Experienced traveller, Laura Zito, has shared her top 10 travel hacks to make sure your next holiday goes without a glitch. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or taking your first steps into a new culture, these travel hints and tips will make any holiday a easier and safer.
1. Emergency cash
Although we hope it never happens, thefts and losses can occur when travelling. Thieves will often take a whole handbag… and your emergency cash stash. So leave a small stash of cash in your hotel room. Empty a travel-size toothpaste tube, store about £50 and the address of your local embassy inside and keep it hidden in your toiletry bag. If you lose your wallet you’ll at least have enough money to get help.
2. Rubber door stop
If you’re staying in hostels, dorms or cheap hotels, carry a rubber door stop and wedge it under the door before you sleep. This will make it impossible for anyone to get into your room while you’re in it. It’s unlikely this will ever happen but it’s always nice to have the peace of mind so you can get a good night’s sleep and be ready to explore in the morning.
Always handy, especially if you’re going to be leaving your luggage in storage or on connecting flights. Tie two differently coloured ribbons to the handle so you can easily identify your bags. Why two ribbons? When travelling with a friend we had the same backpack and bought the same coloured ribbon. It was awkward and we swapped bags. A lot.
Shove a few bags of that ‘Do Not Eat’ silica gel in your swimsuit bag. That way, if your clothes are still wet when you need to move on to your next destination, they won’t smell. No one likes musty luggage.
If you’re travelling with friends or a partner but heading your separate ways for the day, take a photo of each person that morning. If anyone gets lost you’ll be able to easily show the authorities what they look like, and more importantly, what they’re wearing.
Scan a copy of your documentation, such as passports, driving licence, travel itineraries and flight details, in case you lose your hard copies. Store your copies in your emails or DropBox and you can then access them from any computer or smartphone and your embassy will be able to help you in the event of an emergency.
7. Check your room
If you’re checking in to your hotel and immediately heading out again, take five minutes to ensure you have hot water and the loo flushes. There’s nothing worse than getting back to your accommodation at 3am feeling worse for wear with a non-flushing toilet and no night manager to help. Trust me.
8. Wet wipes
Keep these in a plastic zip bag. Some countries don’t have the facilities for disposing loo roll, so you’ll be left using a hose which can be a real challenge to get used to. Wet wipes mean you don’t have the worry of soaking yourself with the nozzle (not a euphemism). Never flush them though. Wet wipes are also great to freshen up with on long journeys, especially if the facilities aren’t great.
9. Business cards
If you’re in a country that doesn’t use a Latin-based alphabet it can be impossible to know where you’re staying. Grab a few business cards from the reception desk at your hotel or at that great restaurant you accidentally found and hand them to taxi drivers and locals when you’re asking for directions.
If you suffer from motion sickness then travelling can be a nightmare. Motion sickness tablets are great but can leave you feeling sleepy so why not opt for ginger in stead. Ginger is also great when you’re somewhere remote and can’t find a doctor or pharmacy: pay a visit to a local market and pick up a few inches of root ginger to chew on. According to studies carried out at London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital, it’s scientifically proven to be as effective as prescription anti-emetics in treating nausea.
Do you have any other travel tips to add to the list?
Laura’s a creative copywriter and journalist living just outside London, although she’s very often found daydreaming about her travels in South East Asia. She’s also the editor of six out of ten, an online women’s lifestyle magazine, and can be found tweeting at @sixoutoftenmag.