Although you may not realize it, there’s a subset of travelers in the world that we refer to as travel hackers. These are well-traveled pros who know the ins and outs of getting more from a travel experience with less effort and money. It can mean everything from being an expert packer to learning how to maximize frequent flier miles. We wanted to learn some of these travel secrets so we decided to talk about Travel Hacks in our July Twitter chat. What is a Twitter chat? For those not familiar, TripIt holds a monthly chat on Twitter on the third Thursday of each month from 2-3pm Pacific Time under the hashtag #TripItChat. Every month there’s a new travel topic where we encourage participants to share advice with one another. To learn more, please visit my website. Here are some of the key takeaways from our last #TripItChat on Travel Hacking.
Top PicksInstead of beating around the bush, we thought we’d get to the heart of the matter right away and asked everyone to share their favorite travel hack. Take notes, because the answers were amazing.
- Travel pro and chat co-host @LeeAbbamonte said that he uses old sunglass cases to store cords and other small items.
- For folks who travel with a lot of jewelry, @TripStreak had a great idea: lay necklaces and earrings on a sheet of bubble wrap and then roll it—prevents tangles!
- In a day and age when we all seem to travel with countless electronic gadgets, one of the most important items to pack as @scottlara1961 pointed out is a travel power strip.
- A couple of other popular ideas included creating your own amenity kit for flights that includes every little perk you’ll need and using Ziploc bags to organize items in your carry-on bags as well as clothes in your checked luggage.
Cheap FaresOne of the biggest issues for anyone planning a trip is finding the best airfare and best time to book. Our travel hackers had some thoughts on that subject, naturally.
- Several people named specific websites and resources they use to find great fares including @AirFareWatchDog, @Expedia and @JohnnyJet’s travel newsletter.
- Checking alternate airports or even different hub cities can save you a lot of money as @KimberlyRose356 pointed out.
- Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be, which is why we loved @Breathedreamgo’s advice to compare and book ahead.
- Timing is important too, as @LynnGervais pointed out with her suggestion to travel off-season and mid-week.
Making It All FitPacking is a lot harder than most people realize, which is why we love these packing tips offered by the chat participants.
- It’s hard to do, but chat co-host @OrlandoChris hit the nail on the head when he advised people to go carry-on only. It forces you to take only what is truly essential.
- Another pro tip, as @MattSoleyn pointed out, is roll instead of fold your clothes—it helps save space and avoid wrinkles.
- Frequent traveler and chat participant @philatravelgirl advised using plastic, dry cleaning bags and tissue paper between layers of clothes.
- Overall, the most important bit of advice was to plan out what you want to take and then cut it in half. You really won’t need all that stuff.
Points and MilesA big part of great travel hacking is getting the most out of airline miles and hotel points. We asked everyone to share their secrets for maximizing both.
- A great piece of advice was that unless you’re a business traveler and can’t select your hotel, pick one hotel chain and stick to it, build points to levels that mean something.
- If you use a credit card linked to a hotel or airline, use it for EVERYTHING in order to get as many miles and points as possible.
- @Colleen_PNW suggested to link accounts where possible, for example she links her Starwood (hotels) account with Uber & Delta to get points and rewards faster.
Appy DaysLet’s face it, most of us live by our phones nowadays and apps are the primary way we get information and use services. We asked our travel hacker friends for their top travel apps—assuming that @TripIt is already included of course.
- For navigating around a new language, @mylifeplus1 suggests using Google Translate or Word Lens.
- Chat participant @SwankyTravel had a lot to share including @Skyscanner @PackPnt @trivago & @thehipmunk.
- Some other popular apps included: All Subway, AroundMe, GateGuru and the XE Currency Exchange App.