Travel

August 16, 2017

6 Ways To Travel Lighter, Smarter, Better

First step: update your suitcase

  • Written by Phoebe Luckhurst

Travelling light is hard – travelling without exertion even harder. Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, the whole system feels rigged against you: picking the wrong queues at airports, too-heavy suitcases, infuriating airport transfers. And you don’t speak the language.

To make the battle less real, arm yourself with these travel tricks.

Update your case

The plain old wheelie suitcase is starting to feel like a relic of yore. Pack up with something smarter: Away’s “thoughtful” luggage is crafted from a flexible shell that bends, rather than breaks, under pressure: it has a built-in battery for your phone and a compression pad to create more space inside. ArloSkye’s chic, lightweight shell has no ugly zips, closing instead with a clasp and combination lock mechanism. Its dual port charger will also restore your devices to full charge five times over. Blue Smart has a geolocation tracker and digital locking function, accessible via a smartphone app, and New Yorkers’ favourite Raden (above) has an integrated scale to preclude exceeding your baggage allowance.

Hire a porter

Airportr reasoned that while booking flights and checking-in had modernised at pace, luggage was still slowing down travellers seeking an effortless journey from A to B. The service collects your bags from anywhere in London and checks them onto any BA flight in the world – which means you don’t have to turn up at the airport two hours in advance to stand in a queue, or think about them at all until you arrive at your destination. If you’re travelling through Dubai, Marhaba performs a similarly deft service: its concierge service will fast-track you through passport control then have your bags collected and delivered to anywhere in the UAE within three hours. If you’re flying out of Hong Kong, you can check in your bags in the city centre, rather than lugging them to the airport. Search the options in your departure or arrival location – you’ll be surprised what’s on offer.

Fly right

Booking the best flights requires acrobatics, several browsers and some elusive luck. But you can easily take the misery out of the task with Hopper, a flight-booking app with a sleek interface that will give you real-time, intelligent information about the best time to book your flights. Input your destination and dates to get an estimate: if the app advises waiting, it will send you a notification when the price drops and inform you if it thinks there’ll be a further depreciation in prices or whether to go now. The estimate is made off the back of a huge database of flight data, and it says predictions are 95 per cent accurate.

Blink Dome on the Uyuni Salt Flats (Bolivia)

Black tomato’s trip to the Blink Dome on the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia

Make a home from home

Oasis operates in cities including Bogota, Buenos Aires, Ibiza, LA, Madrid, Miami and Rio, and pitches itself at “design aficionados, travel lovers and service fanatics”. Its elegant, handpicked homes are always in the buzziest parts of these lively cities, and a concierge service run by locals is poised to cater to whim and whimsy. A stay in an Oasis home also grants you access to local members clubs and gyms – partners include Barry’s Bootcamp – so you won’t feel aimless (or like a tourist).

Try the new travel agencies

Travel agencies feel quaint, high street and archaic, but there are international, modern iterations to recommend. Black Tomato is a slick online and over-the-phone operation that will work with you in creating a bespoke holiday. Airbnb has launched Trips, which uses its community of hosts to help you curate your visit. Celestielle is a luxury travel agency that’s based in West Hollywood and choreographs far-flung trips for its gilded clientele. Hiatus, a boutique travel agency based in Brooklyn, crafts off-beat honeymoons and intrepid safaris, and Journy’s concierge team will work out what you want to do and book it all for you – its website also includes itineraries that others have tried, including ‘Mexico City for a foodie’ and ‘Barcelona for an art lover.’

Pay smart

Travellers’ cheques feel very ’80s package holiday, but their new iteration, the pre-paid card, feels new and smart. Revolut is pitched at the international crowd: you can withdraw cash abroad without incurring any charges, and transfer it to anyone in the world using the exact exchange rate without any fees. The app also tracks your spending across continents: drop Yen in Tokyo or Lira in Istanbul without entirely losing control of your budget. Other providers include Monzo, FairFX, Travelex, WeSwap and Post Office.

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Main image courtesy Raden

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