Travel hacks, like any kind of hack, is about making your life easier, and your travels happier. Little things and a little prep can make a big difference to how smoothly your trip will go!
Travel Hacks for Happier Travel
Your mileage may vary but these work for us and for our favorite well travelled friends! We don’t have kids or pets, so those ones are courtesy of friends!
♣ Make a packing list.
I have a template packing list I use as a checklist for each trip – I keep it on my phone – super simple! (If you want to see this, leave a comment!)
♣ Create a travel toiletry dopp kit that you never unpack.
Not only is this super easy to grab and go for those last minute packers, you know for sure that you can carryon your luggage with no hassle!
♣ Re-use a Ziploc bag as a toiletry bag.
Bonus points for TSA approved size (quart). I like the hefty brand ones with a zipper like feature because they seem to seal the best. If a ziploc isn’t your speed, a clear plastic pencil case (you can get these at office supply stores) can be a chic solution and still meet the TSA requirements!
♣ Pack a thick plastic shopping bag or trash bag for laundry
I was a late comer to this one – this is running man’s influence. He uses the laundry bags in hotel rooms as the laundry bag he takes home. It does make it easier to unpack when you already have the laundry separated, so pack a trash bag and use it as a dirty clothes hamper to separate your dirty and clean clothes.
♣ A good quality set of headphones.
Noise cancelling headphones make traveling way less tiring for me. I love my wireless noise cancelling headphones! I also use these when i’m working in coffee shops.
♣ Pre-download some good tunes and stories
Download some audiobooks or podcasts before leaving home. That way you don’t have to worry about access to wifi! As an awesome by-product of listening to audiobooks or podcasts, you can lighten your carryon!
♣ If you love reading in hardcopy…
Take magazines or books you can leave behind. I sometimes leave a magazine in the back of the airline seat or a book in the hotel library or a tiny library on a street I come across during my travels.
♣ Pack wrinkle resistent clothes!
This doesn’t mean you have to pack sweats and yoga wear. There are some great fabrics that look classic and won’t wrinkle when rolled.
♣ Run/walk in new places
Pack some comfortable workout clothes. Before you go for a run, ask at the hotel desk for recommended routes. Sometimes Dwight runs when he is visiting a place to see more of a place – when visiting Tokyo he ran from metro stop to metro, including running through a department store, in order to see as many districts as possible in one day.
♣ Pack a Power Strip
Pack a power strip. Or this Belkin power strip with usb outlets.
♣ Embrace repacking for each stage of the journey
Pack a “hotel bag” with the things you need for one part of the trip, so you don’t have to bring in every suitcase.
♣ Roadtripping with an infant!
Create a diaper-changing station in your car, a changing mat or towel on the back of the car (boot or trunk) is awesome! This travel changing mat has a built in head cushion!
♣ Create a travel kit for each child.
Use a canvas tote (they could even decorate their own) and create a travel kit. Maybe it contains items or games that change in and out each trip, some snacks, some colored pencils or crayons, and other kid approved (and parent happiness creating) stuff.
♣ Pack Snacks
♣ An external battery for electronic devices
Pack an external battery for your smartphone. We love our Anker batteries. I slip mine in the bottom of my handbag most days – I never have to worry about not being able to find a power outlet at a conference or in a coffee shop (or on a plane).
♣ Know your Pet friendly rest stops
If you’re traveling with a pet and need to stop for a bathroom break , go to Petsmart or Petco. They have clean restrooms and will allow you to bring your pet. Travel with your own supply of doggy doo doo baggies!
♣ Order (your groceries) in.
♣ A little research makes for smooth travels
Research your destination online ahead of time, for ideas. I love searching for “48 hours in…” or “72 hours in…”
If traveling with a group: have each person make a list of their essentials so you know what is most important to everyone; or use the “three choices game,” where one person suggests three choices, and one person makes the final selection from those three.
♣ Rain or shine?! Pack for the weather
Check the weather at your destination. Obvious, yes, but also very helpful. No matter the weather, I always pack at least one long sleeve and one short sleeve top! I love my uniqlo long sleeve tops!
♣ Even adults need a little game time
Take a pack of cards or download the Plates app (a license plate game for roadtripping in the US).
♣ Make your luggage distinctive
Put colorful duct tape on your luggage or a bright sticker, to make it easier to spot. Buy one of ours!!!
♣ Leave room for adventure
Never leave home with a completely full suitcase (unless you are taking items you are giving to others) so that you have some room to bring back items and memories! oh, and always take swimmers! (Swimmers = Swimming costume)
♣ Invest in a warm jacket
True story, I spent much of my twenties dreading the cold because i could never get warm. I didn’t know what it meant to be comfortable in the winter weather until I got myself a beautifully warm down winter jacket. Whatever your speed is, find a winter weather clothing situation that doesn’t leave you shivering!
♣ Mystery is a good thing
Suprise! Plan a trip to surprise a friend or loved one, or plan a spontaneous trip. We do this periodically by planning suprise (low expense) dates for each other.
♣ Record where you parked the car; no, dude where’s my car?
Take a picture of when you have parked the car in a new or an unfamiliar place. We had a memorable 45 minutes of search a multi-story garage in DC when we forgot to do this. Learn. Do. avoid the tension that simmered for hours….
♣ Unpack where most of the contents will need to go.
Take your luggage straight to the laundry (or mudroom) if you have one and unpack there!
♣ A secure password manager
For a long time I travelled with hard copies of my password log. It was great in a pinch – but I can honestly say that I feel much more secure and more prepared with 1Password. Not only can I access my secure information from anywhere in the world, I know that I am not having to remember passwords or reusing passwords on different websites because who wants to have to remember them all!
♣ Ask about late checkout
If you have afternoon or evening flight, ask about a late checkout – they may not be able to give you more than an hour or two but that extra time can make all the difference to how relaxed and rested you are.
♣ Travel with money you already have.
There’s something magical about knowing you can afford the accomodation, and adventures of the travel you are in the midst of. I highly recommend not using credit to pay for travel, so conversely, spending money you have on experiences is a highly lauded happiness hack!
♣ learn at least the basics,
hello, please, thank you, how are you?, how is your family? are phrases we have found are extremely useful when visiting a new country. Learning at least these engenders good will among those you encounter!
♣ Embrace getting lost
Sometimes i take a walk without a destination in mind, when i am ready to return home then i figure out where I am!
♣ Perspective is a good thing!
Find ways to get perspective. We took a drive the circumnavigated koh samui and helped us understand the scope of the island. Dwight likes to give himself specific missions. When visiting crete, he explored for a couple of hours to find baklava to take back to his aircrew.
Travel Hacks for Happier Travel
I love learning new ways to make travel more efficient and more enjoyable. I love travel hacks that make travel happier!!!