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!