Our Proven Tips on How You Can Travel Smarter, Better. See the World Cheaper and avoid our mistakes!
This Post Was First Published on June 18, 2017 and its been updated today. Enjoy
“Mom, where are we going this summer?” She asked with barely reined in excitement. We usually went to town for the January sales and bargains. While there we also picked up holiday catalogs from Thomas Cook, and Direct Holidays (Both Now Closed), etc.
Honestly, we didn’t know there were other ways to travel smarter then! We just felt blessed to be able to get away for a week!
We always looked for the cheapest beach family holiday and settled for what fitted our budget.
We could see the sad look on our daughter’s face as we flipped past the All inclusive resorts and told her; “We cant afford that.” (The worst thing you could say to yourself or your child.) The lesson you grind inside that young mind can hold them back from their success for years. Can you relate?
Thank God those times are long gone…today we can find the best deal to a 5-star destination in minutes….
We now do consider ourselves smart travellers.
Unlike those days when we simply googled stuff and chose whatever was available and got on with it?
You do know there is a better way, right?
A way to travel smarter and save your cash to spend on more of the things you love! Having travelled extensively over the last 18+ years, we’ll share with you our ultimate smart travel hacks. You already know why travel matters to you and if you don’t then you are in for a treat here!
You know it’s most people’s dream to travel abroad or see more of your country. In our case it’s always been to show the hidden mysteries of faraway lands to our children.
Unfortunately, many people think that this could be an expensive proposition. So today we want to share with you tips and ideas on how you can travel smarter and get your wanderlust on. These smart travel tips will help you bring down the costs of your vacations, business travel or just travel while creating enriching life experiences!
See we just returned from a business trip to Cardiff and Paul had a Burger the size of Liverpool and it cost him $0… See image below!
That’s how outrageous it can be for your kids too. But you gotta be open to how the other half does things without paying the price with your credit card!
So let’s get into the meat and potatoes of our tips to travel smarter below:
Ground Zero – Smart Traveller Tips:
Secure your home…! You wanna come home to your beautiful palace all intact! Well if in winter leave your heat settings on a minimum heat so your home doesn’t freeze over and cause your pipes to burst, or you coming home to a freezing house.
Both the above happened to us you can read about it here!
Don’t forget to turn your fridge to low or Holiday setting for newer digital Fridges.
Leave a timer light on that comes on at set times during your time away.
You could also leave your PC on as a DIY security webcam… Or ask a friend, family member or good neighbour to keep an eye and put away your mail so it’s not lying about for anyone to see that you aren’t home. Do buy them a nice gift for when you return… You are a smart traveller after all! 😉
You Can Download These tips as a PDF Below.
Smart Traveller Must Dos:
Don’t you forget your passport, or even worse don’t forget to check that you have the right visas or Leave to stay.
For some EU residents travel to USA requires an ESTA as opposed to a Visa. ESTAs last for at least 2 years and cost £14 per application in UK (An application can be for an individual or a group/family application of up to 50 people, the fee is the same!) You can apply online here it takes less than 5 mins! With your documentation sorted…
Know what travel habits will enhance your trips and learn a few phrases of your destination so you can communicate with locals better. When you get there Respect their cultures and traditions and why not try out the local cuisine.
Be sure to try out the non-tourist zones. 🙂 And your health matters absolutely so don’t forget to look after number one. Don’t forget your medicines and beware of the places you can’t take non-prescription meds like Dubai!
Smart Travel Tip #1 Clear Your Browser Cache Before Booking
Now this can be tricky on a phone or tablet yet it’s still doable if you use apps to help you out. You must be asking; what’s this got to do with how to travel smarter or cheaper? Well bear with…
Do you remember to browse privately Or to clear your search before you do the next search for that flight or hotel and after every search? We thought not.
Well from now on Open a “New Incognito Window” before you do any searches. DO IT. When we are searching for bargain European flights online, we do this.
In fact, we like to use the www.google.com/ncr and NCR stands for Non Country Redirection. And how does this help? You get to receive results that include other countries bargain deals esp. in Dollars even if you are browsing from outside USA.
Super tip: Travel companies keep a record of what you have already seen online, and won’t deliver the real bargain offers for hotels or flights which they can. Instead your searches will return offers at or close to the prices you’ve already seen. Thus browse incognito or clear browser cache, AFTER EVERY SEARCH until you find that sweet deal.
Don’t forget the best day and time to book your flight. This is the smart way to book your travel!
Travel Smarter Tip #2 – How Long is your Trip?
Okay we do short trips often like weekenders, bank holiday getaways and overnight business trips. Are you like that or have a vision to do this often? The thing is we love Booking.com a platform for anyone really who loves to travel better for less.
BUT if you don’t have access to the benefits we do, then listen up…When you search for and book accommodation, don’t avoid the big name business hotels but think about this: will you really use all the facilities on offer & which you will pay for? Think pools, conference rooms, spas, health and fitness centre or gym, the shop etc.?
We like to just spend a weekend in a best western here in Liverpool Sefton Park, a hidden Gem. It is a typical B&B with old world king size beds, Free wi-fi, a massive breakfast, Free Parking for guests and very helpful staff who always remember your preferences and have a great knowledge of Liverpool – a home away from home.
Another favourite for us in UK are; the DoubleTree by Hilton brand and Holiday Inns.
Look for the B&Bs, smaller boutique hotels like Holiday Inn Express
Travel Smarter Tip #3 – Refreshments & Snacks For your trip
This is essential for flying and road trips alike esp. if you travel with children. It may be common knowledge but not for first timers or infrequent travellers.
This NEXT bit if traveling within your home country e.g. UK, may be a non-issue. Don’t underestimate it for International travel.
Remember DON’T TAKE liquids in Hand Luggage through airport security unless it’s under 100mls, which ain’t much! BUT you can get as many drinks over 100mls or water as you like once through security from the Duty free shops onto the flight.
On a road trip absolutely pack as much as you can carry in terms of water or healthy non fizzy drinks. We love to take a Super Green Smoothie on road trips as a healthy snack! We have a cooler bag just for that.
This helps in keeping us hydrated and saves us buying overpriced drinks and snacks at Service and rest places along the motor way.
Snacks are another matter, as long as they are sealed. Airport security don’t mind them apart from dairy products, insects, and meat products.
So we pack some sandwiches in seal-able sandwich bags. We sometimes buy healthy fruit snacks, dried fruits. I’m gaga about nuts and take them with us.
I don’t know about you, but airline food is often horrible or simply not enough for a full grown adult! Short haul flights don’t even offer meals anymore irrespective of the time one spends to get on that flight between meals or even early morning. So be sure to pack something healthy & filling to eat on your road trip or flight; independent of airlines and airports.
Travel Smarter Tip #4 – Do check-in online or use an App
So you are travelling by air and booking online, why not go the extra mile and do check-in online or use a travel app! We Downloaded ours direct to our phones and you can check-in on a mobile device and save our boarding pass on there, real cool? In some cases this saves us lining up at the airport for ages!
You can do this on the internet within 24-30 hours before your flight. If you live close by or decide to stay overnight by the airport, you can check in at your terminal electronically by using the convenient kiosks.
You don’t need a paper boarding pass if you got it on your phone or tablet. And by the way choose your seats when you book your flight and double confirm when you check-in! Especially important if you travel as a family with wee kids or couple. You don’t wish to seat a mile away from your children or beloved. This is a digital age, right and a real cool way to travel smart by air!
Travel Smarter #5 – Keep Entertained
Be it adult or children if it’s longer than 2 hrs then its definitely a long trip in our book. If you’re taking a trans-Atlantic or long haul flight, you could be in the air or transit for hours, so make sure to pack plenty of things to do in your carry-on luggage.
We have made sure and advise you to get this done. Make sure your handheld devices comply with in-flight safety regulations and have extensions that will let you charge them on the flight as well as connect to the system to play or free flight wi-fi.
We always take a pack of playing cards, download games on our tablets, a couple of Books, puzzles and magazines to pass the time. We also add some cool meditation downloads (Many free on YouTube) for a stress free calm take-off, flight and landing experience.
Plan some chill out, relaxing, even sleep if you can on your long haul flight. Chances you are flying across time zones, so give your body a chance to rest. And always moisturize lots on the flight or you will be puffed up for 24+hrs on landing and it ain’t a great look!Make sure your handheld devices comply with in-flight safety regulations.
Travel Smarter today #6 – Pack light, pack smart, Go Hand luggage
We have found that when we travel light aka just hand luggage or an overnight bag, we get where we are heading faster.
Leave that kitchen pantry behind when you pack. 🙂 Unless you are going away for a month, pack light.
Roll your clothes up and place little items inside of shoes.
If in doubt don’t pack it period! Yes it’s tempting to match every outfit with a shoe and handbag…but guess what, you won’t use them trust us on that.
Lighter bags make traveling to and from the airport considerably easier and your road-trip lighter too.
If you gotta use public transport at any point, lugging around several heavy suitcases won’t be such fun and you will find getting down then underground on and off buses or trains a upper nightmare.
Also lighter bags will save you from potentially expensive excess baggage fees. Pack like a flight attendant and you will be traveling smarter too! We got above suitcase from an Amazon Store we recommend it!
Fortunately most airlines permit passengers to bring one bag of up to 12kgs on board the aircraft for free. Make use of this by packing the essentials.
Don’t chance your electronics getting damaged in your checked in luggage, pack your equipment rolled in socks if it fits in your carry-on bag e.g. tablet, laptop, games console, chargers, camera etc. For that road-trip keep em close esp. on public means.If in doubt don't pack it period! #traveltips
Travel Smarter #7 – Take Your Camera & Power Pack
This may sound like a given to travel smarter… After all this is a digital era and everyone, their aunt and pet dog own an android phone, right! WRONG.
Take your camera and capture those moments you will have forever with Clear images, as opposed to those on a tablet or phone.
Yes these days’ phones and tablets have high quality cameras but consider this scenario that happened to us before. My iPad battery run out while we were sightseeing in Rome at the Colloseo. (We have been Twice in 2 years, couple images below).
We could have missed out on some of the most treasured moments of our trip, if Paul hadn’t insisted on bringing our Go-Pro camera along. So do yourself a favour and take your trusty Nikon or Panasonic with you too.
Also absolutely buy a portable power pack. We got one that cost us £8 from Matalan and it keeps our phones and tablets going longer with battery juice. OR take spare batteries with you and carry them while out.
Do Not forget your universal outlet plug. We have like 4 scattered in different suitcases lol! They are different for Europe and USA. They cost like $20+ at the airport, yet less than a tenner in shops. 🙂 This is how you travel smarter as a digital nomad!
Visit Rome Colloseo the smart way! Book in Advance!
Travel Smarter Tip #8 – Check Your Technology
And we’re talking your phone roaming, zoom, WhatsApp, wi-fi etc.
Way back in 2008 we travelled to Greece and I forgot to check with my mobile/cell phone services provider on a roaming plan. Suffice to say we weren’t best pleased with the bill when we got back to UK.
These days when we travel we take a tablet with us so we can use Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook message, which are also available on our smart phones. Use these options with hotel free available wi-fi abroad as much as possible for phone calls/chats.
Super Tip: Fully charge your gadgets before your trip terra firma or flying. And if you’re flying, know that most security require your electronic devices to be charged up so that you can demonstrate them powering on, on request. So don’t take that chance of a drained gadget. You could miss your flight…
Travel Smarter Penultimate tip #9 – Use your Travel Points
Now if you are a frequent flier you should definitely travel smarter.
You may be accumulating travel points and benefits and you don’t even check…! Those loyalty programs are there for a reason.
If you aren’t a frequent traveller we absolutely encourage you to sign up for any travel company or club loyalty programs you think you may utilize in the near future today. Do it now.
If you are a budget conscious person consider changing loyalty… Airline reward programs have changed dramatically lately, and so have the benefits they offer.
Most airlines have shifted from rewarding you by how far you fly to; how much you spend. So if you buy cheap international flights, you’ll earn far lesser miles.
Here’s how to hack the system. You don’t necessarily have to switch loyalty programs and you don’t have to bank your air miles with the airline you use. There are still some airlines that award miles based on distance flown for instance Alaska Airlines.
Travel Smarter Penultimate tip #10 Compare Travel Styles
How do we mean by that? Well consider this; how long is that ride to the airport? There is checking in and security checks, your flight waiting times, transit times etc. We recently visited Florence in Italy and met a young couple that had driven from Croatia! They said it had taken them 6 hours tops!
We kinda wondered how that was even possible! When we totted up the time it took us to get to Manchester Airport 40 mins, plus check in and boarding time 3hrs, the flight itself was 3 hrs, plus the 2 hrs transit thru Munich and finally grabbing our cases and we had opted for the Airport Shuttle as the ride to our hotel.
Our journey was almost double time and cost more in the bigger picture. Would a road trip have been shorter and more enjoyable via Dover, channel crossing, drive to Italy? YES cheaper & more scenic, EVEN in time costs!
BUT, and this is a big but, it could have been exhausting for the Driver/s. even with a SatNav.
That said, it could be your next trip. Consider the alternative time and cost savings and how you would feel if you drove to your next vacation!
Smart Travel Tip #11 – Use a Smart Card Have a Lighter Wallet!
Yes, today we can say that instead of taking your 6 cards plus all your loyalty cards on that trip, and worry about losing them. Get yourself a Smart-card.
This is a Bluetooth smart card with Technology so cool most people will want one. So why not be one of the first few to rock it!
You can learn more about Smart Cards go google it and check out YouTube videos too. Compare what suits your needs and try it.
#12 What to do When Traveling Alone
We are sure there are numerous tips for Solo Travelers out there. We would like you to understand that Your Personal safety is down to YOU. So take it as a serious job in order to enjoy your travels. More so for the female solo traveller. So we recommend that you Read our Full Article on Solo Travel dos and don’ts below
[RECOMMENDED – Solo Travel Traveling alone DO’s and DON’TS!]
Smart Travel Tip #BONUS TIP – Shopping Tip
On some bank and credit cards, your normal weekly shopping at Walmart’s, Target etc. and most online stores, your occasional gift shopping, that large item shopping earn you points that you can use to travel anywhere.
If you don’t have such benefits, well many stores do give tourist discount cards e.g. Macys. And you don’t have to be on holiday, just ask, many offer 5-10% discounts on your purchases.
You must show your ID (out-of-state) and you’ll get the card. We usually try the department stores and larger retailers. And while doing so or once done with your shopping don’t worry about bigger items. Ask about shipping policy, tax and costs and simply ask them to ship your stuff directly home so you don’t have to worry about paying extra baggage cost!
Most stores will ship your bigger items home for a small fee. Many have do it, don’t leave that gorgeous rug behind that you will never find back home at that price even with shipping costs.
We can tell you this list is not exhaustive even from our own experiences so we will keep updating it regularly. So keep an eye out and/or subscribe so you’ll know when we have done so. TWEET BELOW Now you Rock 🙂
Nomadic Matt dives deeper into how to travel on a budget so we didn’t wanna reinvent that wheel. He is an Authority on that so check out his travel blog.
Now for assistance in locating the best Travel package or advise on Flights and Hotels, feel free to reach out to us. You can Contact Us and we’d be more than happy to pull up some options for you.
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Julie Sylvia Kalungi
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