I’ve been burning to write a post on some Travel Ninja Tricks for a good long while. But i’ve been reluctant to actually do it. You see, while I may be an expert at some things; Boggle, existential life chats at 2am, living off a diet of cheese and wine over the festive season while simultaneously complaining that i’m getting fat, a travel expert I am not. Yes, i’m proud of the stamps i’ve been accumulating on my passport since I was eighteen and i’ve certainly learnt a plethora things each time. Some of those things are simple tricks that I could do next time to make travelling easier. Mostly, I just learn how much I actually do not know about the world, and how much I have left to learn.
So I’m aware that if you’re reading this, you’re probably already far more skilled than me at being immersed in an ever-changing environment of languages, customs, climates, sensory stimuli all across the world than you are chilling on your couch at home. And after spending a week trawling through internet articles telling me to ‘bring an empty water bottle to refill to save five bucks’ i’ve decided rather than offend you all with scraps of what seems to be no more than basic common sense, it’s time for US to together, make the saltiest, smartest, niftiest list of travel ninja trickery in internet history. Here are some cool ninja tricks I found actually helpful. But as you’re reading it think about your own ninja tricks you have hiding away and then SHARE IT WITH US!
Roll not fold clothes. Even go one step further and throw your stuff in ziploc bags with the air pushed out of them. If you want to get super-ninja, YouTube military methods for folding and packing clothes- if anything it’s a fun way to waste a few hours and feel like a real-life ninja. Fill valuable shoe space with socks and jocks (jocks- Australian for panties. We’re weird. But I think you all already knew that.). And if you want next level, you can also buy compression bags to truly maximize your space.
Dryer sheet in your suitcase to avoid your clothes smelling like old used socks. Hair straightener in pot holder to avoid clothes burns. Store cables and chargers in cheap hard plastic glasses cases. Will avoid the emotional trauma, ruined frienships and ruined lives that come with having to slowly unwind a knotted cord for the fiftieth time. Pack your carry-on as though your suitcase will be delayed a day or two. You can only turn your jocks inside-out once and we don’t want to have to stay in those plane clothes, a reminder of the 14-hour lethargic flight purgatory we endured with grace like the salty queens we are. Pack a power strip. Just like cord-unwinding stress ruins friendships, so does having to share custody over your single power adapter with your best friend. Take one for the team (and your entire hostel dorm) and get a power strip with multiple outlets.
Apps like SkyScanner will compare millions of flights across hundreds of budget airlines to find the cheapest flights possible.
Part of the reason we travel is for awesome experiences with strangers that become friends. More often than not that happens organically, but now with apps like Backpackr and Travel Buddies you can meet likeminded people in the same cities as you in just a few swipes, and get some memories happening stat. There’s even an app if you’d rather party with a local. It’s called “Party With A Local.”
To get around and actually communicate with the locals, apps like DuoLingo will help you learn a few necessary words and phrases before you go (and you’ll even get a fluency percentage, which you can put on your LinkedIn). If you didn’t have that sort of prep time before you hopped on a plane, there’s Google Translate, which has a visual translation function that works without a data connection. Google Maps now also saves offline maps with a simple tap on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of the screen. Cause if there is one thing that is not very ninja-like, it’s being slapped with a huge data-roaming phone bill after returning home.
Also, if you leaving for a relatively long period of time, get your phone unlocked. In most countries, a local SIM card and a few gigs of data are the cheapest thing ever and we’ll surely give a lot of independence.
If you don’t have a local SIM card, leave your phone on airplane mode and turn on your WiFi. You’ll be able to catch it everywhere there is one !
It is non-negotiable travel law that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. I also strongly believe that if you can’t bring your mindfulness with you, you shouldn’t really bother embarking on your adventure at all. Some stressful situations are inevitable when you decide you want to see the world. We may have intentions of gaining higher-perspective experiences, but we do live in a world of delayed flights, smelly seat neighbours, long queues, contingencies and plans that go awry. In these times it’s easy to get frustrated… like, i’m on holiday! From the second I check my bags at the airport, I want instant gratification from then on, all the time, dammit!
I might not know much but I know for absolutely sure, if you’re in this headspace, you’re gonna have a bad time.
I truly believe the cure for any travel related stress is mindfulness and perspective. So your plane was delayed a few hours. It’s not ideal, I know. But this time a hundred years ago, your fourteen-hour flight would have been this long ordeal on a ship, lasting months to get from place to place. In that light, what is a few hours, really? You can try it with anything. Prepare some affirmations for when times get tough… when you’re uncomfortable and out of your element, when you’re homesick, when you’re prickling with frustration. Remind yourself that you wanted this and you want ALL the experiences that come with this, because it’s from both the good AND the bad that you grow. Remind yourself that you’re safe and blessed. And your comfortable life back home is exactly where you left it, waiting for you if you so wish to return. And about those annoying unexpected queues or delays? That’s what audiobooks, podcasts and meditation apps are for! See it as a blessing and watch how your whole experience changes. Trust me.
Iron + Tin Foil = Quick hostel room tortilla press for quick grilled cheese sandwiches.
USB port in back of hotel TV= phone charger
Empty tampon box / lip balm tube = cash holder
Cup or toilet roll core + phone = amplifies sound = instant portable music speakers
Shower cap + shoes = keeps the crap from the bottom of your shoes off your clothes
Basic plastic garbage bag ties + locks on your bag = tying these suckers through the zippers on your bag makes your bag 5 seconds harder for a potential thief to open
Your butt + floor outside airport club lounge = apparently if you sit near enough airport club lounges you can catch some free wi-fi goodness.
Rubber doorstop wedged under door from inside = extra security.
So these are some ninja-tricks I found pretty cool. But I wanna hear from you guys! What fail-safe Travel Ninja Tricks do you use on your adventures? Let us know in the FB comments section!