Good news, globetrotters: Traveling a ton doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you’re wondering how to pack efficiently, find the cheapest flight or score major hotel deals, you’ll love this ultimate travel hack list for explorers. Say sayonara to those pre-travel jitters, because your jet-setting ways just got way easier. You can thank us later.
If you've ever done a flexible airfare search, you know just how dramatically fares vary based on the day of the week. Choose your days wisely and you can save hundreds of dollars. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the least-popular travel days for domestic flights. For Europe flights, seats are in lower demand on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. So if you're looking for a deal, you might find that flying on these lower-demand days means better prices for you.
At many hotels, check-in and checkout times are far from set in stone. Loyalty members often get the option of early check-in or late checkout, and sometimes hotels offer the option with certain packages or room types. And if you've got a late flight or just need a home base for a few more hours, it never hurts to call the front desk and ask. Often, the hotel will be happy to oblige.
Below are a handpicked selection of articles by our team of travel veterans and our favorite travel experts. These are people, just like you, for whom necessity is the mother of invention. Over many trips, suffering the frustration of lost luggage or bags that weighed them down, they learned to pack better, and lighter. They learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.
When possible, even on business trips, I try to avoid hotels and stay with a member of one of my homestay networks. I find the genuine contact and family atmosphere a welcome change from conference hotels. Yes, there's some transportation logistics, but generally, I find it worth the schlep across town to make new friends and get my batteries recharged.
For example, Southwest Airlines boards their planes using a letter-based grouping system. Passengers check in no earlier than 24 hours before their flight and receive a number and letter combination (like A23 or B14). Passengers line up in groups of five, loosely in order and board when your group is called. It’s open seating on Southwest so you get pick your seat.
The day before Thanksgiving. Memorial Day weekend. Christmas week. Some of the busiest travel days are obvious to most avid travelers. However, some aren't so apparent: The busiest travel week a few years ago was the third week in June. In 2016, one of the busiest travel days was May 6 (the Friday before Mother's Day). The takeaway? Don't chance it—get to the airport very early. Lines could be much longer than you expect.
3. Always keep an energy bar in your carry-on bag. During one seven-hour delay I experienced in Miami, the airport vendors had literally sold out of food. If it’s a winter blizzard or a massive string of delays, you may be out of luck. Prepare in advance by keeping an energy bar in your bag so you’re always ready in case disaster strikes. Pro tip: At the grocery store buy your favorite kind in bulk -- they often sell them in boxes of 12 or more.
Traveling as a family of four, we use vacuum-sealed, airtight, and waterproof space bags for each individual. They compress clothes by squeezing the air out, they protect fabric from spills, and they are an easy way to separate everyone’s belongings. They’re also great for bulky items like sweaters and ski gear for winter trips. The World is a Book
It also helps to know which items are, according to the TSA, considered liquids or gels and thereby subject to the 3-1-1 rule. This isn't as simple as it sounds. Foods such as peanut butter, pudding, mashed potatoes, and icing are classified as gels. Mascara, lip gloss, and aerosol items are also classified as liquids or gels. But keep in mind that liquid prescription medication is exempt. (Read more on that on The TSA Blog.) See a more complete list of liquids and gels that are not permitted in carry-on luggage in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces here.