We love to travel! However, the process of getting to and from where you are going and making sure you have all of the right items can be a beast! Through the years we have learned some great lessons – some the hard way, but I thought I would pass them along to you and hopefully, they will make your next travels smooth sailing!

travel hacks - tips and tricks to make your travels easier
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We love to travel! However, the process of getting to and from where you are going and making sure you have all of the right items can be a beast! Through the years we have learned some great lessons – some the hard way, but I thought I would pass them along to you and hopefully, they will make your next travels smooth sailing!

Travel tips and hacks

TSA Pre-Check


TSA Pre-Check has been amazing for my family! Shorter security lines, don’t have to removed your coat or shoes or belts, don’t have to remove your computer or liquids under 3 oz. It was like the old work of travel – simple and easy. Click here for more info.

Disposable Coffee Cup for the Airplane

This is one of my favorite travel hacks. My friend Lainie told me about it while we recently on a trip. So you are traveling with your kids and the beverage cart comes around and your son asks for an apple juice. They pour it in those little plastic glasses and you try to make room on the seat back tray – you move the iPad out of the way, the snacks, the crayons and coloring book. BUT, it never fails, someone bumps the seat or you hit some turbulence and the very full cup spills and splashes. Lainie suggested to pack a few of those paper coffee cups with lids and ask the flight attendant to pour the drinks in those cups instead – genius!



Airplanes are a breading ground for germs. You get someone on the plane who is sick – coughing and hacking and sneezing and the germs spread throughout the plane. I used to travel for business and every time I would come home with a cold or flu or something awful. So I started taking Emergen-C a few days before I left for a trip, while I was on the trip and for a few days after I get home. Since I started doing this, the travel flu has been few and far between.


Travel Antibacterial Wipes


So I am a total germaphobe. As soon as we get on the plane, I have my kids wipe down the tray tables, armrests, etc with antibacterial wipes. I also wipe down some key things in the hotel room when we get there – doorknobs, light switches, locks, toilet seat and handle, faucets and the remote control. (side note, I beg you, do not use the seat back pocket on the airplane – it is a cesspool of grossness – people put their used kleenex, barf bags, dirty napkins and cups – don’t…. just don’t!)

Plastic Zip Lock Bags

You will be surprised how much you will use these. When we are on a cruise or at a breakfast buffet, I will grab some extra cereal boxes, granola, dried fruit for snacks later in the day. We also put the hotel TV remote in a bag (goes back to my germ problem). They are great for wet bathing suits when you have to leave and your suits are still wet. The uses are endless.


Dryer Sheet in Suitcase

Keep your suitcase and its belonging smelling fresh by placing a dryer sheet in your suitcase.


Pack in X-Large Ziplock Bags

This is one of my favorite packing hacks, especially if we are packing more than one person in a bag or moving locations a lot. We will pack all of the kids in these bags and it is really easy to find everyones stuff when we get there – unpacking is a breeze. Added bonus, you can squeeze the air out of the bags and compact your belongings to fit more in the bag!


Pill Container for Jewelry 

I love this idea! Use a pill container to keep your jewelry organized while traveling! So smart!


source: Troy Bumpas Inn

Power Strip

This is my favorite! With 5 of us, we have a ton of electronics to charge every night. Hotels and cruise ships generally have an outlet on the desk, but that may be it! Bring your own power strip to turn that one outlet into 6 outlets! (Added bonus – when you are at the airport and people are hoarding the charging outlets – ask to plug this in and make some other travelers happy too!)


Wrap Shoes in Shower Cap

Don’t put those dirty shoes on your nice clean clothes, wrap them in a shower cap!


source: Real Simple

Check out Travel Guide from Library

There is a ton of information online about wherever you are going, but it isn’t always very printer friendly. I like to check out the latest travel guides from the Libray and copy just the pages you are interested in. We will highlight place we want to go and things we want to see and take notes of restaurants or tips that we can share with others along the way. I love Rick Steves guides – they are always very helpful and accurate.


Empty Water Bottle

Water in the airport is highway robery. We will bring our own empty water bottles and fill them up once we clear security. We will also refill them in the hotels and carry them around the city. Many airports and cities now even have water bottle filling stations. Better yet, get an infuser water bottle, ask the hotel bar for a couple sliced lemons or grab some fruit off of the morning buffet and have your very own infused water!!


Leftover food from a Restaurant

We aren’t huge eaters and typically have leftovers when we go out. We are likely to eat them in the hotel room, but we like to get them packaged to go and if we see a homelss person on the street on our way back to the hotel, we will offer it to them.


Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor is my absolute GO TO! I will not book a hotel without looking at the reviews. I feel like they are honest, accurate and completely unbiased. We have booked many hotels based on Trip Advisor recommendations and they have all been spot on!


Seat Guru

Seat Guru is one of my favorite tools – you can select your airlines and then your airpland and find out the good or bad seats on that plane, before selecting your seats. They tell you which seats don’t recline, which have extra leg room and which are by the bathroom – genius!


The above post contains some affiliate things for products and services that I absolutely love!

know there are tons of other travel hacks out there – tell me your best one?!

Looking for some other travel resources – click on the pictures below to read some other of my articles!

disney square
disney review2

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  1. I’ve used many of these great ideas on our travels! Another thing I’ve found handy is having a small reusable tote ( the kind that folds up into itself while being stored). Great for day shopping, trips out, a beach bag, etc. Especially helpful in places like Europe where bags are not always provided with purchase. Fold it up and keep it inside my crossbody until needed!

  2. Love these tips! Thank you! As a family of 6 sometimes stuffing into one room we need all the help we can get to make things go smooth! I bring clothespins with each persons name on them to hook onto the bathroom towels so that we can remember who’s is who’s and reuse them with no problem!

  3. Along with your refilling water after security and disposable cups for no spill drinks. If you forget… I have found Starbucks and many other cafe type shops in and out of the airport will give you free hot water even though they charge something exorbitant for bottled water. I always carry herbal tea bags with me and have a free cup of tea while I wait for my flight. And then you also have a no spill cup to be reused for inflight drinks. It’s great to take an immune boosting herbal tea, a calming chamomile or a little via packet for an espresso pick me up before a flight or on long layovers.
    Also I like contact cases for little liquids like eye cream, lip shimmer, blemish cream, antibiotic cream, cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover. Anything I will only need a tiny bit of fits into the clean, tightly sealed, leakproof little compartments and fit nicely into your pesky carry on ziploc mess free. Sometimes I have 2 or three in a bag and even use them for no liquids like Vaseline, lip balm etc. the uses are endless.
    Remember new travelers when you put everything out you want to take you can cut it down by half and still have plenty. And go with a basic neutral color and one or two height colors for wardrobe it will maximize usage of same jewelry and makeup palate as well as accessories. Pashminas are awesome too. Sarong, scarf, pillow, to lay on at the beach, cover up, curtain, shade, add a splash of color or even to lay on in a questionable bed… Hopefully won’t ever be needed for that tho 😉
    Happy travels!

  4. Bring along an extra hair clip to “clip” the hotel curtains together.
    Light always shines in if you don’t.
    You can also use a pants hanger from the closet if you forget.

  5. when I travel with my kids especially when they were younger everything in my carry on bag goes into ziplock bags. That way when they want something (and whatever they want is always at the bottom of the bag) I’m pulling out baggies of stuff instead ofdigging through hundreds of items that get scattered all over. Helps to keep everything organized, and sanitized.

  6. Pack clothes on hangers and in plastic bags (bags like come from the cleaners). The bags trap air and prevent wrinkling. Open the suitcase, grab the hangers, and hang in the closet. Quick and wrinkleless clothes. Roll underwear, saves space, and less embarrassing when TSA opens your suitcase. Put contact information inside the suitcase in case outer tag separates.

  7. I take handled plastic bags with me to throw trash in on the plane. When they collect trash I have it easily within reach to hand to them- and it keeps our seat area much neater.

  8. I too use TripAdvisor. But it is not completely unbiased. How can it be when anyone can join and post comments?!

  9. Love all your tips for travelling! As a mom and travelling with young children, I had a child that would get car sick (motion sick) on a regular basis! We would be constantly searching for a plastis bag without holes for him to use as a barf bags! My solution for this is large ziplock freezer bags! I keep a box in our car so if he is feeling sick he can grab one, throw up in the bag, zip it closed and we can toss it at our next stop! It keeps the liquid contained and minimizes the mess and smell too!

    1. To piggy back on the zip lock bag tip, I also keep a roll of paper towels easy to reach. I’ve had to clean up spills & throw up accidents many times & it’s easy to use paper towels then put the smelly mess in the bags, seal them up, & be on our way.

    2. I keep a plastic coffee can filled with plastic grocery bags to line it in the car for my grandchildren. It’s more stable than a bag for them to hold. I also keep water bottles and wet wipes for clean up.