I travel more than the average human. During any given month, I might be crisscrossing my home country of Canada, flying to Sri Lanka, and planning a trip to the Netherlands. I’m very fortunate that my job takes me to so many beautiful places, but the reality of such frequent travel is often not very romantic!
After years of trial and error, I’ve developed a series of travel hacks that will help you breeze through airports, keep messy reservations in order, and even prevent pesky luggage wrinkles.
Keep all of your logistics, such as flight information, hotel addresses, car services, the names of drivers, and ground transportation options in one place. I rely on an app called Tripit, but you may choose to use Notes or Wallet in your iPhone or even a binder with hard copies. The method isn’t as important as consistency. Get in the habit of filing away new pieces of information every time you make arrangements so you have all the information you need at your fingertips. When hiccups inevitably occur, you’ll be armed and ready. This is one of my favourite travel hacks by far!
Try to begin researching your destination at least six weeks in advance so you can determine what immunizations and visas you might need. (Even earlier would be better; some countries aren’t as efficient as others.) I use CanImmunize to easily track my inoculations and plan for boosters.
Plan to be Delighted
If you’re heading to a new city you probably have a list of tourist attractions lined up. But what about the places you visit frequently? I travel to Seattle quite often, and I tend to get stuck in a rut while I’m there — but with a little research, I discovered three hidden gems that I might have otherwise missed. Next time, I’ll book tickets ahead of time so I can see Amazon headquarters, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Atlas Obscura is a great site if you’re interested in having an out-of-the-norm experience.
Keep A Checklist
If you travel often, keep a cosmetic bag dedicated to the purpose that includes all of your must-haves. I have a round brush, a toothbrush, mouthwash, Tylenol, and bandages with me at all times. I refill them at home to avoid the hefty markups I see at hotel stores — I recently saw a man pay $8 for 125ml of mouthwash in Florida! That’s the same cost as a 1 litre bottle. If you don’t travel often, create a checklist and keep it in your phone or print it out and keep it with your luggage. Refine it over time to better meet your needs.
Pack Like a Pro
Check the weather conditions and average temps for your destination before packing. Roll up your garments to prevent wrinkles and save space. You can also wrap them in tissue or keep them in a dry cleaning bag. Even better, buy travel garments made from wrinkle-free materials. Use the inside of your shoes to stash hairbrushes, cosmetics such as sunscreen, or socks or undergarments, then wrap shoes in shoe containers or bags so they don’t shake loose dirt on your other garments. You can also use outside pockets for shoes or even travel with a second bag for them. Under no circumstances should you travel with new shoes — trust me on this! Your feet will thank you. Instead, give your broken-in shoes a good cleaning before you leave.
Bring a Bit of Home With You
I like to travel with small gifts from my country to share with others as I travel. They don’t have to be expensive — think pens, pins, stickers, magnets, and small snacks. You never know when a gift will come in handy!
What are your favorite travel hacks? I’d love to hear about them!