Travel tips articles are a dime a dozen these days and our biggest gripe with them is that they’re always the same tired old tricks. Don’t forget a power adapter in this country, don’t drink the water in this country, don’t bring this in your carry-on, arrive this early to your flight… It’s like getting travel advice from your Second Grade art teacher. Thanks for the tips, Mrs. Lucendo. We’ll make sure we also brush our teeth three times a day, drink plenty of water, and practice safe sex, too.
We’re not interested in basic. We don’t care how much soap you’re allowed to bring onto your carry-on, or that you need to put your iPad in a separate bin at the TSA check. We’re here for the good stuff. Here are nine travel tips nobody ever told you.
Check The Country/City’s Subreddit to Help With Planning
Reddit isn’t just the front page of the Internet; it’s a master guide to most cities and countries on the planet. If you’re heading anywhere new—domestically or abroad—do yourself a favor and check out your destination’s respective subreddit. Some of the larger tourist cities had entire sidebars built around helping tourists find the best places to eat, drink, and visit while in town. They’re also an excellent way to get a real lay of the land from locals who actually live in said place.
Rent a WiFi Hotspot if Possible
You’d be surprised at just how spotty cell service is when you’re away from home. Even in developed nations with excellent infrastructure, you’ll still find yourself shaking your phone in pure, unadulterated fury. Hell, we have difficulty finding cell service in other U.S. states sometimes. We always make sure to rent some kind of mobile hotspot to take with us whenever we travel. It’s convenient, it’s comparatively inexpensive, and it’ll save you a ton of headaches trying to figure out service or cell phone plans or WiFi accessibility. Plus, you’re not competing with anyone else for signal.
Carry Small Packets of Laundry Detergent
This one has saved our asses on numerous occasions, but always—always—make sure to carry some packets of laundry detergent around with you. If you don’t want to pay exorbitant laundry fees at the hotel you’re staying at, or simply don’t have access to a washer/dryer, the ol’ “wash and rinse in the sink” routine works surprisingly well. Tide pods are great—so long as you’re not eating them—because they can be cut open and used immediately, and are also safe to transport.
Checking Bags is for Chumps
These days, we’re pretty avid travelers. Whether we’re headed out for three-day weekend romps, or for 10 straight days of madness and mayhem in the great outdoors, we’ve become professional packers. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that you can keep two weeks of clothes in one standard carry on-sized bag. No, we’re not kidding. There are plenty of packing hacks out there for you to take advantage of, but one that we swear by is the roll-don’t-fold technique. It might sound like some black magic Voodoo stuff, but it’s the truth. You will absolutely save space in your luggage—and a lot of it—by rolling things like underwear and t-shirt into cylinders, rather than giving them traditional square folds. And if you’re a visual learner, check out this video from the team at Exploring Alternatives.
Put Together an Emergency Bag
Purposefully giving yourself a laxative is going to sound funny to a lot of you, but trust us when we tell you that traveling can lead to all types of strange bowel issues. You should also be prepared for allergies, injuries, reactions, headaches, lost contact lenses and solution, and whatever else comes your way. You can find miniature hard-case toiletries bags on Amazon for pretty reasonable prices, and they’re definitely an essential if you’ll be traveling often.
Keep a Phone Card and VISA Gift Card on You
Bad things happen to good people all the time. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how careful, cautious, or self-aware you are, you’ll still manage to get yourself jammed up. Maybe you dropped your phone on some uneven cobblestone. Maybe your wallet got nicked at the club the night before. Maybe you accidentally left your tab open at the restaurant and your card is still there—and they’re closed for the rest of the week. The idea is, having a phone card with $20 on it, and a Visa card with $100 on it, are excellent precautions to take to ensure that no matter what happens, you’re planning ahead and ready to make your next move.
Three Words: “Non-Wrinkle Sport Jacket”
If you do any kind of traveling where you might need a suit jacket do yourself a favor and opt for a wrinkle-free sport jacket that you can wear on the plane. There are dozens of videos out there that’ll show you how to pack a suit jacket without ruining it with wrinkles, but as people who’ve tried every method in the book, we can tell you first-hand that no method is perfect. Wearing your jacket on the plane and asking a flight attendant to hang it up for you is truly the only way to ensure your jacket arrives in one piece. From there, you can style it with slacks and a button down for the work conference, or some selvedge denim and clean sneakers for dinner.
Airplane Bottles of Booze Are for Airplanes
Learning what you can and can’t bring on your carry on bag can be confusing, as it seems the rules are changing all the time. As the rules stand, you can pack as many 3.4-ounce liquid containers as will fit comfortably in a one quart bag. For those not keeping score at home, there are 32 ounces in one quart. Each airplane bottle of booze is approximately 1.7 ounces. That means, in a perfect world, you’ll be able to bring 18 airplane bottles of your favorite booze on the plane with you. Of course, we’d imagine you’ll likely have to subtract a few for space’s sake, so figure anywhere from 12-14 bottles. That should be plenty to get you wherever the hell you’re going, and you won’t have to pay the obscene airline prices.
Keep Your Travel Documents Online—Like DropBox
Again, this is one of those things you never want to happen, but should always be prepared for. No one wants to have their passport or wallet stolen, but in the event that it is, always—always—have digital scans or photos of all your essential documents stored online. Don’t store them only on your phone (in case your phone gets stolen, too). Make sure they’re in a DropBox file, Google Drive, Amazon storage, or anywhere else you’ll be able to access them remotely in a worst-case scenario.