Got a long journey ahead, backpacking or just want an easier time? Here are my top tips to make your holiday experience safer and easier. These tips are all quick, inexpensive and can be done by anyone! If you like them, please give them a vote. Either way, I hope they help you as much as they've helped me.
Enjoy and Bon voyage!
Step 1: Avoid Airport Baggage Checks
Airport security x-rays basically look for all the components of explosives close together. These are (1) a chemical component and (2) an electrical component. You take out your liquids but often keep your solid toiletries like soaps, makeup, tablets or even Berocca in your bag while it gets x-rayed. Keep these well away from anything electrical like your charging cables, batteries or cameras and your bag will go through fine every time (provided you don't have anything in that you shouldn't of course).
Step 2: Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are a great way to organise your belongings and to keep them organised while you delve to the bottom of your bag for that one thing you need. I swear by these; especially when packing because you can easily check you have everything. I carry one for my clothes, one for electricals (chargers, cables, SteriPEN etc.) and one for my spare supplies (spare glasses, thermal top, medicine refills etc.). My toiletries bag goes on top so I only have 4 units to completely pack or unpack my bag.
Step 3: 4 Head Multi-Charging Cables
Multi-charging cables are a great way to save space, packing time and meet all your charging needs with one USB port - and they're cheap! The cables come with different combinations of heads so you can get the one that works with your specific device combination.
The safety bonus: When you buy the cable, check to see if your devices will sync. They shouldn't; these cables should only have the +5V and 0V lines connected, so if you use a computer's USB to charge your device, you know you can`t be hacked!
Step 4: Screen Protection
Screens can be notoriously accident prone when you travel, but here's a few easy steps to ensure never have to worry. No clunky cases required!
For larger items, pack them flat, face against your notebooks, travel papers or anything flat. Slim (flat) pockets are great for storing them this way because they will sandwich the two together, making the paper or book your screen protector. Try to keep keys, makeup or other small, solid objects separated from your devices.
Likewise when you carry smartphones, iPods etc. in your pockets, always face the screen inwards and towards your legs.
Step 5: The Camouflaged Map Money Wallet
No one is ever going to mug you and take your free tourist map off you! So, when you arrive and get your free tourist map, pick up a spare. This video and many others will show you how to make an easy paper wallet ideal for keeping your backup cards and cash.
Tip: most tourist maps are about A3 size. If A3-ish, half the map to A4 before you start to finish with the ideal wallet size.
Step 6: Day Bag Security
If you have a flap-fronted day bag like mine, maybe a magnetic-popper handbag or a satchel, sew on a nice big slab of velcro (wide gauge) on the underside of the flap, with the opposing surface where the Velcro lands on your bag. That way, someone may silently undo the zip or clip, but they can't get their hand in or it'll make a nice loud velcro sound you won't miss!.
Step 7: The Backup Phone
Before you go travelling, buy the cheapest pay-and-go handset plus sim you can with some credit on it (£10 will do). Put all your important phone numbers on it, charge it up, turn it off and dump it in the bottom of your bag. Hopefully you`ll never use it, but if your phone gets stolen or runs out of charge at that crucial moment you're covered.
Step 8: Dirty Laundry Dry Bag
These dry bags are available at almost every outdoors shop and make an essential way to deal with dirty laundry. Waterproof is smell proof so you can travel with your dirties and keep your clean clothes fresh.
For best use, squeeze and press down on the bag whilst rolling up from the bottom. Once you get to the top, roll the top strip down a few times and close, making a really handy compression bag too.
When you're not using it simply roll it up flat and it takes up almost no space or weight!
Step 9: Backup Pen Drive
Keep an NTFS-formatted pen drive with all your travel information, ticket copies and reservations on it and keep it in a zip-lock (waterproof) pouch with your essentials like your passport. If your printouts get wet, lost or destroyed, your hotel, hostel or campsite reception can print off those barcoded train tickets or tour confirmations again for you.
Tip: the NTFS format is supported by everyone, so make sure that's your Drive's format or reformat it if required. Dropbox is also great to have as a backup, but you don't want to have to login on a stranger's computer to get your printouts! For this reason, the pen drive is safer.
Step 10: Save on Local Transport
Know the local transport options before you go. Most places have smart cards like Oyster or Orca, or multi-use tickets that make transport cheaper and easy to use. But when you get there ticket machines can be a nightmare. So, know what ticket you need and how to get it before you arrive. Websites like seat61.com and TripAdvisor can really help here.
Tip: Taxis can be expensive at best and dodgy at worst, so avoid them if you can.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found these tips useful and if so, please remember to vote. Thanks.