We’re all about the travel hacks, so we asked 8 of our favorite Canadian travel bloggers to give us a few of their secrets. From how to pick the best seat on the plan to where to get the best restaurant recommendations, these tips will help you more confidently plan your next trip.
1. How to get the best seat on the plane.
Jim Byers recommends grabbing an aisle seat in the middle row. If your plane has 3 rows of seat across, “look for an aisle seat at the back in the middle section.” He says this is because “if your flight has even a dozen empty seats, a few of those are likely to be the middle seats in the middle section… If you’re on the aisle, you have at least a chance of having an empty seat next to you.” If your flight isn’t built that way, or if you think it’s for sure going to be booked, Leigh of Hikebiketravel recommends using SeatGuru to make sure you get the best seat.
2. How to cut down on your wait time.
Whether you’re in a line that snakes through the airport or can breeze right in, there are two things you can do to take a bit of stress out of your wait in the security line, says Janice at Solotraveler. They are: check in online and pack your carry-on with your liquids and electronics at the top. Though seemingly obvious, many travelers forget to do this. If you check in online, you’ll be able to avoid the line at the check-in counter and go directly to security. Got a bag to check? Check them at the counter before you walk into the airport. There’s usually no wait. Then, once you’re in the security line, if you’ve packed your carry-on with your liquids and electronics at the top, you can easily pull them out instead of struggling to fish them out beneath your… unmentionables (been there).
3. How to book the right hotel.
You could book a comfortable 4-star hotel but if it’s not close to the things you want to do on your trip, then why bother? Charles and Micki (the Barefoot Nomads) like using our hotel map when they search (on the search results page, click Go To Map). That way, they can see how close they are to the activity. You can choose from common activities to see where the hotspots are or zoom in and look for popular attractions. Then, filter to choose the best hotel based on what’s important for your trip.
4. How to find the best places to eat when you travel.
Dave and Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic know how to live that foodie traveler life. Their suggestion? Don’t ask the hotel concierge where to eat, but do ask them to make a reservation for you. “When it comes to booking restaurants, keep in mind that concierges often have relationships with restaurants, which is sometimes incentivized,” BiM explains. Yet, if you’re in a new country and your language skills are limited, enlist your concierge to call the restaurant for you. So, where should you go to get a good recommendation? Ask your server. “If you have great service and like your server ask them where they go for a drink with friends,” BiM suggests. “Where would they take friends to eat. Let them know you want a local place so it doesn’t have to be famous, just where locals eat.”
5. How to maximize stopovers.
There’s nothing less glamorous than waiting hours in an airport for your connecting flight. Instead, Marie-Julie of Taxi-Brousse invites you to make the most of your layover. For shorter layovers, you can book a visit to a local spa (some airport hotels offer one on-site) or stretch your legs for a walk outside. Another option is to specifically plan your trip so that your stopover last a day or two. Some airlines will let you do this without any added cost to your ticket. Marie-Julie used a long stopover to take a city tour in Amsterdam before hopping on her next flight.
6. How to find travel inspiration.
All our experts agree — the 2018 KAYAK Travel Hacker Guide is a great starting point if you’re trying to decide where to go this year. With over 44 destinations, there’s something for everyone. Plus, we gathered data from over 1.5 billion annual searches to be sure you have the information you need to confidently plan your trips. Other options for visual inspiration, says Erin Nicole of The Curious Creature, is good ol’ Instagram. Start with “a search of the Instagram ‘places’ tab [which] can send you deep into the dreamy itinerary-making zone.” However, not all things are what they appear, so Erin advises, “Once a photo catches your eye, don’t forget to accompany the shot with ample online research to avoid disappointment.”
7. How to navigate while offline.
It’s so easy to take cell service and Wifi access for granted, but it can be a hassle when you’re in a new city and see “Searching for Service” at the top of your phone. Be prepared, says Leigh of Hikebiketravel, by downloading all your maps ahead of time. Google Maps will even let you download walking and driving directions. Plus, be sure to download a schedule of local public transit.
8. How to travel with kids.
Natalie of The Adventures of Natty P is experienced at traveling with tots. From making flight durations coincide with naptime to securing transportation to and from the airport, she knows there are lots of little steps you can take to make family travel more seamless. She recommends shipping large items — like a box of diapers and wipes — to your hotel beforehand. Or, just wait until you get to your destination and buy it there. This saves you not only checked bag costs, but also your sanity. One of her biggest tips, however, is finding a trustworthy babysitting service at your destination. “As much as you adore your little one, some baby-free adult time with your partner is very necessary. You are the best possible people, parents and partners when you have time to relax.”
Looking for more travel tips and tricks? Our 2018 Travel Hacker Guide is full of the information you need to plan an epic vacation this year.