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Travel hacks to try on your next vacation

Are you planning your next big adventure? Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or embarking on your first trip, there’s always a new travel hack to discover.  

According to CAA Travel experts, these are some of their best tips for everything from booking your flight to packing your carry-on. So, if you are wondering how to find inexpensive tickets or save money on food while in another country, we have you covered. Here are their top suggestions on simple things you can do to save time, money, and stress on your next vacation. 

Hotel, flight, and attraction price hacks

woman plan for trip by laptop booking hotel on the bed at home. Women with travel bag use notebook computer internet booking hotel. Holiday summer vacation concept
aogreatkim | iStock

Flights and hotel rooms can quickly add up; thankfully, there are simple ways to help find the best rates. 

Book your flights and accommodations in advance

If you have a set travel itinerary, book your flights and accommodations as early as possible to save money and get the best options available. By doing so, you can often get better deals on flights and accommodations that might be more expensive if booked closer to your travel dates. For example, airlines and hotels often offer lower prices for those who book in advance, as they want to fill their seats and rooms as early as possible. 

Additionally, many hotels offer a 100% refund if you cancel your reservation several days before arrival. So, if you find a better sale later, you can book elsewhere to maximize your savings. 

Or, if you are heading on a cruise, consider driving to the departure port instead of flying. This switch can add up to big savings, especially if you are travelling as a family, as it will save you multiple airline tickets.

Browse in an incognito window

Browsing in an incognito window can help you save money on travel bookings by preventing websites from using your browsing history to manipulate prices. For example, when you browse for flights or hotels, websites often use cookies to track your activity and show you higher prices based on your search history. As a result, airline tickets or hotel rooms can sometimes be higher when booking from a Canadian website.

Travel off-season

Travelling during the off-season not only saves money but can also provide a more authentic experience. For example, visiting popular destinations during peak season can mean sharing crowded streets and tourist attractions with hundreds or thousands of other people. However, travelling during the off-season can allow you to explore at your own pace without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by the crowds. Additionally, off-season travel can provide a unique perspective on a destination.  

Another benefit of travelling during the off-season is that many tours and attractions offer discounted rates or special promotions to encourage visitors during the slower months. For instance, if you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls, visiting in the winter can mean enjoying discounted rates for attractions such as the Skylon Tower or Journey Behind the Falls. Similarly, visiting theme parks during the off-season can result in savings on admission prices and shorter wait times for rides. 

It’s also important to remember that travelling during the off-season can vary depending on the destination. For example, some cities may have a “shoulder season” where prices are slightly lower but still offer good weather and a variety of activities. Therefore, researching the best time to travel and the average weather conditions can help you make an informed decision. 

When at your destination, if you want to avoid the crowds, you’ll need to be mindful of when you visit. For public landmarks, gardens and historical sites that are always open, go early in the morning, late at night or at lunchtime. 

Airport hacks

Passengers walking with luggage at airport
izusek | iStock

Between lost luggage and unexpected flight changes, travelling can be stressful. But with a little planning ahead, you can minimize your travel worries. 

Have a copy of important information

Store essential numbers in your phone and carry a printed copy (in case your phone battery dies) before departing for a trip. Be sure to save local emergency numbers, such as those for the police or ambulance, and the number for your travel consultant. Doing this gives you easy access to the information you need in an emergency without wasting precious time searching for it. 

Likewise, if you lose any essential documents, like passports, booking confirmations etc., always keep a photo of them on your phone.  

If you forgot to put your phone charger in your carry-on bag, always opt for a printed airplane ticket. Otherwise, if your phone dies, which could happen during a long layover, you won’t have access to your digital ticket. 

Get travel insurance

Whether planning a short domestic trip or an extended international adventure, don’t forget to have travel insurance. Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, so it’s best to expect the unexpected. With CAA Travel Insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are covered for unexpected situations such as medical emergencies, flight cancellations, and lost or stolen luggage. Plus, CAA Members save up to 20%* on travel insurance. 

Bring a battery pack

The last thing you want is your phone to shut off from the lack of power at the airport. Not only do you need it for your digital boarding pass, but for watching shows on your flight. While many airports have free charging stations, the FBI warns travellers not to use them due to juice jacking, where bad actors can install malware on your phone or steal your information. Instead, they advise you to use a phone battery pack to charge your phone or, if needed, use a wall plug instead of a charging station.

Packing hacks

Boyloso | iStock

Need tips on how to save space in your suitcase? Our packing tips can help you pack efficiently. 

Carefully pack your carry-on

Whenever possible, try travelling with a carry-on only. Not only will it save you time waiting to pick up your luggage after you arrive, but you don’t need to worry about your items getting lost. For more extended getaways, where you need a checked bag, pack at least a few outfits in your carry-on luggage in case of luggage delays.

Get rolling

Rolling your clothes before packing them in your suitcase can help you save space. If you’re travelling with a small carry-on or backpack, try this packing method, as it will help you make the most of the available space. But that isn’t all; it also helps prevent wrinkles and creases, as the fabric has fewer folds and less pressure. 

Pack a travel health kit

Packing a travel health kit when going on a trip is always a good idea. This kit should include essential items to help you handle minor health issues while travelling. Some things you should consider packing include band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, allergy medicine, insect repellent, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer.  

It’s also important to pack any prescription medications you need, copies of your prescriptions, and a list of your medical conditions and allergies. These items can help you avoid the hassle of searching for a pharmacy or doctor in an unfamiliar location. CAA Travel Consultants recommend packing a comprehensive travel health kit to ensure you are prepared for any health issue during your trip. 

Use packing cubes and compression bags

Packing cubes and compression bags can help you pack more efficiently. They not only help you save space but also help keep your belongings organized and protected during travel. 

Packing cubes are great for organizing items by type or category, making it easy to quickly find what you need without digging through your entire suitcase. They come in various sizes and colours, making finding the right one for your needs easy. Additionally, using different coloured packing cubes for each family member can help keep everyone’s belongings separate.  

Meanwhile, compression bags are ideal for bulky items, such as jackets or sweaters. However, it’s worth noting that compression bags are better suited for travellers staying in one place and not frequently changing hotels, as you’ll have to recompress the bags each time you pack up. 

Live like a local

women enjoying in street food.
whitebalance.oatt | iStock

Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing fun and adventure. With some strategic planning, you can stretch your budget further and make the most of your travels. 

Use public transportation

Save money on transportation by using public transportation instead of renting a car or taking taxis. It is more affordable and offers a terrific way to explore a destination like a local.  

When researching your destination, look for transportation passes. Many cities offer multi-day passes that include a discount on attractions that help you save even more money. 

Cook your own meals

Eating out at restaurants can quickly add up when travelling, so making some of your meals or snacks can be a wonderful way to save money.  

Additionally, exploring local grocery stores or markets can be a fun and exciting way to discover fresh produce or flavoured snacks. For instance, in Paris, you can live like the French do and stroll into a cheese shop to pick up some brie, then head to a bakery for some fresh baguette to make a picnic next to the Eiffel Tower. In Japan, you can visit a convenience store like 7-Eleven and try classic snacks like onigiri (rice balls filled with things like tuna) or affordable bento boxes. 

Exploring local markets can also be a fun and immersive experience, supplying a glimpse into the local food culture. For example, if you’re in Barcelona, the La Boqueria Market is a must-visit destination for foodies. You can explore the market’s stalls and try delicious local produce like Iberian ham, fresh seafood, and Manchego cheese. Or, in Bangkok, you can head to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the largest markets in the world. Some must-try street food includes pad Thai, mango sticky rice, and coconut ice cream. 

Get help from a travel expert

While plenty of travel hacks can help you save money and have a smoother trip, one hack can make all the difference: working with a travel expert.  

Talking to a CAA Travel Consultant is the best way to have a stress-free trip, as you’ll have someone in your corner if something goes wrong. In addition, by working with a trusted travel professional, they will ensure you have the best time by customizing your vacation to your preferences and needs. They can also provide valuable insider knowledge about your destination, such as the best places to eat, off-the-beaten-path attractions to explore, and other recommendations.   

Ready to travel? CAA Travel Consultants are happy to help you with your travel questions. You can book an appointment online. They’ll answer all your questions about your next vacation and get the best travel insurance coverage for your budget. 

Call 1-800-267-8713 or get a travel insurance quote online to find coverage options to fit your needs. 

CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. A Medical Questionnaire is required if you are 60 years of age and older. Quotes are valid for 30 days.  

*Applies to CAA Members in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by Membership expiry date). Up to twenty percent (20%) savings applies to the total premium excluding applicable taxes. Minimum premium applies. Subject to change without notice. Excludes Visitors to Canada Insurance. CAA Everyday, Classic®, and Plus® Members save 10%. CAA Premier® Members save 20% at CAA Stores or by calling 1-800-267-8713. CAA Premier Members save 10% and earn 10% in CAA Dollars® when booking online. 

®CAA trademarks are owned by, and use is authorized by, the Canadian Automobile Association.

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