map layed out on table with camera, a bag and note pad for someone planning to travel

12 Travel Hacks You Simply Need to Know

Knowing these travel hacks can save you money and avoid stressful moments through your travels.

As prices increase for almost everything in the world, travel hacks are becoming more important for those looking to travel abroad. If you’re going to spend money on traveling, save where you can while doing it.

Everyone has travel hacks they personally prefer; these simple travel hacks I’ve found to be the most useful for me over my years of travel.

Before you use any of these travel hacks for your next trip, make sure you do the oldest travel hack to exist. Buy the cheapest flight possible.

I use SkyScanner to purchase my flights, and their multi-city option is great for finding longer layovers in cities at a great price. Allowing you to see another country briefly before you continue on your travels. Long layovers are the biggest travel hack.

Before your trip, read these travel hacks; you’ll be glad you did so!

READ ALSO: 8 Best Budget Travel Tips

Travel Hacks #1-3

Email Yourself a Scan of Your Passport – #1

photo of passport on a plane with airplane window in the background showing blue skies
Travel Hacks #1 – Credit: Blake Guidry

It is vital to keep a copy of your passport on hand in case you’re a victim of theft during your trip or you simply lose your passport. If you lose your passport, going through immigration to regain a temporary passport and leave the country becomes a little easier when using this method. It’s not a bad idea to also do this with your government-issued ID.

You should take a screenshot of any bookings you made for flights, trains, or buses, regardless of whether you use your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Make sure you also email yourself those tickets as well as your IDs.

Keep photos of them on your phone also in case your data isn’t working, and WiFi isn’t available in an airport. This is one of those travel hacks you should seriously consider!

If you don’t have a scanner at home, use a scanner app on your phone. I use CamScanner (available both on iPhone and Android).

Have a Power Bank – #2

photo of power bank battery along with various cords travel hacks
Travel Hacks #2 – Credit: Markus Winkler

Not all airports have outlets for you to plug in your phone, or airplanes, for that matter. And sometimes you’re stuck in the middle seat, and it’s hard to plug your phone in.

Remember when you’re traveling that many airports you visit won’t support your electronics plug voltage, so even if the airport did have outlets, you can’t use them.

Emergencies happen, and in today’s world, without a cell phone doesn’t help. Make sure you pack an external battery that can charge your phone a minimum of three times in case you’re left without a power source for a long time. I’m always surprised when friends tell me they travel without an external battery/power bank. This is one of the most important travel hacks out there.

Something else to keep in mind, many external batteries are poorly built nowadays. They wear down after a few years, and their performance takes a hit. I recommend Anker as a brand; they make great power banks, I personally own this Anker 20,000 MAH Power Bank.

So if you’re going on a trip, make sure to test your battery before you fly. So you’re not stuck with finding out you need a new external battery while you’re on your trip. It’s happened to me.

Use a Worldwide Visa Debit – #3

photo of Revolut visa debit card
Travel Hacks #3 – Credit: Revolut

These cards allow you to exchange into the local currency of the country you’re visiting through the app. So when you pay with your Visa Debit card from Revolut or Wise, you’re paying in the local currency (saving you from those high credit card foreign exchange fees).

Cash is king in many countries, but it can be a hassle to hold it, and it’s convenient to pay with a card.

Two companies that provide worldwide Visa debit cards are Revolut and WISE (I prefer WISE); these are international Visa debit cards that work at any terminal that accepts VISA.

This is how it works; if you’re an American traveling to Mexico, here’s what you’ll do. After signing up, you’ll deposit money from your bank account into your Revolut or Wise account.

Then you will switch the currency within the app from USD to Mexican Pesos. When you’re at a restaurant in Mexico, and your bill says 500 Mexican Pesos. You use your Revolut or Wise card to pay; they send you a card for free after you sign up.

I used my WISE card during my time in Mexico. Any restaurant that accepted Visa, I used my card there. But despite having my WISE card with me, I still held cash. The reason is some places only accept cash, and some places give you a discount if you pay in cash.

This is one of those travel hacks that most people don’t know. But it’s one of those hacks for traveling that literally saves you actual money. I’ve used my WISE card in many places, including Mexico, Thailand, Portugal, and other countries!

Travel Hacks #4-6

Download Google Translate app – #4

logo of google translate app store
travel tips and hacks – Credit: Google

Language barriers can be a hindrance to your enjoyment as you travel. If you can speak the language of the country you are visiting, you can forget the app for this trip.

Many don’t know this, but Google Translate lets you take photos, and then it can translate the text for you in real-time. So if you’re walking somewhere and you’re confused by directions, you’ve got a solution!

You must use This travel hack, especially for those looking to stay in a country for three weeks or more. You’ll end up needing Google Translate eventually. So download and be prepared. You can even use the app if you don’t have data/internet on your phone.

Don’t EVER Exchange money at an Airport – #5

several worldwide fiat currencies layed out on a table
travel life hacks – Credit: Jason Leung

Sometimes people forget that ATMs and cash machines exist. Use them and avoid exchanging money at the airport. These money exchanges charge a fee and rip-off exchange rates. They often offer higher rates than regular banks and are usually more expensive.

Unfortunately, these services are not carefully placed for your convenience. These money exchange booths are there to make money from you and charge you more than you should be paying.

There have been times when I’ve been at the airport, bored, waiting for my flight. So to make time go by, I will check rates at these money exchange booths to see what they’re charging. I was never told a lower rate than my local bank or currency exchange business offered me.

You should exchange at least some currency for the local currency of your destination before going. You don’t have to plan the exact amount, but at least have SOME local currency with you.

Travel type Credit Card – #6

photo of first class travel credit card with td bank
First Class Travel Credit Card with TD – Credit: TD Bank

I’m going to assume if you’re reading this article on travel hacks, you enjoy traveling. Or maybe it’s an odd trip, but I will assume you like traveling. Get yourself a Travel type card ASAP. I cannot stress this enough.

I’ve booked three tickets (roundtrip) to three different destinations this year for FREE using points. NO, I’m not lying to you. Again, get a travel-type credit card and use it for your benefit. The points add up, trust me.

Not only that, but travel-type credit cards come with countless other benefits to them, such as baggage loss insurance. For example, I went to Dubai, and my luggage got lost for two days.

I called VISA and told them what had happened; they provided me with $200 for FREE to go shopping for clothes. They offered this to ensure I was taken care of before my bags arrived since I was left with no clothes. You DON’T get this benefit with a regular old credit card.

Some of you reading this may be thinking: “okay, but it’s a premium credit card; you pay a yearly fee for it, I’m sure.”

Yes, I do. My credit card is the VISA First Class travel card, costing me $100 USD a year. But might I remind you, I used my points this year to claim three FREE airplane tickets(roundtrip)! The cost of these airplane tickets totaled $2,600 USD; I didn’t pay a dime. And I enjoyed various travel coverage from my credit card while on my trips. Seems like a pretty good trade-off if you ask me.

This should be #1 on this list of travel hacks, but I didn’t place it as #1 because credit cards aren’t for everyone. This is one of those travel hacks to save money traveling.

US Travel Credit Card Comparisons

Canada Travel Credit Card Comparisons

Travel Hacks #7-9

Roll your Clothes, don’t Fold – #7

This is one of the best and most effective travel hacks. It doesn’t take much to pack smart. Instead of folding your clothes, roll them into a tube. This will not only help you save space but will also stop creases and prevents wrinkles. The best part is you can also see exactly what you have packed with the small rolled tubes.

For those looking for an ever more effective method and don’t mind spending some money. Buy compression packing cubes, they make a big difference when packing! One of my favorite travel hacks.

GoingAwesomePlaces shared an awesome in-depth guide on how to roll up your clothes; I recommend checking it out! They give a great breakdown of why this is one of the best travel hacks out there.

Travel during Shoulder Season – #8

clear blue skies with the famous chichen itza pyramid in the background in merida mexico.
Mexico – Credit: Marv Watson

Most aren’t too familiar with what shoulder season is unless they’re a frequent traveler. Shoulder season is the travel period between peak season and low season for a destination. These are also months during the year when not much is going on. It’s not summer, and it’s also not the busy travel holiday season either.

To summarize, travel slows down these months for most worldwide destinations. These months tend to be September, October, November, February, March, and April. Companies in the tourism industry want to persuade you to travel because business is slower during this time. That’s airlines, hotels, and even Airbnb hosts. One of those travel hacks many know but seem to forget!

This is something for you to take advantage of; that country you’ve always wanted to visit becomes that much more attractive because of the lower cost.

Now, remember there is a negative that can come with traveling during shoulder season. Some destinations you want to visit may have climates you don’t prefer during the shoulder season.

My advice, choose somewhere you’d like to see and go during shoulder season; make sure you’re okay with the weather you’ll most likely have during your trip! 7 Best Shoulder Season Destinations

EXAMPLE: Say you want to visit a place like Lagos, Portugal, a popular beach city. If you’re looking to visit Lagos and expect sunshine during the shoulder season there, think again. It’s beach weather here from May through August. That’s also high season (the most expensive time to visit). So shoulder season isn’t the best time to go unless you don’t mind the weather.

This is one of those travel hacks that will really help you save money for a destination you’d like to visit.

Pack a Laundry Bag – #9

photo of basket full of laundry
Credit: Annie Spratt

Packing a laundry bag is one of the top three travel hacks for those traveling somewhere for longer than 21 days (three weeks). If you’re traveling somewhere longer than 21 days, you must do laundry.

There’s absolutely no way around it unless you plan on continuously buying new clothes for yourself to wear.

Pack a laundry bag to neatly set on the side and make it your dirty laundry bin during your trip. Rather than having clothes all over the room, you’re staying in and unable to track what needs to be washed and cleaned. Most laundry bags sold online are simple cotton bags with strings.

I use my laundry bag that came with my Monos luggage for short trips. For longer trips, I take my IKEA blue frakta bag. This isn’t something you necessarily have to purchase; get an old reusable grocery bag or something. And make sure it’s clean. But you can always purchase a basic travel laundry bag.

Travel Hacks #10-12

Mark your Bag as Fragile – #10

suitcase labeled with fragile sticker at airport
Credit: Bao Menglong

This will ensure your belongings get the VIP treatment. No matter what you have in your bag, label it as fragile. The airport baggage handlers can be very rough with passengers’ luggage.

If your bag is marked fragile, the chances of it being tossed around by airport staff are slimmer. Your items will be protected against any unexpected damage.

The bonus of doing this is you won’t need to wait long to pick up your luggage. Why? Any luggage marked fragile goes to the top of the pile and is sent out first from the plane! Either purchase some “fragile” tape on your own or request it at the counter when checking in your bag. If you can’t find some, Amazon sells great “fragile” tape.

Speaking of luggage, does your current luggage cover all your travel needs? Check out our luggage brand comparison guide comparing the top luggage brands today. If you’re thinking of upgrading, this guide will help!

Prepare your Mobile Phone – #11

photo of iphone sitting on dark black table
Top travel hacks-Credit: Jonas Lee

Check if your mobile provider gives you data allowance in your destination. If you have some, great! If you don’t, make sure you do the following:

  • Before you land at your destination, take out your sim card from your mobile phone and store your sim card somewhere you won’t forget. I’ve lost a few, so I repeat, put your sim card somewhere secure you’ll be able to see so when you get back, you don’t get to get a new one.
  • Get a local sim card in the country you’re in and use the data there; it will be much cheaper than using your mobile provider from back home – Make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do this.

You DON’T want to do this: Land in the country you’re visiting .. turn your phone on, and then suddenly you’re using roaming data with your mobile provider from home, and here come the large data bill charges.

This exact thing happened to me when I was visiting Dubai; I was looking for my driver at the airport. In a rush, I turned my phone off airplane mode and used my back-home mobile provider for a bit. An hour later, I received a text saying I owed $50 dollars for data overages.

Taking out your sim card before you fly assures this won’t happen, so you won’t be charged even if you’re in a rush and turn your phone on. Either get your new sim card at the airport or in the city. Keep in mind most airports have Free WiFi.

Pack a Water Bottle – #12

sustainable water bottle with a wood like covering design
Trave life hacks – Credit: Sara Groblechner

Packing a water bottle is one of those travel hacks most people roll their eyes at when they read (me being guilty of just that). But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought overpriced water at the airport and forced it into my bag.

Yes, I know it’s convenient to buy and dispose of a plastic water bottle. But a reusable water bottle allows you to fill it up continuously as you travel; anytime you’re going through security, you can empty it. I use this thermal BUZIO water bottle, it keeps my water at a drinkable temperature for those long flights.

I’m guilty of not doing this in the past until I brought a water bottle once, and from there on, I always brought one with me. It’s a practical thing to do. You’ve seen this pointer on several hacks for travel blog posts. Trust me to do it!


Plan your transportation plans prior to arriving at the airport; it makes things easier. You can use Uber or Grab when you arrive, but figuring out your transportation plans before arriving can allow you to opt for a cheaper alternative.

Get travel insurance! It always shocks me when I speak to someone who’s going on a trip, or I meet someone abroad and I find out they don’t have any travel insurance covering them. Travel insurance is one of those things some don’t think of until an emergency happens and they’re in the hospital.

This is not much of a hack; it’s more of a necessity. I recommend SafetyWing; they’re my favorite worldwide travel insurance company. Well-priced, they cover many countries worldwide, and making claims with them is super convenient.

Final Thoughts – Travel Hacks

You’re probably reading these travel hacks because you’re getting ready for a trip or you’re about to book a trip. So you may be excited about your trip, and reading this guide is getting you prepared for what travel hacks you should do. I hope this doesn’t damper things, but it needs to be said.

Not to sound like a boring economist, but worldwide economies haven’t been stable in the last few years, especially after the pandemic. Inflation has become a popular subject in just about every country in the world. Costs are up for almost everything, and gas prices took us for a loop in 2022.

pristine clear water beach and cliffs in Nusa Penida Indonesia
Nusa Penida – Bali, Indonesia / Credit: Alfiano Sutianto

Like everything else, traveling also went up in cost in the last few years because of the economic environment we’ve been in. 2023 seems more than likely to be similar to 2020-2022.

So Travel Hacks in 2023 should be on the top of your to-do list when deciding to book a trip!

That said, you need to budget when you travel and use travel hacks to get you ahead. Most of us like to travel; as times get harder, you must be smart about it.

I always say the more you save and the more strategic you are, the more you can travel! – Many of these travel hacks have allowed me to travel to several destinations in Mexico, Italy, Turkey, and numerous other countries!

I hope you enjoyed my list of travel hacks. If I missed one of your favorite travel hacks and you think our readers absolutely must know it, please share it in the comments!

If you enjoyed this list of Travel Hacks, you must READ: 8 Best Budget Travel Tips

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  1. Just got the Revolut to compliment my Wise card. I needed two due to balance limits of my residence country.

    1. Hey James, Awesome! I also use both myself, why not have both right?

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