clothes. You can also use air tight bags, and then make sure you have an iron at your destination (or pack a travel iron).
- Put your phone charger in your eye glasses case.
- Prevent spillage: unscrew the cap to your liquid container, put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the bottle, screw the cap back on.
- Put dirty shoes in a shower cap.
A hack to help minimize jet lag
- Essential Oils– If you love natural products, this one’s for you! if I am going on a trip where I have a long travel journey ahead, and 9 out of 10 times my itinerary has me hitting the ground running; I do everything I can to prevent jet lag.
I used to hate taking medications that made me drowsy so I could fall asleep; once I woke up I was always groggy and out of it. Now, one of my favorite things is using a lavender essential oil mist to be able to relax/fall asleep on a long flight: it has calming benefits, and can be used in a blend (i.e. with chamomile).After I have landed and it is time to be alert: I use an oil spray blend of Peppermint and Rosemary.
Be sure to test any essential oils on your skin before going on your trip!
My favorite Essential Oil mists below:
Lavender, Citrus, Patchouli: Calming, Diffuse Anger, Harmony – “Chill Pill”
Lavender, Yarrow, and Hops: Sleepiness, Quiet Mind, Settle Senses – “Pillow Potion”
Lavender, Neroli, Petitgrain: Relax, Calm Fears, Keep Level Head – “Panic Button”
Peppermint, Citrus, Cardamom: Wake up / Alertness – “Pep Talk”
Check these out on Amazon, linked for you above!
- If gravity takes a toll on your head during a flight and you always find yourself bobbing forward, put your neck pillow on backwards to support the front and sides of your neck. This pillow here is one of my FAVORITE travel items: Scientifically Proven Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow
A hack to stay connected
- I never buy a data plan when I go abroad; but I understand if you have to for work reasons. If you don’t, however, and you have access to WiFi, you can make free international calls using apps such as GoogleTalk, WhatsApp Calling, SkypeCall, FaceTime calling, etc. Big money saver! You can even use these in-flight, as long as you can connect to your airline’s WiFi. In my experience, I have been able to make clear phone calls (via these apps) while in the air on JetBlue, which has free in-flight WiFi.
- Skyroam: if you absolutely NEED WiFi and a connection wherever you go, look into buying or renting the Skyroam portable HotSpot (no SIM or annoying configurations needed). You can buy or rent it depending on your travel plans, and activate 24-hour passes so that the days you don’t need WiFi or aren’t working, you don’t have to pay for it! I have never used this, so I can’t give personal insight, but it sounds pretty cool. More info here!
A hack to make flights more comfortable
- If you are traveling with one other person, book the aisle and the window seat. People are less likely to book middle seats, so this way, you have more of a chance of being able to score a whole row to yourselves for extra room! If it is a full flight, just ask that person to switch. They’d rather take the aisle or window anyways, and you’ll be able to sit next to your travel buddy. You have nothing to lose!