Being a frequent traveler is like being in a secret club. Club members all understand the coded language on airplane stubs. They all know about a few fabled and delicious roadside diners along America’s most famous highways that are shared through word-of-mouth.
And importantly, frequent travelers know all of the tips and tricks to help them save on travel expenses and get the best service every time they check-in.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a world traveler to take advantage of some of the best travel tips around.
Here are a few travel hacks that may help you save a bit of money while still having a fantastic vacation.
Overpaying for airfare isn’t fun for anyone. These hacks can help point you toward some of the best deals, so you can hopefully have more money for fun activities and excursions on your vacation.
Setting Up Price Alerts
If you know when you want to fly, or at the very least where you’d like to go, you could try to find a deal on flights by signing up for price alerts. Services like Kayak , Expedia , and even Google offer users the option to set up notifications for when prices drop on flights they are interested in.
Signing Up for Newsletters
Beyond alerts, it may also be worthwhile to sign up for newsletters like Next Vacay , a website where users input their destination and are alerted via email when flight deals are available.
Other newsletters including Scott’s Cheap Flights and Skyscanner , work in a similar fashion. And who knows maybe one of the alerts in your daily newsletters will inspire you to take a totally different trip than you had originally intended.
Booking 76 Days Ahead
According to Cheap Air , the best date to book an airline ticket is 76 days before your intended departure date. Airfare, the site noted, can change dozens of times leading up to a departure date. So 76 days in advance isn’t always the magic number, but it can be a helpful guideline.
These tips will help you pack smarter, so you have room for all you need to make your travel comfortable.
Rolling vs. Folding Your Clothes
The debate over rolling vs. folding your clothes is common among frequent travelers. Both methods have their pros and cons, but rolling is touted for its space-saving ability. According to one anecdotal CNET test rolling can help people fit more clothing into their suitcases.
Beyond being able to fit more, it may also help travelers visualize their clothing choices by making them all visible and may even help limit creasing that might be caused by folding. This means less unpacking upon arrival and hopefully fewer wrinkles.
Making Use of All Space
Another secret frequent travelers use to help them bring along all of their necessary belongings—using every available inch of space. Consider tucking socks into your sneakers or storing a shirt in the purse you plan on packing.
If you’re returning with a souvenir, you could consider using a t-shirt to add a layer of cushion around the item. This technique may have an added benefit since it could also help purses and shoes retain their shape during your travels.
Bringing Your Own Water Bottle
Eco-conscious travel is all the rage these days and for good reason. There’s one easy thing everyone can do to join the movement: Bring your own water bottle everywhere.
Bring an empty water bottle on your next trip to the airport, train station, or road trip. Having it on hand means you can avoid paying airport prices for water and can stay hydrated on your trip.
Instant Oatmeal Is Your Best Friend
Try packing a few snacks for the road. Some easy-to-transport ideas could include instant oatmeal packets, protein bars, dried fruit, and nuts.
These treats make for excellent breakfasts in hotel rooms, hostels, and home rentals. Plus they’re all non-perishable and are sturdy enough to last through a trip. For easy access, store them in your carry-on or tuck them into your suitcase so you can pull them out as needed.
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Accommodations can amount to a substantial expense when all of the planning is said and done. The following tips could help you find less expensive options for your next trip.
Staying at Hostels for Potentially Cheaper Accommodations
Forgoing a five-star resort for a hostel could potentially cut your lodging costs. Today’s hostels aren’t the bare dorm room-like accommodations they used to be.
Just check out a few of the listings on websites like HostelWorld . There, would-be travelers can find hostels around the globe that rival fancy hotels for a fraction of the cost. Frequently, travelers can choose from group, shared, or private rooms. Some hostels may even offer options with a private bathroom to boot.
Before heading off on your next journey give the listings a gander and some thoughtful consideration. Sometimes they could also provide a better travel experience in the long run. If you’re a solo traveler, hostels can provide an excellent environment for making new friends as they tend to be filled with like-minded travelers.
Check Home Rental Sites
Beyond hostels and hotels, websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO have made it possible for people to book and rent private homes for their vacations.
Before booking consider doing a little price comparison to see which option is the most affordable for you. Home rentals tend to win out when you’re taking an extended trip, want a full kitchen to cook meals at, or want to entertain guests along the way.
Ready to hit the road? These travel tips can help you make sure you’re prepared throughout the journey.
Downloading All the Right Apps
From the initial planning process through the return, there are several apps made just for travelers that are well worth your phone storage space.
Some of the go-to apps available to travelers include TripIt , a travel assistant app that stores all relevant documents, reservations, and more, and Packing Pro , an app that helps users organize their luggage before they set out on their journey.
For international travelers, Mobile Passport can be helpful. The TSA-approved app allows travelers to fill out customs forms right from their phone, making the return from a long journey a breeze. Want more? Take a look at SoFi’s complete list of the top apps for traveling.
Keeping Your Things Safe
Nothing can spoil a trip faster than a stolen wallet. However, keeping your personal items safe on a trip doesn’t mean you have to wear an unfashionable money belt.
There are several options available when it comes to keeping your money and your documents safe on the go. These include cute money pouches, bras capable of hiding your goods, and even socks where you can stuff a bit of extra cash.
Beyond physically wearing your things you can also keep your items safe by storing them in a hotel safe (just make sure to set your own code).
For an extra level of security consider photographing each card, visa, or passport before you leave. This way, if anything is stolen you can access relevant details to cancel your credit cards and have a copy of your passport on hand for a nearby consulate.
Getting Money without Any Extra Fees
Traveling is already expensive enough, so make sure your account doesn’t charge you extra just for accessing your money on the go. One way to do that is by signing up for SoFi Money®, a cash management account.
With SoFi Money, you can access your travel fund from any ATM that accepts Mastercard® and get unlimited ATM fee reimbursements. We work hard to charge zero account fees. With that in mind, our fee structure is subject to change at any time.
Bonus Hack: Always Pack a Pen
Bring a pen. It seems like a small thing, however, you may need one for customs forms, signing your hotel bill, rental agreement, and more. Having one will likely come in handy.
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SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.