For many, perusing AskReddit is a pre-bedtime ritual or a tool for procrastination. However, the subreddit is a goldmine for valuable info, including travel tips and hacks. Across a number of threads, seasoned travelers and frequent flyers have come forward with their best tips for a smooth journey abroad. We've scoured the threads and found some of the best travel tips to help you have a better journey.
1. Pack One Complete Outfit in Your Carry On
If you do plan on checking your bags, then pack one complete outfit in your carry on in case your baggage is delayed. This way, you’ll have a spare set of clean clothing ready to go.
2. Travel Size Laundry Detergent
In order to avoid high laundry fees at hotels, carry a few travel size detergent packets so you have the option of doing your own laundry in the bathroom sink of your hotel room. This works especially well if you just need a few more pairs of clean socks and underwear during your trip.
3. Pack a First Aid Kit
Pack a small first aid kit with the essentials — bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain medication, and antidiarrheals for easy access if you get hurt or fall ill on the road. If you’re traveling through villages or remote areas, these basic items won’t be readily available. And if you're in a city with higher tax rates, you might save money by purchasing these items at home.
4. Don’t Check Bags
If you can, pack light and travel with a carry-on only. Not only does that prevent the airline from losing your luggage, but traveling with a carry-on also eliminates the need to wait for your bags at the carousel after a long flight. If you miss a connecting flight or wish to catch an earlier one, then you don’t have to worry about arriving to your destination without your checked luggage. With a carry-on, you’re able to deplane and hop into a cab for your accommodation without skipping a beat.
5. Back Up Critical Documents
Several Redditors recommend scanning and storing copies of your passport and identification cards in a Dropbox or other cloud-based folder so they're accessible should they be stolen. Having copies on hand will significantly expedite the process of replacing your stolen documents.
6. Become a Loyalty Member
Frequent fliers should pick one airline and stick to it in order to accumulate points. Earning status with a particular airline yields results such as free upgrades. Similarly, earn points with a chosen hotel chain and you’re more likely to be upgraded to a venue’s best available room upon check-in. Check out our article on the best loyalty programs to get you started.
7. Bring Ear Plugs
If you’re a budget backpacker roughing it in twenty-bed dorm hostels, there’s bound to be at least one snorer who will keep the room awake throughout the night. Bring ear plugs to ensure you catch some Z’s. We even found you an inexpensive pair with over 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
8. Learn the Language
Pick up key phrases in the language of the country you’re about to visit. By learning how to thank someone or ask where the bathroom is in the local language, you show respect as a tourist.
9. Talk to the Locals
Locals are experts on the destination you’re visiting, so don’t be afraid to befriend some and ask for suggestions on what to do or where to eat. They often know better than the guide books on where to uncover hidden gems and get off the beaten path. You must first know the people to know the country.
10. Beat Jet Lag
When the plane takes off, set your watch to your destination’s local time and stay awake until an appropriate bedtime. Similarly, when you arrive at your destination, refrain from taking a nap until the sun goes down in order to reset your internal sleep clock. If you're struggling to adjust to your new time zone, melatonin supplements can help.
11. Purchase Travel Insurance
Never leave home without travel insurance in order to protect yourself and your belongings should an unfortunate event occur. Just in case your things go missing in some remote jungle village, or you need airlifting while scaling the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, you don’t want to be stuck with a bill for thousands of dollars.
12. External Phone Battery
Bring an external phone battery to keep your mobile charged especially if you rely on Google Maps to navigate new cities. It’ll also save you when your mobile shuts down just before you show your cab driver the address of your final destination.
13. Power Strip
A power strip is a tool for making instant friends at a hostel or while waiting for your flight at the airport. When there’s only one available outlet but a dozen people needing to recharge, you’ll be an instant hero with a small power strip.
14. Use Recyclable Bags
For avid hostellers, pack your items in a tote bag instead of plastic bags. Aside from being more environmentally friendly, if you need to rummage through your backpack early in the morning or late at night, using a tote will save you from making lots of rustling noises that’s sure to wake your roommates.
15. Be Nice to Gate Agents
In the event that you miss your flight or there’s a delay, gate agents are likely the first people you turn to in order to be rebooked or rerouted. They handle numerous complaints filed by impatient travelers throughout the day, and understandably will not sympathize if you’re rude. Ask politely for help and you’re much more likely to receive a stay at a hotel or a seat on a reassigned flight.
16. High vs. Low Passenger Load
According to business travelers on Reddit, Monday mornings, Thursday afternoons, and the weekend are the busiest travel days, with airlines carrying high passenger loads. So if you’re flexible on travel days, fly midweek to avoid packed flights.
17. On Rental Cars
Rent from an establishment a short cab ride away from the airport instead of picking up your vehicle directly at the airport to save up some serious cash. Airport rentals inflate their prices due to high demand and convenience, so search for a pick up location that’s just a few minutes down the road to save big, and be sure to book your car with a credit card that offers good rental car insurance.
18. Airport Currency Exchanges
Redditors recommend visiting a local bank or withdrawing money from an ATM instead of exchanging money at the currency exchange when you land at the airport, as it charges a hefty fee. If prompted at an ATM, always carry out the transaction in the local currency to avoid incurring unfavorable exchange rates set by the bank.
19. Be a Local
Not a tourist. Dive into the daily life of locals by visiting supermarkets when traveling internationally. In destinations where supermarkets are geared towards middle class shoppers, then opt to visit marketplaces. Though it sounds mundane, you get to observe and understand the popular local ingredients and common dishes of the destination you’re in.
20. Be Prepared for Airport Security
While waiting to pass through airport security, transder your mobile, any loose change, or other items you may have in your pockets to an easy-to-reach pocket of your carry on. Dress smart by opting for slip on shoes, and remove any belts in advance in order to breeze through security and avoid holding up the passengers behind you.