Worried that this frigid, snow-filled winter will never end? Well, you may be right. But if there's one thing that helps us stay strong — nay, survive — during the snowy season, it's the knowledge that spring break is right around the corner. And these days you don’t have to be a bright-eyed college student to savor spring break. Even over-worked adults book a much-needed vacation during this time of year.
With travel, however, comes several stresses that can instantly suck the relaxation right out of your spring break retreat. Whether you’re trying to cut travel costs or cram one last item into your suitcase, it seems there’s always something to worry about when embarking on a trip. Which, if you ask me, defeats the purpose of taking a vacation.
Escaping to a land of sun and sand (or snow if that's your thing) shouldn't be a hassle. So rather than stressing yourself out, take a few extra steps to ensure your relaxing getaway is just that — relaxing. These easy-to-execute travel tricks are guaranteed to save you time, money, and sanity during your spring break getaway. Even if you aren't escaping for a few months, you'll be glad you had these hacks in your back pocket.
1. Travel on an off day
If you're willing to adjust your itinerary, then you can easily cut the cost of your ticket. FareCompare.com notes that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are the cheapest days to travel. Not willing to cut your vacation short? Book a red-eye or overnight flight to save some money.
2. Roll — don't fold — your clothes
You don't need larger luggage to fit all your items. Rolling makes it easier to pack more clothes without taking up more space. And, as an added bonus, it keeps your clothes wrinkle-free.
3. Store underwear in your shoes
Provided that your sneakers don't stink, this is a great way to maximize the space in your suitcase. But don't limit this trick to under garments. You can store socks, shampoo, and even little liquor bottles in your footwear.
4. Store jewelry in a pill container
When you place jewelry in a plastic bag, you run the risk of it breaking or becoming tangled. For a safer way to store accessories, use a pill container or pencil case.
5. Cover curling irons with a pot holder
Don't even think of putting a hot hair iron in your suitcase! If you're short on time, simply wrap it in a pot holder. This will keep the heat from destroying the contents of your luggage.
6. Wrap your shoes in a shower cap
A dirt-covered sneaker is a white dress' worst enemy. Keep your clothes clean by covering your shoes in a shower cap or plastic bag. This packing hack also prevents you from leaving a shoe's mate behind.
7. Keep bottles from leaking
Cabin pressure and loose lids can lead to a soapy situation. To prevent bottles from leaking in your luggage, place plastic wrap over the container and then seal it tight with the cap. For added protection, place the bottles in a sealable bag.
8. Toss some dryer sheets in your suitcase
Too much time in your suitcase can leave clothes smelling like an airplane. Add a few dryer sheets while packing to give clothes a fresh scent and reduce static. Not to mention this trick keeps the dirty laundry from stinking up your luggage on the return trip.
9. Bring along some plastic bags
When it comes time to steal from the continental breakfast or store dirty clothes, you’ll be glad you packed a few Ziplocs.
10. Scan your documents and IDs
It never hurts to have a copy (or two). Store a digital version of your passport and all other travel documents on your phone in case misfortune strikes and you misplace them.
11. Make your suitcase stand out
It's hard to grab your suitcase at baggage claim when it looks like everyone else's. Invest in some patterned pieces of luggage, or tie a brightly colored bow to your handle so it's easier to spot on the carousel.
12. Wear your heavier items
Worried that your boots will push your suitcase over the 50 pound limit? Rather than packing your bulky items, wear them. To make even more space in your suitcase, add some extra layers to your travel outfit. This way you’ll lighten your luggage and stay warm during the flight.
13. Pack plenty of snacks
Avoid the overpriced airport fare by stocking up on your favorite travel treats beforehand. This way you can have exactly what you want without paying a fortune. And on a similar note, try to buy magazines before heading to the airport.
14. Bring an empty water bottle
Almost every airport has water fountains throughout the terminals. Instead of paying $5 for a "fresh" bottle, bring an empty one and fill it up once you get through security.
15. Ask for an upgrade
There's no harm in asking for better accommodations. If some are available, they may give it to you for a small fee or, better yet, for free. Do the same thing when you arrive at your hotel.
16. Keep something minty on hand
Some stomachs are better suited for travel than others. If the thought of flying makes you nauseous, a piece of mint gum may be just the remedy you need.
17. Give up your seat
People always try to weasel their way onto an earlier flight. If you're not in a hurry to reach your final destination, then tell the ticket agent you're willing to take the next flight out. More often than not, the airline will reward you with comp miles which you can put towards your next trip.
Images: Charles Dyer, Doug Zwick, Trettsd, Don Harder, Leo Newball, Jetstar Airways, Jun Yan, Matthew Hurst/Flickr; Britniel, Waniyusof, Abstractorganza (2), Roomorama, Anastasiavvalentine, Andivance, HanaDean, Whimsycatwins/Instagram