The Mandatory Spring Break Travel Hacks Guide
Photo: PeopleImages (Getty Images)
For college students, and for those of us who can’t wait to escape the dread of winter and travel abroad, we all know the most wonderful time of the year is spring break.
Whether you’re going to Destin, Cancún, or your Uncle Ned’s house up in Spokane, you’re going to need an update on the best way to travel this year. We have a bounty of genius hacks to help you on your monumental excursion.
Here are just a handful of our favorite suggestions on how to hack your way into a better travel experience this year.
Sand and surf: Mandatory’s 7 Favorite Beaches Around The World
Go 'Incognito' When Flight Shopping
Using your browser as per usual stores your cookies and data, which means the airlines know when, and how often, you're checking for the best flights. And each time you hit "refresh," the "demand" goes up as well. When that demand increases, so do the prices. Browse privately in "incognito" mode on Chrome or "private" mode on Safari to ensure your search history isn't tracked and the best prices on flights stay that way.
Photo: Petri Oeschger (Getty Images)
Pack Like a Pro
Save space in your suitcase by putting shoes at the bottom of your baggage (to keep it balanced and preventing it from tipping over), then stuffing the shoes with socks or toiletries. To prevent dirty soles from getting on your clothes, put a shower cap or plastic bag over them. Then be sure to roll your clothes, rather than fold them, and place them on top. Throw in a dryer sheet to keep everything smelling clean.
Photo: Sirinarth Mekvorawuth / EyeEm (Getty Images)
Use a Sunglasses Case for Storage
Storing your power cords in an old sunglasses case will save considerable time trying to untangle them during your trip and will keep you from looking like a maniac when your phone is on one percent.
Photo: s-cphoto (Getty Images)
Mark Your Bag 'Fragile'
Tell the airline clerk upon check-in that you want your bag marked "fragile" and it should be handled correctly and also be at the top of the pile in the storage compartment on the plane, meaning you'll get your bag first upon landing.
Photo: Thom Lang (Getty Images)
Bring Anti-Bacterial Wipes
Anti-bacterial wipes come in handy for disinfecting your table tray, your seat, or any other "situation." You have no idea what's been floating around on that plane and you know the flight attendants don't have time to do a deep clean between each flight. You'll also want to wipe down the headrest. Trust us.
Photo: TonyYao (Getty Images)
Bring Your Own Healthy Breakfast
Pack a bag of instant oatmeal and some teabags. Simply ask for hot water from the stewardess.
Photo: yodaswaj (Getty Images)
Choose an Aisle Seat on Long Flights
While you may be tempted for the window, veterans know that the aisle is more convenient when you need easy access to the restroom. Plus, you'll need to get up and stretch during a long flight to prevent muscle aches and to help blood circulation.
Photo: Witthaya Prasongsin (Getty Images)
Use Google Maps Offline
To avoid using international data, or if you're worried there will be lack of cell service, you can download offline maps for the cities or places you'll be in before you get there. Simply do a search on Google Maps, tape the address at the bottom and the "More" button, and then hit "Download Offline Map."
Photo: Peopleimages (Getty Images)
Use FourSqaure to Get WiFi Passwords
Need some free WiFi in a pinch? FourSquare is a website/app where people share tips, ratings and reviews of places near you. Many times these tips involve how to log on to the nearby WiFi.
Photo: Boston Globe / Contributor (Getty Images)
Use ATMs to Get Local Currency
If you're traveling to another country, some believe that money converters at airports have higher fees than the local bank's ATM fee. Check with your bank first before you leave to see if they have an ATM at the airport you'll be traveling to.
Photo: Atit Phetmuangtong / EyeEm (Getty Images)
Communicate Easily With Google Translate
Google Translate also has an offline feature that allows you to download languages on your phone ahead of time without using WiFi or data. The app not only performs type-to-translate but also gives instant translations through your camera when pointing it things such as street signs and menus.
Turn Strangers Into Instant Friends
Other cool apps include Travel Buddies and Backpackr, which help you find travelers nearby. You can then check out their itineraries, and if they match with your personality, you can meet up and join them on their adventure. Party With A Local app also provides the same sort of service, only for those looking to club instead of the canoe.
The mile-high club soda: How To Drink On An Airplane Like A Pro
Josh Helmuth is a sports guy in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory.