88 Useful Travel Hacks to Save Money, Time, and Stress

The following several dozen useful travel hacks will help you save money, time, and stress on your next and every trip.

Travel Hacks was the topic for a Twitter travel chat I hosted and participants shared many useful travel hacks—including photos of hotel suite upgrades along with travel tips to get them and other travel deals.

Useful Travel Hacks to Save Money, Time, and Stress

I love the crowd-sourcing method of information sharing, as it helps everyone travel happier, and save money, time, and stress on every trip.

A nice mix of travel brands and individuals attended the chat. Their Twitter handles are displayed below so go ahead and follow your favorites (or all of them).

For more information about how to find travel deals and win contests in Twitter chats, please see: Finding Travel Deals In Twitter Chats (Win Travel Prizes, Too!).

Prefer to skip this travel hacks article and read about some travel tips and strategies? See these travel tips articles:

Below are the Twitter travel chat questions, as asked by myself, along with selected answers. To read the entire thread, search go to Twitter advanced search and look for “#OneTravelChat” and set the date (From and To) to April 13, 2017.

Q1: Let’s start slow. What does “travel hack” mean to you? #OneTravelChat

To start the discussion about useful travel hacks, I wanted to know what the participants thought a travel hack was, what is the definition of a travel hack, or basically what does travel hack mean to them.

As you can see, we received responses from some powerful travel experts, including Johnny Jet, Always Five Star, TravelZoo, and Mantripping. Stay tuned, because even more travel experts answered later questions.

TravelZoo answered: Travel hack = something to make your life easier or save you money!

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Always Five Star answered: Travel hacking is utilizing reward programs to maximize your travel with upgrades and saving dollars.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Johnny Key answered: Finding deals not many else do.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

James Hills from ManTripping answered: Travel hack is any way to save money or make thee trip easier or more enjoyable.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Simplifying and saving money on travel seemed to be the two major travel hacks themes. What do you think?

Please also see the McCool Travel article: 8 Great Travel Hacks for Happy Travelers


Q2: Share with us your favorite travel hack! #OneTravelChat

No beating around the bush, I next asked everyone what was their favorite travel hack.

By far, earning points with credit cards was the most popular response. But I also really appreciated the response from Travel Cricket because packing light is one of my Habits of Happy Travelers and one of my favorite useful travel hacks.

Steve Grams answered: We make it rain with our points credit cards for everything we buy, build them all up.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Travel Cricket answered: Travel light/smart. If I can’t fit it in my backpack, I don’t need it.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Do you currently use credit cards to earn points in order to get free or discounted or upgraded travel?


Q3: We don’t like checking in luggage, what are your packing travel hacks to fit it all in a carry-on? #OneTravelChat

In fact, I like packing light so much that I made it the focus of the next Twitter chat question. Being able to fly with only  carryon luggage is a phenomenal skill and great travel hack strategy.

Fun in Fairfax answered: the right size suitcase, packing cubes, and an apartment during the trip to do laundry

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Dana Freeman answered: roll my clothes into packing cubes and then compress them.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Do you have any other packing travel hacks?


Q4: Share a pic of a hotel suite you scored and tell us what travel hack you used to get it. #OneTravelChat

This was one of the more popular questions about travel hacking. Everyone loves to share about fantastic hotel upgrades they received, whether by a perceived travel hack or not.

Included below are two travel hacks responses from major travel brands, Visit California and GO RVing. It was nice of them to join the chat and share their thoughts.

I especially love the thought of travel hacking your campsite.

Go RVing answered: Seasonal camping is a great option for campers looking for an extended stay. Make reservations early!

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Renee Sklarew answered: We just stayed at Three Abbey Green in Bath, England. We found this gorgeous three bedroom suite on TripAdvisor.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Visit California answered: Check out our great hotels your kids will love.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Teresa Keene answered: AirBNB self-catering apartment in a five star resort is a bargain. Luxury but can do as I please. Perfect!

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Please also see the McCool Travel article: 8 Great Reasons to Stay At Independent Motels


Q5: What’s the smartest travel hack you’ve ever learned from a fellow traveler? #OneTravelChat

Crowdsourcing about clever travel hacks led to some interesting answers. Susan Breslow shared her favorite travel hack about packing wipes, which is even more important since 2020. And Scott McNutt’s suggestion about following up after making a reservation is so smart. You never know, they may offer better prices, upgrades, or other incentives.

What is your favorite clever travel hack?

Scott McNutt answered: Don’t be afraid to call after booking if you see a better deal. They won’t always match but will sometimes offer comps.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Susan Breslow answered: Carry antibacterial wipes for plane arms, tray, TV.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Please also see the McCool Travel article: 11 Useful Travel Tips You Have Never Seen (with travel tips I learned from other travel experts).


Q6: Earn and Burn. What are your travel hacks for scoring points? #OneTravelChat

OK, earning points with credit cards is the most popular travel hack. I was hoping to uncover some special secret travel hacks to help myself and others earn more points (or more easily) and equally burn those points when ready to redeem.

If you have a business or are fortunate enough to get reimbursed for business expenses, those are prime earning points travel hacks. Little ole me provided one suggested travel hack about using the right type of credit card for the right type of expenses, in order to maximize point earning potential.

Shannon Kircher answered: All about those CCs (credit cards). We hav a business so w rack up business expenses and then use the points for travel.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Charles McCool (me!) answered: Earn 5 points per dollar on cellphone, cable, and gift cards with Chase Ink card helps me snap up free travel.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Cheap travel hacks are a favorite topic of savvy travelers. Do you have any favorite useful travel hacks to save money?


Q7: What’s your weirdest or most unique travel hack? #OneTravelChat

We covered smart and clever travel hacks and popular travel hacks. I wanted to go deeper and learn about weird, unusual, or unique useful travel hacks. I was not disappointed.

I love the travel hack to keep croissants intact.

Traveling Moms answered: Ziploc bags are the unsung hero of the travel world.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Gail Choochan answered: Those little takeout containers. Gotta make sure those croissants from Paris come back in one piece!

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel


Q8: Any dining travel hacks? #OneTravelChat

No matter the trip, eating is an essential component. Whether you bring your own food, splurge on fine dining, shop at grocery stores and have picnics, knowing some dining travel hacks is an interest to many.

Another travel brand weighed in with an excellent cultural insight. Restaurant portions are huge in the US South so people can easily share meals. Love it.

But then the discussion became more about the drinks than the food. There were opposing viewpoints about limiting beverages versus drinking more. Which side do you support?

Houma Travel (Louisiana) answered: Consider splitting entrees when eating in the US South. We tend to b generous.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Tim H answered: Whenever I’m not sure of what I’d like to drink, I’ll get some water with lemon to reduce the cost of the meal.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Duke Stewart answered: Don’t drink too much booze is my favorite dining hack. Save me money every time.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Steve Grams: I’m going the opposite. Drink a bunch and then you’ll eat cheaper after you’re “good to go”

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

By the way, a nice time to let you know that I invented a cocktail. Did you know that? Please see Heat Relief: McCool’s Island Dream


Q9: What’s one thing you shouldn’t travel without? #OneTravelChat

We covered packing travel hacks earlier but I really wanted to know about any essentials people traveled with.

Travel superstar and TV show host Darley Newman dropped in and shared an awesome travel hack. Sunglasses have many purposes.

33 and Free answered: Your ID! But then after that a couple of dollars in your pocket and a camera.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Darley Newman answered: Sunglasses. Great for sun, wind (potential sandstorms, yes!), and general coolness on your travels.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Does anyone use their credit card points to obtain expensive sunglasses?

Is there anything you cannot travel without?


Q10: What’s one travel issue you wish you had a travel hack for? #OneTravelChat

The final travel hack question had to do with dreaming big. Teleporting, eating without gaining pounds and inches, drinking without effects, magical luggage that fits everything own own. Those were some of the potential grand travel hacks I expected.

But that is the beauty of asking questions. You do not know what people will say.

Fun in Fairfax and Always Five Star both wished for travel hacks to make flying more comfortable and luxurious.

Duke Stewart answered: Wish I had a hack to give me free trips around the world!

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Fun in Fairfax answered: Wish /I had a magical seat pitch adjuster to stretch today’s ridiculously small airline seats.

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Always Five Star answered: I wish I had a travel hack for a lifetime award for flying first class!

Useful Travel Hacks From #OneTravelChat by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Useful travel hacks hacks was a fantastic topic for a Twitter chat and there is so much more to cover and learn about this topic.

What useful travel hacks do you use that do not appear on this list?

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12 thoughts on “88 Useful Travel Hacks to Save Money, Time, and Stress”

  1. My favorite hacks from this group was the pirate bedroom from VisitCalifornia and the comment about zip lock bags being very important (I always carry them in my suitcase and use them in countless ways, most recently to contain the crumbs and oil from some yummy extra chocolate chip cookies at a Doubletree.

  2. Great summary of the travel chat. I agree about the use of ziplocks. Great for so many things. I too would love to find a hack to give me free trips around the world!

  3. Love reading travel hacks and packing tips. I have to agree with Cindy at travelingmoms that ziplocks are a traveler’s best friend. I use them to supplement our packing cubes, wrap my toiletries in and I always throw in a few sandwich sized ones for a grocery store stop to pick up snacks on the go! Anita

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