'I'm a full-time travel influencer. Here are my 12 best travel hacks.'

I've been on seven international trips since the Australian border opened in December (yes, I'm exhausted) and while I forgot a few things, like claiming the tax refund on my new computer on the way out, using my favourite travel hacks helped get me through.

Here are some of the best travel tips you may not know.

Psst: While you're here, watch how Kelly travels with different products. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

1. Lounges

If you're not flying in the pointy end of the plane, you can still upgrade your trip (and glam-wash your Instagram pics) at an airport lounge. Most airports have private lounges that are pay to play - usually around $50 for four hours - with access to all the lounge perks like hot meals and snacks, drinks (including beer and wine) comfy seating, business facilities, showers, and Wi-Fi.

My daughter and I use them before boarding or during long transits, especially at airports that have few facilities or aren't back to normal operations yet. If we're travelling on a budget airline, it's much easier to deal with being a basic betty if we can park ourselves at an airport lounge before we fly. How to find them? Just Google the airport name + 'airport lounge' or sign up to an airport lounge program like Priority Pass that gives you access to lounges all over the world. 


2. Try carry-on only.

While it could induce wardrobe anxiety for some, travelling carry-on only is the way to go right now, especially with airport chaos and lost and delayed luggage. I find it just makes life easier to pack light, I'm more mindful about what I take (and actually wear everything) and I don't have to worry about the security of my luggage or if it will even arrive.


Plus, unpacking when I get home is so much easier. You can read all my tips for travelling carry on only here. You can do it!

3. Make life easy and use packing cubes.

How many times are you in chaos on only the second day of the trip with clothes spewing out of your suitcase, missing undies, cossies everywhere and just a complete mess in front of you? This was me, before packing cubes. They're soft, multi-sized bags that help compartmentalise your gear, and make life so easy (especially when travelling with only carry-on). I use one for outfits, one for undies and bras, and another for cossies. They're cheap and you can get them online or from travel stores.

4. Check in online to select your seats.

Make sure to log into your booking and select your seats before you turn up at the airport. Some airlines also only allow seat selection with online check-in 24 hours before the flight so grab your seats in advance or you could be in the middle of the middle row for 20 hours. That's now how you want to start your Euro summer.

5. What seat should I choose?

I used to be so excited to snag a window seat, but somehow my daughter and I would always be over the wing. Now I use seatguru to search for the plane and seat configuration so I can check the seat I'm choosing has a good view and is far away from the toilet.


6. The pillow hack.

This is a cheapskate tip, and one that my daughter and I tried last month when we went to Vietnam with carry -n luggage only. Every airline allows passengers to carry a pillow, and so instead of an actual pillow inside the case, you can pack the pillowcase with clothesYou'll need two pillow cases - pack your clothes in the first one, then slip the other one over it so that the opening of the first faces the closed end of the second. Success!

7. Essential oil under your nose for the plane stank.

Fights can be pretty smelly, and a wafting stench once woke me from my snooze, so now I always put some peppermint oil (or Vicks if you need heavy duty) under my nose or in my mask. I also take my Dermalogica face mask on board with me and lather it on so it soaks into my skin during the flight and provides a barrier. The idea of strangers' farts floating onto my face is just too much.


8. Get everything washed before you head home.

All across Asia, and in many countries around the world, you can get your entire travel wardrobe washed, dried, and folded at laundries very cheaply. I get everything washed the day before I leave, pop it into my packing cubes then back into my wardrobe when I get home.

9. Protect your data (and watch your favourite shows) with a VPN.

It's so important to protect your data from hackers who can get in through the free Wi-Fi we use in hotels, shopping centres, and other random places. A VPN routes your connection through secure servers all around the world - you can choose the location. So, if I'm travelling and Survivor is on at home, I don't have to miss it, I just select an Australian location, and I do the same in countries where certain news and social channels are banned to get around the censorship. I use Express VPN - it's most important to use it to protect your data, but watching your favourite reality TV is a good reason to get one too.

Listen: The Quicky speaks to a travel expert and two women who've recently returned from overseas trips to find out more useful hacks. Post continues after podcast.

10. 'Sleeping in airports' app.

Pre-COVID, my daughter and I often slept in airports between flights, and Hotel Starbucks (which would only close for a 30-minute clean and would usually allow my daughter to continue sleeping on their lounge) was our preferred spot. It can be a little trickier now - hence our love of airport lounges - but using the Sleeping in Airports website can help with airport ratings, airport hotel ratings, and tips for the best places inside the airports to get a bit of sleep if you will not use the lounge.


11. Always have insurance, and read the PDS (boring but essential).

To many of us this is a no-brainer, but there are lots of people who still travel without insurance - and when something unfortunate happens, they have the stress of trying to rase money through GoFundMe or family and friends to get medical treatment or come home. It's not worth the risk. As the saying goes, if you can't afford travel insurance you can't afford to travel. Always read the PDS - this is the Product Disclosure Statement that shares what you are and aren't covered for and it's where tricky little exclusions are often hidden. It's worth your time to review.

12. Always do your own research.

Always, always check what you need to do before leaving the country. Do you need a visa? Do you need vaccination certificates? Do you need an international licence if you're planning to drive overseas? Are you cruising or riding motorbikes and does your travel insurance cover you? Do this yourself because misinformation can cost you a lot of money, or ruin your trip. Make sure to check before you go.

Bonus hack: Turn off your phones and social apps and just enjoy your holiday!

Evie Farrell is travel obsessed and explores the world with her daughter. For more, you can follow her on Instagram.

Feature Image: Instagram @mumpacktravel.

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