Top 5 Tried-And-True Tips To Make Your Trip Much Smoother, Safer & Cheaper

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Traveling the world can be a thrilling adventure, opening your eyes and expanding your horizons. But it requires coordinating an incredible amount of details—and spending a lot of money—which can be stressful, especially if you’re going far from home. Use these tried-and-true tips to make travel a little smoother, safer, and cheaper.

1. Bring an adapter/converter kit
Those new to international travel may not realize that they can’t just plug in their electronics while globetrotting. Different countries feature varying plug shapes and voltages. The solution is to buy a travel adapter/converter kit. Just be aware that different devices require different voltages; some adapter/converters offer a high and low setting. Learn which of your devices require which so you don’t accidentally blow a fuse or ruin a device. Check out this advice from The Study Abroad Blog for more details.

2. Utilize Hotspot Shield VPN app for safe web surfing
Browsing the Internet on public networks while traveling means hackers can easily steal your passwords. And it doesn’t just take a sophisticated hacker to do it—anyone can watch a YouTube video and learn how to steal your information. When you’re connecting to public WiFi hotspots, you can activate Hotspot Shield VPN app to protect your private data from these snoopers. Hotspot Shield also lets you keep up with your favorite TV shows from home. Some countries block websites and apps, which is seriously annoying when you want to catch up on your favorite home country TV shows. Hotspot Shield lets you connect from any location and unblocks your favorite programs instantly. The app is available on desktop (Windows & Mac) and mobile devices (Android, iOS & Windows Phone 8). Click here to get your FREE download.

3. Travel hack with credit cards
Travel can be expensive, but it’s possible to score free flights and hotel stays by maximizing credit cards, also referred to as travel hacking. It entails signing up for rewards credit cards with huge sign up bonuses, then making purchases earning points or miles. Some cards offer extra points for certain types of purchases, and over time, these points add up to free travel. Doing this incorrectly can hurt your credit score, and you shouldn’t go into debt in order to travel hack, but smart hacking can save you tons of money.  The Points Guy and Nomadic Matt are travel hacking experts, so read their blogs for more tips.

4. Break out of the hotel rut
Sometimes, a budget hotel or hostel is the ideal way to travel. But you should consider getting an impressive bang for your buck by staying at a bed and breakfast or a vacation rental. There’s a misconception that you have to share bathrooms at B&Bs, but it’s rare these days. Think of it as a smaller hotel with a more personal touch, with an included breakfast each morning. Some B&Bs also include free snacks and other perks that cost money at hotels. A vacation rental usually has a kitchen, and it’s shocking how much money you can save by making a few meals yourself, or saving and reheating some leftovers from a restaurant. Some vacation rentals also have laundry facilities, which saves you even more cash. One potential downside is vacation rentals may not be fully outfitted, so use these tips from Twenty-Something Travel on what to bring with you. Housesitting is another option, which is usually free in exchange for you taking care of the property. Wild Junket lists 10 of the best spots for housesitting.

5. Pack smart
If you’re checking luggage, pack one change of clothes and important medications in your carry-on in case your luggage as lost. Additionally, if you’re traveling with a group, consider putting a few of each person’s belongings in each suitcase. This way, if one bag is lost, it isn’t just one person with no belongings—each person is only missing a few items. Also, always use a packing list, like this interactive one from Independent Traveler, to ensure nothing important is left behind.

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