It doesn’t matter whether you’re eighteen, fresh out of high school and going for a road trip with your friends, or going on your first solo international trip in your 50s, the thrill of travel is an ageless feeling. After all, there’s hardly a more exciting (and nerve-wracking) feeling than travelling to a hitherto-unexplored destination with a new culture to immerse yourself in. However, like many great undertakings, travel brings along with it quite a few complications and hassles. Hauling a heavy bag around, having to sprint for last-minute flight and train departures and looking out for pickpockets are just a few of the hurdles that a traveller might encounter on the road. But that doesn’t mean it has to be impossible. Below we’ve outlined a number of travel hacks that travellers of all ages can take advantage of to ensure that their vagabond experience is as smooth yet adventurous as ever.
Always Bring a Water Bottle
Having water on your person at all times should be a no-brainer and shouldn’t really be a travel hack at all. But it’s surprising how often travellers will forget to bring water with them when they leave. We’re not talking about plastic bottles that degrade over time either. Getting a solid, reusable and reliable water bottle that can accompany you regardless of your destination and environmental conditions might literally save your life. It will allow you to transport clean water wherever you travel, and has the added benefit of saving the environment by forcing you not to buy wasteful bottled water. Check out this list of recommended water bottles for the top contenders.
Reclaim Money for Delayed Flights
There’s nothing worse than either being bumped off of a flight or being so severely delayed that you miss your connecting flight and have to loiter aimlessly in an airport for six hours. What many travellers don’t know is that you don’t have to take this sitting (or lying) down. Since 2004 the European Union established a regulation that protects travellers against negligent acts of airlines that would otherwise result in severe disruptions or cancellations to a traveller’s trip. Essentially this means that if a passenger is denied boarding, has their flight cancelled or is subject to a delay of three hours or more, they can claim compensation to the tune of between €250 to €600. It doesn’t matter whether it’s EasyJet, British Airways or RyanAir –flight delay compensation has to be paid by law. You can either take up the fight with the airline in question, or enlist the help of one of a claims company to do all of the hard work for you.
Carry Copies of Your Passport and Identification
If the number one rule of travelling is to always keep your passport and identification safe on your person, then the number two rule is to always have copies of those documents. In the event of you actually losing your physical passport, bank card of ID, having back-up copies will go a long way to helping you reclaim your identity and get new documents. Not only will it prove who you are, but it will speed up the bureaucratic process when you speak to someone from your respective embassy. Printing something will only take you a minute – but it will save you hours in the future should you need it.
Keep Your Things Safe in a Fanny Pack
Whether or not fanny packs look cool is a question of taste (although we personally think they’re pretty great), but what is absolutely out of the question is the fact that fanny packs are unbeatably practical and utilitarian. They’re the bane of pickpockets worldwide, and allow you to keep your phone and valuables directly on your body, out of sight and out of the way of potential thieves. It’ll give you massive peace of mind, and has the added benefit of keeping all your documents stored in one easy-to-access pouch for when you’re travelling through areas like airports or bus terminals, where you may need ready access to them multiple times on one occasion.
Eat Locally to Save Money and Broaden your Horizons
While it might seem hard to believe, many travellers stick to tried-and-tested favourites like McDonald’s whenever they travel overseas. While this might be a way of holding on to those homely comforts, it’s one of the fastest ways to miss out on one of the most beautiful aspects of travelling – tasting the local cuisine and discovering a culture through its food. Not only will this give you an insight into the lives of how locals live and experience life, it’s also going to be kinder on the wallet as local food is reared and produced in nearby sources. Depending on where you go some of this food might appear dubious and at times even unsavoury, but fortune favours the bold, and no daring adventurer ever wrote about how they survived on Subway sandwiches during their epic voyages.