Some people make travel look effortless, arriving calm and refreshed without losing, breaking or forgetting anything. The rest of us need a bit of help – and that’s where travel hacks come in handy. Simple, ingenious and above all, cheap, they could hold the key to a smooth and happy holiday.
1. Scan Any Important Documents Before You Leave
It may be the last thing on your mind while you’re getting ready to go away, but you could save yourself a lot of potential hassle if you take copies of your passport, driving license, hotel reservations and any other relevant paperwork and keep them separate from your documents for the duration of the trip. This way, if any of these items are lost or stolen on your travels, you’ll have an easier time with officials if you need to replace them.
2. Keep Your Luggage Fresh with a Dryer Sheet
Clothes and other fabrics don’t tend to smell their best after sitting in a suitcase for several hours, so to prevent that musty feeling on arrival, simply stash a standard tumble dryer sheet in with your clothing items to keep them smelling fresh.
3. Use a Drinking Straw to Transport Jewellery
This is a cute and clever way to transport your favourite necklace without it becoming tangled up and possibly snapped in half en route. Simply thread one end of the necklace through a drinking straw, catch it at the other end, and do it up at the clasp. If you’re planning on a glamorous get-away with dozens of jewellery pieces at your disposal, you might also want to consider getting hold of a pill dispenser box, which can serve as a great organiser for your earrings, bracelets and other trinkets.
4. Bubble Wrap Your Laptop
Taking a laptop? If you don’t want to carry a bulky case, a bubble wrap sleeve makes the perfect lightweight alternative. You can either use a ready-made bubble wrap envelope, many of which are robust, waterproof and large enough to fit a laptop or simply cut your own sheet of bubble wrap to size, sealing off the ends with gaffer tape. Your gadget will also appear less stealable if it’s masquerading as a mailer.
5. Make a Decoy Wallet
Many of us carry a little more cash than usual on our travels and being robbed is always a possibility. One way to lessen your chances of being a victim is to stash your cash somewhere unusual, for example, an empty lip-balm tube that will fit neatly in your pocket. Notes can be rolled to fit inside the tube but be sure to carry a spare purse for any change! To really throw potential thieves off the scent, you might want to confuse them further by wearing a fake wallet somewhere about your person.
6. Carry a Charge Key
Invest in a useful little gadget called a ‘charge key’. This is a connector that attached to a laptop at one end and to your handset the other, allowing for a USB charging. What makes the device so useful is that it’s fashioned into a keyring that you can carry with you at all time – so even if you do leave your wall-socket charger at home you can still power up on the go.
7. Pack a PEN (Yes, a Pen)
Perhaps one of the simplest travel hacks of all, but by far one of the most useful. There’s nothing more frustrating than needing to fill in a form or jot down an address or phone number but finding you don’t have a pen on your person – particularly when you don’t speak the local language and can’t get a data signal on your phone. Keep a pen in your pocket and you’ll feel far more in control.
8. Rock Up at Security With an Empty Bottle
We’re all clued in on airport security regulations that forbid liquids in bottles over 100 ml, but there’s no rule that says you can’t take on an empty bottle of any size. To avoid hefty charges for bottled water, simply bring your own (unfilled) plastic bottle and fill it from a drinking water tap once your airside.
9. Carry Contact Lens Cases for Makeup
Contact lens cases are tiny, airtight cases that can be easily sealed to keep their contents fresh, This makes them ideal for transporting small amounts of fluids of all types, and this is a great way to transport just enough makeup to see you through your journey. This method takes up minimal space in your hand-luggage, and won’t contravene airport security regulations.
10. Selfie Security
Finally, a use for selfies that isn’t entirely frivolous! If you’re concerned about losing your expensive smartphone or camera on your travels, there may be no need to mark the case with your details. By simply taking a selfie and saving it somewhere only you’ll know to access, you can prove that the phone or camera is yours if it’s handed in at your hotel’s lost property office. Say cheese!