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15 Insider Tricks to Bypass Tourist Traps, Unlock Hidden Gems, and Travel Like a Local

Embark on your next adventure with ease and confidence with these insightful travel hacks, shared by seasoned travelers who’ve mastered the art of navigating the world with savvy tips and tricks. From packing smart to saving money, these hacks will transform your journey into a seamless and enjoyable experience.

A netizen recently asked, Travelers, what are your best travel hacks? Here are the top 15 responses people gave: 

Don’t Call And Cancel Your Hotel Bookings….Instead, DO This

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Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

“I don’t travel much but I book travel for a living. If your plans change and you need to cancel your hotel reservation against the hotel’s cancellation policy,  **don’t call and cancel**.  I’ve tried to barter with hotels many times, but truthfully unless you have a good relationship with the hotel, they have no reason to refund you.  

Instead, call the hotel and move your reservation to next week.  Even if it is against the cancellation policy, most hotels will allow you to alter a reservation without issue.  Then (usually a few hours later to guarantee you talk to a different hotel rep) call and cancel your “new” reservation.”

Take A Bump If Possible

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“It’s becoming a bit harder and it’s definitely not as easy with two people, but take a bump on a plane if there’s one available and you have the flexibility in your schedule. Go right to the front desk at the gate to see if one is available and put yourself on the waiting list in case the opportunity arises.

The upside to taking a bump is tremendous; there are typically financial incentives and sometimes upgrades on your next flight. If you have to stay an extra night in your location the airline will put you up in a hotel. I’ve even gotten bumps that have resulted in boarding direct flights and avoiding a layover, which cut time OUT of my overall travel.”

Make Friends With Locals & Save Important Phone Numbers

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“As soon as possible, become friends with a local. That will make everything 90% easier than it should be. Also, memorize or write down the “important” phone numbers of the place you’re at. Numbers such as police, firefighter, KFC… Your call.”

Don’t Give A Damn Unnecessarily

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“Honestly, the best secret is not giving a damn. Seriously, if you just let the little delays and lost bags and wrong directions get to you the trip will become awful. Just relax and take all of that as part of the adventure. Doesn’t matter how messed up your trip becomes from your original plan, it will still be awesome.”

Leave US On Thanksgiving

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“If you are leaving the country (United States) and can swing it, leave on Thanksgiving. It’s an American holiday and people are traveling from state to state. Ticket prices go WAY down if you are leaving the country. 

A few years ago, I wanted to go to Ireland and booked my tickets 2 months in advance. Tickets were around 1,200 dollars every day except Thanksgiving which dropped to 550. Have done this every Thanksgiving since.”

Don’t Book Your Seat Next To That Of Your Companion If You’re Flying Coach

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Image Credits: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

“If you’re flying coach with a companion and you can pick your seats online, don’t sit right next to each other in a row of 3 seats. One of you takes the aisle, and the other takes the window, leaving the middle seat empty if possible. When other people are selecting their seats, nobody willingly takes a middle seat unless there are no other options.

Instead, they’ll go for a window or an aisle, or if they’re traveling with a companion, then usually any two seats available next to one another. If the flight is not full, then you are now much more likely to have an entire row together once the plane takes off. If, however, someone does show up for the middle seat prior to takeoff, simply tell them that you made a mistake when booking and that you’d prefer to sit next to your companion, and would you like to trade us for either the window or the aisle? No person in their right mind wants to sit in the middle seat between a couple if they have the option to take a seat on either side instead. Win/win.”

Click A Picture Of The Name Of The Place Every Time You Visit Somewhere

1. Michigan

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“Make the first photo you take of the place you’re visiting a photo of the place’s name (Like the train terminal or similar). That way you’ll be able to work out later where you took all your photos that day.”

Take Just One Power Adaptor Along With A Powerboard

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“You only need to take one power adaptor (converter) and instead take a powerboard or two! Much cheaper and you end up with more sockets for all your electronics!”

Zoom In On Google Maps And Leave The Application Running

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Image Credits: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

“Learned this from a friend: If you’re traveling in another country (i.e. probably do not have cellular data), always zoom in on the map on Google Maps and scroll around to load as much of the map as possible whenever you have wifi, and then leave the application running (don’t exit/quit out of it).

The GPS doesn’t require data to use (so you can turn off data and still use your GPS on Google Maps), so when you’re trying to get from point A to point B, you can just use the map on your phone to see where you’re going, and since you’ve already loaded the zoomed-in map, you can see street names and other details.” 

Keep Important Documents/Money In An Empty Shampoo Bottle 

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“Put important documents/money in an empty shampoo bottle when you aren’t using them. If someone breaks into your room, they aren’t going to steal shampoo.” 

Bring Some Little Trinkets With You

shopping lady

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“Bring some little trinkets from your home (for example I’m from Wisconsin, I brought a Wisconsin state magnet, some maple syrup candy, some wild rice).  This will help you make friends with locals and show a lot of respect.  You need to give culture to gain culture.”

Buy A Diaper Bag

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Image Credit: StoryTime Studio, Shutterstock

“Buy a diaper bag for photography equipment. They’re cheaper, waterproof, and nobody steals a diaper bag.”

Rent An Apartment Instead Of A Hotel Room

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Image Credits: Artazum, Shutterstock

“Rent an apartment instead of a hotel room if you’re staying more than a week. You’ll have a kitchen so you don’t have to eat out all the time, a more realistic experience of the city and it’s typically cheaper than the hotel would have been.”

Camp In The National Forests

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“I camp for free in the National Forests. If I have to stay in a hotel I always use Priceline express deals, they’re usually 40% off.”

Pick AirBnB Over Regular Hotels

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“AirBnB.com is much cheaper than hotels and you meet some really interesting people. It’s like couch surfing, but it’s a bit classier (you’re paying to stay in a room or an entire apartment). Traveled to different continents using AirBnB and never had any issues as guest and host feedback is based on reviews.

Discovered tango dancing in Madrid thanks to a flatmate I was staying with from AirBnB. Discovered my favorite beer in New York City by going out to dinner with the hosts and going to a hidden basement that was a Japanese restaurant. Even got lucky with a host one time in Philadelphia because we had amazing chemistry.

All those experiences wouldn’t have happened had I stayed in a hotel.”

12 Fast Food Chains Where You Can Still Eat Cheap

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Fast food can be a quick and affordable meal option, but knowing where to go to get the most bang for your buck is essential. Read here.

16 Things That Are Legal in the U.S. but Are Actually Pretty Messed Up

1. proud american

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In the United States, there are a number of things that are legal but should not be. These things can range from harmful practices to others. Read here.

13 Inventions That Were Supposed to Change the World… But Didn’t

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Though there are both good and bad inventions, it’s fascinating to learn about those that once promised to revolutionize the world, but are now forgotten. Read more.

15 Costco Products That Are a Total Rip-Off

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Costco is known for its great deals on bulk items, but only some things at the warehouse club are a good value. Read more.

Did You Know? These 18 Everyday Sayings Are Actually False

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Language is a powerful tool, but it can also be misleading. Overused sayings and clichés are often taken for granted as truths. Read more.

This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.