7 amazing travel hacks for seamless summer vacations
First thing's first: who thought of the word "hack?" Weird. Second: Having traveled extensively for almost fifteen years, I've rounded up some of my best travel "hacks" you should consider for your next vacation! Third: Back to the word "hack." Did no one ever question the millennial who first used it in a sentence? Fourth: On to the seven best travel "hacks" below!
1. Pack Smartwater in your suitcase. When I travel internationally, I always pack Smartwater (or water with electrolytes) in my suitcase. I freak out if I packed good underwear but forgot my Smartwater, it's that important. Why? It's so nice to have Smartwater right away when I check into a hotel. Electrolytes help rehydrate after a long flight, and you don't have to spend $10 on that mini-bar water bottle.
2. Use RouteHappy to choose the best plane on a specific route. Not all planes are created equal, and not all flights are the same. For instance, you could fly an old 767 with zero modern comforts on a flight from Los Angeles to Miami, but if you leave earlier in the morning, you could fly a 777, which has seatback entertainment, power outlets and WIFI. A better plane makes all the difference, people. RouteHappy is the best way to determine which flight has a better plane, ranking the routes best to worst on a happy meter, and it's definitely an essential site I use.
3. Leave extra space in your luggage. I never fully pack my luggage. You never know what you'll bring back, especially if you plan on shopping. Some times, the hotel you stay at will leave you gifts, which I like to bring back, unless it's a hat, then that goes to housekeeping. I don't need another hat. Anyway, don't be that guy/girl that bounces on your suitcase to make everything fit. You could injure a rib. Also, I know this is super obvious, but leaving space in your luggage will ensure it's not going to weigh down the scale at check in, which could slap on extra fees. And here's the thing: when you hold up the check-in line trying to rearrange everything, and I'm in that line... well, let's not go there.
4. Sign up for TSA Pre-Check. Even if you're not a frequent flier, TSA Pre-Check is a total lifeline. It saves you time at the airport, and you don't have to take off your shoes or take out your laptop. I can't even begin to express how convenient it has been at busy airports during busy times, like LAX or Las Vegas. Clear is the new TSA Pre-Check, so that's another option.
5. Become a loyalty member with hotel chains. It's weird hotels still charge for WIFI, but when they do, you can easily avoid charges by signing up with their rewards program. Just being a member gives you free WIFI. Obviously, you'll rack up points for freebies in the future, and I know some hotels give you free bottled water for being a member. You laugh now, but just wait until you check into that hotel in New Delhi and you can't drink tap and the mini-bar sells $42 water bottles.
6. Call the hotel for best rates and upgrades. Believe it or not, to get the best rates, you need to go old school and pick up the phone. Some times the reservations manager at luxury hotels can budge with rates that are not always published depending on availability. I've actually done this. You're not going to save hundreds but you're still going to get a good deal. If you're celebrating something like an anniversary, they can often upgrade you to a better room. You'll want to call in advance, on the phone, because that room upgrade just went to someone else who checked in literally ten minutes before you did.
7. Get free water in the hotel gym. Not to bring up water again, but for free water, head to the hotel gym, which usually has filtered water, whether by bottles or a cooler. It's the oldest trick in the book, so... "wa-ter" you waiting for? :)