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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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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