What’s a travel hack, you ask? They are very similar to the ever popular Life Hacks, those tips and tricks that show you how to repurpose just about everything in your house or save money and still afford your sanity saving latte. Harness the right ones for planning your next vacation and you have travel hacked your way into making things go a bit more smoothly while looking oh so clever at the same time. You can look even savvier by consulting a surprising source that is full of these insightful little nuggets — Pinterest!
From planning where to go, how to go about taking advantage travel programs, and perks to get there, to what to pack, and how to keep the kiddos entertained, Pinterest lays out ideas and tips proving it is not just a great place to collect recipes and home decorating ideas. Do you suspect you’re a hot travel mess? Well, there’s even a Pinterest pin where you can get yourself diagnosed and straightened out!
So let’s walk through some pins (not literally) and hack our way to a new adventure. Key words used in this search include: “family travel planning,” “travel,” “family,” “hacks,” and “parent travel hacks.”
Planning starts with a game plan, according to many of the hacks on Pinterest. To help track special offers and red-hot deals, one hack suggests creating an email account that can be used as an information depository that will keep you on top of how to make your plans a reality. Then sign up for newsletters which will send your alerts to this particular inbox.
That’s not the end of where technology can help with travel planning. Smartphones are useful for more than selfies and playing Words with Friends, it is also a great tool for storing your pertinent travel information. Snap photos of the labels on your prescriptions so you have the information on hand should you need to replace them. Capture images of your important travel documents rather than tucking a paper back up in your luggage. Should you check luggage, take a photo of your suitcases before they are whisked away, this way you can let the airlines know what they’re looking for if god forbid, they lose your stuff.
Now I may be at risk of being labeled as biased with this next smartphone travel hack, but one of my favorite sources for domestic travel planning is the Trekaroo app. Whether you use it to pre-plan or refer to it while you’re on the road, it is a great way to discover parks, restaurants, beaches, interesting neighborhoods, and so much more.
There are all sorts of strategies out there for hacking your packing, starting with making sure your suitcase doesn’t make your garments smell funky after you’ve sealed them inside. A carefully placed dryer sheet will remedy the situation by making your clothes smell freshly laundered.
And since checking luggage is costly, passengers are trying to get on the plane with as much as they can cram in their carry-ons, so naturally everyone has an opinion on how to get that done. The hacks range from rolling your clothes to using packing cubes or Ziploc bags to cut down on space. Cover your shoes with shower caps to keep their dirty surfaces from clean clothing. There’s even a photo on one Pinterest board illustrating how stuffing socks and underwear in your shoes saves space! When I think of where my family’s shoes have been though, this idea makes me shudder!
Plastic wrap is another valuable travel hack when packing. It’s not only great for hermetically sealing jewelry to keep it from tangling; it can help prevent your liquids leaking all over your clothing. Simply open the lids and place a piece of plastic wrap over the top then put the caps back on.
There are so many strategies for getting there, some of which are so subtle we may overlook them. Headed to your destination by plane? Here’s a research backed hack for you, most people are right-handed and tend to turn to right first when navigating airport security, so do the opposite and head left to shorter security lines.
Surviving the Trip
This category covers a lot of ground. Pinterest is loaded with games and crafts to keep the kids busy, organizing trash during a road trip, using a fitted sheet to keep sand off your sitting area at the beach, and so much more! Some of the most resourceful I spotted were the camping hacks; no need to invest in an expensive lantern when a transparent water bottle and headlamp will do the trick!
My family frequently employs this cost cutting measure for keeping everyone fed and hydrated: shopping for groceries once you arrive. Even basics like water and snacks can cost a fortune if purchased at a hotel. We pick up these items and a few other staples at a local store en route to our hotel. It saves us a lot of money!
Collecting Hacks that Work For You
Begin by perusing Pinterest and starting your own board! Populate it with items that make sense for your crew. Customizing a board to accommodate your family’s needs, preferences, and travel style provides a great visual source for culling a wellspring of hacks that works for you.
Here’s my board:
Trekaroo has a lot of great Pinterest Boards chalk full of ideas, inspiration, and hacks! Check them out at: Trekaroo Family Travel.
Do you have some travel hack ideas that are worthy of Pinterest? Tell us in the comments!