This guest post was written by our friends at Journy, a personal travel planning service and mobile app rethinking the old-school travel agency.
We’ve all been there — you book your dream trip only to first crack the spine of your guidebook on the plane (fingers crossed the restaurant suggestions aren’t too touristy). Since there’s still no magic wand that adds extra travel planning hours to the day, we’ve devised a list of five travel hacks that make it easy to have a memorable vacation, no matter how little time you have to plan.
Not all credit cards are created equal, so choose the ones that give you the best travel bonus points and match up with your lifestyle. Use them for your business expenses to earn points faster—just be sure you can pay your balance in whole at the end of the month.
By the time the year is out, you can cash in your extra points for airline tickets to the destination of your choosing. Use the time while you’re waiting to slowly read articles and research activities, minimizing the planning crunch once your flight is booked.
If you’re traveling for business, there’s nothing worse than arriving at your hotel anticipating a serious work sesh, only to find the wifi struggles to load Google. Avoid surprise disconnects by investing in a pocket wifi.
Frequent travelers can buy their own device and plan, or you can rent one for about $10 dollars per day for the duration of your trip. Carry your pocket wifi with you for on-the-go planning in a pinch.
If you’re traveling with a group, honor your interests and go solo when they differ. Before you leave, it’s a good idea to choose a few activities to do together, then identify the sights to see separately. If life gets in the way of planning, go with the flow and break off as different places catch your eye. Just be sure to set a meeting place in advance, especially important if you’re traveling abroad without cell service and wifi.
For anyone who has looked at their photos post-trip only to find blurry shots of who-knows-what, take a tip from the pros: shoot everything. More than you think you should. Then shoot some more. You might feel ridiculous at first, but having an embarrassment of shots increases your chances of getting gems you’ll want to frame (or post on Facebook). Laughing at the outtakes is a bonus.
Rather than sequester yourself in the hotel gym or lobby, live in your destination like you would back home! Look for cafes with wifi so you can work and soak up the local flavor. If you speak the language, take a yoga class. Or just browse a bookstore and try to read your favorite titles in a foreign language. By replicating a bit of your regular routine in your destination city, you’ll get an itinerary designed to your interests that no guidebook will tell you about.