By a show of hands: How many of you travelers find $5 for a small bottle of water at the airport both highly unnecessary and extremely annoying? Yeah, us too!
That's why we've compiled six travel hacks that will make your journey stress-free and cost-effective, wherever you may roam.
1) Plan your itinerary around free things to do in your destination
Sightseeing tours. Museum passes. Park admissions. These travel expenses can add up fast. It's a shame, too, because almost every major city in the world has at least one or two free attractions.
For example, did you know that many world-class museums offer free admission on certain days of the week and special holidays every year? Just search on Google for "free things to do," followed by your target city, and you'll be amazed at the treasure trove of free stuff that you can uncover.
2) Search in incognito mode when booking flights
Dear web cookies:
As avid online shoppers, we thank you for remembering what was in our shopping carts when the web browser "didn't shut down correctly." But as savvy travelers, we don't like it when you tell travel sites like Kayak and Priceline that we've been eyeing cheap flights to Bora Bora.
Although some airlines maintain that price gouging is not how they do business, one consumer report published in 2016 found that jacked up fares as a result of frequent travel queries isn't such a myth after all. That's why travel hackers should always search for flights in "incognito mode" or "private browsing," so travel sites don't have a clue what they've been looking for.
At a loss? This guide explains how to enable private browsing on any web browser.
3) Try these three packing hacks before your trip
At Gravel, we take pro packing guides seriously. That's why we're sharing three bonus travel hacks that'll help you save room in your carry-on and make your next trip more efficient.
For starters, consider storing your jewelry in a pill organizer. This will keep your rings and earrings neatly intact, and your necklaces tangle-free.
Next, keep your ear swabs in an empty pill bottle. This unconventional travel case will prevent them from getting dirty, and you'll be able to grab them from your bag in no time.
And lastly, stash emergency cash in an empty chapstick container. This travel hack is perfect if your wallet goes missing; just don't confuse it with actual lip balm!
4) Connect to free WiFi at the airport
Free WiFi is one of the best airport hacks on this list, so you can stop ordering pricey meals at the terminal cafe just to connect to the internet.
To find free airport WiFi on your mobile device, tablet, or laptop, just do a quick Google search of the airport's name and type in "free WiFi." You can also peruse an online forum like Foursquare to find out which airport locations offer free WiFi as a courtesy. Alternatively, frequent travelers might find the WiFox app to be quite useful. For the handsome price of $2, it shares the best WiFi access points in airports around the world. For. Free.
5) Bring a refillable water bottle to travel hack airport security
Airport security won't let you pass with a bottle full of water, so you can travel hack it by filling up at a drinking fountain once you've made it through security. The best part? You'll avoid paying inflated prices for bottles of water once you're inside the terminal.
It's important to note that this travel hack only works if you have the time to spare since airport security lines are notorious for being long and slow. Additionally, travel hackers should know that the TSA website explicitly states that there's nothing wrong with bringing an empty water bottle with you while passing through security. In fact, they encourage it! So be sure to follow this awesome airport hack and go green while you're at it.
6) Download the Flightboard app to track your flight status in real-time
If you travel frequently, then you've also had your fair share of flight delays or cancellations. If that's the case, then download Flightboard, a free app that tracks your flight status in real-time.
Flightboard is available for both iOS and Android users who want to take advantage of the ultra-convenience this travel hack offers. If your flight gets delayed, you'll be able to plan accordingly, which is always better than waiting for a tedious update to be delivered by the airlines.
Bonus Travel Hacks to Make Your Trip Even Easier
Forgot to pack your charger's adapter? Charge your electronics from a TV with a USB cord (some TV models have a USB port in the back).
Want to communicate with friends and family while traveling? Install WhatsApp and Viber on your smart device and travel hack your phone calls for free!
Last but not least, travel hack some peace of mind for your next adventure by purchasing travel insurance or booking with a credit card that offers travel protection. For a fraction of your travel costs, you can rest easy knowing that you're financially covered in case of an emergency.