The world is an enviable place. Especially the world on your Facebook timeline, where someone or the other is perennially checking-in at an exotic destination, making it very hard for you to suppress your homicidal urges. It also gives rise to many important questions:
"How does she get the time to do this?"
"Is his father a millionaire?"
"He must have a lenient boss."
"How do I get away with murdering her?"
These feelings are completely natural, trust me. But a lovely trip of your own might be able to fix them. Before you castrate me by announcing "It's easier said than done", I must convince you that travelling is easier than you think. We are just conditioned to travel in a particular manner thanks to our childhoods and pop culture, which makes it difficult to try new permutations and combinations, which may actually be extremely helpful in getting us where we desire.
For this reason, I've come up with an ingenious list of 30 travel hacks (based on the kind of traveller you are) to make your commute more cheaply and conveniently in 2018. Enjoy!
1. Use Google Flights
For the cheapest flight tickets on the internet, always use Google Flights since there are no middle-men involved.
2. Book early-morning flights
They are comparatively cheaper and you can even save on hotel costs as well.
3. Check flight prices for other airports around your destination
Let me explain this with an example:
Let's say you're flying from = Delhi, and your destination = Kodaikanal.
Closest airport to Kodaikanal = Coimbatore
But Delhi to Coimbatore flight ticket for today = Rs. 4,620,
while Delhi to Bengaluru flight ticket for today = Rs. 2,826
If you're a backpacker on a shoestring budget, you might as well fly to Bengaluru first and then catch a bus to Kodaikanal (which will be an overnight journey). The overall expenditure will be a lot less in this case, than if you fly direct to Coimbatore and then take a cab to Kodaikanal. Hence, you should definitely check out flight prices to other airports around your ultimate destination.
4. Go Incognito
Flight operators trace your internet history and their codes ensure that they show you spiked up prices for your destinations when you search for them again and again. Working in 'Incognito Mode' stops them from tracking you.
5. Borrow 'Frequent Flyer Points' from friends
This is a fantastic travel hack. You may not know this yet, but your wealthy friends can be of a lot of use to you. They can share their 'Frequent Flyer Points; with you and both of you will be benefitted. Learn how.
You can read up in detail if you're genuinely interested.
6. Book Tatkal tickets on IRCTC
Gone are the days where you had to rush to the brick and mortar reservation counters early in the morning and wait for them to open up at 8am to book your Tatkal tickets, and still leave empty-handed most of the time. Now, you can book the Tatkal tickets right from the comfort of your home on the IRCTC website, starting at 10 in the morning.
7. Avail discounts up to 40% for senior citizens and get assured reserved births for women travelling alone
8. Book waitlisted tickets for longer distances
If you're travelling more than 1,000km away on a sleeper ticket, and are booking a month before the date of journey, you can afford to book a ticket that's waitlisted. More than 90% of the time, it gets confirmed. If it doesn't, your money will be refunded.
9. Never miss a train again
With the new 'Destination Alert' feature, IRCTC gives you a wake-up call before the train reaches your station. Activate this feature by SMS-ing "ALERT" to 139.
10. Always ask a coolie (porter) for directions
They will know exactly which platform your train will arrive at, and at what time. They're your best friends when you reach the station late. This travel hack always works.
It's definitely worth travelling with the Indian Railways. And with a handful of improvements, it can become even better!
11. Always go for state transport buses
Believe it or not, they are the cheapest and fastest modes of inter-city travel. Never go for private operators unless there's no choice.
12. Book seats somewhere in the middle
Never book seats towards the front or rear ends of the bus. That's where the ride will be the bumpiest.
13. Book overnight bus journeys
It's common sense, really. You save on time because you spend the entire journey sleeping, so you can utilise the morning after to start exploring the new place.
14. Always dress in layers
Buses are seldom temperature-controlled, so it either gets too hot or too cold. Wearing jackets and socks is recommended since you can easily remove them if needed.
15. Avoid heavy meals
Never eat a lot before a bus journey, because the bumpy rides will mess with your stomach. Just in case, carry a poly bag with you for if you need to puke.
By the way, you can now go all the way up till Ladakh in a bus. So, buses are not as bad as you think.
16. Book online
Hotels are surprisingly cheap when booked on third-party websites or mobile apps. You can check for yourself right now! Also, sometimes 5-star hotels can be cheaper than your normal hotels if you use good sources online. Quite a travel hack, eh?
17. Never hang the "Clean Room" sign
It tells prowlers that you are not in the room, and hence increases chances of a burglary.
18. Always hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign
Using the same psyche as the earlier point, it tells prowlers that you are in the room and hence shoos them away.
19. Get the best room by offering a review
In the age of the internet, there are unbelievable things that you can manage. While checking-in, tell them that you will write a review of their hotel after checking out. They will definitely offer you something extra in return.
20. Book offline if staying for long
Completely contradicting point no. 16, it's always the best idea to approach hotels directly (over phone) if you plan on staying for more than 4 days. More often than not, the hotel will give you special discounts.
Hotels are an integral part of how you are going to remember your journey, so choose well. Hotels like these can ensure that you have only fond memories.
21. Keep your loose cables in an old eyeglasses' box
As shown above in the image, it's a lot more convenient to store them like this. They don't get lost or tangled up.
22. Roll clothes while packing, don't fold
It saves up incredible amount of space. Don't trust me, google it!
23. Pack a long scarf
This multi-purpose item can be used as a bedsheet, a towel, a muffler and a scarf!
24. Carry a small bottle of Citronella
It can be used as perfume, mosquito repellant or a room freshener. Hence is useful and saves space.
25. Use your shoes to store anything
Well, this is a no-brainer. The insides of a shoe have enough space to store knick-knacks. Stuff undergarments, watches, money, etc. They save up space, and are never on the hit-list of thieves.
26. Sometimes, booking a homestay is better
27. Keep your money and cards separate
This way you won't be left completely stranded in case either of these get lost or stolen.
28. Refer to recommendations from real travellers
29. Call up a hotel for queries on the destination
Get accurate information on your destination's climate, best places to visit, state of the roads, or anything else that may be important to know beforehand, by speaking to the receptionist at any random hotel in the area. They will tell you everything honestly in the hope that you will book a room with them.
30. Paanwallas > Google in India
This is the most important education I've collected via my ample backpacking trips in India. The paanwallas have an answer to everything, and the best part is that they're everywhere.
Have you got travel hacks of your own? We'd love it if you share them with us. Happy travelling!