Travel Hacks

Traveling can be stressful, especially when you aren't experienced at it. But there are ways to make it easier on yourself, and your student group, through the planning stages all the way till you make it home again.

  • Delete cookies and enable private browsing when booking with online travel sites. Many of them will track your activity and raise prices if you've been to their site before.
  • Make sure you alert your bank that you'll be traveling so they don't shut down your card for suspicious activity.
  • Check your credit card/bank rewards before booking. You might have travel reward opportunities that you didn't know about.
  • Consider signing up for TSAPreCheck to save time and energy at the airport. This is like FastPass for the airport as an expedited screening process.
  • Refill travel size toiletries when possible to save money (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
  • Put a binder clip over razor heads to keep them clean and safe.
  • Roll your clothes, don't fold them. Also stuff your underwear and socks into the toes of your shoes.
  • Put a dryer sheet in your suitcase to keep it smelling fresh and lower static.
  • If you're in a group, bring a power strip. When everyone needs a phone charge at the airport, they'll all be thanking you.
  • Pack only what you need. Try and bypass checked baggage fees by only taking a carry-on. That way, your things will never leave your side, you'll save money, and fewer clothes means less laundry to do when you get home.
  • If you can't do with only a carry-on, make sure you have a small bag with your essentials as you board. Pack a quick change of clothes, a toothbrush, and maybe some snacks along with your travel papers and ID just in case you have an unexpected layover or your bags get lost.
  • When you're on the flight, wear comfortable clothes. We all want to look our best but when you're flying ten hours, you'd best be comfy. Also, save space in your luggage by wearing your largest pair of shoes on the flight. These might be boots, might be sneakers, but whatever they are the extra space will be much appreciated in your bags. Extra tip: bring a sleep mask on the flight.
  • Take a picture or scan of your important travel papers as extra proof in case something happens.
  • Back up your phone to the cloud to protect your pictures and information in case your phone is lost. (I had this scare at the Orlando Airport, coming home from a Disney World trip. It's scary so don't let it happen to you. Turn your phone tracker on as well for good measure.)
  • If you forget your wall plug for your phone, remember that TVs now have USB ports in the back that you can use for charging.
  • If you're out of your phone's range, make long-distance calls using Skype and Google Voice. You only need WiFi and it's a lot cheaper than long-distance minutes.
  • Minimize jet lag by sleeping more than usual before your trip and also by eating well. This means less sugar and less caffeine than normal, which will dehydrate you and make you feel worse. Hydration is key, though.
  • If you're abroad, use ATMs to exchange currency. It's automatic and you don't have to mess with the sketchy exchange rates and added fees of the brick-and-mortar exchanges.
  • Eat only locally. Tap into social review sites like Yelp and forget about McDonald's. You can have all the Big Macs you want when you get home but when you're on vacation, try something you can't get anywhere else.
  • Utilize free travel apps. They're there to help you travel better.
  • Stop by a grocery store to pick up snacks and drinks instead of buying from the hotel vending machine. You'll save money and likely eat better food when you're munchy at midnight.

Did we miss something? Is there another travel hack that you think should be added? Give us a shout out in the comments below!