11 Travel Hacks You Need to Know

Travel is one of the best things you can do with your money because the experiences and the memories last a lifetime. Experiencing other cultures and other ways of living broadens your scope of perspective and enhances the quality of your own life. Studies have also found that spending money on experiences makes you much happier than spending money on things. That being said, travel can be costly, stressful, and energy-zapping, sometimes making you feel you need a vacation from your vacation! Read below and learn how to improve the travel experience and prevent the downsides of traveling.

11 Travel Hacks You Need to Know for the Best Travel Experience

1. Credit card with no foreign transaction fees

When traveling overseas, many places will accept your credit card but most cards will come with a fee when you use it. For this reason, try to find a card that does not have foreign transaction fees to prevent unnecessary costs.

2. Hotel with a gym

This is a great travel hack for many reasons. Number one is that exercise is the best thing you can do to help with jet lag. Exercise will give you energy, boost feel good hormones, and make you feel more relaxed. Aim to find a hotel with a gym so that you can use it in the morning before you head out for the day.

3. Hotel that serves complimentary breakfast

This will not only save you money, but also will save you some time in the morning when you are trying to find something good to eat. Many hotels have really stepped up their complimentary breakfast game, so do some research online and find a hotel with a good breakfast.

4. Book tours

This is especially true if you will be visiting historic sites, museums, and famous landmarks where it is incredibly beneficial to be part of a group for a few reasons. The best reason to join a tour is that often you get to skip the long lines and you have an expert explaining all of the fascinating things about what you are seeing.

5. Get Global Entry

When traveling overseas and you are returning home after a long flight, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long line at customs. With Global Entry you don’t have to wait in that long line at customs! Instead you go to a separate line where you breeze right through in less than 5 minutes! Look into getting Global Entry, it involves filling out some forms online, a background check, and an in-person interview which is kind of a pain, but it is definitely worth it!

We recently got Global entry, and it is seriously the best thing we have ever done! We do mostly domestic flights, and Global Entry means you have TSA pre-check as well – so you don’t have to take off your shoes or take things out of your bags, the best! We now get through security in less than 5 minutes every time. 

6. Bid on First-Class seats

This is an incredibly beneficial hack especially for airlines that have super cramped seats and/or you have a very long flight. First-Class seats can be ridiculously expensive, so buying them right off the bat will set you back a few thousand dollars. Instead, buy coach seats and then bid on First-Class seats when your airline offers it before your flight.

On our recent trip to Italy our departing flight took 12 hours to get there and our plane seats were super cramped. Knowing that we had a 13 hour flight back, we bid on First-Class seats at the lowest price you could bid and thankfully got them! It was more expensive than coach but for a little more money it made the flight not only bearable, but even enjoyable!

7. Pack healthy snacks

Pack snacks along that are non-perishable, such as nuts, jerky, and protein bars. This way you won’t have to buy over-priced snacks at the airport or have to eat the stale crackers that they give you on the plane when you are starving. You can also bring them along with you during the day on your trip to make sure you have a healthy snack on hand if you aren’t sure where or when you will be able to eat next.

Read here how to choose a healthy snack bar.

8. Currency exchange before destination

Most banks will offer a currency exchange and it is normally cheaper to use a bank rather than using the currency exchange at the airport. If you didn’t make it to the bank, then definitely do the exchange at the airport when you are waiting for your departing flight. Avoid waiting until you get to your destination to do the exchange because that is when most travelers will do it too – meaning a long line and a long wait.

9. Ask if your hotel is full

When you first check-in, ask if the hotel is full. If it is not full, then smile and ask if they will give you a free upgrade. This isn’t a 100% guarantee, but we’ve definitely had success with getting a free upgraded room on many occasions by just asking and being friendly.

10. Get a credit card that gives you access to airport lounges

Airport lounges are amazing for many reasons including: complementary food and drink (including alcoholic beverages and coffee), comfortable seating, clean bathroom, and dimmed lighting (fluorescent lighting in airports is the worst!). We recently got a credit card that gives us access to airport lounges and it is one of the best things we ever did.

11. Avoid checking bags

Carry on your bags whenever possible. Checking bags is super time consuming because you have to wait in the long line before your flight to check it, then you have to wait at baggage claim for it to hopefully arrive, and the worst part about checking your bag is that you run the risk of losing your luggage! 

Main takeaways…

The above are simple yet effective travel hacks that you can use for both domestic and international travel. Use one or all of the above the next time you travel to maximize the experience of your trip 🙂

About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.

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