Travelling is a wonderful time meant for relaxing and unwinding, but it often comes with a whole new realm of unexpected worries. So, to help make sure you get the most out of your precious time away, here are some of Team Neat’s favourite travel hacks, from getting the best deal on flights to securing the first meal on the plane and dealing with stressful situations in foreign lands!
Flight Price Alerts
Before you’ve even booked your trip, set up flight alerts to make sure you get the best deal possible. It does involve a little forward planning, but start looking out a couple of months beforehand to find the flight you want for the best price, and to pre-book your preferred seat too. We love Jack's Flight Clubs daily emails (even if it does give us pangs of wanderlust when we're sat at our desks!) or setting specific alerts on Google Flights. It'll even give you analysis on whether the price is likely to drop or rise around your preferred date of travel.
Prepare For The Worst
Often, travel only becomes stressful when those unlikely disasters actually happen. Scan all your important documents, pack a spare credit card separately in your bag, and make sure you’ve organised travel insurance before you go. That way, there’s one less thing to worry about when something gets lost or stolen!
Do Your Research
Going with the flow is a fun way to travel, but doing a little bit of research about what to do will provide you with a great starting point to get exploring. If you’re a fussy eater or just a big foodie, source out a couple of highly recommended spots to eat and mark them on a map before you go to avoid wasting money on rubbish meals. At the very least, figure out how to get from the airport to your accommodation before you land, as it’ll be the last thing you want to think about when you’re tired and disorientated.
Packing is a pain, but we’ve got the perfect list for those wanting to stay active on vacation. Another great tip from our Partnerships Manager, Izzy, is to go through your packing with the person/people you’ll be travelling with. It'll help you to cull any unnecessary items and will make sure you don’t forget anything super important!
Keep Your Valuables Close
Don’t pack anything valuable in your hold luggage. Even if you have a great padlock, you can’t guarantee that your stuff is in safe hands. Screens can get broken, money can get stolen and keys can get lost – and there’s nothing worse than landing at home to find out you’re locked out the house!
Order a Special Meal
If you’re a fussy eater, don’t forget to order yourself a special meal. A lot of airlines aren’t very accommodating when you’re already on board, so don’t expect them to provide vegan or gluten-free options if it hasn’t already been requested. Even if you don’t have any dietary requirements, ordering a vegan, gluten-free, Kosher or Hindu meal will mean that your meal is always brought out first!
Or Take Your Own Food
If ordering a special meal isn’t enough (let’s face it, aeroplane food isn’t exactly gourmet!) then bring food on board instead. Pack some crackers, single-serve protein sachets, and snack bars to keep you satiated between meals, and pick up a salad or bowl at the airport beforehand.
Download Area Maps
There’s nothing worse than getting somewhere new and feeling lost and confused without your beloved WIFI connection. Follow a local map without turning on your roaming and paying the price, by downloading offline Google Maps for your local city or area. We love starring the key places we want to go to, so we’re never caught short and can easily find that really amazing lunch spot!
Learn Some Key Phrases
Heading further afield and don’t know the language? Write down some key phrases to make travelling around a breeze. Simple directions and questions that you’ll use on a daily basis, and if you have any allergies or dietary preferences, it’s a great idea to write down what you can’t eat too!
Go With The Flow
This is one of the most important but often forgotten travel tips. Sometimes, the unexpected happens and you end up on a plane next to a screaming kid, your bus breaks down or the hotel messes up your reservation. It’s easier said than done, but try to relax, keep calm and go with the flow – it’s all part of the experience and will likely turn into a really great story!