After spending the last 10 months abroad, traveling has become second nature. Between exploring new cities, navigating airports, and mastering the art of packing; I have made a list of travel hacks that have helped me to make life on the road a little bit easier, which I have decided to share with you! Enjoy!
Life on Molly | Solo Travel Hacks & Tips
- Search for Free Walking Tours-Not only will this save you a lot of money, but it’s a great way to explore a city. On walking tours, they will usually take you by all of the main sights in a city, helping you to decide what places you should return to and check out for the rest of your time.
- Stay Hydrated-Invest in a water bottle to keep with you during your trips. It will save you a lot of money in restaurants and keep you from buying a new drink whenever you get thirsty.
- Utilize Google Flights and Skyscanner-Skyscanner is a great resource if you’re searching for super cheap flights (who isn’t?) and Google Flights because it allows you to buy flights and organize them by “multi-city” which is great for those who are planning on having multiple flights in one trip.
- Clear Cookies When Searching for Flights OR Use an Incognito Window-Believe it or not, the prices will change most of the time. I didn’t believe it at first, but while searching for a flight the other day my prices changed. Initially, my flight was $350 but when I cleared my cookies and searched again it went down to $300.
- Invest in an IYTC Card -If you’re under the age of 31, I definitely recommend applying for one of these cards. It can get you over 160,000 discounts in over one hundred countries. Discounts will be available in everything from restaurants, cafes, transportation, attractions, etc.
- Go to the Supermarket-Taking a shopping trip to the supermarket to get food/snacks for your stay will help cut down on restaurant costs while traveling. Even the cheapest of restaurants and cafes begin to add up. Some of my favorite snacks to get are yogurt cups, trail mix, fruit, and hummus cups.
- Utilize Airbnb, Hostelworld, and Couchsurfing-This may come down to personal preference but while traveling, I only need a bed. For this reason, I tend to avoid hotels and stay at an Airbnb or hostel. It is a great way to meet new people and your wallet will be happier.
- Download your Google Maps-I love Apple, but Apple Maps is terrible. Do yourself a favor and download Google Maps, you can thank me later.
- Download Offline Areas on Google Maps-This is a super cool trick that I had no idea about until I lived abroad. On Google Maps, you can download what is called “offline areas.” These are areas on Google Maps that you can navigate yourself through and get directions even when you don’t have mobile service or WiFi. This was a life-saver for me considering I didn’t have a phone plan and only used WiFi during the last year while living abroad.
- Less is More-If you’re second guessing an item of clothing, technology, or whatever; don’t pack it.
- Leave the Hot Tools at Home-Again personal preference, but curling irons and straighteners take up sooo much room in your luggage. Just leave them at home and rock cute up-dos while on vacations.
- Wear Heaviest Clothes on Plane-This saves space in your luggage and you can breathe a little easier if they decide to weigh your bags.
- Versatility is EVERYTHING-Attempt to pack clothes that you can mix and match easily and that also pack well. You don’t want to fill your luggage with obnoxious clothing patterns or with clothes that are too bulky.
- Download Any Podcasts or E-books to Survive Long Flights or Train Rides -My favorites are NPR TED Radio Hour and The School of Greatness
- Buy Travel Size Containers-I know, I know. It is so convenient to just buy travel sized products. But honestly you save money, you use less plastic, and it’s more efficient to simply refill them each time you travel.
- Buy a Battery Pack-You can’t always depend on airports or train stations to have outlets to recharge your phone. Carrying one of these will usually ensure about 4 full charges until you can find a reliable electric outlet.
- Copies are Always a Good Idea-Always have extra copies of your IDs and Passport to carry around while sightseeing instead of your actual IDs (which I always recommend leaving in your hostel locker or place of accommodation).
- Not Enough Phone Storage-I always run out of storage on my phone, and it is the worst when I am trying to take photos on a trip. To free up space on your phone, try deleting apps and re-adding them. This deletes any cookies/data that may be taking up space. I also invested in paying a little bit more every month for more iCloud space, totally worth it.
- Skip the Currency Exchange-ALWAYS use a credit card or just pull money out of an ATM. Currency exchange rates are horrible and a huge scam/waste of money.
- Download Transportation Applications-By downloading your airline’s application, you can check in and download your boarding pass straight to your phone. This saves a HUGE amount of time at the airport and you can skip those annoying counter check-in lines, if you aren’t checking any bags.
Not sure yet about solo travel? Check out my experiences and what I have learned from life abroad to help inspire you to take that leap of faith to get out and explore the world.
If you have any questions or travel hacks of your own, feel free to comment them below! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Life on Molly! Stay tuned soon for my packing tips and essential (downloadable) packing list to help you out on your next adventure.