1. Be the last on the plane.
You’re not going to get anywhere any quicker by being on the plane first. And if you get on last, you might be able to sneak into a better seat than the one you were assigned — when was the last time someone checked to see if you were in the right seat?
2. Avoid lines for cabs by going over to the departures area.
Plenty of people take cabs to the airport instead of from it. Why not leave through the departure area and snag a cab up there rather than waiting in line down in the arrivals area?
3. Use Chrome’s Incognito mode while searching for tickets.
Some travel sites actually automatically raise the price if they see that you’ve been to the site before. This will keep them from knowing if you’ve been there in the past. It also helps to clear your cookies before booking a trip.
4. Switch around your “location” while searching for tickets.
Airlines often charge more for Americans than they do for people buying the same ticket from other countries (usually less developed countries). Change to the other country’s version of the site to see if the price changes.
5. On a road trip? Download GasBuddy.
The GasBuddy app takes your location and tells you where to get the cheapest gas in the area. That money adds up.
6. Fly the right plane.
If you have a choice, try to get on a Boeing 767. They have fewer middle seats.
7. Bring an empty bottle in your carry-on.
Bottled water is pricey and bad for the environment. Bring a water bottle of your own and fill it up once you’re past security.
8. The traveler’s lifesaver: mini-booze bottles.
Airport bars are expensive, and airplane drinks are criminally expensive, so next time you’re at a liquor store, stock up on those mini-bottles of your favorite booze. You can always get a glass of ice for free at the airport or on the plane.
9. Avoid theft: use Chapstick.
Chapstick tubes, when empty, are good places to hide rolled up cash and valuables.
10. If your shoes are gross, cover them in the hotel’s free shower cap before packing them.
11. Invest in a good neck pillow.
A bad one makes no difference. A good one makes all the difference on a long flight.
12. Get bumped!
If they offer to put you on a later flight if you’ll take free flight vouchers, take them up! This happens frequently enough that if you’re flexible, you’ll be able to get a ton of your future travel paid for.
13. To reduce jet lag, change up your eating schedule.
A few days before you leave, start eating meals at the time you’d eat them at your destination. This will get your body primed for the travel, and will cut back on jet lag once you’re there.
14. Wear a coat with a lot of pockets.
Even if you’re coming from a warm place, wear some sort of coat that is pocket heavy. This way you don’t have to overstuff your carry-on, and it’s easy to take off at security, and if the flight’s cold, you’ve got a makeshift blanket that’s better than those tissue paper things they give you on planes.
15. If your flight doesn’t have movies…
Download movies onto your phone and pack a clear plastic bag. Put the phone in the bag and then hook the bag onto the tray-table latch. Voila! A portable theater!
16. Be cool to the flight attendant.
Give him or her a smile, be polite, be helpful. Everyone’s a dick to the flight attendant, and aside from this being the decent thing to do, flight attendant’s will remember the passenger who was cool to them, and will be way more likely to throw you the full can or an extra bag of peanuts (or, if you’re lucky, a little booze) if you take the time to not suck early on.
17. Binder clips.
You can use binderclips to cover the heads of your razors, to wrap headphone cords around, or even to hang your clothes when you arrive. Travel More Roads has a more complete breakdown of the many awesome uses of the binder clip on their site.