By Editor on 22 April 2015

Travel hacks. The internet's awash with them; however, how do you know which ones are worth using?

We've spoken to some of our favourite travel bloggers, and they've shared the hacks they can't live without.

Jade Johnston at OurOyster.com

In today's digital age, we are relying more and more on technological devices to help us navigate our way around the world. Do you remember what it was like before Google maps? It was a hell of a lot harder, that's what it was. So what do you do when your battery dies?

Did you know that one of the things that uses the most power on your phone or other device is its constant searching for data connections and WiFi? If you don't need these services then put your phone into flight mode; it will last much, much longer if you do.

But what if you try this and your phone is still running flat? Got a few minutes to spare and found a charge point in an airport or cafe? Well, turning your phone to flight mode while you are charging it will make it charge at a much faster rate!

Michael Turtle at TimeTravelTurtle.com

I have one simple life hack that I use every day and you probably could to. It's called 'walking'. Every time there is an opportunity to walk somewhere, rather than go a different way, I choose to travel on foot.

The best thing is that it has so many benefits that you probably don't even realise. Let me run through a few:

Firstly, it saves you money. If your daily return commute to work costs $6 dollars on the bus, for instance, you've suddenly saved yourself $30 a week if you walk instead - or $1500 a year. If you walk home from a night out once a week too, rather than catch a taxi, you could probably easily double those savings to $3000 a year.

Secondly, it's healthy. Walking each day to work or the shops or anywhere else you have to go can easily pass as your regular exercise. If you move at a fast pace, it will definitely get the blood pumping. Maybe you can also start to save time and money by replacing your gym with a daily walking commute (another saving of maybe $1000 or so).

On top of those two big benefits, you also get to see more of the world around you, reduce your stress levels, be more punctual because there's never unexpected traffic, and use the time to think or listen to podcasts.

There really are no downsides and I make sure I do lots of walking in every country I visit as I travel around the world.

Kate Diete from InnerWanderlust.com

Here are my handy hints for offline maps:

If you’re only in the country for a few days and won’t be buying data, when you're connected to WiFi, use Google maps to save an offline map to your smartphone. To save an offline map just type ‘OK maps’ into the search box. Then when you are out and about exploring without data and need to find your way, open your offline map by going into your Google maps app and the little blue GPS dot will place where you are on the map. The GPS dot will even follow you as you walk.

Before saving the offline map ‘star’ the places of interest on the map so you can get your bearings quicker and make your way towards your destination.”

How to save money when booking flights:

When booking a flight online, if you've already looked up the same flight routes previously, make sure you have cleared your browser cache or use a different browser. Some websites take note when you've been previously looking at a flight route and now are back to buy the flight and consequently sometimes increase the price. Clearing your browser cache will give you the true and cheaper price.

Sort your organisation with Grid-It:

If you’re carrying around technology or little bits and pieces try a Grid-It. It’s a fantastic little travel gadget that allows you to keep all your little bits and pieces on one ‘grid’. Think memory cards, batteries, headphones and cables. Keep them all on your Grid-It and you’ll never be pulling out your whole bag for that one cable. By the way, I have no association with these guys, just love the product.

Go for a more authentic and cheaper experience:

When looking for a place to snack always look for a food place on a side street. Typically, the main streets are for tourists and can be more expensive. I also find that the food in the side streets are from smaller, independent establishments and, therefore can be more authentic. Bonus points if you can ask a local where to eat. They’ll always tell you which places to avoid and usually will tell you their most favourite place to eat at.

Blag free WiFi:

If you’re desperate for WiFi, try cafes. Most cafes leave their WiFi on even when they're closed which can give you a sneaky bit of WiFi to help you find your way."

Annabel Candy from Get In the Hot Spot

My travel hack is to make an effort to learn the lingo. Even if you only learn to say hello, please and thank you, that will get you a long way and be much appreciated by the locals, even if they speak your language. Even knowing only a few words of the local language will help you get the more out of your travel experience. You'll make friends with locals, improve your memory and have fun getting your tongue round new words and unfamiliar pronunciations.

So what's the best way to get started with language learning? If you have time listen to audio recordings before your trip. When you’re travelling really listen to the radio, TV or people talking. Don’t tune out because you don’t understand anything. See how many words you can pick out or if you can guess what people are saying or how they’re feeling from their tone and gestures.

Aim to learn a phrase a day. If you start learning the language just 14 days before you travel and you’ll already have 14 phrases up your sleeve. Hello, thank you, please, goodbye and excuse me are essential. Then you can move on to questions like ‘Are you a local?’, ‘What’s your name?’ or ‘Do you have children?’ When I went to Holland for a weekend as a young free and single student I learnt only two phrases: ‘I fancy you’ and ‘Would you like to dance?’ Everyone in Holland speaks great English but they were great conversation openers!

Don't be shy and do practice on everyone. When we moved to Central America I practised my bad Spanish on taxi drivers, shop keepers and random strangers on the street. No one was safe and most people are happy to help you learn their language. Laugh along with them when you make mistakes and keep trying. Knowing and using the local language will add a whole new dimension to your travel experience.

Leah from KidBucketList.com.au

As an avid traveller I have procured a long list of life hacks that make life a little easier when on the road with my family, from throwing a few ice cubes in the dryer with my husband’s creased shirt when we don’t have an iron but do have a booking at a nice restaurant to shoving a dry tea bag in smelly hiking boots to absorb the smell over night.

However my best-ever life hack is the simple scarf. I always, ALWAYS ensure I hop on a plane with a big scarf around my neck – even in summer! It doubles as a blanket, a blackout shade for the kids when we are travelling by car, a pillow when scrunched up, and even a skirt if I spill something on my pants (I always choose wide scarves).

A well-chosen scarf with a good width and length made from natural fibres is quite a practical travelling companion. When my children were babies I could even use it as a makeshift sling when I accidental left my carrier at home. Yes, it’s that awesome!

 


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