You’ve picked that special spot for your dream vacation. Great! Now, comes the planning process – which can be extensive, exhausting, and expensive. It shouldn’t be that way. And, it doesn’t have to be.
Planning your dream vacation can be easy if you use any of the many travel hacks available these days. There are even some hacks aimed at helping you save time and money.
Here are five of the top travel hacks to get you on your way to a fun and fabulous, yet cost-effective and time-efficient vacation.
Hacks for flights and hotels
Flying to your destination? Consider including a Saturday-night stay in your getaway and you are likely to get a low price on your air fare. Also, shop for your airline tickets on Sundays and Tuesdays and you could see some pretty good discounts offered by the airlines. Start shopping at least three months before your trip. Take your time and compare air fares for a little while before locking in on a ticket purchase.
An even better hack: Avoid the “combo” concept that some online aggregator sites try to push. Those combo deals can seem good, but end up costing you more in the long run. For example, the combo deal you’re offered for travel and lodging may include a really low price on air fare – and a really high price for hotels or other lodging.
To get the best deals on hotels, use an online platform specifically for lodging such as HotelsCombined. It does the work for you, getting the choice rates from all of the top travel sites so you can make an informed decision instead of settling for pricey lodging arrangements in exchange for affordable transportation tickets. Why does it have to be one or the other? It doesn’t. If you consider the transportation and lodging segments of your trip independently, you stand a better chance of getting a bargain on both.
These platforms usually offer fare and hotel deal alerts which send great deals directly to your inbox.
Hacks for Car Rentals
If some or all of your vacation requires a vehicle rental, check out Autoslash.com before you book. One of the benefits of this site is that it pulls together the best coupons and promo codes available to knock down the price of vehicle rental. Autoslash.com has been highly recommended by Pauline Frommer of the famous Frommer travel guides.
If you don’t need a car for the long haul, but maybe for an afternoon, consider renting a car by the hour. Look into companies such as Zipcar, or Car2Go – owned by Daimler, or Maven – owned by General Motors.
Once you’ve handled those two big parts of your trip (travel and lodging), you can get to the fun part of the planning: Will you do some sightseeing or lay low? Will it be all about relaxation or an active, on-the-go getaway?
You start daydreaming about your much-anticipated trip as you go through your regular daily routines. The excitement builds as you get closer to the start of your vacation. Then comes the daunting, and sometimes stressful task of packing. And what about the money you’ll spend on eating three meals a day plus snacks?
Here are some hacks to simplify things and save money where possible.
It’s been a debate waged for years among travelers: Should you fold your clothes or roll them before putting them in a suitcase? The answer is roll them. If you roll them tautly, you can reduce wrinkles while making more room in your suitcase. That especially bodes well if you hope to bring home some souvenirs.
Even if there are a few clothing wrinkles, there are wrinkle releaser sprays sold in travel sizes which can be brought along – or purchased in a store at your trip location. In a pinch, a flat iron for hair can be used to get rid of wrinkles in certain spots. Put the iron on a low temperature and run it along the material quickly. Of course, most hotels have irons and ironing boards for guests. But by that time, it’ll feel as if you never left home if you have to do laundry chores. Who wants that?
Dirty laundry in your Suitcase
And speaking of laundry chores … what about the clothes, underwear and socks you’ve worn over the last several days of your vacation? Sure, you can find a hotel or lodging arrangement which has a washer and dryer on site and do your laundry. And if it’s available, hotels may have laundry services – but that added service can be a budget breaker. Unless you are staying in a very high-end, luxury hotel, laundry service is likely to cost you a hefty fee.
Let’s face it: If you’re on vacation for more than a week or have heavily soiled or smelly clothing, washing may be a necessity.
But if things aren’t that serious, you can save yourself time and money without raising a stink using this hack. Put some of the small, packaged hotel soaps in your luggage along with your dirty laundry. Dryer sheets, either brought with you in a clear, sealable baggy from home or purchased at your destination at a minimal cost, will also help.
Breakfast while Traveling
Have you ever been in an airport and been charged $5 or even more for a meatless, basic breakfast sandwich or a bowl of oatmeal? Or, have you hoped for something substantial on your domestic flight and the offerings came up short?
You can’t bring a breakfast sandwich that’s reasonably priced into the airport. And the options sold in the airport beyond the security checkpoints, are particularly pricey.
Here’s a hack for a hearty breakfast that’s affordable. Pour a packet of instant oatmeal in a clear, sealable baggy along with some of your favorite toppings, like dried fruits, nuts and sugar or sugar substitute. On the plane, you can ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water instead of coffee for your oatmeal mixture and … voila! A quick, fulfilling breakfast that doesn’t cost much. This is a great option if you want to save time and money, and you don’t want to feel hungry or have a growling tummy that demands more than an inflight snack.
There are lots of travel hacks out there to make every aspect of your getaway easier, more pleasant, and affordable. If there’s some task or cost that is keeping you from your dream vacation, there’s probably a hack out there to help you. Use reliable technology for efficiency and savings. Get started on planning your dream vacation today.
Bon voyage, and safe travels!