You’re in for a stressful trip if you don’t know any travel hacks. And in the time you should be relaxing and forgetting about life’s problems, the last thing you want is avoidable aggravations. 

You will go through these hassles even if you are a seasoned traveler. It’s just part of what you signed up for. What you can do is to minimize these issues from occurring, which you can do by applying these valuable hacks. 

But these aren’t just any “hacks” you’ll find online. These tips are from actual experts who’ve been there and done that. 

Expert Travel Hacks For a Stress-Free Trip

In a nutshell, the key to a stress-free experience, according to travel experts, is to minimize the risks. You’d want to cover all the bases you can while also preparing for unexpected mishaps that could be costly. Some things are just out of one’s control, and it’s a reality each traveler should accept. 

Book Hotels Directly From the Hotel Website

A quick Google scan of “cheap hotels” will lead you to third-party websites offering significant discounts. You’ll see it in the advertising, with some hotels purportedly getting 60% price cuts. And if you’re in a rush to book accommodation, you’ll likely take it in a heartbeat. 

But according to Travel & Leisure Deputy Digital Editor Nina Ruggiero, booking through the hotel website can save you a lot of money. 

“First, do your research on the property you wish to book and know what rates are going for across the major travel booking sites for your dates. Then, call the hotel directly and ask for the ‘cheapest nonrefundable rate.’ 

“You may be able to negotiate against the deals you found online since hotels pay a markup of up to 30% to booking sites and would prefer you book directly. 

“And if that doesn’t work, at least you’ll know you’re getting the lowest possible rate.”

As Ruggiero explained, this hack puts you in a win-win situation. Who doesn’t want that?

Avoid Price Increases With this Small Move

There’s a good chance that you did not notice the price change when you booked a plane ticket last month and when you tried again this morning. It’s easy to dismiss that as the customary change in the total fare… right? 

If you answered yes to that question, then this is one travel hack you’ll appreciate.

That’s not always the case. Sometimes, travel websites use and track cookies. These aren’t of the chocolate chip or oatmeal variant, obviously. Instead, they are files with distinctive identifiers, which are then sent to the browser. 

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Long story short, it’s a website’s way of tracking your movement and getting to know you and your preferences based on what you’ve clicked and visited. So if you’ve previously booked a flight through a website, there’s a chance that you’ll be charged for more despite making the same choice. 

“Travel websites use cookies to track your searches and sometimes show a price increase if you repeatedly search for similar flights or travel deals to make you book sooner,” said Travel Women founder Jennifer O’Brien. 

Fortunately, it only takes about 30 seconds to avoid all of this from happening. You have two choices: First, use incognito browsing when booking flights. Second, clear all cookies from your browser. It’s easy to do, but Google is your best friend if all else fails. 

Always Have a Backup

You haven’t been through the worst travel experience if you haven’t gone through a canceled flight. For one, you can forget about your plans after the said flight. Everything will move.  

But the biggest issue for many people is the luggage. Airlines have different protocols, and some won’t release your suitcases immediately. If you’re lucky, you’ll get them within a few hours. But at worst, it could take days. 

Your best bet here would be to place all essentials in your carry-on bag. Toiletries, clean clothes, medications – throw them all in there just in case. 

Travel and Leisure contributing editor Maya Kachroo-Levine suggests investing in a quality backpack. 

“Walking through the airport without trying to juggle eight things in my hands is game-changing.” 

For Lee Thompson, co-founder of solo travel specialists Flash Pack, you’re better off ditching a wheeled suitcase and instead going for a holdall bag, otherwise known as a duffle bag

“Many budget airlines are getting stricter with their carry-on rules, and wheelie bags are always the first to get checked. A holdall is much more flexible regarding onboard storage, and you can often fit more possessions inside them from the outset too.”

There are, of course, downsides to using a duffle bag. For one, you’re forced to carry the weight on your back, which you won’t have to deal with when using a wheeled carry-on suitcase. Assess the pros and cons before making your decision. 

The Best Way to Pack Clothes

Here’s a travel hack you may or may not have heard of. If you haven’t, this one’s something you should try. 

Don’t fold horizontally when packing clothes like shirts, shorts, and jeans. Instead, roll them up as if you were assembling a cigar. spokesperson Sloan Sheridan-Williams seems to swear by this rule.

“To maximize luggage space and minimize creases, always roll your clothes when packing.” 

If you haven’t tried this travel hack yet, do so. You’ll be amazed at how much space you still have left. You’re doing it right if you’re left with much extra room in your favorite suitcase

Try These Travel Hacks and Improve the Way You Travel

These are just some of the many other travel hacks that experts will recommend you do. They’re simple, and more importantly, they make sense. Doing just one of these hacks could make every travel experience as smooth as possible. 

Again, don’t take our word for it. Try these tips yourselves. And if they work well with you, pass them on to others you deem would benefit from these pieces of information.

** Relax and click here for a guide to stress-free travel.