Top ten travel hacks

Neetu George, September 25, 2016
Travelling is an absolute joy and a complete stress-buster. But more often than not, the days leading up to your big holiday can get overwhelming.

Working over-time to finish your deadlines at work, making travel arrangements and an endless shopping list can leave you zapped. And if you have a toddler in tow, you will be left with zero creativity and low energy. Here we give you some practical tips and reminders to make you a smarter traveller :

  1. Passports and other important documents – If you are travelling alone keep at least  two copies of  all the important travel documents like passport, visa, hotel booking vouchers, passport-size photographs and travel insurance. Keep one copy in your hand baggage, and one in your check-in baggage. If you are travelling with family or friends, make as many copies as there are people, and give one set of copies to each. Also, scan all these documents and email it to yourself. iPhone users can open the email and save it on to iBooks. In case of theft or loss, you always have extra copies.

2. Make your trip hassle-free by calling your debit or credit card and intimating them about your travel plans. They will authorise your card for international destinations and this will ensure smoother travel. Your bank will also not suspect any suspicious activity when you use your card abroad

3. Baggage is often handled recklessly by airport staff. Mark your baggage as ‘fragile’ to ensure that it is handled carefully. Most of the time, fragile luggage is placed at the top, and hence released soon.

4. If you have flexibility regarding travel dates, make your air ticket booking for a weekday. Weekend flight fares are almost always higher than weekday flight fares. Also, if you have a choice, do not fly during the holiday season. This will save you a ton on flight bookings.

5. Dash to the washroom before the announcement for landing. Once you land, you are free to pull out your cabin baggage and move, rather than waiting in a queue in front of the washroom.

6. Carry US dollars with you, if you are going to a country that accepts it, and also gives a favourable exchange rate (most countries will, but please do your research). Since the US dollar is pegged in UAE, you wouldn’t end up losing any money in case you have some money left after the trip. Prepaid travel cards are also a great option because the exchange rates are fixed.

7. If you must use the local currency, then exchange some currency before you start your travel. Avoiding currency converters at the airport will save you a lot of money and time, as you won't have to walk around looking for an ATM. It’s a win-win.

8. Invest in a few transparent packing cubes and organise your items – medicines, toiletries, jewellery, cosmetics and electronic accessories (portable chargers, universal adapters, etc). Packing each set into individual packing cubes may not always save space, but finding your stuff will be a breeze.

9. Before finalising your hotel accommodation, check the location of the hotel on google maps and pick one that is centrally-located. This will help you to commute easily to all the attractions. You can also install city-guide apps before you travel and plan ahead.

10. Browse through the tourism board websites of the country you are visiting. You can check their calendar and update yourself about all the interesting activities taking place during the period of your visit. This will help you prepare a fuller and more exciting itinerary.