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The 7 Best Travel Hacks For 2020

Ben Hope (admin) Battersea Spanish, Travel, Travel, Travel

The 7 Best Travel Hacks For 2020

Do you have travel plans for the new year? Whether you’re travelling to distant, far-off places or exploring somewhere a little closer to home in 2020, these are the best 7 travel hacks that you need to know about before you go anywhere! Take a look at our 7 best travel hacks to make sure you have the best time wherever you go.

Of course, nothing beats being spontaneous when considering a trip abroad, exploring a new city in your home country, or just a road trip, but sometimes it does pay to be a little prepared…

Learn a Language

Of course, one of the most essential (and enjoyable) travel hacks that we recommend for 2020 is learning a language! Going on holiday is made that much better by being able to immerse yourself in the culture and language of your destination!

Plus, learning a language that is spoken in many different countries and has many speakers, like Spanish, can help you tap into the languages of a range of countries!

There are approximately 530 million Spanish speakers around the world, 480 million of which are native, and 74 million of which are second-language speakers.

If you learn Spanish, you certainly won’t be short of people to chat with!

Did you know that there are nearly 500 million Spanish speakers in the USA alone? Studies suggest that soon more people will speak Spanish in the United States than in Spain!

Learning Spanish means you could travel to any one of the many Spanish speaking countries and start practising your lingo to make your holiday even more enjoyable. Rather than using a translation app to find your way around, you can interact with local speakers and really get to know the country or city you’re visiting.

Not sure which country speaks Spanish? Here are just a few destinations:

  • Costa Rica
  • Chile
  • Mexico
  • United States
  • Dominican Republic
  • And of course, Spain!

Learning the language of the country or city you’re visiting is probably the most useful and essential travel hack that we can think of.

Not only does it make your holiday much more cultural and enjoyable, so you can really explore rather than being tied to your phone, but you get to learn a new life skill!

Why not have a look at Battersea Spanish classes, and join in one of our Spanish for Beginners courses beginning in the new year?

Or, if you’ve already got the basics down and fancy brushing up on your skills before a holiday, we run Intermediate Spanish and Advanced Spanish courses too!

Maybe 2020 is the year you #TrySpanish!

Neck pillow

If you’re going anywhere with a long haul flight involved, or you just want to be comfortable when you are travelling, consider investing in a neck pillow. This is one of the best travel hacks that is brushed aside too often.

And what’s more, is that you can easily grab yourself a neck pillow from Amazon!

It might seem like an unnecessary add-on, and a little bit silly, but you’ll thank yourself after the sixth hour of a twelve-hour flight, on an economy seat trying to get comfortable with your rolled-up jumper.


Neck pillows also come in very handy when going on that road trip, or if you’re using public transport during your trip.

Waiting for your next interrail train can sometimes take a while! So making sure you’re fresh and relaxed for when you arrive at your destination, whether it’s the first stop or the last stop on your holiday, it is key. There are even memory foam neck pillows that have started surfacing, for that extra luxury.

Plus, it’s always worth getting yourself one of these handy travel comforts before you get to the airport, just from an expenditure perspective.

Save your money, airports hike up the prices! While you could be looking at spending £20-£30 for one in an airport, places like Amazon sell the good old non-memory foam neck pillows for (mostly) about half that price!

Before you know it, you’ll be travelling in comfort…

Google Translate

Google Translate is a handy tool to keep in your pocket for when you need to know a word or phrase, fast. There are a number of features that you can use just about anywhere!

Download Target Languages

You can quickly download target languages before you leave, to make sure you’re not going to be left without access to your language if you don’t have a mobile data connection, or if you don’t want to turn on international roaming.

Translate With The Camera App

google translate camera app exampleThe app can translate images by accessing your camera, to help you read visual signs, labels and notices (or menus, if you’re ordering something delicious, like Spanish Tapas for example…)

The camera button allows you to hold your phone over what you’re trying to translate and Google will insert all-caps English in place of the other language.

You can translate in real-time, or take a screen-shot the image and choose whichever phrases or sentences you want to translate by highlighting it.

We don’t recommend using this feature for large quantities of text though, like a magazine or newspaper, just because the nature of the app tends to work better with smaller phrases and less information at one time.

Basic Conversation

If you do manage to find someone quite patient, this feature comes in very useful.

Once you’ve selected your languages to translate between and chosen your own language, you can speak into the microphone and this is translated and spoken aloud. You can engage in basic conversation by translating the other speakers reply!

While it can be a little unnatural, this feature can come in handy in a situation where there is little overlap in languages. Of course, it is always more beneficial to learn key phrases before you travel!

For example, here are a couple of essential phrases in Spanish!:

  • Good morning: Buenos días (bway-nos dee-ahs)
  • Thank you: Gracias (gra-see-uhs)
  • Can you speak English?: ¿Habla inglés? (hah-blah een-glays)?
  • Where is…?: ¿Dónde está…? (DHOHN-dheh ehs-TAH)

Even just a few key phrases in any language will make it easier for you to make your way around!

Save Phrases For Later

This feature allows you to save phrases and words you think you might need without having to search for them over and over.

For example, rather than having to search ‘Good Morning’ in Spanish more than once, you can save ‘Buenos días’ into your “saved” tab and become a master at greeting friendly Spaniards in no time!

Don’t Forget To Ask Native Speakers

While Google Translate is exceptionally useful, it isn’t 100% accurate.

A study found that the use of Google Translate extensively within a hospital setting to convert English to Chinese was mostly successful, but did still have instances where harm could be caused to the patient.

So, immerse yourself in the country you’re visiting and ask a human to translate for you!

Google Maps

Using an app like Google Maps abroad (or even in an unfamiliar city in your home country) can be a lifesaver. From getting to that perfect restaurant you picked out, to finding your accommodation when you arrive, Google Maps is an essential travel hack you need to make the most of.

Offline Maps

But what if you don’t have access to data, or signal and can’t use Google Maps?

Well, in 2018, Google updated the app so that you can use Google Maps without having to be connected to the internet. This is a hugely helpful update for travellers!

Rather than being charged roaming fees for the use of the internet abroad, which can get expensive, you can now save (‘cache’ in technological terms) a map of a city or area that you’re visiting and use this to navigate.

So, if you arrive in a bustling city, like Barcelona or Paris for example, and need to get around, you can:

  • Simply download the map on WiFi beforehand
  • Turn on your GPS
  • Do your sightseeing without having to connect to the internet again!

Charging Bank

Of course, to be able to navigate and translate while you’re enjoying your holiday, you need a working mobile phone. And often, your phone running out of battery when you’re in a new place can be disorienting and leave you stranded – not what you want on holiday!

Investing in a charging bank for your phone is one of the most essential travel hacks that you need to know about before you get going.

There are many brands around, but Anker is one of the most recommended brands out there for value and quality. Depending on the size of the power bank, you can get two or three full charges before you need to recharge it.

Perfect for when you’re travelling and can’t access a charging point; and much cheaper than paying to access power from a remote charging point or from your accommodation!

Ear Plugs

Depending on where you’re staying or how you’re travelling, ear plugs can be a necessary travel hack; especially if your trip involves shared accommodation, flights or public transport!

You can find good ones on sites like Amazon, which saves you a trip out to a store!

Pressure-reducing ear plugs can be an essential hack for your travelling if you’re doing a lot of flying. Turning up to your well-deserved holiday with earache from built-up pressure can really put a negative spin on things.

Most regular ear plugs and pressure-reducing ear plugs can be found in your local pharmacy, and are often sold in airports or train stations.

A lot of the time, pressure-reducing ear plugs can reduce noise input as well, meaning you get even more relaxation before you arrive or can tune out unwanted distractions on your return.

Digital Documents

Using your phone to store those essential reservation documents is a handy travel hack to keep your bags as light as possible, so you avoid any extra charges after you buy all those souvenirs!

Flight Reservations

Most flight companies have apps where you can store your important flight documents and access them offline.

Rather than fumbling around with a travel wallet or paper tickets that can easily get lost or damaged, using an e-ticket to check-in and board your flight can reduce stress and make your experience much smoother.

Accommodation and Travel Bookings

Depending on where you’re headed, most accommodations and public transport require you to have a ticket or confirmation to show when you arrive.

Similarly to using an e-ticket for your flights, having your confirmations and bookings in email or app format can really safe hassle and stress so you can get started on the important things – like getting started on your adventures!


Getting a visa can sometimes be stressful.

So if you’re heading somewhere that needs a visa, using an electronic version (if applicable) can really save you time and make getting through security a whole lot less stressful; definitely a travel hack worth looking into.

If you’re a European citizen, you probably won’t need a visa to travel within Europe. But if you’re going somewhere further afield, like Australia which requires a visa no matter the reason for your travel, depending on the length of your stay you can sign up for an electronic visa that is connected to your passport, making going through immigration much easier!

It’s worth checking your destination country to see what travel documents you need before you go, to be safe and prepared.