15 People Share Their Best Little-Known Travel Tips
by Matthew Gilligan
Here’s a pro travel tip from Yours Truly: Poland is AWESOME.
A lot of people don’t think to go there, but I visited my brother in Poland when he was teaching English there and it was wonderful!
What are your lesser-known travel tips?
Here’s what AskReddit users had to say.
1. Go to the source.
“When flights get canceled, don’t stand in line to talk to an agent.
Call the airline.”
2. Changing plans.
“If your plans change and you need to cancel your hotel reservation against the hotel’s cancellation policy, don’t call and cancel. I’ve tried to barter with hotels many times, but truthfully unless you have a good relationship with the hotel, they have no reason to refund you.
Instead, call the hotel and move your reservation to next week. Even if it is against the cancellation policy, most hotels will allow you to alter a reservation without issue.
Then (usually a few hour later to guarantee you talk to a different hotel rep) call and cancel your “new” reservation.”
3. Pick the right hat.
“Have a (distinct) Hat:
Meeting up with strangers / couchsurfers / tour group? You’re the person in the hat.
When talking with officials, the act of taking off a hat shows obedience to authority and will make the interaction just that much smoother.
When you’re tucking in for the night, putting keys, coins, that new bus pass, &c. in the (upside-down) hat so they don’t get misplaced in a new place.
Similarly, the (upside-down) hat can be used to store pocket junk before you go through an x-ray checkpoint.
Does all the normal hat things. (Keep warm / cool, less sun, covers eyes, &c.)
A hat soaked in water can feel amazing on a hot day.
You can tuck a handkerchief (or even a napkin) up into a hat to give your neck and ears cover from the sun.
A rolled travel towel (don’t panic and […]) can be folded into a hat to make an impromptu pillow.
A hat on a chair or similar can help hold a spot when customs (or languages) are unfamiliar.
Finally, this is not a travel tip, but post-travel: if you buy a hat for a trip and limit souvenirs to pins & patches, you have created a little display that’s a bit more interesting than “here are photos on my phone”.”
“Check out the Citymapper app if you’ re going to a new city/country.
It was a godsend when I spent a week in Hamburg – give it an address and it’ll show you several ways to get to your destination, including mass transit (train, bus) and rental options (bikes, scooters) if possible.”
5. Hidden gems.
“Whenever I travel I go to the subreddit for the city I’m traveling to and search for a “best food in the city” thread.
Never let me down before. I’ve found some amazing hidden gems that way.”
“Go to any hardware store and pick up a 3 port, 6ft extension cord. They are usually like $5 and pretty light.
This will turn 1 outlet into 3 and move it in a more convenient position. You can now charge all your devices. This is handy at airports where the outlets or charging stations are never convenient or fill up fast.
If stayed at hostels where I’m on the top bunk and the outlet is at knee level, this really helps. Even staying in a hotel sometimes it’s nice to just have the outlet on the nightstand instead of hiding behind the bed or dresser.
Different countries have different types of outlets. I wouldn’t trust one of these things to run a hairdryer, but for charging your phone, camera, tablet, whatever, it should be fine with a little adapter.”
7. Good tips.
Allow time for things to go wrong.
If travelling long distance don’t leave ‘just in time’, better to arrive early. The further you’re travelling leave even earlier. eg. If your friend is getting married on Saturday and it’s a four hour drive, leave Friday lunchtime not Friday evening. If it’s a transatlantic flight away leave Wednesday or Thursday morning, not Friday.
It’s going to cost more than you think.”
8. All about location.
“Location beats a luxury room.
If I can walk to get midnight munchies and to a few points of interest and to public transport.
I’ll put up with a lot; provided it’s kept clean.”
9. Folding 101.
“Flat packing saves the most space. Lay ll shirts flat out on top of each other and fold them as one shirt. Do the same with underwear and shorts. This will maximize the amount of space in your luggage.
However, folding it this way makes it difficult to get one single thing out. This method is good if you plan to take all your stuff out of your suitcase when you arrive. If you want one thing at a time, rolling is the next best option.”
“If you’re asking for an opinion, don’t ask the opinion of someone who’s being paid to provide it.
Want to know where the best meal near your hotel is? The cleaner isn’t getting a kickback from the nearest steakhouse, but the concierge probably is.
Want to know the easiest way to get to the airport? The front desk clerk is going to tell you to hire the hotel preferred transfer, but the barman will probably tell you what train to catch for 1/20th of the price.”
11. Three things.
“Three things; 1.) bring an orange. If someone you are sitting next to smells bad you can open the orange up as a natural deodorizer.
2.) Bring a spare pair of socks and change socks after you are settled on your flight, train, etc. Put the sweaty socks away in a plastic bag. Dry socks after a long day of travel feel luxurious.
3.) Stupid and Cheerful. A cop stops you in a foreign country? Stupid and cheerful. Never be belligerent. A border guard says your papers aren’t in order? Stupid and cheerful. The airline says you are too late to board? Stupid and cheerful. Cheerful always works better than aggressive.
And it transcends culture. I knew an elderly couple who literally drove across the whole of Africa and “stupid and cheerful” was their advice. It’s far harder to punish someone if they simply claim ignorance and are smiling.”
12. Be organized.
“Have organizers in your bag.
There are super lightweight pouches that will save you rifling through all your clothes to find the one shirt you’re looking for.”
13. Pro tip.
“For photo equipment or all kind of expensive stuff: put some duct tape on it.
If it looks broken, nobody wants to steal it.”
14. Hotel stuff.
“The best room in a cheaper hotel is often better than a standard room in a more expensive hotel.
When looking for luxury on a budget, don’t overlook the cheaper hotels – they often have fantastic suites for what you’d pay for a standard room somewhere pricier.”
15. All to yourself.
“Nobody wakes up early.
You can wake up before dawn and get fantastic golden hour pics when the city is empty then go back for breakfast and a nap before heading out for lunch.
Like the best city for this is Rome. No one is around and you can get wide shots that would never happen during the day and the lighting is better.”