24 random travel tips you wish you’d known years ago

24 random travel tips you wish you’d known years ago

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Whether you’re packing a bag for a weekend trip to see the grandchildren, hopping over to France for a mini break with friends to replenish the wine stocks or preparing for the backpacking trip of a lifetime, you’re sure to pick up some useful time, money, space or life saving travel tips here.

a camper van driving through a gorge travel tips

Which of these will you use on your next trip?

Some of these tips might not be new to you, others may change the way you travel for good. We had fun daydreaming of warmer climes and carefree days pulling this list together.

1. Don’t forget a pack of cards

Let’s start with something fun to warm you up.

A humble pack of cards is every traveler’s best friend. A card game is a great leveler, a universal way of interacting with other travelers you meet free from any language barriers and perfect for entertaining the grandchildren too.

Long journeys fly by when you’re engrossed in a card game  and they’re ideal for getting the party started at social gatherings. Good old fashioned entertainment that has stood the test of time.

Ever thought about hosting your own Poker night? We’ve got the basics covered.

2. Scan your important documents

Ok, so now we have your attention.

Here’s a practical tip – before you set off, scan important documents such as your passport and email them to yourself and loved ones at home, just in case your luggage gets lost.

It’s a good idea to keep a print out as a back up too.

3. Send copies of your itinerary to family/friends

From a practical (and bragging) perspective, it’s good to have several people back home who know where you’ll be.

How else will the neighbours know to put the bins out for you and to feed the cat?

camels in the desert travel tips

4. Take a photo on your phone of where you parked the car

Ever lost your car park ticket at the airport and can’t remember whether you parked on the second or third floor?

Take a snap of your car before leaving the car park.

5. Create and save a pack list

OK, so this is an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many of us just ‘wing it’ and hope we’ve remembered everything. Always cross-check and keep a list of items to pack.

We have created a printable pack list for you so you never forget a thing. Download it now.

6. Download a packing app

Still overwhelmed with what to pack?

There are packing apps available, such as PackPoint, which helps you determine what to pack based on where you are going and the length of your trip.

It even checks the weather at your onward destination and provides a detailed packing list for you.

7. Try vacuum packs

The chances are you’ve used them for storing bed linen and packing away your summer wardrobe, but have you ever used space saver bags to pack your suitcase?

It’s as simple as throwing your clothes in, sealing the bag, then rolling it up to push out all the air.

Even if you don’t want to carry more things in your bag, it frees up so much space that if you need to pack in a hurry, you can just chuck everything in.

8. If in doubt leave it out

If a packing list isn’t for you and you prefer freestyling it, then the golden tip is to pack light.

Generally speaking, the lighter your backpack, the better and if you have forgotten something it’s the perfect excuse for a shopping trip.

9. Don’t pack bulky clothes

Another way of saving valuable luggage is to try and layer up instead of relying on your puffer jacket and thick wooly cardigan for warmth.

Select your fabrics wisely too, a thin fleece is great at retaining heat, especially when combined with a lighter waterproof jacket.

10. Pack a pillow case

If you really can’t resist your puffer jacket then take a pillow case with you – not only can you use it to compress your jacket for packing it can also double up as a pillow.

11. Multi-use scarf or sarong is a must

Bring an oversize scarf or sarong on the train or plane that doubles up as a blanket or sheet. Then wear it during your trip.

12. Try solid toiletries

Avoid spills for good, by replacing your shower gel with a bar of soap and you can now even buy solid shampoo and conditioner – they’re small, lightweight bars and last for around three months.

Placing them in a tin will prevent them from sliming up your toiletries bag.

13. Invest in quick drying towels

Sticking with the packing light theme, microfibre towels are a game changer. Who wants to pack up a big, soaking wet beach towel?

14. Use shower caps to pack your shoes

Make the most of these hotel freebies. Placing your shoes inside a shower cap helps keep other items in your suitcase from getting dirty.

15. Pack scented tumble dryer sheets

Keeping your clothes smelling fresh can be a challenge especially if your dirty linen is thrown in.

If you’re sick of your clothes picking up the faint scent of old socks, this little trick will keep them smelling fresh throughout your trip.

16. A dry bag can come in very handy

Dry bags are amazing for keeping your valuables safe on boat trips and for protecting any electronics from getting wet in your bag if it starts to rain.

If you’re travelling solo or need to keep a watchful eye over children at the beach, you can take your valuables into the sea with you and not have to worry about them being left unattended.

17. Mark your luggage as FRAGILE

Sneaky, we know!

A ‘fragile’ label can help to keep your luggage intact – if baggage handlers see a clearly labelled suitcase yours is more likely to end up on top of other bags while in transit.

18. Stand out from the crowd

This is a cheap and cheerful trick, but very effective nonetheless.

Tie a small, brightly-coloured ribbon to your baggage, so you can easily spot it when picking it up from baggage reclaim.

19. Google Maps can be a lifesaver

If you have sufficient space on your phone, you can easily download Google Maps to browse offline on mobile, even when you don’t have internet connection.

All you need to do is go on the map to the area you want to save, then type ‘ok map’ into the search and press ‘download’.

20. Enable private browsing when searching for flights

Like most websites, travel sites track your searches using cookies and some companies will increase their prices for returning visitors that have shown interest in a reservation.

To avoid this and potentially save yourself a fortune, clear your cache and enable private browsing.

21. Use a Virtual Private Network or VPN while travelling

For overseas travel you’ll likely be connecting to a whole range of unsecured wi-fi networks, so a good idea is to a use a VPN to protect yourself from hackers and here’s the clever bit –  it’ll also allow you to change your location so you can watch your favourite TV shows online!

22. Download the Google Translate app

What did we do before Google?

Download the app before you travel and try the camera feature for translating menus, signs, posters, and anything else you need to read.

You simply press the camera icon, aim your phone at the text, and it translates it all in real-time for you.

23. Never forget your phone charger again

Are you the type who always leaves your charger in the hotel? If you attach your car keys to the charger cable you literally won’t be able to leave the hotel without it.

24. Finally, use your age to your advantage

Make use of discounts for over 60s!

For example, National Rail offer a yearly senior discount card for £30 that will get you a third off your train tickets plus special offers, including discounts on days out, holidays, theatre tickets and more.

Did we miss any of your tried and true travel tips?