You read about frequent travellers hacks all the time. Sometimes they work, sometimes it is only very specific to countries and use-cases. After travelling for ages, here are 5 frequent trevellers hacks that I can swear by. They also work for most countries and the usual profile of frequent travellers.
1. Take Night Transport
It just makes basic common sense. Taking the night bus or night train means you save on accommodation, and when you wake up, you basically “teleported” to your destination. You save (1) one day on travel time and (2) money for accommodation that night. Saving money AND time, what a bonus!
But with any trevellers hacks, some considerations for you.
- If your next day is planned with tons of strenuous activities, maybe you shouldn’t consider an overnight transport. You don’t really get quality sleep, and that will affect your energy level the next day.
- If the transport is unsafe, you might not get sleep at all. It pretty much defeats the purpose then, because you will spend the next day sleeping.
- Trains and buses are not the ideal sleeping places. If you are going up windy roads or you only have a small area to sleep, it can be really uncomfortable, especially if you are tall.
2. Layovers instead of Direct Flights
The premise is simple.
- Tickets are cheaper
- If you get a layover that is long enough, you win a free trip to explore the city (E.g. do a 24h layover in Dubai or Qatar and you get to visit the city for free)
Of course, this works best only for long haul flights. You usually break the flights into 2, and you between the 2 flights (origin & destination), you win yourself a free trip to explore the layover city.
Popular layover cities include Dubai, Doha, Shanghai, Guangzhou, London, Chicago, Hong Kong and Singapore. These are usually airports that are hubs for transit passengers.
- Sure, it is free to get to that new city, but you have to consider the extra money spent. E.g. the food, accommodation (if you are there overnight), car rental (to get to places because you don’t have time to use the public transport)
- I always use carry-on. For others who check-in, your baggage might get lost in transit. It happened to many of my friends. If you don’t buy insurance, that might be quite an issue.
- It can really mess up your sleep schedule. If you are on a long haul flight, you can eat the meal and sleep for a couple of solid hours before arriving. However, by breaking that up in a different timezone, it can be stressful for some people.
3. Private Room in Hostel or Airbnb vs Budget Hotel
If you are a solo traveller and love to make friends, I’d recommend booking a private room in a nice hostel or airbnb instead of a budget hotel. You get the privacy you need, the prices are comparable and you get to socialise with people! I find that a much more pleasant way to make friends than doing activities like walking tours or pub crawls.
- Being an extrovert helps. If you do not like initiating any engagement with people, you can be in the most crowded room and still not make friends. People are friendlier in hostels, but you have to do your part to engage
- Some hostels are party hostels, and it can be annoying to sleep at night when everything is incredibly noisy
- Sometimes, airbnb hosts do not engage with their guests. Reading their profile and reviews help to gauge that
- What I would do is to spend maybe 2 nights in hostels to make friends, then move to a budget hotel for some peace and quiet
4. Sign up for Frequent Flyer Points
Sure, you might argue that you don’t play the points game because you fly budget airlines. But if you are doing a couple of long-haul flights per year, that could turn into a cheaper short-haul flight! I did 3 Asia-Europe flights and had a happy discount for my flight from London to Paris. All I did was to collect my points as I flew.
Another perk to getting these points is to play the status game and get access to airport lounges!
- Book your flights with one of those travel credit cards to rack up more points
- Check which airlines give you the best returns for frequent flyer points. With OneWorld, I have all my points on British Airways. With StarAlliance, I have my points on Singapore Airlines. Collect all your alliance-specific points on one of the airlines’ point system, since they are not transferable
5. Pack Light
If there is one hack, it is packing light. It makes it a lot easier to bring it on the plane as a carry-on, travel around the city by dragging a tiny suitcase or just get out of the airport faster. (You don’t have to wait for the luggage to arrive via the carousel!)
Some flights also do not include check-in, so you save money when you pack light and use carry-on only.
- This means putting more thoughts to the clothes you want to bring. We tend to over pack. Remember that you can do laundry easily, so you don’t need too many clothes
- Winter time will be tricky since the clothes are bulky and it is tough to pack light. Summer time is the best as the clothes are thin and light anyway
- Alternatively, bring clothes that you want to throw away. Or donate away. That way, you don’t have to bring them back and it is lighter for you
Let me know what you think and which of these 5 trevellers hacks work for you!
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie at beautiful destinations. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always dreamt of.