In this blog, I share my top 20 travel hacks for 2020. These are hacks that I personally use when I travel internationally, and over the years I’ve found that they really do make for a much smoother travel experience. Keep reading to find out how you can make your next flight, your best flight.
Top 20 Travel Hacks for 2020
1) Maximize your personal item
At the airport, the check-in counter assistants will typically only weigh your checked bag, and occasionally your carry-on. What they will never weigh is your personal item. You’ll want to maximize your use of your personal item by taking either a small duffle bag or backpack that can be used for storing heavier items that might make your carry-on overweight.
2) Always carry a pen
No matter where you’re traveling, you should always have a pen with you. Oftentimes while you’re still in the air, flight attendants will pass out immigration forms that need to be filled out prior to landing. The crew usually does not have spare pens, and you don’t want to rely on someone near you having one either. Pens are also helpful once you disembark the plane, as arrival cards are sometimes required to be filled out at the airport, and the last thing you want to do is have to wait in line to use the same three pens that everybody else is using (looking at you Marrakech Menara Airport).
3) Know your destination address
Make sure the address of your hotel or accommodation at your destination can be easily located. Quite often, you’ll be required to provide this information on your immigration or arrivals form.
4) Provide additional contact information
One of my best travel hacks is to always put an A4 size paper with your Name, Flight Number, Arrival Location, and contact information (phone or email) inside your luggage. You can either lay it right on top of your things or, what I like to do if I can, is tape it to the inside of my bag. In the event that your luggage tags come off, the airline can easily redirect your bag to the right location. This is also helpful to have inside in case someone accidentally takes your bag thinking it’s theirs – when they open it up they’ll see who it actually belongs to.
5) Take a photo of your bag
Before checking your bag, take a photo of it and keep it on your phone until you arrive back home. Typically, if your luggage has been lost or misplaced, you’ll have to describe it to the “Lost Baggage” assistant. Many people forget which bag they took or are unable to clearly describe what their bag looks like. Having an exact photo of your luggage will increase the chances that your bag will be easily located and sent back to you ASAP.
6) Keep an eye on the departure boards
Flights, and gates, can change at any time without notice. Not all airports announce gate changes, so make sure you check the boards frequently. I’d suggest every 30 to 60 minutes, and one last time at least 20 minutes before boarding so that you’re always up to date with the latest changes.
7) Be sure to have at least 2 hours between flights
Don’t book two or more flights that have a connecting time of fewer than two hours. Airports can be huge, and sometimes they have many terminals that are quite far from each other, meaning you might have to take a bus or a train to the next terminal. That being said, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to figure out where you need to go. Additionally, if your first flight is even slightly delayed, you’ll risk the chance of missing your connection (and your checked bag probably won’t make it either). Save yourself the headache and make sure you have enough time to connect – the extra hour at the airport will be worth it.
8) Ask to move seats if needed
If you do end up with a short connection time, ask the check-in counter if they can move your seat up to the front of the plane so that you can be one of the first people off. Most of the time, if you show them proof that you have a connecting flight, they will get you a seat near the front.
9) Always bring two full outfits
One of my favorite travel hacks is to always bring pajamas and at least two full outfits in your carry-on. That way, if your checked bag gets lost, you’ll have three days worth of clothing to wear (including the ones you have on). In the worst-case scenario, you can wash and rotate these outfits until your luggage arrives.
10) Sit by the aisle on long-haul flights
Though most people are fans of the window seat, if you are going to be on a flight for more than four hours, I would highly suggest selecting an aisle seat. This way, you can easily get up to use the bathroom as often as you want without having to disturb the person next to you.
11) Carry a reusable water bottle
Carry a reusable water bottle that you can refill after security before you board the plane. This way you’ll avoid paying ridiculous airport prices for water, and you’ll be doing good things for the environment. I like to travel with my LifeStraw bottle because I am super picky about where my water comes from, and the filtration system in the bottle eliminates any bacteria and chemicals that might be in the water.
12) Be first on the plane
If you can, try to get on the plane first. This will ensure that there is plenty of space in the overhead compartments for you to put your carry-on luggage and personal items.
13) Bring disinfectant wipes
Did you know that the most germ-infested areas on the plane are your tray table, armrests, and seatbelt? Carry disinfectant wipes in your bag so that you can wipe them down as soon as you get on the plane for germ-free flying.
14) Buy an adapter
Buy an adapter so that you can use your own headphones for watching in-flight entertainment during a long-haul flight. These should work just fine.
15) Ask for a fragile tag
Ask for a fragile tag at the check-in counter when checking your luggage. Not only will the staff handle your baggage more carefully, but they will also typically put your bags on last so that it sits on top of all the other luggage. This means, your bag will likely be among the first ones on the carousel.
16) Make sure your Liquids are easy to reach
Keep your liquids in a clear plastic bag in an easy-to-reach spot. When you go through security, it’s highly likely that you’ll be requested to put your liquids in a separate bin. Do yourself a favor and put them at the top of your carry-on, or better yet, in your personal bag, so that you can easily pull them out for security.
17) Prepare for security
Prepare for security by avoiding clothing you know will set off the metal detectors. This means no belts or heavy-duty shoes. If you must wear these items, try to take them off while waiting in the security line so that you can just toss them in the bin when it’s your turn to go through.
18) Bring a scarf
Bring a scarf or comfy jacket that is easily packable. Most airplanes get really cold, even during the hottest months of the year, so having something to cover up with can make your flight much more enjoyable.
19) Avoid wearing contacts
Dry air on the plane is a serious thing. To make your flight more comfortable, avoid wearing contact lenses, as the air will likely dry your eyes out even more. Consider bringing eye drops to ease any discomfort you might have during the flight. You can also bring nasal spray and hand cream if you’re worried about drying out. Additionally, because the air circulating in the cabin is devoid of moisture, you’ll also want to refrain from drinking caffeine as it will dehydrate you even more. Stick to water if you can, and drink a lot of it.
20) Keep your passport on file
Email yourself a photo of your passport and always keep it on your phone where you’ll have access to it even if you don’t have internet. If your passport is ever lost or stolen, your life will be so much easier if you can access your passport information.
Those are my 20 travel hacks for 2020
Did I miss anything? Feel free to comment your own!