Scarlet Sweaters and Scotch Tape: Readers Share Their Travel Hacks

In the article “Scarlet Sweaters and Scotch Tape: Readers Share Their Travel Hacks,” readers of The New York Times were asked to share their favorite travel hacks, resulting in a collection of clever and unusual tips. One standout tip came from Celia Paerels of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., who uses the color red to avoid leaving things behind on a plane.

By owning everything in bright red, including her Kindle case, sweater, sunglasses, and charging cord, she ensures that nothing gets left behind in the seat pocket. This article highlights nine of the best travel hacks shared by readers, ranging from language lessons on your cellphone lock screen to packing candy for the flight crew. These tips aim to make everyone’s next trip a bit smoother and more enjoyable.

Scarlet Sweaters and Scotch Tape: Readers Share Their Travel Hacks

Packing Hacks

When it comes to packing for a trip, organization is key. Color-coding your belongings is a simple yet effective way to easily identify items and keep your suitcase organized. Assign different colors to different categories of items, such as clothing, toiletries, and electronics. This makes it easy to find what you need without digging through a messy suitcase.

Another useful packing hack is to use Ziploc bags. These bags are great for keeping your belongings organized and protected. You can use them to separate clean and dirty clothes, group small items like chargers and adapters, or keep liquids from leaking. Plus, they take up very little space in your luggage.

If you’ve ever struggled with hotel curtains that don’t fully close, binder clips can be a lifesaver. Simply attach a binder clip to the edge of the curtains to hold them together. This not only helps to keep the room dark for a better night’s sleep but also adds an extra layer of privacy.

Language and Communication

When traveling to a foreign country, communication can often be a challenge. To overcome language barriers, consider displaying common phrases on your lock screen. Take a screenshot of phrases like greetings, please and thank you, and questions about speaking English. This way, you can easily access these phrases when needed and ensure smoother communication with locals.

Making an effort to speak the local language can go a long way in improving your travel experience. Even if you only know a few basic phrases, locals appreciate the effort and it can lead to more meaningful interactions. Consider learning a few key phrases before your trip and practice using them during your stay.

A small gesture of goodwill can make a big difference when traveling. Packing some candy from your home country to share with locals is a thoughtful and easy way to connect with people. Offering a sweet treat can help break the ice and create positive interactions with locals.

Airport and Immigration Tips

Navigating through airports and immigration processes can be stressful, but there are some tips that can make the experience smoother. The U.S. Mobile Passport Control app is a valuable tool for bypassing long lines at immigration. By using the app, you can fill out your customs declaration and submit it electronically before you arrive, allowing you to skip the regular line and save time.

If you have Global Entry, don’t forget to bring your Global Entry card even when traveling domestically. In some instances, your driver’s license may not be accepted at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. Having your Global Entry card as a backup can help ensure a smooth travel experience without any delays.

Booking backup flights using frequent flier miles is a smart strategy for dealing with potential flight disruptions. By using your miles to book backup flights on alternative airlines, you can have a backup plan in case your preferred flight is canceled or delayed. Just remember to cancel these backups before they depart to receive your unused miles back.

In-Flight Hacks

When it comes to long flights, there are a few hacks that can make your journey more comfortable. Knowing the location of the secret airplane toilet paper stash can save you from an uncomfortable situation. If you find yourself in a lavatory with no toilet paper, look for a lever beneath the mirror vanity. Pressing this lever may reveal a hidden compartment with spare toilet paper and paper towels.

To avoid the frustration of juggling multiple chargers during a flight, pack a power strip. This allows you to charge multiple devices using just one adapter. Be mindful of security regulations and consider packing the power strip in your checked luggage to avoid any issues during security screening.

Taking photos during your trip is a great way to capture memories, but it can be challenging to remember the details of each photo. Using photo bookmarks can help jog your memory when you go through your photos later. Before taking photos of scenic views, take a photo of the name of the town or landmark, an admission ticket, or any other relevant details. These bookmarks will remind you of the context of each photo and make organizing them easier.

Travel Souvenirs

Creating travel mementos doesn’t have to be complicated. Use Scotch tape to attach business cards from your favorite restaurants or shops, brochures from sites and museum shows, and ticket stubs from memorable concerts to the pages of a notebook. This simple practice turns your notebook into a travel diary filled with happy memories. These mementos serve as a reminder of your experiences and can be a source of joy when revisiting them in the future.

Keeping a travel diary is a great way to document your adventures. Use business cards and ticket stubs to serve as visual reminders of the places you visited. Additionally, collecting business cards can also be helpful for recommendations and future reference. By organizing them in a travel diary, you can create a keepsake that will allow you to relive your travel experiences.

Miscellaneous Travel Tricks

Packing extra snacks and drinks for the journey is always a good idea. Long flights or delays can leave you hungry and thirsty, and having some snacks and drinks on hand can be a lifesaver. Pack non-perishable items like granola bars, nuts, or individually wrapped snacks that won’t take up much space in your bag.

Flight cancellations can be a major inconvenience, but having a backup plan can help mitigate the stress. Research alternative flights and connections before your trip and have a contingency plan in case your flight is canceled. This could involve having a list of other flights to book or knowing the policies of your airline regarding rebooking.

Staying hydrated is important during travel, and having a reusable water bottle can make it easier to stay hydrated. Many airports now have water refill stations where you can fill up your bottle after passing security. This eliminates the need to purchase expensive bottled water and helps reduce plastic waste.

Hotel Hacks

Before booking a hotel, it’s essential to check for any hidden fees. Some hotels may charge extra for amenities like Wi-Fi, parking, or resort fees. By doing thorough research and making sure you understand the full cost of the hotel stay, you can avoid surprises and make an informed decision.

If you’re concerned about cleanliness, using the hotel shower cap as a shoe cover can provide some peace of mind. Simply slip a shower cap over your shoes when you enter your hotel room to avoid bringing in dirt or germs from outside. This simple hack helps keep the floors clean and your shoes protected.

When staying at a hotel, always remember to lock your luggage and use the hotel safe. This provides an additional layer of security for your belongings. Place valuable items, such as passports, jewelry, and electronics, in the hotel safe to keep them secure while you’re out exploring.

Safety and Security

Keeping copies of important documents is crucial when traveling. Store copies of your passport, driver’s license, travel insurance, and other important documents in the cloud. This ensures that even if you lose your physical copies, you can still access them from anywhere with an internet connection.

Understanding the emergency exit routes in your accommodation is essential for your safety. Take a few moments to locate and familiarize yourself with the emergency exit routes. This knowledge can be crucial in case of an emergency situation.

To protect your valuables, consider using a money belt or hidden pocket. These discreet storage solutions allow you to keep your money, passport, and other valuables close to your body, reducing the risk of theft. Be cautious and avoid carrying all your valuables in one place to minimize the potential loss in case of theft.

Technology Tips

A portable charger is a must-have accessory for any traveler. It ensures that your electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, stay charged while on the go. Look for a portable charger with sufficient capacity to charge your devices multiple times.

When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, it’s important to prioritize your online security. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can provide secure internet access by encrypting your connection. This helps protect your personal information from potential hackers or malicious activities.

Downloading offline maps to your smartphone or tablet can be a lifesaver, especially when navigating unfamiliar areas without internet access. Many mapping apps offer the option to download maps for offline use. This allows you to easily navigate and find your way, even without a data connection.

Transportation Hacks

Ride-sharing apps are a convenient tool for getting around in many destinations. Download popular ride-sharing apps before your trip to easily request a ride whenever needed. This eliminates the need to hunt for taxis or navigate public transportation systems.

Learning how to use public transportation can save you time and money on transportation costs. Research the public transportation system in your destination and familiarize yourself with the routes and schedules. Public transportation is often a cost-effective and efficient way to explore a city.

If you plan on renting a car during your trip, booking in advance can help you save money. Rental car rates tend to increase closer to your travel date, so booking early can often result in lower prices. Additionally, booking in advance gives you more options and ensures you have a car reserved for your desired dates.

By following these travel hacks, you can make your next trip more enjoyable and stress-free. From efficient packing to navigating airports and hotels, these tips and tricks will help you have a smoother travel experience from start to finish. So, get organized, stay safe, and make the most of your adventures!

Passengers, including the Youssefs, still waiting for refunds from canceled world cruise.

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