Ultimate travel hacks from check-in to flight upgrades make your holiday easy

Going on holiday can be stressful – there are so many things to plan and consider. Whether you’re worried about getting through security, your bag being to heavy or eating bad food it’s not exactly relaxing.

Luckily, there are lots of ways to streamline your experience. Travel hacks are some of the handiest ways to make sure you don’t miss out and have a good time.

Whether it’s to stop yourself from getting sick by avoiding unhygienic places or upping your ticket to business class for a better sleep the tips and tricks can tackle almost any issue.

READ MORE: Woman’s clever trick makes long-haul flights comfier – and it won’t cost you extra

With dozens of tips being shared by flight attendants, travel experts and hotel workers we’ve put together some of our favourites. Try these hacks to take you from home to your hotel.


When it comes to packing it can be tricky to know what to take or how to fit it all in your bag. One cabin crew member revealed she swears by vacuum seal bags as part of her top tricks for preparing for holidays.

She explained: "I also LOVE vacuum-less vacuum seal bags. Put clothing in it, roll the air out, throw it in my suitcase. Not only does it make items take up less room (so I can add more) but it also keeps everything dry if I get stuck in rain or snow waiting for the van.

"I also throw a dryer sheet in each bag so it keeps everything smelling fresh even if I end up rewearing something."

Plus, flight attendant Kat advised: "You’re gonna want to make sure your heaviest items are at the very bottom. This is going to help your luggage not tip over when you’re travelling."

We’ve all had out suitcase fall over and smack us in the legs or make a loud noise in the middle of the airport, so this is a useful tip to avoid painful mistakes and embarrassing moments.

Finally, Kat added: "You’re going to want to use packing cubes to help identify whose is whose and keep you organised."

Packing cubs, vacuum packing, heaviest items first and dryer sheets. Check!

Extra luggage

A flight attendant of over 10 years has explained his hack for getting extra baggage free. Miguel Muñoz said that his "duty-free hack" allows passengers to bring more luggage onto the plane outside of their one allowed cabin bag.

Miguel explained that "duty-free bags don't count as carry-on baggage" which makes sense because otherwise people wouldn’t be able to shop in the airport.

An alternative option is to use a neck pillow that you can take the stuffing out of. You stuff the pillow with your clothes and then can take it onto the plane – even a regular bed pillow may also work.

Swift security

TikTok creator Nicole Jaques recently shared her best airport hacks including why you should always turn left when going to join an airport security queue.

The mum said: "Most people are right handed and naturally go to right lanes. [Usually] if I go to the farthest left lane no one is there or fewer people are at least for customs and security."

So head left for a speedier experience. Or, if you have children, check if your airline allows families to use the fast track security lane. Many of them do!

Flight upgrades

While it's the most we're often willing to pay for air travel economy seats are cramped, uncomfortable and often noisy. The dream is to get a free upgrade to a business or first class seat – which, while rare, does happen.

Cabin crew shared their top tips on how to get a free upgrade. One noted that you should never be drunk, smelly or have stains on your clothes. What you wear also has a major effect on your likelihood of being bumped up.

Travel experts have previously explained what crew look for when upgrading passengers. They said: "While dressing in your finest clothes is no guarantee for an upgrade, a smart outfit will certainly enhance your chances of being chosen.

"Top paying customers will often be dressed sharper, and airlines will want to ensure anyone they bump to first-class looks the part. Don’t feel the need to dress in anything extravagant. However, just make sure you avoid items that are too casual like flip flops and cargo shorts."

Plus, if you don’t like the uncertainty of waiting until a few hours before your flight to check in, then make sure to select the middle seat.

Airlines are more likely to upgrade passengers who are sitting in the middle seat as this is generally considered the least desirable place to sit, according to CEO of travel company Stasher, Jacob Wedderburn-Day.


To help make sure your flight isn’t delayed there’s one mistake you should avoid making when boarding a flight. Michael Clip, a flight attendant based in New York, said: "We can’t close the door for departure until everything is put away properly.

“If there’s no space for bags, we need to wait for an agent to come down to the aircraft and start tagging bags to gate check them. That takes time."

He added that as more people in the aisle begin to search for space the likelihood of a flight will leave late. Another flight attendant agreed with the statement.

Karina Kay said: "So many passengers place all of their belongings in the overhead just to free up the area at their feet for legroom, and that creates an overhead space issue."

So keep your backpack in the seat in front of you, your coat in your seat and your suitcase in the overhead luggage. Plus, if you have small children you need to get settled remember to go up for priority boarding before everyone else.

Sleeping on the plane

TikTok user, @Sidneyraz, explained that there’s a way better to wear neck pillows to help you fall asleep while in economy. Sidney places the large side at the front so he can rest his cheeks or can on it.

He places the thinner clipped side at the back where it lays flat against the seat. He claims that this helps your head to be supported while you snooze away.


Victoria Baillie, Skyscanner PR Manager, revealed her expert tactic for fast food on Skyscanner’s website, reports the Express. She said: "Choose the Asian-vegetarian option on the plane."

The asian-vegetarian meal is one of several pre-order meals that you have to ask for on your booking or at least a day before boarding. Other pre-booked options include halal and kosher meals, low salt or even bland meals for those who hate spice.

Victoria added: "You get fed before anyone else, you avoid anything too greasy and stodgy (helps the jetlag allegedly) and I’m convinced the more niche meals are much better quality as they’re made in smaller batches."

Collecting luggage

Waiting ages for your luggage on the carousel is a nightmare. But, apparently there are ways to make sure it comes off the plane as one of the first cases. It all comes down to checking in as late as possible.

Thomas Lo Sciuto, a ramp worker and gate agent at a regional airport in the US, told Quora: "Bags will always be loaded front to back on the bag carts so if you check in last your bags will be in the last bag cart."

However, if you generally feel stressed about checking-in, passing security and making it to the gate on time you may find coming in last a little scary. In that case you can apparently "gate-check" your bag.

This apparently means handing it over at the flight’s gate to put in the cargo hold – it will be left beside the access door ready for swift unloading upon landing. As gate checked bags usually go in the plane last they’re also more likely to come out first.


So you've arrived at your destination and just need to grab a taxi to the hotel. Well, you should be aware that some parts of a cab can be filthy. You don't want to get sick because you touched them!

Anton Radchenko, Travel expert and founder of AirAdvisor, told the Daily Star: "Seatbelt buckles are often the dirtiest place in taxis as they are frequently touched by different passengers throughout the day, and they are often not cleaned between rides. They can harbour high levels of bacteria, including harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

"Other areas in a taxi that can be dirty include the door handles and the air conditioning vents." So we'd advice keeping hand sanitiser on your person when travelling between venues.

Hotel upgrades

Room upgrades are generally available because when a hotel’s standard rooms have been booked out there are still free suites in the building. More people book the cheaper rooms rather than the expensive options so they’d rather pull in more guests than have an empty suite.

Kate Berski, a writer and travel enthusiast, shared her hack for bagging one on TikTok, @Help_im_30ish. Not only did Kate suggest calling the hotel directly for the best rate – but also arriving late to your hotel. She says that the later she arrives at the check-in desk the more likely she is to be given a better room.

Kate commented: "That's because they know they're not gonna sell it so they might as well give you a better experience. So if you can, the later you go, the more chances of a free upgrade."

Theft prevention

Miguel Muñoz suggests using a crisp packet to stop your valuables from being taken when at your hotel. The cabin crew member claims that using random items to stash your goods can keep them safe – even an "empty bag of crisps or tin foil".

Miguel also noted that families with small children can use nappies to hide things. After all, thieves are unlikely to look in what they think is a dirty nappy for valuables.

Simply wrap your jewellery or money in the rubbish and make sure its in a spot where housekeeping won't throw it away. That way your favourite items will be ignored by thieves and staff.

Hotel shampoo

Not all hotel amenities are safe. The TikTok creator, @travelinghotelmanager, went viral for her video where she explained why. The expert noted that you should avoid using the shampoo, body wash and conditioner.

In the caption she said: “Don't ever use these in hotels. Trust me! When you check into your room and you go into your shower and you see [shampoo bottles], they are usually full size. We have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.”

She added: "Here's your tip: Don't ever use these." The hotelier unscrewed the top of a shampoo bottle and offered her explanation.

The hotel manager said: "Why? Because they are not secure. These can come off and the previous guest can put anything they want in there. They can put hair colour, bleach, anything in these, don't ever use these."

Charge your phone

Flight attendant Esther explained that you don’t need a wall plug to charge your phone even if your hotel room doesn’t have USB sockets. She said: "World travel plug broken? Use your USB cable and charge it in the TV! This is extremely helpful if you forgot or lost your wall plug from your charger."

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