Since I started travelling more regularly last year, I’ve started to try to find little ways to make my life easier, my trips more fulfilling and my money go further. Until recently I was an appalling traveller – always checked my baggage because I just couldn’t get my head around the liquid rules, left currency until the last-minute and packed way more than I need. But as I’ve become more practised, I’ve started to travel smarter and I wanted to share some of the more unusual ways I “hack my travel”.

Bet you didn’t think you’d be reading a blog post about plug sockets today, huh?

1. Solve your plug situation

I’m the kind of person that no matter how many times I go on holiday, I always have to google the type of plug I need to take. Yes, I’ve been that person that has turned up somewhere in Europe with a US plug adapter. So the easy version of this tip is to make sure you are packing the right adapter.

Travel hacks you haven't heard of

However, upgrade your travel mastery by not just packing a plug adapter, but by plugging a small extension lead. Often these will have 4 plus sockets on them which means a few things. Firstly, you only need one adapter (and lets not beat around the bush, these can be pretty expensive). Secondly, I’ve constantly been surprised at the lack of plug sockets in useful places when I’ve been on holiday – only one by the bed, none at all by a mirror which makes hair styling a drag.

Packing a small extension cable takes up no space at all in a suitcase and will allow you to charge all your bits and style your hair exactly where you want to.

2. Get up early

This is easy for me because I’m one of those annoying people that just cannot wake up late, even on weekends. Trust me, its a drag but on holiday it comes in pretty handy. There is so much to see before everyone else has woken up. Sunrises over private beaches (because that beach is 100% yours until someone else wakes up), popular tourist attractions which are usually swarming with people, a quiet solitary swim and a cup of coffee in a side street whilst you watch the world wake up – these are all yours if you wake up early.

Travel hacks you haven't heard of

Heading to the Charles Bridge in Prague at 7am was probably my greatest early rising achievement. Usually full of hundreds of tourists with selfie sticks I got to skip across it alone, watch a beautiful spring sunrise and experience the romance of Prague without anyone else.

Plugs, early mornings and cash? Here are some travel tips you can't fly withoutClick To Tweet

3. Sort your cash out before you fly

If you already do this, I applaud you, but judging by the numbers of people who join me in the queue at currency exchange desks at airports I am not alone.

For years, I have rocked up to the airport with a devil-may-care attitude, handed over my debit card and got royally ripped off by the exchange rates on offer. With exchange rates suffering from a rather difficult, Brexit related dip it is absolutely worth shopping around for currency if you don’t do it already.

Travel hacks you haven't thought of

  • Head to Moneysaving Expert to check where the best rates are for the currency you want.
  • Check to see if you get any preferential rates that you get with your bank. Natwest offer me the best deal so I order in advance from there.
  • Change more currency than you think you need – using ATM’s or exchanging in country can often be very expensive
  • Unless you have a bank card that doesn’t charge for using abroad, don’t use it. And especially don’t use credit cards. The charges can be sky high.

4. Don’t always book a room with breakfast

So I always thought that the best deals on hotel rooms are the ones that come with breakfast. Travelling in Eastern Europe however has absolutely changed my thinking on that.

Travel hacks you haven't thought of

In Berlin for example, we got breakfast for two with really good coffee for less than 6 euros. In our hotel, a similar breakfast would have cost 18 euros each. That is a difference of 30 euros which could be spent on something far more exciting like cocktails (or you know, a ticket to a museum).

Granted, you may not save 30 euros off the cost of your nightly room rate, but hotel rooms are cheaper without breakfast and you get to head to a local cafe and chow down with the locals and see the city you are visiting wake up.

One thing is for sure, if you haven’t pre-booked, never ever opt for breakfast at your hotel as an add on unless you really have to.

Please share your tips in the comments below, and lets make travelling a total breeze!

Need more tips? These handy hotel hacks are absolutely awesome!

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Travel Tips | Travel Budgeting | Travel Hacks | Travel Inspiration

Travel Tips | Travel Budgeting | Travel Hacks | Travel Inspiration
Travel Tips | Travel Budgeting | Travel Hacks | Travel Inspiration

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  • These are some great travel hacks! Definitely pinning for later 🙂

    — Lisa // FjordsAndBeaches.com

  • Bloody love the plug idea! Genius xxx
    Sophie Cliff

  • 1. I love the extension lead idea – makes GREAT sense but I’ve never thought of it!
    2. After a few bad travel planning getting spends at airport I sorted myself out and got a Halifax clarity card – no charges on spends so makes it best rates every time AND means in a place you don’t want to take cash about all the time it’s just a card to carry! I’d highly recommend getting one for travel spending. x

  • Mango Lady Diaries

    This one is helpful information. We really don’t pay much attention to these facts mentioned by you. However, I don’t book a room with complimentary breakfast and it saves me a bit.

  • Coleman Concierge

    I absolutely agree that hotel breakfasts, if they are not included in the room, often come at a price. I think the price is kept high because (1) it’s a convenience fee that you will pay and (2) it shows more “value” if they include it for free as part of package deals or loyalty rewards. We find that budget shopping for included breakfast (or making your own) is one of the easiest way to save. 20 Euros a day adds up and if your buffet is big enough to cover lunch too then you will save even more.

  • Great tips! We also travel with an adapter lead! And USB chargers are becoming more popular now which helps loads!

  • TravelwithBIRD

    These are some very good tips! Plug adapter is truly essential, especially when you once or twice had exactly this problem and even urgently need to recharge phone or pc…
    About the breakfast – yes, also true in many cases but I usually prefer just to enjoy this comfort to have “all in one” and maybe you can even take one or another fruit to go as well 🙂

  • Excellent tips! I really like the one about taking an extension lead, and also getting up early to enjoy those sites that are usually swarming with tourists. I think that my years of working in hotels has taught me that the inclusive breakfast is never the best value, and it is always much more economical and fun to find something local to do your people watching and enjoy breakfast. These tips are so handy, I will be sharing them on my FB page and Twitter ::-)

  • And then whilst visiting Switzerland you discover they have a different plug! Getting up early is great for photography too! And don’t get a room with breakfast when you’re planning big drinking sessions each night!

  • Loudy

    Great tips. good experience, I love hotels with this kind of beds. I always book a room with breakfast :/ I think it easier than going out and look for a place where I can have it.

  • Ivy

    Good list of tips! I’m an early bird so I always drag my husband out of bed by 7am at the latest so we can visit places without huge crowds. And I totally agree on getting cash before you go! We get that sorted before we leave our home country because there’s a place where we can get special rates with no additional fees. I feel like the currency exchange booths at airports usually rip you off!

  • I totally agree with all of these! We always try to get up early when we travel. Usually, we have a toddler with us, so she gets us up early by default. It’s definitely the best time of day to see the tourist sites and get some great photos

  • A power strip works best as well! I found one on amazon with 5 universal sockets plus 2 usb ports. Win-win right? As for the hotel brekky, great catch! I have to try that next time 😀

  • Clare

    I have two adaptors I travel with, though maybe I should try and get a extension lead, though the only ones I have seen in the UK are too big for backpacking!! I always stay in hostels so its always a bonus if breakfast is included and its normally cheaper than eating out, though it is basic. I have a travel card so get good deals on converting my money before I leave the UK and I don´t get charged for withdrawing money either.

  • Joella

    Wake up early is by far my favorite sugestión and one I live by. Yup I am also one of those annoying people. But it truly is a gift to experience a place when the light is riding and everyone else is in bed. I also love the breakfast suggestion I never thought of it that way and now I will consider that more often. Always better to hit that local cafe than the hotel dinning. Great tips

  • Kavita

    I’m totally with you on the frustration of plugs being in the most inaccessible places, or there not being enough of them. And I agree on early rising, I find myself suffering more from jet lag these days and it often seems to have me up early regardless of whether I’ve travelled East or West. Likewise, I agree on the Room Only option – one more meal to enjoy locally, which we love, rather than something boring in the hotel. For money though, I’ve virtually always found that the cheapest option is to change only minimal amount before I go and to use my card to withdraw cash at local ATMs. If you choose a card that doesn’t charge you for using it abroad, this is often a much better exchange rate than currency exchanges give you.

  • Danik Bates

    Plugs can be so freaking annoying sometimes! Great tips here and ones all travellers should bear in mind 🙂

  • Raghav

    Some very interesting and unique points there. I was going to say that breakfast with your room makes things easier, but then thinking back at my travels, I will agree, that not having breakfast means visiting local bakeries or coffee shops and eating more local food which is a great thing to do.

    The Getting Up part is so important and even though I do not adhere to that always, it does make all the difference especially when you go to really busy touristy places.

    Thanks for a lovely write-up.

  • Love all these tips…

    Travel adapters – That’s a great one. I’d never thought of that.

    Get up early – Definitely a nice and peaceful way to explore a city before it gets crazy busy with tourists.

    Cash before you fly – Totally agree, plus it means you can start enjoying your trip as soon as you arrive.

    Breakfast – I think it’s more enjoyable to explore other places for breakfast rather than just eating in your hotel. Although it’s nice to have breakfast in the hotel if you’re short on time etc.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Getting up early is something I REALLY need to work on. It’s very true that the city is much quieter in the earlier hours than in the middle of the afternoon.

  • Shannalyn West

    These are great reminders! I love waking up earlier on vacation too. Sleep when I get home. haha!

  • Christina Pfeiffer

    I always travel with at least one multi plug adapter with plugs that work anywhere in the world. I agree with you there that there often aren’t enough sockets in many places.

  • Chrysoula Manika

    The extension lead is very useful and I had no idea it existed. Every night i have to charge my camer, my power bank and my mobile, This will solve my problem

  • Iga Agata Motylska

    Yes, I finally bought one of those adapters that can fit into any plug in the world — best purchase ever, I never have to worry about whether or not the hotel will have one. And I also always rise early, get to beat the crowds and get awesome sunrise shots.

  • Sasha

    These are 4 great tips, I also often plus the extension lead too and it is such a lifesaver. I love it when I wake up early because as you say the place is quiet (which is also perfect for getting photos) but I do really struggle with that as I am such a night owl.

  • megan_claire

    Love these tips – we’re all over the extension cord idea, it’s such a brilliant way to make your life easier overseas. As you said, only need to travel with one adaptor and then take an extension board with your local power plugs for everything else. I also find this really helps when hotels only have one or two power outles and you need to charge your laptop, 2 cameras, an ipad and a phone!

  • Jenn Brown

    I turn into a morning person when I’m traveling! It’s amazing. There are certain cities in Europe (like Paris or Madrid) that are VERY quiet in the early mornings. It’s the perfect time to stroll and take photographs. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Yes to all of these! I remember on Christmas Day my boyfriend and I got up super early and headed to Charles Bridge and it was on my all time favourite memories 🙂

  • I am also pretty bad with those electric plugs… Always end up getting the wrong adapters or forgetting them. Your tips will help. And i completely agree with you that getting up early is to your advantage when you are traveling. Loved all those travel hacks…

  • Great post! I bought a really cool UK to Europe extension lead when I was in Tropea – so handy! I can’t wake up too early (❤ my sleep and so does my husband!), I always sort my money in advance to get the best deal & if breakfast’s not included I don’t bother adding it – it’s not worth the money! Especially in the U.S when they want to charge $40 and all I want is a coffee and a piece of toast.

  • Ellie’s Bits of Beauty

    Love this! Why have I never thought of taking an extension lead before?! Such a great idea.

    Ellie x

    http://www.elliesbitsofbeauty.wordpress.com

    • It transformed my travelling! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • The plug tip is really helpful! I should sort that one out asap!

    • I know right? So simple but totally gamechanging!

  • Mukund Raman

    Yes to all.. The plug is something we really ignore and have the struggled to get one. One very important thing we figured out on our trip to Maldives was to get a crate load of water bottles from the airport.. At the resort they costed 3 times as much. Please check out our blog
    http://www.holidiaries.com

  • Bella Clarke

    I love this! we also took the extension lead for our travels and it made things soooo much easier! I’d also suggest taking a spare adapter everywhere as they’re so easy to forget to pull out and a pain to replace especially if its not just a UK one you’re hunting for!

  • Just on the credit card thing: I have a credit card specifically for spending in foreign currencies, because it doesn’t charge a load fee or conversion fees. So they’re not always evil if you get the right one! I don’t use it very much but it’s good for big purchases like dinner out or event tickets. It’s just about doing your research – Moneysavingexpert has some good recommendations.

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