‘Tis the season for new year’s resolutions! Along with exercising more, drinking more water, and reading more books, traveling and experiencing new places are always popular resolutions.
If you are deeming 2023 as the year you explore more destinations and jet-set on new adventures, here are a few helpful hacks to make your travel experience more enjoyable:
1. Pack smartly
While this might not seem like a ‘hack,’ your packing strategy can help (or hurt!) your entire travel experience. Be sure to check out TSA’s ‘What Can I Bring’ tool when packing; it’s a great interactive tool that answers even the most obscure travel packing questions.
Always pack an extra pair of clothes, daily medications, chargers, and any other necessities in your carry-on. In the unlikely event that your bag gets misplaced, you will at least have things you need to get you through the next 24 hours or so.
Get a luggage tracker! For our most recent trip to Disney World, I purchased Apple Airtags for all of our luggage and loved it. You can see, in real-time, where your luggage is in comparison to where you are — and hopefully everything is in close proximity!
2. Book flights directly with an airline
While booking with third-party sites, such as Kayak or Expedia, might save you money, it’s risky. If anything goes wrong with your flight, such as a delay or cancellation, rebooking through these sites is nearly impossible. Booking directly with an airline allows you to rebook or potentially receive flight vouchers if something changes with your flight.
Bonus hack: Did you know that some airlines, such as Allegiant, offer cheaper fares if you go to the airport to purchase your tickets? You don’t have to pay an online convenience fee, and the base fare is typically cheaper than can be found online.
3. Create your own ‘cost calculator’
I work at McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS), and I hear way too often how expensive our airline fares are in comparison to other airports. And while that might be true to some destinations, I encourage you to do your research and create your own cost calculator. Rather than just looking at the cost of the airline ticket, consider your drive time to another airport, gas money, parking costs at the airport (when you could get a taxi or dropped off at TYS), etc., etc. If you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling this year, become an expert at researching your options.
4. Take advantage of rental companies at your destination
If you’re traveling with children, you know that the luggage fills up fast! To save money and the hassle of lugging all that children equipment around, look up rental companies in the city that you’re traveling to. A few examples that have worked great for me—at Disney World, I loved Kingdom Strollers; on Sanibel Island, we use Island Rentals for crib rentals, strollers, and beach toys. There are businesses like this all around; this will save you space and money when it comes to your luggage!
5. See if your credit card company covers travel insurance
When traveling with children, the travel insurance is always worth considering. It’s hard to predict if your littles are going to be healthy at the time of your vacation. Before purchasing the travel insurance with your airline, look to see if your credit card company covers the cost. My Chase Sapphire card covers travel insurance if we purchase the tickets with the card. It’s something to look into and can save you a little bit of money without jeopardizing your peace of mind.