12 Hacks for Stress-Free Travel
As wonderful as travel is, we all know it can be headache-inducing, too—there’s just so much to keep in mind. Luckily, we’re pros by now, so we’ve got some expert hacks that will save you time, money, and stress through all stages of the process, from booking the flights to enjoying the destination. Below, 12 tips for a better trip.
In partnership with Natural Vitality CALM
1. Use a private browser when flight shopping.
Most sites store cookies and data, which means they’ll know when you’re searching for a flight. Prices go up as anticipated demand going up, so refreshing the page or making lots of searches could actually increase the amount you’ll end up paying. To avoid this, use Incognito mode on Chrome or Private mode on Safari—both ensure that your search history and cookies won’t be saved.
2. Sign up for airfare deal alerts.
Instead of constantly checking for price drops, let computers do the work for you. If you’re looking for a deal, try Airfarewatchdog, which will not only find you the cheapest options for specific destinations and dates, but also alert you to cheap flights from your home city to anywhere or anytime, if you’re the spontaneous type.
3. Look out for flash sales for hotel deals.
Again, there’s much more than Google and hotel websites when it comes to finding somewhere to stay. TripAdvisor compares rates from every major booking site to get you the best deal without the hassle of checking everywhere yourself. Even better, keep an eye out for flash sales—limited time offers that score you incredible savings. Here at Jetsetter, we have our own flash sale page to keep you on top of it.
4. Invest in a travel credit card for points and perks.
“Thinking back on it, the years I spent without a travel-points-earning credit card were a complete waste,” says Jetsetter editor Lindsey Olander. “It’s basically free money you’re earning on purchases you’re already making—from shopping for groceries to going out for dinner and, yes, even when you travel. Points my husband and I earned with our card have paid for flights to Hawaii and Toronto, a luxury hotel stay in Palm Springs, and multiple car rentals and museum entry fees.”
Packing + Prepping
5. Follow our checklist of essentials to bring along.
Beyond picking out what you’ll wear (the fun part), the rest of the packing experience can be a total frenzy. To make sure you don’t forget any essentials, we made a handy checklist for you.
6. Pack smartly.
Having trouble squeezing that suitcase shut? With a few hacks, you can save tons of space. First of all, put shoes at the bottom to keep balanced (otherwise the bag will tip over). And then, stuff them. “Stuffing my shoes with smaller items like socks, toiletries, and anything else that fits has often been the difference between a bag that zips and a bag that can’t,” says Olander. “That’s also where I pack those breakable items like shot glasses and ornaments—sturdy shoes give them one more layer of protection.” To prevent dirty soles from rubbing off on clothes, put a shower cap or plastic bag around them. Once the shoes are set, roll your clothes (rolling, rather than folding, creates extra space) and place them tightly on top. Finally, add the extras, and place a dryer sheet on top to keep everything smelling fresh.
7. Make scans of documents.
The most stressful part of travel: those worst-case scenarios, like getting your passport and wallet stolen or lost. Before the trip, make scans of all of your important documents, including passport and ID, to make it easier to get home.
8. Keep travel-specific items stored in your suitcase.
To cut down on packing and unpacking time (okay, and the time spent running around just trying to find everything), keep travel items stored in your suitcase. If your travel pillow, headphones, toiletry bag, carry-on items, and other essentials are already where you’ll need them, you’ll feel a lot better next time you need to grab that suitcase.
9. Plan entertainment for the plane.
Don’t rely on the spotty in-air WiFi or the low-quality movie screens on the back of the seat to keep you busy—bring your own entertainment. You can download podcasts, TV shows, and music directly to your smart phone so that you don’t need any WiFi or data to enjoy. “Before I go to the airport, I always download a few hours of different podcasts to take my mind off my cramping legs,” says Jetsetter photo editor David Hattan. “I usually stick to comedy shows like Who? Weekly, Las Culturistas, or How Did This Get Made? Being able to laugh along helps the time fly by.”
10. Get around a new area by downloading maps.
Lost in a foreign place? If you want to use Google Maps without paying for an international data package, download offline maps for the cities you’ll be in before you go. All you have to do is search for the city on Google Maps, tap the address at the bottom and the “More” button, and then hit Download Offline Map.
11. Prepare your body for calmness.
Since travel often brings along a boatload of stressful experiences (despite how amazing it is!), prep your body to handle them best. That means cutting back on sugar and caffeine, which can cause irritability, and loading up on magnesium, the supplement associated with relaxing the nervous system and calming the body. Bring a few teaspoons of Natural Vitality CALM, a drink full of ocean-sourced magnesium, on vacation with you to keep calm the natural way.
12. Communicate struggle-free.
With Google Translate’s offline feature, you can download languages to your phone ahead of time for use without WiFi or data. Once in the app, simply tap the language and click the Download button. And while most people know about the basic type-to-translate feature, the app even lets you point your camera at words and receive automatic instant translations, without internet connection (so helpful for street signs and menus).
When travel becomes stressful, experts turn to Natural Vitality CALM, and so do we. The supplement restores healthy magnesium levels in the body, leading to more relaxed muscles—and a more relaxed vacation in return.
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