18 Travel Hacks You Probably Haven't Heard Before, Straight From People Who Swear By Them

18 Travel Hacks You Probably Haven't Heard Before, Straight From People Who Swear By Them

If you love to travel or travel often, you've probably picked up some tips and tricks to make jet setting more seamless, enjoyable, and cheaper. So redditor u/tomsawyertravels asked, "What's your best obscure travel hack?" Here's what people said (and I can't wait to try some of these out on my next adventure).

1."Southwest Airlines starts drink service at rows 1, 8, 15, and 22. If you have a choice of row 9 or 15, go to 15. You get your drink first and have a better chance at getting more than one."

Four Southwest Airlines planes parked at airport gates, with baggage carts and workers nearby
Houston Chronicle / Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

2."Always carry a sarong with you when traveling. It’s basically an all-in-one lightweight tool. You can use it as clothes, a raincoat, a rope, a bandage, a beach towel/picnic rug, a bag, or a blanket."


3."Use the bathrooms by the baggage claim. They’re always clean and empty."

Airport terminal with people walking and signs indicating directions for Departures, Arrivals, and Toilets
Lubo Ivanko / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."I always try to have an extended layover (like 10 hours or more) to visit the layover city. This way, I've visited Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore without going on a specific trip to those destinations. It takes some fiddling to book those flights (airlines present you with the 'most convenient' flight), but it's worth it."

Crowded city street in downtown Tokyo, with people walking in all directions. Bright neon signs and tall buildings fill the background. No celebrities are present
Tomml / Getty Images

5."A lot of flights are not allowing carry-ons these days with a basic ticket purchase (JetBlue 🤨), so I've been using my fishing vest I got from Japan to carry all of my clothes I can't fit into my personal items. Styled right, it looks super cool with my outfit, AND I can fit eight shirts, five pairs of socks, and an entire laptop (storage on the back) in it—and snacks and water. When traveling to places where it's inconvenient to bring my fishing vest, I'll bring my jacket with deep pockets and my Costco dad cargo pants. I can fit 2-3 shirts per pocket. And before anyone complains about the extra weight I'm bringing into the plane, I can promise you my extra clothes and snacks weigh less than 5 pounds."


6."Most flights won't give you a refund on basic tickets. Upgrade them to a higher class ticket then cancel for a full refund. I've done this with United and JetBlue, but I can't speak for other airlines."

Luxury airplane first-class cabin with reclining seats, entertainment screens, and ambient lighting
Bertlmann / Getty Images

7.If you must cancel a hotel less than 24 hours in advance, call and tell them you need to bump the reservation back a week. Then call the next day and cancel it penalty-free."


8."We once racked up over 20,000 Capital One points in a very unconventional way. We were in Paris and rented Velib bikes to get around the city. The catch was that every time we'd rent a bike, a hold was put on our credit card in case of damage to the bike. I believe the hold was close to $400 for each bike, and it took a couple of days for the hold to be lifted. For some reason, the hold would go through as a purchase on our card, and with the travel multiplier, we were getting about 1,600 points every time we rented a bike. The best part was that the bike rental was free if you rented it for less than 30 minutes. So we'd just rent two bikes, ride to the next station in less than 30 minutes, drop them off, and rent two more bikes. We did this an absurd amount of times and got rewarded handsomely."

A row of rental bicycles parked at a bike-sharing station on a city street lined with trees and buildings
Aire Images / Getty Images

9."Consider using an eSim card. You can shop online for the best deal on a temporary sim before starting your trip. I paid 30 CAD for a 1-month, 12 gig, unlimited, and everything else plan; it's good for all of Europe. I installed the eSim before heading to the airport. As soon as the plane landed, I could fire up my eSim without the hassle of finding a physical SIM card. Was in my Uber 10 minutes after leaving customs, it was great. Not all phones support it, but for those that do, they are extremely convenient and cheap."


10."If flying between the US and Canada, ALWAYS look at buying separate one-way tickets in each direction. More often than not, you'll save $100+ due to their strange exchange rate and tax calculations. It doesn't work on every single route but is always worth a check, and I've been amazed how often it's been much cheaper."

A woman in a white sweater and jeans walks down the aisle of an airplane cabin with several passengers seated
Dobrila Vignjevic / Getty Images

11."I get rid of old clothes on my travels, which helps me empty my carry-on for more souvenirs. I bring old shirts, pants, sweaters, underwear, and socks for travel to get rid of them as I go. I hate checking in luggage and I will have plenty of extra room to bring things back."


12."I use hotel room hangers to clip the curtains together to black out the room."

A cozy bedroom with a wooden beamed ceiling, bed with blanket, desk and chair, wicker chair, chest of drawers, and curtains covering a window and door
Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

13."If you’re flying internationally into the US and are a US citizen, do the mobile passport option if the airport has it. It’s an app and takes 30 seconds to do. It’s just as fast as global entry. I’ve passed 100s of people waiting at passport control."


14."If you're not sure of the neighborhood you're booking your hotel or rental stay in, go to Google Street View and 'walk around' in the neighborhood. You can see if it looks pleasant, has nearby cafes or local grocery stores, etc"

A picturesque narrow street lined with colorful houses and lush plants on both sides, leading to a modern building in the background with the sun shining brightly
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

15."I always create a Google map list and save items to populate my map. It makes it easy to plan out your days and see what sites/restaurants/attractions you are near in a new city."


16."Requesting a special meal (for example, vegetarian) on an international flight will ensure you get served first."

A person is preparing to eat an airline meal consisting of pasta, bread roll, dessert, and side dishes on a tray in an airplane
Lechatnoir / Getty Images

17."I always bring baby shampoo and an entire unopened box of ziploc bags. The baby shampoo is great for washing yourself (obviously) but is also perfect for washing things like lightweight shirts, underwear, and socks in the sink."

A person washes a multicolored bowl under a kitchen sink faucet
Catherine Mcqueen / Getty Images

18."One of my favorite obscure travel hacks is to use Google Maps offline. Before my trip, I download the maps of the areas I'll visit. This way, I can navigate, find attractions, and even search for restaurants without an internet connection. It's beneficial in places with spotty Wi-Fi or when I want to save on data usage. Plus, it relieves stress and helps me feel more confident exploring new places."

Three people using smartphones while crossing a street with a pedestrian crosswalk. One phone displays a map application
Weedezign / Getty Images/iStockphoto

What's your favorite travel hack that most people haven't heard before? Tell us in the comments or submit it in this anonymous form.