Think you know all the tips and tricks for a far-out tropical vacation? Think again. Before you hop on that flight towards bottomless piña coladas and endless beach days, we’ve got 17 travel tips to make this getaway your best one yet.
Before You Go
Use search engines to find cheap flights. Search engines on sites like Gone Beachin’ Search scan the web for cheap tickets that will get you to paradise. Pro tip: Go “incognito” when booking flights and open a private browser window. Some airline sites track visits and raise prices for those who have visited their webpage before.
Ditch 60% of what’s in your suitcase. Chances are you’ll spend half the time in your bathing suit anyways. Do you really need that third pair of shorts?
Speaking of suitcases, try to fit everything in a carry-on. Nothing is worse than lost baggage on a vacation— and with connecting flights and long layovers, it’s more than likely to happen. Try fitting everything in a carry-on, that way you can throw on your bathing suit and hit the beach as soon as you arrive.
While You’re There
Don’t give into jet lag. Instead, get outside! Go for a swim, run on the beach, walk around town. The sunlight and exercise will help boost endorphins and pump you up for the adventures ahead.
Volunteer at a hostel and get free accommodation. Most hostels exchange room and board for volunteer work. You’ll be able to meet international travelers through hostel activities like hiking and pub crawls. Plus, you’ll have more money for that zip lining adventure you’ve been dreaming of.
Download an offline map app so you know where the heck you’re going. We love Maps.me for high quality, detailed city maps. When wifi and data get spotty, you’ll thank yourself.
Eat where the locals eat. Looking for the best tacos and margaritas in town? Locals know best. Follow them to the hot spots and under the radar gems. Pro tip: Use our listing search to find the best restaurants and bars near the beach.
Discover best kept secrets through social media. You can utilize your favorite apps for something more than making friends back home jealous. Find secret swimming coves and seaside cafes through photo sharing platforms like Instagram and Trover. Just search a specific town or neighborhood and scroll through to find your next excursion.
While beachin’, keep your phone in a plastic bag. Simple, yet life-saving. You’ll thank us when it falls out of your backpack into the sand.
Utilize free walking tours. Almost every major city has free walking tours. Not only are they a great way to learn about a location’s history, you can meet other travelers through them. New friends, and more people for that game of beach volleyball you were planning.
Add a cork to your keys so they don’t sink. For the time you go stand up paddle boarding and leave your keys in your pocket.
Wake up early. It doesn’t matter if you were taking tequila shots until 3am. Nothing beats a sunrise over the ocean.
Keep your sunscreen in the cooler. It sounds weird, but trust us— when you’ve been under the sweltering Hawaiian sun all day, it will feel amazing.
Use kids’ floaties to bring home local wine and beer. Luckily, kiddos arm floaties are the perfect size to fit beer, wine, and liquor bottles, and protect them from breaking on the flight home. They are cheap and easy to find, and weigh almost nothing. Now you don’t have to leave behind all the phenomenal South African wine you bought while wine tasting.
Check in online. Spend your last day lounging poolside instead of dealing with sunburnt tourists. If you check in online you’ll avoid long airport lines and frustrating delays. Head straight for security and you’ll be airborne in no time.
Give up your seat for free rewards. When an overbooked flight offers vouchers for seats, do it! You’ve got a great tan, new Facebook friends, and an iPhone full of photos you can reminisce on— how’s an extra couple of hours in the airport going to hurt? Pro tip: If you’re smart, you’ll save the free travel miles for your next beach getaway. Use your time in the terminal to research and plan— better yet, go now. Has that flight to the Bahamas departed yet?
What are your favorite beachin’ travel hacks? Let us know in the comments below!