Ingenious Hacks from Travel Influencers
These days, it seems like everyone has their own tips, tricks and hacks for making travel smoother and more enjoyable. So we turned to a few of our friends who are travel experts to share their top tips for making the journey a little easier. Whether they travel full time or spare time, these guys know their way around a new destination. Here's what they had to say.
Follow the Locals' Lead
"Try to talk with local people as much as possible," says Sjoerd Bracke of @sjoerdbracke. "They know the secret spots and know the best stories or historical facts about their home country."
Locals will always be your best resource, so don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone you meet. Ask questions of your Uber driver, your waiter and your barista. Every local is going to have their own opinion, so it helps to ask specific questions and tell them a little about what you're interested in.
"We always ask the locals to point us to the best restaurants, awesome spots to watch the sunset, the best coffee shops, etc." says Michelangelo Azzariti of @miky_ph. "I do like to tell people what type of food I’m craving though. In Kenya, asking around led to some interesting place that wouldn’t have been my first choice."
You can also track down locals ahead of time and arrange to meet up. "Meet up with a local from Instagram or pay for a guide," is Tom Kahler of @tomkahler's advice. "They will be able to give you information that will save you lots of time researching or learning from mistakes."
Pack Like a Pro
Packing can be a nightmare. Making sure you have everything you need for every possible occasion is enough to drive anyone crazy. Getting organized and thoughtful about your luggage can make a world of difference when you're a world away from home.
"For packing, I always check the weather and plan my outfits based on what I’ll actually be doing, and what will photograph well in any setting," says Kamelia Britton of @thehackerette. "Solid colors are easy and won’t compete too much with that cool mural that you find unexpectedly."
Get Better at Booking
Whether you're booking a plane ticket, a hotel room or Airbnb, there are a few tricks to help you get the best deal. Know which reservations you need to make ahead of time and which you can make while you're there. Airfare and hotels are best booked weeks in advance, to ensure you get a good deal. Certain tours or activities can also fill up ahead of time, so be sure to keep an eye on what you want to do.
"First, when booking flights it's important to use a private browser," says @mena_shootz. "I do this because when you search flights the prices tend to be inflated because the websites keep track of what you're searching. I usually also book flights about a month to two months in advance on a Tuesday because this is when I've found it to be the cheapest."
Stay Safe and Smart
Whether you travel alone or in a group, you can never take too many precautions to ensure you have a safe trip. Be smart and make plans in case the worst case scenario comes true.
"Take a picture of important documents and save it to the cloud for easy access," @tom.shu recommends. "Double check your credit card policies to ensure what the best for exchanges is if you are making purchases with it internationally."
At the same time, keep your loved ones informed of your movements. "Let someone at home know your plans," says @miky_ph. "This is extremely important when traveling solo but it’s still a good idea no matter how many people are in your travel group."
Budget, Budget, Budget
Money is never an easy topic to address, but it's at the forefront of all travel. Like most tips on this list, planning ahead and making some smart moves can save you lots of cash and headache when you finally reach your dream destination.
"Always over budget when you plan your travels," @miky_ph advises. "Coming in under budget feels great, going over budget hurts."
His other go-to tip for saving some dough? "Travel in the off season. It's the best way to avoid the crowds and save money on accommodations, airfare, train tickets and tours. Most of the main tourist attractions are open year-round, just make sure to check closing times as some might have shorter hours during the off-peak travel season. (Generally October is my month to go to tropical place with very cheap prices.)"
Go the Extra Mile
It's incredibly easy to go with the crowd when you travel. Following tour guides or letting crowds herd you from one attraction to the next requires minimal effort. But if you want to take your experience to the next level, and come home with some truly unique memories, you have to be willing to go the extra distance.
Tom Kahler puts it best: "Put in a little more effort, hike further, camp at the top of the mountain, get up at 4:00 am and drive two hours to hike up a mountain for sunrise. The more effort you put in, the better the results."
Follow @sjoerdbracke's advice for avoiding the crowds — "Try to avoid the touristic highlights or try to visit them as early as possible. I personally hate it when my experience gets ruined by the amount of people that are visiting the exact same spot. I always try to head somewhere early when most people are still in bed, or avoid it and find a 'better', lesser-known alternative."
Traveling can wear you down, so staying hydrated, no matter what climate you're traveling to, is always a smart idea. Whether you find yourself in the arid desert or just feeling parched on a long, trans-Atlantic flight, you can save yourself the headache if you prepare.
"When it comes to beauty, I love traveling with my Summer Friday’s eye mask. It is perfect for long flights that typically dry out your skin. An easy trick, stay hydrated, it goes a long way when it comes to your skin!" says Ana Linares of @ananewyork.
"My number one tip is to carry an empty reusable water bottle in airports so you can fill up from water fountains once you’ve been through security," says Milly of @whats_up_beaches. "Not only will you be sustainable and save money, you'll remember to fill up and chug no matter where you go.
Enjoy the Moment
Whether you consider yourself a photographer or a professional traveler, remember that the memories you make along the way are the most important.
"Don't travel for the photos, but take photos of your travels," says @sjoerdbracke. "I don't want to lose myself in taking photos. Make sure to enjoy the moment, experience where you are first. And then take photos of it, to really capture the moment or the feeling you had. "
Or, as @mena_shootz puts it, "Most importantly don't forget to travel with an open heart and mind, talk to locals, eat local food, don't be afraid to put yourself out there. This is why we travel in the first place to find ourselves in new and challenging situations!"
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