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Useful tips for traveling

Roll your clothes for more space

One of the most simple but effective travel hacks there is. Rather than folding your clothes, roll them up into a little tube. This will save a ton of space and stop creases and wrinkles – all in all, pretty sweet!

Never pay for water at the airport

Things have got rather strict with bottles of liquid recently. Doesn’t matter whether it looks as if the seal been tampered with or not, a bottle with liquid in it is a no go. So, instead of bringing a full bottle, bring an empty bottle to the airport and refill it after you’ve passed through security.

Book Your Accommodation with Hostelworld

Hostelworld’s brand new mobile app makes booking the best budget accommodation even easier. Read full descriptions and full reviews of each property to make sure you get what you want. From party places with bars and pub crawls galore to the cool but comfortable spots where you can simply sit back and chill out after a long day’s exploring. The app’s in-built map feature also makes finding your accommodation a doddle. Best of all, it’s free!

Buy a portable phone charger

Yeah, alright, this one might seem a little simplistic, but it’s very useful. Essentially these act as an external battery you can charge separately using a USB connector or even replenish with a store bought battery. Worth having one of these in reserve in case an emergency arises while your phone is out of juice.

Email yourself a scan of your passport

You’ll thank yourself if you’re ever a victim of theft or loss. It’s also worth taking a screenshot of any journey confirmations. If you’ve booked any flights, buses or trains, whether you’re on your phone, laptop or tablet, make sure you screenshot them while you have Wi-Fi or internet access so you can access them when you’re no longer connected. So much easier than lugging around printouts. As travel hacks go, this is one you don’t want to ignore in case anything goes wrong.

Mark your baggage as fragile

Not only does this mean your bag is more likely to be handled correctly, but it’ll also find itself at the top of pile in the storage compartment of the plane. The result? Why, you’ll get your bag back first, of course. Jackpot.

Use ATMs/cash machines to get local currency

In this day and age it’s best to use these automated bad boys to get hold of the national currency, rather than local the currency exchange/bureau de change. Money converters usually have their own fees and rip-off exchange rates, very likely to be far worse than your bank.

Only unpack what you really need

If you’re backpacking your way across the universe, then it’s likely you won’t be staying in one place for too long. To save on packing time, only take out what you’ll definitely need in each hostel. This will leave you free for a quick and easy escape when you’re next on the verge of missing that bus.

Get your own personal AI tour guide

Having a problem finding a decent tour guide, think tours are a little pricey or just want to avoid people while you explore for the day? No problem, simply install Google Goggles onto your phone and take some photos as you explore. Every time you photograph a famous monument, your phone will fire back a bunch of interesting information for you to read. You’ll be an expert in local culture, customs and history in no time.

Put your rechargeable batteries in the fridge

If you want to keep your batteries fresher and full of juice for longer, bung them in the hostel fridge with your food. This is one of the more bizarre travel hacks on the list, but most rechargeable batteries retain 90% of their full charge when kept in cold temperatures, meaning you don’t need to charge them as often.

Buy a dummy wallet to confuse pickpockets

Get yourself a dummy wallet to trick those dishonest types, making sure it contains a suitably offensive note and a very, very grim and disturbing picture of your choosing. Then hide your real wallet somewhere cunning and close to your person, like in an ankle holster or within the crack of your bum…

Get all the freebies as a market researcher

Free meals, films, drinks; all that kind of stuff. Companies all over the world are looking for people to try out their wares, test their staff and give feedback. It involves very little work and is pretty enjoyable, really, so why not apply to be a market researcher in the country you’re travelling and get all the things for free.

Follow the pub crawl path

You don’t necessarily need to shell out for that pub crawl package. Instead, look up the popular pub crawl routes in your city and head to the starting line. There’s bound to be a bunch of backpackers in there, or even one of the organised groups, who you can covertly tag along with for free.

Steal the rich man’s WiFi

Do you rightly feel that lack of access to free WiFi is oppressive? Then don’t stand for it. At airports, locate the First Class Lounge, pull up a pew, connect and browse away like the Robin Hood of internet service.

Likewise, if you’re on the street, sidle up to a swanky restaurant and sign the hell in. And if the networks are protected, never fear…because humanity is generally decent, lots of people share WiFi passwords online – FourSquare is the best place to find them. In the words of no one; WiFi access is a right, not a privilege! Join the revolution!

Make an instant lantern from a water bottle

Time to get all Ray Mears or Bear Grylls and stuff. Grab your head torch, strap it to the side of a big old bottle of water and, thanks to refraction, you now have a full on lantern. The apocalypse will now be a breeze for you.

Waterproof your bag with a bin liner

Pretty self-explanatory, really. Line your rucksack with a bin bag and it’s instantly waterproof and ready to use in all conditions. Couple it with this next hack and you’ll be on to something really special.

Beeswax will waterproof all the things

That’s right, buy yourself a chunk of bees wax and get rubbing. You can coat the outside of your rucksack, your little light jacket, hell, you can even waterproof your Converse. Travel hacks don’t get much stranger than this, but don’t you just love bees?

Make your very own mobile phone speaker

Everybody just wastes their empty paper cups and used toilet rolls, filling the rubbish heaps of the world. Why, I ask. Why?! Simply cut a slit in the side of your used toilet roll, insert your phone and you have a speaker. Even easier, pop your phone in a cup and that tinny, faint sound is instantly transformed into a blaring cacophony of sound.

Use straws and tic-tac containers to carry spices

You are travelling the world, people! Don’t go eating plain, that’s simply a sin. You can easily store your spices in cut up candles or empty tic-tac containers. Just make sure you clean that minty aroma out first, you don’t want it interfering with the flavour.

Carry a packet of crayons instead of candles

As a co-worker pointed out, why would you carry crayons over candles? True. Still, I’m going to keep this Bear Grylls-like trick in here anyway, since you never know what might happen on the road. In an emergency, a full crayon will burn for up to half an hour and provide a pretty impressive light for its size.

Predict the sunset like a survivalist

Out on a hike? A little lost? Need to know how much sunlight you’ve got left? Well this neat little trick can help you work out how much time you have until the wolves come-a-sniffing. Simply count the finger-width between the sun and the horizon and work it out from there – each finger represents 15 minutes.

Bring a power strip or extension cable

Looking after your electronics is a running theme in the world of travel hacks, but this one means no more fights over the plugs in your hostel room. And because you no doubt have some space on that little bad boy for everyone else too, they all love you and will buy you beer. All good deeds deserve beer.

Take selfies!

Whenever you start a new SD card on your camera make sure you take a bombastic and over the top selfie. This way you can prove it’s yours if you ever lose it.

Protect your cables with some pen springs

A nice and simple tip, this one. If you find your cable connections keep breaking, then simply wrapping them in springs from a biro can help. See the picture for how to.

Make your fragrances invincible

By transferring your perfume or aftershave to a smaller, plastic spray top bottle you can save space and eliminate the danger of breaking the bottle while you travel. Think something the size of a throat or antiseptic spray. Though if you go for either of those options, make sure you clean them out thoroughly first. You don’t want the original contents interfering with your aroma.

Avoid bulky clothing

One of the top travel hacks on this list by a long way. Unless you’re planning to hike Everest or trek through the Antarctic, you can probably get away without that insane puffer jacket and those three thick lamb’s wool jumpers. Instead, try layering up. Pick your fabrics wisely too. Thing like flannel are light, but great at retaining heat. You can also find lighter cardigans that will keep you snuggly, especially when combined with a lighter waterproof jacket.

Learn to cook a traditional dish from each country

This is a great travel hack for making new friends, but make sure you do this before you go away. Then when you rock up to a hostel, you can buy a few cheap, local ingredients and knock up your own take on the regional classic. Just make sure you make enough to go around, then everyone will believe you’re a backpacker expert and want to be your friend – and no doubt repay you in beers.

Buy a small bottle of hand washing detergent

Probably a bit of an obvious one again, this one, but you never know how long you might go without a washing machine and you can only really turn your undies inside-out once.

Bulldog clips can also save your headphones

Not content with just saving you from slicing open your index finger on your razor, the bulldog clip is also here to save you from that insanely irritating time when just one headphone breaks. It might be bearable, but the sound keeps coming through intermittently, accompanied by distortion and white noise. Pretty easy to work out how this helps. Simply wrap around said bulldog clip and clip to your bag strap. Safe and accessible, all you’d ever need.

Give your change to the homeless

And finally, make the last deed a good deed. Before leaving a country, donate all your remaining change to the homeless.


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