These are for the wanderlusts, the aspiring explorers and the ones whose hearts fill with love when they get on a plane and get to travel. To help you travel better in 2018, we’ve compiled our favourite travel hacks we learned this year.

1. Packing

Pack light. It’s OK to wear the same t-shirt more than once, especially if it is sleepwear. No one’s gonna go around exclaiming “you’re an outfit repeater”. No one will care. A tip that I learned from all those quick life hack videos, is to roll your clothes instead of folding. You’ll save a ton of space! Also, pack them in different compartments or mini bags, so in case you need to open your luggage at the airport, other people won’t see your undergarments being so out there. Shoes: use shower caps to cover the soles of the feet, and put rolled up socks inside your shoes to save space.

If you plan to shop when you’re away, leave some space in your luggage. Don’t bring clothes you won’t even wear. I used to do this when I was younger, I ended up wearing my newly-bought clothes. You don’t want to pay for excess weight, you could use that money for something else.

2. Getting around

If it’s a foreign country with a foreign language, learn some simple phrases from a book or online, or download the application onto your phone. Phrases like “where is the restroom” or “discount?” would be useful. Besides talking to the locals, you need to know how to get to the places you want to head to: by the bus, train, the tram, the MRT, taxi or use Grab or Uber. Otherwise, beforehand, take a screenshot of the place where you want to go and show it to the driver.

Eat where the locals eat, as you get to save a lot of money from spending it at touristy places, where they will definitely overcharge you. This way, you get to enjoy what is real and like a local, if you’re into that, that is.

3. Preparing

Before you fly off, be sure to do some research about the place you’re traveling to. Checking flight details and booking them, clear your browser’s cache. You could even use an “Incognito Window” when searching for the best flights and hotels. Some companies will actually boost the prices because you’ve been doing you research online, searching for the best prices.

Another way of spending smartly is to use your travel points and miles for free travel. I know some airlines offer these benefits, collect your travel points or miles and redeem your free ticket to a chosen location. You save money and get to travel!

Browse through TripAdvisor to see which hotel has the best location, closer to street markets or shopping malls if you prefer. I like to find hotels that are closer to the bus or the skytrain, saves my feet from all the walking! Better access means I get to save time. Read some video blogs on YouTube, or browse for travel blogs on the Internet. I know there is a lot to choose from. If you don’t know how to plan your itinerary, well, good news, some travel enthusiasts have got you covered. Pick up some ideas online, I’ve seen so many of those 3 days 2 nights itineraries.

4. Safety

Before you go, scan your passport, identification card, itinerary and other important documents to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft. Take screenshots of it too so that you can have an offline record.

Call your credit or debit card company before you leave to ensure that you have your card authorized. You don’t want to swipe your card and then find that it’s been blocked. This prevents them from suspecting suspicious activity.

For the Muslim travelers, know which dua to read as you embark on your journey, and now the niat for the prayers as a musafir (traveller).

“Oh, Allah! We ask You on this journey of ours to grant us righteousness and fear of You and deeds which are pleasing to You. Oh, Allah! Make this journey of ours easy for us and make us cover the distance swiftly. Oh, Allah! You are our Companion on the journey and the Guardian of our families. Oh, Allah! I seek refuge with You from the hardships of travel, gloominess
of the sights, and finding of evil changes in property and family
on return).” – Zaad al Maad by Ibn Al-Qayyim

5. Left something?

If you forget to bring your wall plug but brought your USB cables, you can charge your devices through the USB slot on a TV. This bit is tricky though, because you’re not sure if the television where you are staying actually has a USB slot or not. If not, try to ask from the hotel reception, some hotel provide universal adapter.

6. Take photos!

Photographs help you remember what happened at each moment. It’s great to have something to look back a few years later and telling others about it. Of course, in our world today, it will be on Instagram or Facebook. Print your best photos and frame them, or, keep it in an album. You’ll appreciate it more later. So take photos with the gorgeous background behind you so you can bring them home.

7. Upon leaving

On the last day of your trip, you would have some loose change. Collect them and give it to someone who needs it more than you. You won’t get much out of it at a currency exchange and shopping at the airport would be expensive anyway.