14 genius little travel hacks that could save your trip

It doesn’t take long to transform from travel procrastinator to travel perfectionist. With a pinch of preparatory measures, you can calm your deepest fears of vacation disasters and set yourself up for a relaxing, flawless getaway. Discover 13 very quick and easy—but crucial—actions that could save your trip. The best part: Each task won’t take more than a few moments to complete.

1. Check your charger situation

 Roaming can cause serious battery drain, leaving you sans a working mobile device much sooner than you may have anticipated while traveling. So you’ll probably need to feed your phone more than usual. First, a no-brainer: Charge your devices. Second, pack a portable power bank. And don’t forget an adaptor if you’re traveling internationally.

2. Take screenshots of your vacation-rental information

When you’re trekking between the airport and your vacation rental, you likely won’t have access to Wi-Fi. So unless you carry an expensive portable Wi-Fi router (I’m looking at you, Dad), you may find yourself using up precious data in the very first moments of your vacation. Screenshots are the answer. Take screenshots of important information such as instructions for getting into your vacation rental, correspondence between you and the property owner, directions to the property, and the contact details for your property owner.

3. Read (or re-read) your vacation-rental instructions

I know this seems obvious, but I have been guilty of not reading all of the vacation-rental check-in instructions, and I paid the inconvenient consequences. (I ended up waiting a little longer to gain access to my rental unit.) For example, you may need to text your property owner in order to receive a code to get in the front door.

4. Download your airline’s app

From boarding passes and seat assignments to flight-status updates and gate changes, your airline’s app will keep you in the know. If your phone is short on space, just delete the app when your vacation is over.

5. Check wait times at the airport

Take a look at up-to-date security wait times for your departure airport four or five hours before you intend to leave your home. You can check via the My TSA app.

6. Take photos of your suitcase and its contents

Complete this step if you’re planning to check your bag. Here’s what’ll happen if the airline loses your luggage: You’ll be asked to describe your bag, and—if your luggage becomes lost indefinitely—you’ll have to fill out a claim form. If you’re prepared with a photo of your bag and its contents, the entire process will be much easier.

7. Take a photo of your credit card contact info

If you lose your card, you’ll need this. You’ll save the time you would have spent Googling your credit-card company’s contact information.

8. Before check-in, double check your seat assignment

Airlines don’t always give basic-economy passengers the courtesy of a heads up before messing with their seat assignments. For proof, check your contract of carriage, which contains language along the lines of, “seat assignments are subject to change without notice.” Take a quick look at your seat assignment prior to check-in because once online check-in opens, it’ll be harder to snap up a desirable seat.

9. Check the weather

The day before or the day of your departure is the ideal time to make any weather-based adjustments to what you’ve packed.

10. Take a screenshot of a map of where you’re staying

I prefer to print out a map of the neighborhood in which my accommodations are located. But an image saved on a phone is the next best thing. When not connected to Wi-Fi, you’ll still have the details you need in case you get lost on the way to your home base.

11. Download entertainment

You can download shows and movies from popular streaming sites to watch on the plane while offline. But you need to do the downloading while hooked up to Wi-Fi, of course. Netflix, Amazon Prime and iTunes allow viewers to download content for offline viewing. Stock up for an entertaining TV binge session in the sky.

12. Activate your phone’s security features

If you don’t normally use your phone’s security features, the beginning of a trip is a brilliant time to start. Add key information, such as an emergency contact number or medical details, to your lock screen. If you have an iPhone, enable Find My iPhone; Android users have access to a similar tool, which they can enable under the Android Device Manager.

13. Take a photo of your ID

Email this photo to yourself in case you lose your phone.

14. Make sure you have your essentials

Finally, make a list of your must-pack, can’t-live-without-’em essentials. Itemize the things that would ruin your trip if you left them behind. The list may include medications, identification, phone, and credit cards. Verify that you have everything on the list before you leave home and you’ll be ready to kick off your trip without that nagging feeling that you’ve left something behind.

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