August 20, 2019

7 Travel Hacks

Posted in: Story of Us, Travel

Vancouver, BC, Canada | Photo by Vivian Ng Photography

It’s no secret that Weston and I love to travel!  We have taken one big trip every year since we got married and we always have so much fun.  Seven big trips together (including our honeymoon) and counting, so here are our 7 favorite travel hacks!  I wouldn’t consider myself a travel expert; however, I would say that we have plenty of travel experience to warrant a blog post with some of our favorite travel hacks.  Hopefully one or more of these tips will help you with your next vacation!

1. Use Skyscanner and Hopper to watch flights

We discovered the Skyscanner and Hopper apps when we started planning our trip to Hawaii and California a few years ago.  Now we use them every time we plan on flying!  Skyscanner is a search engine that pulls prices from thousands of travel sites online to show you the best deals.  Hopper scans billions of prices daily to predict how prices will change and whether you should buy now or wait.  Using these apps together has saved us countless dollars!  They are both free, so there’s really no reason not to use them.  Unless you don’t like saving money.

2. Compare Airbnb and Hotel costs

I love Airbnb!  You get to stay in some really cool places that feel more at home than a hotel.  We have stayed in some amazing places and paid a fraction of the cost of a hotel.  I always recommend comparing the Airbnb costs and hotel costs though to make sure you’re getting the best deal.  So far, Airbnb has won every time.  I also love that we get more of a local feel than a touristy feel when we travel.  We have met some pretty cool Airbnb hosts and stayed in places with breathtaking views.  Check out some of our favorite Airbnbs below!  Use this link to get $40 off your first stay with Airbnb!

View from our balcony in Honolulu, HI

Our Airbnb in London, UK

View from our balcony in Paris, France

3. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off

Unless you’re willing to pay the extra money for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, the line for security screening is really long.  Part of the reason is because travelers aren’t being as efficient as possible.  Most airports require you to remove items from your pockets and your shoes.  Travelers waste so much time removing these items and hold up the line.  Our solution is to never have anything in our pockets.  If we do, we put them in our bag as we are waiting in line instead of waiting to remove them once we get to the front.  We also wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off so that we are not spending a lot of time taking them off and holding up the line.  Plus, you can gather all your belongings faster and be on your way.  This is especially helpful if you need to get to your gate quickly.

4. Bring a carry-on that can fit under the seat in front of you

One of my biggest travel pet peeves is when we’re trying to get off the airplane.  It never fails, almost all the people in front of you have their giant carry-ons stored in the overhead bins.  It’s not a huge deal, except they take forever to get it out of the bins.  This is especially irritating on longer flights when you are dying to get off the plane.  My solution is to only use a carry-on that fits under the seat in front of me.  Once we have landed and the seat belt sign is turned off, I grab my bag and I’m ready to exit the plane.  None of the people in the rows behind me have to wait for me to get my bag.  If more people would bring carry-ons that fit under the seat in front of them, we could all get off the plane much sooner.

Both my carry-on bag and my travel camera bag fit under the airplane seats!

5. Pack at least one set of clothes and toiletries in your carry-on

Thankfully, we have never had our luggage lost or stolen on a trip.  However, we did get separated from our luggage for one night on our honeymoon.  Long story short, our first flight from Pensacola was delayed and arrived in Miami as our connecting flight to Antigua was leaving.  The airport employee put us on a flight to St. Kitts and said we would have a connecting flight to Antigua.  After waiting in the airport in St. Kitts for 6 hours, we were informed that the connecting flight to Antigua was cancelled – before we had even left Miami!  We had no luggage and no carry-on bags.  We stayed in a strange country overnight with no extra clothes and no toiletries.  My advice?  Make sure you have at least one set of clean clothes and basic toiletries in your carry-on bag just in case your luggage is delayed.

Photo 1: When we arrived in St. Kitts. Photo 2: When we found out we were stuck in St. Kitts until the next morning. Photos 3 and 4: When we arrived to Sandals in Antigua the next day. Notice the same outfits!

6. Put your dirty clothes in your suitcase throughout the trip

Anytime we plan to spend more than two days in the same place, we unpack our bags into the drawers.  We do this for two reasons.  It makes it easier to find clothes when we’re getting dressed.  Also, as the week progresses, we can put our already-worn/dirty clothes in our suitcases.  This helps us keep the clean clothes separate from the dirty clothes and helps us pack throughout the week.  We love that last part because it means we’re spending less time on our last day or night packing and more time enjoying our vacation.

7. Budget

One travel hack that a lot of people don’t think about is the budget.  Sure, they probably think about the total cost; just not saving for it.  Traveling is very important to us, so we started a travel fund when we got married.  Weston and I saved as much as we could our first year of marriage and took a super low-key, budget road trip to Canada.  We drove through 13 states and 1 new country on a mission to see the Five Great Lakes.  We spent less than $1,000 for the entire trip!  Once we returned, we started planning our next trip.  We calculated costs and figured out how much we would need to save each month to go on a cruise.  We have kept that same pattern each year since.  As soon as we get back from vacation, we figure out where we are going the next year, how much it will cost, and how much we need to save each month.

Paris, France | Photos by Dilani Schipper Photography


Do you have any travel hacks you’d like to add?  Share them in the comments!

  1. Khristin King says:

    Tou all have inspired me so much. It is a hope to travel and experience many places. I will show my husband these hacks in hopes that he sees that it is possible!!! Thank you for sharing this post! I was actually just thinking about you all and this very topic! You’ve answered a lot! The best tips I can give for a couple is: share one suitcase, use clothes that can are interchangeable with other tops and bottoms, roll your clothes to take up less space, AND always try to take an extra day off to regroup when you get home!!!

    • Ashley Mason says:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad I could help. Feel free to reach out if you have any travel questions! 🙂

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