7 Travel Hacks to Free More of Your Time and Money for a Stress-Free Vacation

Most of us think of spending more money when we travel which, in turn, exposes us to stress even more. But a stress-free, frugal, and memorable vacation is no longer an enigmatic subject if you know the practical hacks to experience one

We came up with seven travel hacks to help you create more wonderful memories on your travel — accomplish them and compare the differences from your previous journeys!

Hack #1. Carry cash and prepaid cards on your travel.

Out-of-the-country trips will make you convert some of your dollars into the currency of the country you’re travelling to. Before doing so, try to make a little bit of effort to be updated about the conversion rate of dollars to avoid being swindled. In addition, you may want to go slow with the amount of dollars you will convert since you don’t want to walk around a foreign place with an unusually huge amount of cash.

As much as possible, stay away from using your credit/debit cards. If you can’t avoid it, be sure that you have informed your bank about your travel, the place you’ll go to, and how long will be your stay there. By doing so, your bank won’t be alerted by fraudulent card usage 10,000 miles away during the dates you mentioned to them. Informing them will also prevent you from getting restricted to use your own card.

Another smart alternative is to pair up a moderate cash amount with a prepaid card. This way, you won’t expose your own personal card from possible infringements.

Hack #2: Fail-proof your travel and protect yourself through preparation.

We might sound like an insurance broker here but, like many things in life, travels need serious preparation and it involves devising several Plan B’s. As cliché as it may sound, knowing the exact location and contact details of the United States Embassy in the country you’re heading to won’t take much time of your preparation.

Store your embassy’s address and contact details both on your phone and a mini notebook in case the former gets lost or stolen. Once you know your hotel’s location, spend some time to search for nearby key places such as hospitals and police stations, in case an emergency occurs. Jot the contact details and address of these places down on your notebook as well.

Set-up a “Safety Call” with someone you trust from home. Agree with him/her that you will email or call them at a specific time every day while you’re away. Ask them that should they fail to receive your call or email within the specified time, it might be the time to get worried and alert the authorities.

Hack #3: Get along with the local folks.

Before your trip, find someone, like an acquaintance, who is a local to the place you will visit and ask about essential things. It might be a good gesture to learn a few phrases and sentences to express politeness such as “Thank you”, “Good morning/afternoon/evening”, and “Please” in the local language.

Upon your arrival, do not forget to strike a conversation with several local folks. Ask for recommendations and the best, but wallet-friendly places to eat and tour around. Remember, the local knows best! You don’t want to end up getting yourself into some tourist-trap, overcrowded, money-draining places you searched from the internet!

Hack #4: Outsmart the crooks.

We’re not trying to scare you — but robbers and pickpockets are always present in all places. This is one of the reasons you need to pinpoint locations of the nearest police stations around the place/s you’ll go to. While casual clothing may fend off crooks, wearing huge pieces of jewelry will still attract them. Dress as simplest as possible.

Many veteran travelers swear by their fanny packs which are often worn underneath the clothing. You may put ID’s, cards, cash, keys, and other important stuff in here. Have some cash and coins in a separate purse or in your pockets. While wearing fanny packs may still be noticeable, it will be harder to pickpocket. Should your purse or your pocket get mugged, most of your essentials are safe inside your belt bag.

Hack #5: Learn from fellow travelers’ mistakes.

Aside from asking around your friends, a simple Google search of the phrase, “Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to <insert name of the country>” can provide you points to avoid and to take note of about the place you’re planning to visit. As much as possible, you want to collect only the best memories and avoid experiencing the most daunting ones, so it is best to heed the advice of previous travelers.

From weather patterns, worst time and day to visit, and places-to-avoid, you should be able to create a somehow perfect itinerary using other travelers’ firsthand knowledge about the place.

Hack #6: Have fun without having to spend much.

Staying and spending your time at a luxurious overseas hotel and restaurant might not feel different at all from the hotel room back in your city, and it quite defeats the purpose of getting new local and authentic experiences. Expensive hotels and meals in a fine-dining restaurant will more likely break your bank, too! If you want the total experience package for your vacation — like spending less, enjoying more, without compromising the comfort — try to live, eat, travel, and dress like a local!

Instead of getting a hotel room, try searching for a good unit from Airbnb (or other similar apps should it be unavailable inside the country you’ll visit). This guarantees lower rates than standard hotel rooms and you will also get to live like a local. For food, hunt for small eateries who cook and serve local delicacies. Street food might be okay to try but it wouldn’t hurt to be slightly selective of the food that might not appear to satisfy your sanitary requirements. For travel, try going around using public transportation and appreciate the place from different perspectives.

Hack #7: Avoid extra luggage when going home.

Before your trip, you might have been able to pack all your essentials and somehow jam them all into your carry-on bag and one luggage. However, packing your things when it’s time to go home is on a different and higher level.

Souvenirs and other knick-knacks for yourself, family, and some friends may give you a little bit of pain in the head if you try and squeeze them inside an already-full luggage. Instead of buying a new luggage and paying for additional luggage fees, it will be more practical if you just mail them back home along with other luggage items you won’t need on your flight back home. Just be sure to pick the most reliable shipping carrier from that place!

Now that you know about these seven money and time-saving travel hacks for a stress-free vacation, it is time to test them out on your next itinerary!

7 Travel Tips for When You Want to Go Solo

There are a few things that give us a distinct sense of freedom and accomplishment, and one of that is journeying to a far-off place all by ourselves. Solo travels are getting popular these days and an increasing number of travelers are getting more willing to travel on their own. According to a research back in 2015, one out of five already travelled alone.

Solo travels may be frightening to those who haven’t tried it yet. If you belong to those who wish to travel alone for the very first time, here are seven travel tips to help you understand solo-travelling like the back of your own hand.

Hack #1: Let your self-doubt pass.

Before and during the first couple of days into your first-ever solo travel, it’ll be a typical experience if you hear yourself question the choice you just made. It will also be normal to feel the need to bunk off from your plan and head home particularly if you feel lost and alone. Travelling solo is a big leap and a totally different dimension especially if you’ve gone accustomed to traveling in groups with people you know.

The primary thing you should know, whenever you feel a strong amount of hesitation, is that you should trust in yourself more. Just let it pass, carry on with your plans, and enjoy it all the way and it will all get better.

Hack #2: Have somebody know where you are headed.

Relay your plans to someone close, like a family member or a close friend, and provide them with more specific itinerary if possible. If you have the information already, give them the list of contacts on the places you’ll be staying at. Have them know when you’re planning to take-off and when is the estimated time you’ll be back home.

For a safer travel, commit yourself to check in with them every day at a specific time. Do not forget to check in at the agreed time so the person will know you’re safe.

Hack #3: Schedule self-recovery periods.

Travelling alone may sometimes stretch you into your limits since you’re all on your own, both physically and mentally. To avoid fatigue, it is best to set-up a time when you stop wandering around just to relax and recharge.

Ending the day and going to bed very tired may just ruin your plans on the next days so it is best to recover every now and then than let your plans, mind, and body suffer.

Hack #4: Solo trips don’t need to expensive.

Firstly, you should allocate some bucks into your emergency fund should anything unexpected happens like cancelled trains or missed bus trips. Keep a portion of it in cash in case of medical emergencies where you need to pay the expenses upfront.

Consider downloading a budgeting app and make sure to track all expenses so you know where your money is going. Some budgeting apps may also allow you to allocate certain amount to categories, so you’ll know if you’ve spent too much on something.

Lastly, if you have a moderate time allowance in your itinerary, you have more time to consider transportation alternatives. Indirect travels may surprisingly cost you less and it might show you around wonderful places on the way provided you are time rich.

Hack #5: Budget-friendly accommodations? Hostels and Airbnb!

If you’re travelling alone, staying in a hotel room will quickly drain your funds since your usual travel companions won’t be around to shell out for the fees. Thankfully, hostels are almost as common as hotels and you get to share a room with some other people. Hostels are usually home for solo travelers and it would be awesome to share a story or two about solo traveling. 

However, if you’re uncomfortable to share a room with some other strangers, you may look around Airbnb for the most decent private rooms at affordable rates which may be way cheaper than a hotel room.

Hack #6: Stop over-planning everything.

As a solo traveler, you can now practice independence and you may also practice spontaneity! While it is good to have an itinerary, you no longer need to follow it strictly and you may go around according to your preferred pace without looking out for other people.

There are days when you can just wing it and wander around to anywhere your feet take you. However, it is not always applicable to some places, such as locations that require advance bookings and tickets.

Hack #7: Rediscover yourself.

Traveling alone is a brave act and it can also help you rediscover yourself. There will be many times where you will need to step out of your comfort zone and you will get to know a version of yourself that you haven’t realized before. At the same time, your boundaries will be challenged and strengthened that will absolutely make a better person out of you. Make sure to always reflect and learn more about yourself. Afterall, this journey is all about YOU!

Once-in-a-while solo travels are a must-try for everyone. You could meet and get to know lots of people, and you could also keep rediscovering yourself. With these seven travel hacks for solo trips, you’re ready to make your first leap!