I used to cringe at the dreaded “let’s go around the room and share a fun fact about yourself” question when I was barely awake in my 8:00 am college classes–that was until I traveled for work during a corporate events internship shortly after I graduated. Now I have the excuse to share how I lived out of my suitcase for six months and all the incredible trips I had when I wasn’t working my 9 to 5—from hiking to the top of a glacier in Banff National Park to singing my heart out to All We Ever Knew by The Head and the Heart in a vineyard in Sonoma Wine Country (yes, I think I peaked right then and there).
During those few short months, I learned more about traveling than I had during the course of my (then) 22 years of life. Here are a few of my secret travel hacks that’ll make traveling a breeze:
1. Use AutoCamp instead of roughing it
Picture this: I finally arrive at my off-the-grid campsite after a long day of hiking in the Rocky Mountains—sweaty, miserable, and so hungry that I feel downright nauseous—only to find that I forgot my entire toiletries bag at home. I love a camping moment as much as the next gal. But this experience was almost the start of my villain origin story. It was at that moment I knew I had to take a break from roughing it and give glamping a go so I could have 1) a clean shower so I could refresh after a long hike, 2) easy access to grabbing items I forgot on my CVS receipt-long camping packing list, and 3) food options to snag instead of eating the same protein bar for breakfast for three consecutive days.
Enter AutoCamp, the glamping experience that gives you a nature getaway, but with all of the amenities and comfort of staying at a boutique hotel. They offer over six different getaways across the United States (with three more coming next year)–from Zion to The Catskills and beyond. A coworker convinced me to book a weekend getaway after she told me that she was able to book a luxury Airstream, complete with AC, wifi, and a private, almost spa-like bathroom, for about the same price as a hotel stay. I was always hesitant to try glamping because I assumed it would be way out of my budget for the kind of experience I was looking for, but AutoCamp changed my mindset.
While staying at AutoCamp is already affordable, you can snag 20% off right now by using code EVERYGIRL at any property! Enjoying a day out in nature but coming home to a comfy queen-size bed, a stocked general store, live music, and happy hours a la AutoCamp? Sign me up.
2. Get a Priority Pass membership to get access to airport lounges
Airport lounges used to feel like secret clubs that I wasn’t cool enough to get into. Some felt so VIP that I was surprised there weren’t two bouncers standing outside checking IDs. I used to wait outside hoping one kind soul would take me under their wing and bring me in as their guest. But sadly that day never came.
I decided to take matters into my own hands by snagging a Priority Pass after feeling fed up with ordering Starbucks for the 1,000th time while desperately trying to find an outlet to charge my phone and noticing they were all used up. I was tempted to purchase a one-day lounge pass. But since I was traveling so much, I thought I might as well go big and snag a yearly Priority Pass membership. Since then, my travel days have been much more relaxed and I actually look forward to layovers while snagging free food and drinks from the lounge cafe. And taking full advantage of their free wifi while seated in their cozy workstations. I can enjoy peaceful, quiet bliss with abundant outlets and pristine bathrooms for only $8.25/month—which is less than my usual go-to order from Starbucks.
3. Use Grab to order food at the airport
Remember my iced coffee story? Yeah, I could’ve avoided the pain, agony, and embarrassment of running two miles from gates A to K if I knew about Grab. This app is one of those inventions that you’re like finally, someone has walked (or ran) a mile in my shoes. You can browse and order food and beverages all in one place—without standing in any mile-long lines. Or being forced to wait for the pretzels and Biscoffs after you board the plane. Once it’s ready, you just pick it up and go. You can even view an ETA on when your food will be ready even before you commit to ordering so you can choose the best option for your travel schedule.
4. Stay hydrated for longer with electrolyte packets
Any time I’m flying or taking a road trip, I try my best to avoid public restrooms at all costs by drinking less water which always leaves me feeling and looking as dry as the Sahara desert once I get to my final destination (definitely not my best look). Instead of chugging water to keep me hydrated and preparing for turbulence in the plane bathroom, I’ve turned to LMNT electrolyte packets to double my hydration levels without turning to another bottle of water. Plus, they have four different options to choose from—like raspberry and watermelon—so I can enjoy a little bit of flavor while I’m sipping.
5. Pack more shoes by using a shower cap
It’s a tale as old as time. You think you have plenty of space in your suitcase…until it’s time to pack one “nice” pair of going-out shoes, sneakers, sandals, and a pair to match every outfit you have packed. But get this: instead of sacrificing a pair or two, you can squeeze them in with your clothes by wrapping them in shower caps. Covering the bottoms of your shoes like this avoids getting your clothes dirty or scuffed–my biggest fear when packing shoes inside of my suitcase between my white sundresses and leather jackets. A Ziploc bag also does the trick if you don’t have a shower cap handy.
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of AutoCamp but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.