Do you love travel — but hate the actual act of traveling? Well, chances are pretty good that you are not alone. Especially in the post-9/11 era when airport security and general paranoia about traveling seems to have hit an all-time high, just getting from place to place can be a massive pain in the neck.
The good news is, we’re here to help. Below we have 15 tricks and secrets of travel in the 21st century that will make your next trip a whole lot easier. So wherever you’re headed this summer, or any time, take this list with you.
Unlike previous generations, this generation of travelers carries as much technology, it seems, as shirts, socks and underwear. Here’s one trick to make carrying all those cables and wires much neater. Keep your chargers and headphones in a glasses case.
Now that you can’t carry more than small amounts of any kind of fluids on a plane, use ordinary drinking straws to carry necessities such as sunblock and moisturizer. Just fold the ends of the plastic straws and tape them shut.
Protect the heads of disposable shaving razors — and protect your own fingers from the sharp, multiple blades — by covering the razor heads with binder clips.
When purchasing air fares online, which is the way most airline tickets are purchased these days, set your internet browser to the “private” or “incognito” window setting. That way, sites can’t track you with cookies. Reportedly, if travel sites know that you’re a loyal customer, they’ll raise prices. You can get a better deal if they don’t know you’ve been there before.
Back on the technology travel beat, here’s a cool trick. An inner spring from a used ball-point pen makes an efficient and cheap way to protect wiring during travel.
Check the back of your hotel TV for a USB port. Most newer TVs have them and they can be used to charge iPhones, iPods or anything that charges via USB, saving on outlet space — and providing a lifesaving alternative in case you forget your chargers at home.
Inevitably, the first rest room you pass after entering the terminal will be the one with the longest line. Hold it until the next rest room. You’ll thank yourself, and so will your bladder.
Tuesdays around 3pm is when airlines tend to offer their lowest fares. Go online to buy as soon after that time as you can. Also, keep in mind that if you are able to fly mid-week, fares are cheaper on those days, especially Wednesday.
Turbulence on the plane got you all shaken up? If possible, select a seat over the wing. That’s the area where the plane is most stable, and where you feel the least of that scary shaking sensation.
Many hotels keep chargers left behind by guests and will give you one for free if you ask real nicely.
Just to be safe, scan your travel documents before you leave — passport, or another identification, paper tickets if you have them — and load them on a tablet computer. They won’t serve as official documents, but they may help in a pinch if your originals are lost or stolen.
Did you know that setting your mobile device to “airplane mode” saves the battery and even allows it to charge more quickly? You do now!
A “fragile” sticker on your luggage will often encourage baggage handlers to move your bag to the front of the line, meaning you won’t have to wait as long at the baggage claim carousel.
Need to travel with lots of bobby pins or safety pins? An empty Tic-Tac box makes a handy container to keep them from spilling all over the place.
They say you can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube but you can put toothpaste from one tube into another tube. Why would you want to do that, you ask? Well, buying one tube of travel size toothpaste then refilling it saves money and the time of repeated trips to Rite-Aid. Works for other travel size fluids as well.
That was 15 tricks and secrets to make your travel much easier. But here’s a bonus Number 16…
When you’re traveling in a foreign country, you always have change left over when you leave. Instead of keeping it as a useless souvenir, give it to the homeless. They need your help, and you need one fewer unwieldy item to carry. Plus, it’s a good thing to do.
Enjoy your travel this summer, wherever it takes you.