Travel: Tricks, Tips and Hacks

I love to travel but it always involves challenges. That’s why I have adopted an attitude that assumes no matter how well I’ve planned, if something can go wrong, it probably will. And, if it doesn’t? I consider that a travel bonus.

Over the years, I’ve collected a bunch of really great travel tips—some fun, some crazy, but all of them very useful if only to avoid a headache or two.

1) Before you leave, scan the front and back of every item in your wallet, including your passport. Email the images to yourself. Now you’ll always have a digital copy handy in case you lose something. This will not substitute for your passport, ID or credit card, but you’ll have all of the pertinent information you need to keep going.

2) Instead of folding your clothes, roll them tightly. They’ll take up less space in your luggage, and that can save having to pay extra baggage fees.

3) Bring along an empty water bottle. Once you clear security, fill it up and you won’t have to pay $3.95 for a bottle of water. Refill as necessary during your trip. Just make sure it’s empty before you pass through security on your return trip.

4) If you should happen to forget (or lose) the wall plug for your phone charger, check the back of the TV in your hotel room. Most these days have a USB port where you can recharge your phone or other device.

5) If you lost or forgot the charger for your computer or phone, go to the front desk. They will have a huge assortment that others have left behind. You should be able to borrow the one you need.
Need to wash out underwear or other clothing items? Shampoo is the perfect substitute for hand wash detergent. It’s great for getting out a grease spot, too. After all, that’s what shampoo is made to do—remove grease from hair.

6) A travel mug makes a great travel “safe.” If you must leave small valuables in your hotel room, pop them into the mug then apply the lid. It will be fairly inconspicuous and an unlikely target for thieves.

7) When you leave your hotel room, even if for only a few minutes to get something to eat, place the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. Now it appears to housekeeping and others that you are in the room for as long as the sign remains. This adds a layer of security should you have to leave your computer or other valuables in the room for a short time.

8) Have you ever noticed that every time you go back to check the price of a flight, the price has gone up? That’s because your Internet history is traced. When the website you’re checking realizes you want that flight, they start upping the price—especially if it’s the tenth time this week you’ve checked. Sneaky, I know. The solution is to clear your Internet browsing history so you’re essentially starting again from scratch. (Google it if you don’t know how to do this. It varies slightly depending on the browser you’re using.)

9) When booking air travel, always use a flight or travel comparison website. There are several, such as Skyscanner and Kayak. These sites help you find the best airline and cheapest price for your dates and routes. But DO NOT BOOK your flights through these comparison sites. Instead, delete your browsing history and then book directly with the airline. This way, if you have a flight cancellation or other problem, you can rebook right at the airport (or train station, etc.) through customer service. If you’ve booked your tickets with third parties (like Internet travel sites) and you have a problem, good luck. You’re going to need it.

Would you like more information? Log on to Mary invites questions, comments and tips at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of Debt-Proof Living, released in 2014.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.