How To Make Traveling Less Stressful & More Fun In 10 Easy Hacks
Traveling is never simple. From small troubles like when exactly to pack away your toothbrush to slightly larger woes like how you're actually going to get to your Airbnb to the Amazon rainforest — sometimes you need a little travel advice to figure out how to make traveling less stressful.
I'm the girl who plans everything. I simply cannot wake up the morning of a flight and casually toss a few sundresses into a suitcase and feel calm and cool. In fact, if I don't plan anything I will probably feel the stinging of hives and potentially a panic attack in the works — probably because I have had nearly everything imaginable go wrong while on holidays. I need to pack at least a few days in advance, then re-pack and get rid of excess clothes because my luggage has been too heavy too many times. I will always check in online and download the airline's app, because I have had to run across too many airports trying to catch a flight that leaves in five minutes. I will pack every possible anti-inflammatory beauty product (travel size, obviously) and 20 pairs of socks, because it makes me feel better to know I have everything I could possibly need. I plan and I plan again, because that's what gives me peace of mind, and lets me relax while actually on vacation.
Take it from someone who is obsessed with making her travels easier, these travel hacks will take you from stressed out to chilled out in no time.
1. Invest In A Handbag That Charges All Your Electronics
This is every traveling woman's fantasy: a small handbag that can charge your smartphone and your tablet, while still look chic beyond belief. Inside your Mighty Purse you'll find a small cable that allows you to charge on-the-go, and an LED battery indicator that will let you know when you're fully charged. You'll never be left powerless, wandering the streets of a foreign country ever again.
2. Enable Private Browsing When Searching For Plane Tickets
When searching for the cheapest airfare available, you likely visit the same sites again and again hoping for better prices. In theory, this is a great idea since ticket prices constantly change due to factors like demand, distance, and even what day of the week it is. But truthfully, none of that matters if you aren't using private browsing or clearing your browser cookies while searching. Believe it or not, many sites track how frequently you check certain flights and will up the prices because they know how invested you are, according to The Guardian. Take it from me — I didn't realize this little trick until I logged onto my home computer and personal laptop simultaneously and looked at the same exact flight with a $150 difference.
3. Download Transit App
Navigating a new city can be stressful, but with the app Transit, public transport couldn't be easier. The app covers 101 metropolises from most major U.S. cities to Canada, France, the U.K., and several others. It provides you with a trip planner, departure times, and is even linked to Uber and local bike shares. I used it when I first moved to New York to learn all the different methods of transportation in my area, and it was a life saver.
4. Bring Freshening Spray For Smelly Hotel Rooms
Never underestimate how a gross-smelling room can affect your stay. On a vacation to Colombia, my friends and I stayed in a hotel that would have been gorgeous — 30 years ago. Now, it was just damp and run-down, but in an awesome area. I was so thankful I packed an air freshener, because it really helped with the gross odor. Keep your travels smelling gorgeous (and not musty) with Juniper Ridge's Big Sur Backpacker Cologne. California wildflowers are the main ingredient in this mist geared towards travelers. It's light and woodsy, and can be easily spritzed when you reek of airplane or if the hostel you're in smells like, well, a hostel.
Juniper Ridge Big Sur Backpacker Cologne, $60, juniperridge.com
5. Learn To Use Google Maps Offline
Kartik Ayyar, a Google engineer, explained a hack to POPSUGAR for using Google Maps when you're offline — even internationally. Type in "Ok maps" in the search bar, which will allow you to use it even if you don't have data access! This works for both Androids and iPhones. I used this tip on a quick four-day trip to London and didn't want to get any kind of phone plan, and it worked like a charm. I would suggest dropping a pin on sights you might want to see, restaurants you might want to eat at, and definitely the hotel you will be staying in. That way, you'll be able to look up directions quickly, since you won't be able to search them when you're offline.
6. Wear Night Cream On The Plane
My last flight from Dublin to NYC was made smoother by some sleepy time tea I packed in my carry-on and a comfy scarf-turned-blanket. However, after sleeping soundly for four hours straight, I woke up with about two hours left to go — and with the dryest skin and throat imaginable. The plane cabin just strips the moisture from your skin, and the best way to combat it is to be preventative. Use a great evening moisturizer, like The Body Shop Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream For Dry Skin, even if it's not an overnight flight. The thick consistency will provide you with a high dosage of moisture, which is exactly what your skin will be begging for at a high altitude!
The Body Shop Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream For Dry Skin, $21, thebodyshop-usa.com
7. Always Ask For Upgrades
People tend to assume that upgrades are a one in a million chance, but they really aren't so rare. All you have to do is ask — and the worst they can say is no. Skyscanner, a site that aggregates different deals on plane trips, listed tons of ways to get an upgrade on your flight (arriving late has worked for me twice — first class to Mexico and to Switzerland!), and just checking if there are any bigger rooms available when you check in at your hotel is simple and worth it!
8. Eye Masks Over Everything
The weird toilet seat-looking neck pillows I can do without, but I refuse to fly without an eye mask. Bringing one along can work wonders for even the most awkward of plane sleepers. They're cheap, you can pick them up at a local drugstore or even the airport, and they suddenly turn the plane cabin into a dark cavernous heaven, perfect for a few hours of shut eye. Even better, they come in handy in a plethora of situations — a packed train or hostel, maybe. Trust me, I've been there, and I'm telling you — a few hours of sleep can make all the difference and a $5 eye mask can bless you with that.
9. Keep Your Dirty Clothes Smelling Good
When I was younger, I used to just throw my dirty clothes into my suitcase after wearing them and call it a day. I finally learned that that is the easiest way to go home with a bag full of damp, smelling clothing. Now, I like to separate my dirty clothes and keep them in a plastic bag. I keep them smelling fresh by tossing in either a few dryer sheets or a bar of soap. My favorites are Caldrea's Basil Blue Sage Dryer Sheets. Also, it's a smart idea to check and see if your hotel or hostel has access to a washer and dryer, but if not just make sure there is a laundromat in the area.
Caldrea Basil Blue Sage Dryer Sheets, $10, caldrea.com
10. Negotiate Your Airbnb Price
Most people are quick to click "Book Now" and get their Airbnb locked in. But if you are willing to take your time, you can usually get an amazing deal on an apartment, or even an entire house. I would recommend first messaging about 10 different places you are interested in to see if they are definitely available. Once they confirm, ask if they will take some money off the price. Especially if you're booking last minute, chances are someone will be willing to cut it down quite a bit! I've gotten to as low as half the initial price with a little politeness and persistence. Always make sure the place has plenty of reviews so you know it actually exists — and is a lovely place to make your temporary home.
Regardless of what continent you're hopping to next, now you can take on your travels with style and conviction. Nothing a few travel hacks can't solve.
Images: Joshua Earle/Unsplash; Courtesy Brands (2)