Nearly one out of every two Americans returns from vacation feeling more exhausted and stressed than when they left, according to Expedia. In fact, the stress of travel can literally make people sick. An estimated 3 percent of the population suffers from “leisure sickness,” which includes fatigue, muscle pain and nausea from travel-related stress.
Even in paradise, things can go wrong. A little pre-planning, however, can help prevent a full-on vacation meltdown. From safeguarding your identity to fixing a broken luggage zipper, these savvy travel tips will help make your summer vacation hassle-free.
Your flights are booked, your bags are packed and you can almost feel that sand between your toes. While it’s tempting to post your travel plans on Facebook, resist the urge. You wouldn’t hang a sign on your front door advertising your departure, so why share your trip itinerary with the entire Internet? This gives thieves a green light to target your house while you’re out of town.
Purge Your Wallet
A typical wallet is packed with extra credit cards and loyalty shopper cards that aren’t needed while sipping Mai Thais in paradise. Leave your usual wallet behind and only take the absolute basics for photo identification and payment. Lock up passports, IDs and credit cards whenever you leave your hotel room. For extra protection against identity theft, enroll in a service like LifeLock, which proactively monitors your social security number for fraudulent activity.
Protect Against Fraudulent Purchases
Even if your identity is not stolen, your credit or debit card could still be used to fund another vacationer’s week in paradise. Whenever possible, use a credit card rather than a debit card. Should your card be stolen, it is much easier to dispute fraudulent charges with a credit card company rather than battling your bank over the money fraudulently withdrawn from your checking account. Designate a credit card specifically for travel expenses. Doing so makes it easier to scan your statement for fraudulent purchases
that might otherwise be “buried” amidst usual expenses.
Fix a Broken Zipper
Sure, a broken zipper may seem minor compared to identity theft, but there’s nothing fun about a suitcase exploding all over luggage claim. Rather than replacing your luggage mid-trip, these hacks will help your luggage make it home safely in one piece.
If the zipper is stuck, lubricate the zipper teeth with lip balm or bar soap, which will help the zipper start moving again. If the zipper teeth are no longer staying closed, a single bent zipper tooth is the likely culprit. Use a pair of pliers to gently bend the zipper tooth back into shape. If the zipper pull breaks off, create a makeshift pull by attaching a souvenir keychain to the zipper base. Bonus: That hot pink Miami sunset keychain will make your generic black bag easy to spot at baggage claim.
Find Free Wi-Fi
Stop overpaying for expensive airport or hotel Wi-Fi. You can find apps that will help with this. The free Wi-Fi Finder app
tracks more than 650,000 Wi-Fi locations (both free and paid) in 144 countries.
Install the offline database for use when you cannot connect to the Internet for a search; this will help you locate the nearest Wi-Fi source. For help detecting weak signals, you can download NetStumbler on your computer. This free program goes above and beyond the built-in Wi-Fi detector on your computer to find free networks it may have missed. And while free Wi-Fi is great, be smart about public network usage — never send personal information over an unsecured public network.