As a Spain trip designer for Journy who splits my time between Brooklyn and Madrid, I've picked up some game-changing travel hacks over the years. It started when I moved up the ranks from travel newbie and signed up for TSA pre-check, whizzing past the zigzagging general security lines on the way to my next flight. I travel hacked by staying up all day local time to beat jet lag and walked up and down the aisle during long-haul flights to keep my blood flowing. But it was only when I learned these five travel hacks did I feel like a bonafide travel pro.
1. For Packing
It’s no secret that packing cubes are one way to save space. But with airlines frequently charging for what used to be freebies, saved space is now equal to saved money. If you invest in packing cubes upfront, then overtime you’ll save money that you would be saving on multiple extra bags. These packing cubes come in mesh form like the ones at Muji. Or level up with compression and water-repellant packing cubes like these from Eagle Creek, so if you’re going out for the day and get caught in a torrential downpour, your electronics and personal items will be saved from water damage.
2. For The Airport
There are so many reasons to bring a reusable water bottle (or two) on your next flight. Besides being eco-friendly by avoiding plastic water bottles, you’re also saving money by avoiding the ridiculously marked-up airport prices and filling up at the free water stations. Also, if you’re prone to an upset stomach it might be a good idea to fill up two water bottles and save the second for your first day in your destination as you get accustomed to the local water and food. Bonus points if you snag a water bottle with a built-in filter, like this 20-ounce one from Brita or this sleek piece from Bobble.
3. For Airbnb Bookings
If you’re a frequent Airbnb user, you already know that messaging hosts is a great way to get a feel of a host, their space and any other relevant information before you commit to booking. But did you know that you can actually negotiate your Airbnb price? This one’s a learned art form but mostly effective if you're traveling last minute or long-term (as in for a month or longer). All hosts might not be receptive to negotiating their listed price, but it’s worth a try.
4. For Your Flight
So you want to post on Instagram stories to let the world know that you just got off an eight-hour flight and are already out exploring your next city. But you don’t want to actually look like you’ve just got off an eight-hour flight. This is where prepping en route comes in. Try putting on a face mask 30 minutes to an hour before landing to freshen up and rejuvenate your face. Alternatively, take a cue from wellness guru Justine Benanty and lather on Lucas' Papaw Ointment—an Australian vaseline-like product she swears by. Post a fresh-faced pic by the time your friends are still brewing their morning coffee, and you’re already winning.
5. For Customs
Itching to bypass all of the customs kiosks when re-entering the US but don't have Global Entry? The Mobile Passport app is for you. Currently live in 28 airports and four cruise ports, it enables US citizens and Canadian visitors to save a lot of time during the entry process, which is especially handy if you're short on time for a connecting flight.
Inspired to keep travel hacking your way around the world? Read up on more ways to reduce your wait time at airport customs.