10 Travel Hacks You Shouldn't Leave Home Without

1. Invest in a good travel pillow
Ok, we'll be the first to admit that travel pillows aren't the most glamorous item, but for those of us who are stuck in Economy, they're a necessity. With so many to choose from on the market, shopping for one can be overwhelming. The good folks at CHOICE released this guide. The highest performing pillow was the Cabeau Evolution Travel Pillow which is made from memory foam. This genius product has a washable cover, a unique donut design when clipped and even a slot for your iPhone! They'll set you back around $40, but your neck will thank you after a 24 hour trip to Europe. Heck, it's cheaper than upgrading...

 

2. Pack dryer sheets
With dirty shoes and less-than-fresh clothes, suitcases can get fairly musty. Dryer sheets are a revelation. Disperse a few dryer sheets throughout your luggage and your stuff will smell laundered throughout your trip. You can find them in the laundry aisle of your supermarket.

3. Grab the Google Translate app
Whilst it’s always advisable to know some basic phrases, the Google Translate app is a lifesaver. You can speak directly into the phone and it will repeat it back to you in a language of your choosing. You can also download a special feature which allows you to hover your phone camera over any text and it will translate that for you. Great for restaurant menus if you’re not feeling ultra-adventurous.

4. Download the XE app
Mathematicians among us may snigger, but the XE app is great for getting accurate conversions in an instant. 65 AUD for a craft beer in Reykjavik? Just a water for me, thanks.

XE App

 5. Start stockpiling podcasts
Travelling can be very hectic, but there’s also a lot of downtime. Airport delays, long train rides and sleepless nights. Before you leave the country, download a number of podcasts to have ready to go. They’re free, can provide hours of entertainment and don’t weigh a thing. Some suggestions: Stuff You Should Know, This American Life and of course, Serial (Season 1, though Season 2 might help you fall asleep!).

6. Pack a pillow case
We’re not germaphobes, but there’s something about the intimacy of a pillow that can leave you envisioning all sorts of things that you don’t want near your head. Stuff it full of clean clothes for a makeshift pillow and use it as a laundry bag on the way home. 

7. Embrace Google Drive
Any traveller worth their salt knows to keep photocopies of passports and other important documents, but did you know you can also store digital back-ups securely on all your devices? Make a folder with a scanned copy of your passport and licence. Add to it, your airline e-ticket any hotel booking confirmations and most importantly, your insurance info. In a worst case scenario in which your luggage is lost or stolen, you’ll have copies of everything you need, which you can access from any device with internet access. Just make sure you log-out if you're using a public computer! 

8. Switch to Shaving Oil
100mL liquid restrictions rule out many shaving preparations. On your next trip, pack a Shaving Oil instead. OSCAR Natural Shaving Oil comes in a 30mL bottle, which means it’s easy to throw in your toiletries bag, and because it’s super concentrated, you only need to use a few drops each time you shave. 6 weeks in South America? No problem.

9. Get this game-changing product
Google Drive is fantastic, but it’s always great to have hard copies of important documents on hand. This Kikki K folder is fantastic for organising your paperwork: pop your itinerary in the front sleeve. Then flights, accommodation, travel, activities and insurance. Sorted.

Kikki K 5-Tab Folder

10. Work on a jet lag plan
Australians are no strangers to jet lag. When crossing so many timezones, jet lag is an inevitability but it can greatly reduced with a proactive approach. Jet Lag Rooster is a free online tool created by Jay Olson, M.Sc. from McGill University. All you have to do is enter your flight details and the site will suggest optimum time to sleep and when to go outside and seek sunlight, up to 3 days before and after the flight. Arrive feeling fresh and you'll get the most out of your trip!  

Happy travels!