We love to travel but living here in Western Australia, which is quite an isolated place, means whenever we go away, a long flight is involved. So, over the years, we’ve gathered several travel tips and tricks to make our journey as comfortable and hassle-free as possible. After all, travelling should be fun and enjoyable!
1. Pack a Powerboard.
For most of us, normal life involves multiple gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads, cameras etc. all of which need charging. The problem, though, is that the average hotel room will probably have just one or two power sockets. So, to enable you to plug in multiple items at once, our first travel tip is to pack a power board. They’re reasonably lightweight and can be slipped down the side of your suitcase.
Remember that different countries have different voltages and use different plugs, so check that your appliances will work in the country you’re visiting and take an appropriate travel adaptor. An excellent reference source to find out what system is used at your destination is www.power-plugs-sockets.com
Make sure the powerboard you take has surge protection. The electrics at your destination may not be as good as back home, so don’t risk frying your appliances. Also, don’t piggy back your powerboard with a secondary board or double adaptors. Many fires have resulted from overloaded power points.
2. Pack a small (empty) water spray bottle
Invariably, when you unpack on arrival at your destination, some of your clothes will look crumpled, no matter how carefully you packed originally. Simply give them a good shake and hang them somewhere with plenty of air circulating around them. Don’t hang them in a tightly packed wardrobe – a shower rail is perfect. Then, fill the water spray bottle and give your crumpled clothes a light misting. The aim is to dampen, not saturate and let them dry. The creases should disappear. And, if you’re in a humid climate, you may not even need to dampen your clothes. The humidity in the atmosphere may be all you need.
This travel tip is invaluable if you’re like me and don’t enjoy ironing. However, a word of warning, only do this if you’re confident your clothes won’t get wrecked by water. Check the labels carefully.
You can also slip the water spray bottle into your bag for a refreshing blast of mist on your face while sightseeing in the heat.
3. Save on bottled water.
It’s important to keep yourself hydrated during air travel, but bottled water from the airport is usually three times more expensive than elsewhere. We always carry a refillable bottle. You usually have to tip any water away before going through security checks, but most airports allow you to refill your bottle when you reach the departure lounge. But, a word of warning, don’t bank on always being allowed to carry it on the plane. Some airports have further security checks at the boarding gate with restrictions on carrying liquids.
4. Organise your clothes in packing cells
Packing cells (lightweight mesh/nylon containers for clothes and other small items) are invaluable for organising your clothes when packing. Everyone will have their own method for organising their clothes eg. underwear in one, t-shirts in another, but I like to put everything I’ll need for an overnight stay in one cell and make sure that’s at the top of my suitcase, so if I arrive late at the hotel I don’t waste valuable snooze time rummaging around in my suitcase for my toothbrush!
5. Buy a Headphones Adaptor
I hate the headphones you get on the plane. Invariably they’re uncomfortable and don’t stay in position, so I bought an adapter (see image below) so that I can use my own headphones on flights that have the two pin sockets. Not all aircraft use these types, but the headphones I use on my phone (Android) usually work if the aircraft has one socket headphone jacks.
You can get these adaptors for a few dollars from electronics stores or online.
6. Pack Earplugs and an Eyemask.
They’re great for helping you get some shut eye on a long plane journey. They’re also useful for noisy hotel rooms. We were recently in a hotel in Austria on a very busy road. It was also unusually hot weather, and the hotel didn’t have air-conditioning so we had to leave the window open overnight, but thanks to earplugs I didn’t hear a thing!
I love the moldable wax earplugs from Boots the Chemist in the UK. They’re the most comfortable and best earplugs I’ve found for blocking out noise. Unfortunately, they don’t have Boots in Australia where I live, nor do they ship to Australia, so I have to stock up when I travel to the UK. Tip: these earplugs are also great if you share your bed with a snorer!
7. Pack Bottles of Liquids and Lotions in Snap-Lock Bags
I transfer shampoos and other liquids into small travelling containers to save space and weight, then I stash them in zip-lock bags to limit any damage caused by leaks. No matter how well I screw up the stoppers, some contents always escape, thanks to the pressure in the plane during the flight.
8. Pack a Hair Drying Turban.
How many times have you stayed somewhere, and either been provided with just one towel or maybe given a second towel but the size of a handkerchief? Also, some hotels don’t like you to use their towels for drying previously dyed hair. So. to avoid any hassles, I recommend packing a hair turban made of microfibre to dry your hair.
Here in Australia we have Turbie Twist available from Big W (you can also get them online at Amazon). I love them because they’re light and easy to pack. I’ve tried other brands which aren’t so absorbent.