10 Genius Travel Hacks for Students

We have gathered 10 of the most genius travel hacks for students so that you always know before you go!


6 minute read
Updated on 17 Feb 2021

Traveling can be difficult as it is, but moving abroad to study, while it is definitely rewarding in so many ways, can present its own unique obstacles to overcome, especially when you are brand new to the concept. Have you ever been in a new city, only to discover some of the best tips only days before you fly back home? This is why we have gathered 10 of the most genius travel hacks for students, so that you always know before you go!

1. Go under the radar.

Finding inexpensive flights is an important part of deciding to study abroad. The more money you can save on transportation, the more you’ll have to allocate to exploring the many attractions in your new home! However, when you’re looking for or actually booking flights, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Always delete your cookies and turn on the private browsing mode on your browser (this would be the Incognito mode on Chrome). This can not only hide your personal information from anyone prowling for unsuspecting victims, but it can even save you money! Have you ever noticed that after you search for flights, you begin seeing travel advertisements on your favorite sites? Well, a lot of airlines and travel aggregators actually track the number of times that you’ve visited the site, meaning that the more you visit, the more they may choose to raise the ticket price. However, if you’re searching privately, then your search criteria will not be tracked. How’s that for going under the radar?

2. Roll. Don’t fold.

Surely you’ve seen the comedy of someone sitting on a suitcase, attempting to zip up its bulging contents, usually without much success. Yet, there are several tips that you can follow to ensure that everything you need fits inside, including squeezing items into your shoes and using travel space bags.

However, our absolute favorite, as well as the easiest step to follow, is to roll your clothing when packing. While a stack of clothing items might appear initially flatter, a tight roll will definitely take up less space, especially when placed inside of the suitcase in rows. Plus, if you hate spending hours pressing out wrinkles after unpacking, you’ll absolutely want to stick with the rolling method, as that it also helps to eliminate annoying packing wrinkles. Pull that favorite black tee out of your bag and… GO!

3. Hack your maps.

Most people have gotten into the habit of using GPS or Google Maps to get them anywhere they’re going. This can even come in quite helpful when walking around a new neighborhood, because it’s never too much fun to trek a mile or two out of the way on the journey home from a long day of research. You can easily select between driving, walking or even public transportation methods to get you where you need to go.

Yet, Google Maps has some seriously awesome hidden features, and you just need to know the “magic phrase” to open up a few new ways to use this already helpful app. To gain access, simply type in “OK Maps” (without the quotation marks) in the search bar on Google Maps. The map that is currently on your screen will be saved directly onto your smartphone, tablet or other device. This means that you’ll have no problem accessing the map when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, which could save you some real cash in data charges. If you’re thinking that you could just take a screenshot, that wouldn’t allow the ability to zoom in for greater detail like this hack. Really… how cool is that?

4. Plug into a TV.

That little block at the end of your power supply to your smartphone can easily disappear at the most inconvenient of times. You find yourself in a hurry, so you yank your cord out of the wall, leaving the troublesome little block behind. But when you find your battery at a woeful 3%, there’s no need to fear.

Simply plug your USB cable into the USB slot in the back of your TV, which most flat-screen units across the globe typically have, and watch that battery percentage begin to spike! Plus, now that you are accustomed to plugging into the TV, you may even want to get a cable which will allow you to stream the content on your phone onto a much bigger screen. This can help with studying in a group, or even watching your Netflix when you should be studying.

5. Ask for a “fragile” label.

Even if you may think that the contents of your suitcase aren’t necessarily that fragile, you might be underestimating the care that baggage handlers will give to your semester’s worth of clothes, shoes and absolutely essential items. If you’ve ever managed a peek outside the window of the airplane while the luggage is being tossed haphazardly into the storage area, then you might know where we’re coming from.

So, if you thought bypassing the quick step of having that “fragile” tag attached to your bag was a good idea, you might want to think again. Always request to have your luggage marked as “fragile”, even if that’s something you’d normally avoid. You see, not only will this prevent your suitcase from being an unwilling participant in some sort of contact sport, but you may just get your bag a little faster. That’s right! The suitcases marked “fragile” are generally the first onto the conveyor belt, giving you a head start on a speedy airport escape.

6. Store your small valuables.

When traveling, whether it be by airplane, train or a series of buses, ensuring that your small valuables stay put is always a concern. When you’re in a hurry, pulling tickets out of a zippered pouch can often mean that whatever else is inside could end up on the floor of a busy train platform. Chances are that the ring you surfed for online for five hours could be gone forever.

But, there are plenty of ways to keep your small items safe, as well as to avoid finding them tangled together or spilled in the bottom of your suitcase. Use something cheap and simple, like a pill container. You can easily fit small jewelry or other valuables inside the individual compartments, which can keep necklaces or bracelets from getting jumbled together. Plus, the pop-shut seals will make sure that everything stays put.

7. Be underwear smart.

Of course, it’s not always comfortable to talk about your underwear, but it can also be even more uncomfortable to find yourself without a pair or two when you really need them. That is why there is only one basic rule to follow when packing your underwear for airplane travel.

While you may hear horror stories about lost luggage, or maybe your own has turned up missing, full of swimwear for that beach vacation you’d planned for months, there is a way to avoid the problem. Pack your underwear and other essentials in your carry-on. Even though many airlines are becoming stricter about the size for carry-on bags, you can surely always squeeze in a pair or two of emergency underwear. While this may not solve all of your lost luggage sorrows, it will at least ensure that you’re wearing underwear when you return to the airport to claim your missing bag.

8. Copy your documents.

Few things can be worse than losing your travel documents when you are far away from home. While we can preach the values of keeping your important documents somewhere safe at all times, things happen, and it’s best to be prepared.

Take pictures of your passport, university-issued IDs and any other documents that are crucial to you, just in case they are lost, misplaced or stolen. Don’t just leave the pictures on your phone, but upload them onto the cloud (for Apple users) or Dropbox, just in case your smartphone is keeping company with your lost, important documents. You can also make paper copies (yes, those still exist) of your documents, being sure to keep them in a different place.

9. Have 90+ languages in your pocket.

Let’s be real, because not everyone can successfully learn an entire language before they move abroad. With searching for housing, making travel plans and packing three suitcases, it’s not always feasible to allocate several hours a week to speaking fluent Mandarin.

However, there are plenty of apps that can help you stay in the know when reading street signs or ordering your favorite lunch while you’re studying abroad. iTranslate is a totally free app that allows you to translate any language you so desire. In fact, it even plays the audio of what you want to say, just to make sure you get the pronunciation right.

10. Leave some free space in your suitcase.

When you’re moving abroad to study, you probably want to make sure that you don’t leave anything behind. You’ll probably check your suitcase about a hundred times, ensuring that you don’t leave your favorite jeans or anything else you may not be able to function without.

But what should actually go at the top of your packing list is extra space. Yes, you read that correctly. Chances are that you will return home with quite a few things more than you left with, so you’ll need to be able to transport those items. You may even want to pack a thin, empty bag in the bottom of your suitcase, just in case you can’t stay away from the weekend market scene.

There’s so much that goes into planning your move abroad, so be sure not to let the little things get in the way. By applying these 10 genius travel hacks, you’ll be better prepared, have a little more time on your hands and hopefully a bit more cash in your pocket!

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