Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Travel Hacks That Do Not Work


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Kiri Stiles



Traveling can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, but it also requires careful planning to ensure everything goes smoothly. With the growth of the internet and the abundance of travel information available, it’s easy to come across various travel hacks that claim to make your journey easier and more cost-effective. However, not all travel hacks are created equal, and it’s important to separate fact from fiction.


In this article, we will explore some commonly shared travel hacks that don’t actually work as promised. While these hacks may seem appealing at first glance, they often fall short in practice. By debunking these misconceptions, we aim to equip you with accurate information and help you avoid potential pitfalls during your travels.


It’s essential to approach travel planning with a critical eye and consider the credibility and effectiveness of the hacks you come across. By being selective about the advice you follow, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.


So, let’s dive into the world of travel hacks and uncover which ones you should avoid.


Packing Hacks

Packing efficiently is a skill that every traveler aims to master. However, some commonly shared packing hacks may not be as helpful as they seem. Here are a few packing hacks that often fall short:

  1. Rolling your clothes to save space: While it’s true that rolling your clothes can help minimize wrinkles and save some space, it’s not always the best packing method. Depending on your clothing fabric and the size of your suitcase, rolling can actually lead to creases and take up more space than folding. Instead, consider using packing cubes or vacuum-sealed bags to optimize space and keep your belongings organized.
  2. Wearing your heaviest items: The idea of wearing your bulkiest clothing items, such as coats or boots, to save space in your luggage may sound like a great hack. However, it might not be the most comfortable or practical option, especially if you’re traveling for long hours or in different climates. Instead, pack versatile layers that can be easily mixed and matched.
  3. Stuffing your shoes with small items: This hack suggests filling the empty space inside your shoes with socks, underwear, or other small items. While it can save space, it can also lead to misshapen shoes and difficulty in finding items when you need them. Consider using shoe bags to protect your shoes and keep them separate from your other belongings.
  4. Bringing a travel-size laundry detergent: The idea of doing laundry on the go to minimize the number of clothes you bring can be tempting. However, it’s important to research whether laundry facilities are available at your destination. In many cases, it’s more convenient and cost-effective to use local laundry services instead. Plus, it gives you a chance to experience the local culture and support small businesses.
  5. Overpacking “just in case”: It can be tempting to pack extra items for “just in case” scenarios, but it often leads to unnecessary weight and clutter. Instead, focus on packing essentials and versatile pieces that can be worn multiple times and in different ways. Remember, most destinations have stores where you can purchase any forgotten or emergency items.

Ultimately, when it comes to packing, it’s important to strike a balance between being prepared and traveling light. Find a packing strategy that works best for you and adapt it based on the specific needs of each trip. Remember, not all packing hacks are worth following, so choose wisely and prioritize convenience and comfort over trends.


Booking Hacks

Booking flights and accommodations can be a costly endeavor, and many travelers are always on the lookout for ways to save money. However, not all booking hacks deliver the expected results. Here are a few booking hacks that may not work as well as they claim:

  1. Clearing your browser cookies: It’s a widely spread claim that clearing your browser cookies before searching for flights or accommodations will result in lower prices. However, this hack is largely a myth. While prices may vary based on factors like demand and availability, they are typically not affected by browser cookies. Instead, focus on comparing prices across multiple platforms and booking at the right time to secure the best deal.
  2. Booking on specific days of the week: Another commonly shared tip is to book flights or hotels on specific days of the week to get the lowest prices. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. Airlines and hotels often adjust their prices based on demand and other factors, so it’s important to be flexible with your travel dates and monitor prices over time to find the best deals.
  3. Using incognito mode: Similar to clearing browser cookies, using incognito mode is believed to hide your search history and result in lower prices. While it may prevent websites from tracking your browsing activity, it doesn’t significantly impact the prices you see. Instead, focus on using reputable travel comparison websites and signing up for price alerts to stay informed about any price drops.
  4. Booking far in advance: The notion that booking flights or accommodations months in advance will always guarantee the lowest prices is not always accurate. While booking in advance can be beneficial for peak travel times or specific destinations, prices can fluctuate depending on various factors. It’s essential to research the best time to book for your specific trip and be open to last-minute deals or promotions.
  5. Third-party booking sites always offer the best deals: While third-party booking sites can sometimes offer competitive prices, they may not always provide the best deals. Prices and terms and conditions can vary across different platforms, so it’s crucial to compare prices directly with airlines or hotel websites. Additionally, booking directly with the provider often provides better customer service and more flexibility in case of changes or cancellations.

When it comes to booking your travel arrangements, it’s important to approach the task with realistic expectations and do thorough research. While some booking hacks may occasionally work, they are not foolproof methods for consistently finding the lowest prices. By staying flexible, comparing prices, and being aware of any current promotions or deals, you’ll be able to secure the best possible prices for your travels.


Airport Hacks

Traveling through airports can be a stressful experience, and many travelers seek out hacks to make the process smoother and more efficient. However, not all airport hacks are as effective as they claim to be. Here are a few airport hacks that may not live up to expectations:

  1. Wearing slip-on shoes: Wearing slip-on shoes through airport security is often recommended for convenience and speed. While it can save a few seconds when going through the security checkpoint, it’s not a significant time-saver in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, the comfort and support of your footwear should take priority over the hassle of removing and putting on shoes at the checkpoint.
  2. Arriving excessively early: Many travelers believe that arriving at the airport hours before their flight will help them avoid long lines and minimize stress. While it’s important to arrive with enough time to navigate security and find your gate, arriving excessively early can lead to boredom and discomfort. Check with your airline to determine the recommended arrival time based on your destination and any current travel restrictions.
  3. Bringing an empty water bottle: It’s common advice to bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it up at water fountains to save money on purchasing drinks at the airport. However, the availability and cleanliness of water fountains can vary at different airports, and it’s important to stay hydrated during your journey. Consider purchasing a bottle of water after security or bringing a collapsible water bottle to save space.
  4. Wearing a neck pillow: Neck pillows are often touted as essential items for comfortable travel, especially on long flights. However, they can be bulky and inconvenient when navigating through airports. Instead, opt for a lightweight and compact travel pillow that can be easily attached to your carry-on luggage.
  5. Using airport lounges for free: Some travelers try to gain access to airport lounges by taking advantage of credit card perks or loyalty programs. While it’s true that certain credit cards or memberships offer lounge access, it’s not always free or straightforward. Read the terms and conditions carefully to understand any hidden costs or eligibility requirements associated with lounge access.

While these airport hacks may sound appealing, it’s important to assess their practicality and consider your personal preferences and needs. Prioritize comfort, efficiency, and adherence to airport rules and regulations when navigating the airport. Remember, not all airport hacks will work perfectly for every traveler or every airport, so be adaptable and find what works best for you.


Accommodation Hacks

Accommodation plays a crucial role in ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience. Many travelers seek out accommodation hacks to secure the best deals and find the perfect place to stay. However, not all accommodation hacks deliver the promised benefits. Here are a few accommodation hacks that may not be as effective as they claim:

  1. Booking through third-party websites for the lowest prices: It’s a common belief that booking accommodations through third-party websites will always result in the best prices. While these platforms may offer competitive rates, they may not always be the cheapest option. It’s essential to compare prices across different platforms, including booking directly with the hotel or property, to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  2. Booking last-minute for better prices: The idea that booking accommodations at the last minute will result in significantly lower prices is not always accurate. While there may be occasional last-minute deals, prices for popular accommodations are more likely to increase as the date approaches. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or when visiting popular destinations.
  3. Using hotel upgrade tricks: Some travelers try various tricks to secure free or discounted room upgrades at hotels. However, these tricks often rely on chance and the discretion of hotel staff. Instead of relying on upgrade tricks, consider booking a higher room category if it fits within your budget and preferences.
  4. Negotiating prices at check-in: Negotiating room prices upon check-in is another hack that may not work as well as expected. Most hotels have strict pricing policies, and desk agents usually don’t have the authority to negotiate rates. It’s more effective to negotiate prices in advance or look for promotional rates before making a reservation.
  5. Choosing the cheapest accommodation option: Opting for the cheapest accommodation option available may seem like a smart money-saving hack. However, it’s important to consider the location, amenities, and reviews of the property before making a decision. A poorly located or low-quality accommodation can lead to a disappointing experience and additional expenses in the long run.

When it comes to booking accommodations, it’s crucial to prioritize factors beyond just the price. Consider the location, amenities, reviews, and your personal preferences to ensure a pleasant stay. While accommodation hacks can sometimes be helpful, approach them with a dose of skepticism and rely on thorough research and comparison to find the best accommodation options for your travel needs.


Money-saving Hacks

When it comes to travel, saving money is always a priority for many travelers. However, some money-saving hacks may not provide the desired results. Here are a few money-saving hacks that may not be as effective as they claim:

  1. Using travel reward credit cards: While travel reward credit cards can offer enticing perks and rewards, they may not always result in significant savings. Some cards have high annual fees or strict redemption policies that make it challenging to maximize the benefits. It’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions of any credit card before applying and assess if the benefits align with your travel habits.
  2. Booking budget airlines for the lowest fares: Budget airlines can often offer lower fares compared to full-service carriers. However, it’s crucial to consider additional fees for baggage, seat selection, and other services that may be included with other airlines. Sometimes, the total cost of flying with a budget airline can end up being similar to or even higher than a full-service carrier. Take into account all the associated costs before making a booking decision.
  3. Eating street food to save money on meals: Sampling local street food can be a delicious and affordable way to experience the local cuisine. However, it’s important to prioritize food safety and hygiene. In some destinations, street food may not always meet the best hygiene standards, and consuming contaminated food can lead to health issues and costly medical expenses. Balance your desire to save money with ensuring your well-being.
  4. Exchanging currency at the airport: Currency exchange at airport kiosks is often convenient but may come with high fees and unfavorable exchange rates. It’s advisable to research and compare rates at local banks or reputable currency exchange offices before your trip. Additionally, notify your bank about your travel plans to avoid excessive fees for international transactions.
  5. Skipping travel insurance to save money: While it may be tempting to forgo travel insurance to save costs, it’s an essential aspect of travel planning. Unexpected events such as trip cancellation, medical emergencies, or lost baggage can result in significant financial loss. Having travel insurance provides peace of mind and can save you from incurring hefty expenses in unforeseen circumstances.

When it comes to saving money during your travels, it’s important to strike a balance between cutting costs and maintaining your comfort, safety, and overall travel experience. Be cautious of money-saving hacks that may compromise your well-being or result in hidden expenses. Prioritize research, compare prices, and make informed decisions that align with your travel priorities and budget.


Safety Hacks

Ensuring your safety while traveling should always be a top priority. Many travelers seek out safety hacks to protect themselves and their belongings. However, it’s important to remember that not all safety hacks are foolproof. Here are a few safety hacks that may not provide the level of security they claim:

  1. Hiding valuables in inconspicuous places: It’s a common suggestion to hide valuables in unexpected places, such as inside empty shampoo bottles or socks. While this hack may deter casual thieves, it won’t necessarily prevent determined criminals from finding your belongings. Instead, consider investing in a secure travel wallet or pouch to keep your valuables close to you and minimize the risk of theft.
  2. Sharing your travel details on social media: Some travelers believe that sharing their travel plans, including specific dates and locations, on social media can help them connect with friends and family or deter potential burglars. However, it can also attract the attention of opportunistic individuals who may take advantage of your absence. Be cautious about sharing too many personal details online and consider adjusting your privacy settings to limit who can see your posts.
  3. Carrying a personal safety alarm: Personal safety alarms are often recommended as a useful tool for self-defense in case of an emergency. While they can provide a sense of security, their effectiveness will largely depend on the situation and the response of those nearby. It’s important to remember that personal safety should always be a priority, and it’s advisable to learn about the local safety guidelines and potential risks of the destination you’re visiting.
  4. Using fake wallets or decoy items: Some travelers carry fake wallets or decoy items to distract potential thieves. While this hack may work in certain situations, it’s not a foolproof method to prevent theft. Skilled pickpockets can easily identify decoy items, and creating a confrontation over a fake wallet can escalate the situation. Focus on keeping your valuables secure and being vigilant in areas with a higher risk of theft.
  5. Relying solely on travel insurance for safety: While having travel insurance is an important aspect of travel preparation, it’s not a substitute for being aware of your surroundings and taking necessary precautions. Travel insurance may provide assistance in case of emergencies, but it’s essential to practice common sense, research the local safety conditions, and follow any advisory or guidelines provided by authorities.

When it comes to safety while traveling, it’s important to prioritize your well-being and take practical measures to mitigate risks. Be aware of your surroundings, secure your belongings, and take precautions based on the specific destination you’re visiting. While safety hacks may offer additional layers of security, they should never replace basic safety practices and a proactive mindset.


Travel Technology Hacks

Technology has revolutionized the way we travel, making it easier and more convenient to navigate through unfamiliar places. However, not all travel technology hacks live up to their expectations. Here are a few technology hacks that may not be as helpful as they claim:

  1. Using offline maps for navigation: Offline maps can be a useful tool when traveling to areas with limited internet connectivity. However, they may not always provide the most up-to-date information or the same level of functionality as online maps. It’s advisable to download offline maps as a backup, but rely on online maps for real-time navigation and accurate directions.
  2. Using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive transactions: Public Wi-Fi networks, such as those available in cafes or airports, can be convenient for staying connected while traveling. However, they are not always secure and can expose your sensitive information to potential hackers. Avoid conducting sensitive transactions, such as online banking or accessing personal accounts, on public Wi-Fi networks. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN) or wait until you have access to a secure, password-protected network.
  3. Using translation apps for complex conversations: Translation apps can be handy tools for basic translations or simple conversations. However, they may not always be accurate or reliable for more complex discussions or nuances of language. It’s important to be mindful of cultural differences and consider hiring a local guide or interpreter when engaging in important or sensitive conversations.
  4. Relying solely on travel booking apps: Travel booking apps can provide convenience and help streamline the booking process for flights, accommodations, and activities. However, it’s advisable to cross-reference prices and availability with other platforms or directly with the service providers. Additionally, be prepared for any technical glitches or limitations that may occur when relying solely on a travel booking app.
  5. Using noise-canceling headphones for complete silence: Noise-canceling headphones are popular among travelers for blocking out background noise during flights or in crowded areas. While they can significantly reduce noise, they may not completely eliminate all sounds. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially in busy or potentially unsafe environments.

When it comes to incorporating technology into your travel experience, it’s essential to use it as a complementary tool rather than relying solely on its capabilities. Apply a critical eye when adopting travel technology hacks and be aware of any limitations or potential risks associated with the use of technology. Balance convenience with security and make informed decisions to enhance your travel experience.


Food and Dining Hacks

Exploring local cuisines and dining experiences can be a highlight of any travel adventure. While there are many food and dining hacks out there, not all of them deliver the promised benefits. Here are a few food and dining hacks that may not be as effective as they claim:

  1. Using travel apps for restaurant recommendations: There are numerous travel apps that offer restaurant recommendations and reviews. While these apps can be a helpful starting point for finding dining options, it’s essential to take their recommendations with a grain of salt. Tastes and preferences vary, and what suits one person may not suit another. Consider using a combination of apps, local recommendations, and online reviews to ensure a memorable dining experience.
  2. Eating at tourist-packed restaurants for authenticity: A common perception is that restaurants filled with tourists are a testament to their authenticity. However, these establishments often tailor their menus and dining experiences to cater to tourists’ expectations. To experience true local cuisine, venture outside the tourist areas and explore smaller, family-run eateries where locals dine.
  3. Always ordering tap water to save money: Ordering tap water instead of bottled water at restaurants may seem like a money-saving hack. However, it’s important to consider the quality and safety of tap water in different destinations. In some places, tap water may not be safe for consumption, and it’s worth investing in bottled or filtered water to avoid potential health issues.
  4. Overordering at all-you-can-eat buffets: All-you-can-eat buffets can be tempting with their wide variety of food options. However, overordering can lead to food wastage and unnecessary expenses. Be mindful of portion sizes and select items you genuinely enjoy to minimize food waste and ensure a more enjoyable dining experience.
  5. Expecting discounts for being a frequent customer: While loyalty programs can offer benefits and discounts in some establishments, they do not guarantee special treatment or discounts everywhere you go. Don’t expect preferential treatment solely based on your loyalty status, and be humble and respectful when interacting with restaurant staff.

When it comes to food and dining while traveling, embrace a sense of adventure and openness to new culinary experiences. Seek authentic local eateries, prioritize food safety, and be open to trying new dishes. Remember, not all food and dining hacks will work universally, so approach them with an open mind and be willing to adapt your expectations to the local culture and dining scene.


Transportation Hacks

Efficient transportation is key to a seamless travel experience. While there are many transportation hacks shared among travelers, not all of them live up to their promise. Here are a few transportation hacks that may not be as effective as they claim:

  1. Booking separate flights to save money: It may seem logical to book separate flights on different airlines to score lower fares. However, this strategy comes with several risks, such as potential delays, missed connections, and additional costs for rebooking or accommodation in case of disruptions. It’s often safer and more reliable to book flights with a single airline or through reputable travel agencies.
  2. Hitchhiking for free rides: Hitchhiking is often portrayed as a free and adventurous way to get around. However, it’s important to prioritize personal safety when considering hitchhiking as a transportation option. It can be unpredictable and potentially risky, especially in unfamiliar or unsafe areas. Instead, rely on licensed taxis, rideshare services, or public transportation for a safer and more reliable means of transportation.
  3. Taking overnight buses or trains to save on accommodations: Overnight buses or trains may seem like a cost-effective way to save on accommodation costs. However, it’s important to consider the comfort and quality of sleep during these journeys. Some overnight transportation options may provide uncomfortable sleeping conditions, leading to fatigue and a less enjoyable travel experience. Evaluate the trade-off between cost savings and your well-being when opting for overnight transportation.
  4. Using rental cars for every destination: Renting a car can offer flexibility and convenience, especially in certain destinations. However, it may not always be the most cost-effective option or practical in congested urban areas with limited parking. Assess the need for a rental car based on the destination and consider alternative modes of transportation, such as public transit or rideshare services, for exploring city centers.
  5. Ignoring public transportation for fear of getting lost: Public transportation can be intimidating in unfamiliar cities, but it’s often a cost-effective and efficient way to get around. Instead of avoiding public transportation, research and plan your routes in advance. Utilize smartphone apps, maps, and signage to navigate the public transportation system confidently. It’s also helpful to ask locals or transportation personnel for guidance if needed.

When it comes to transportation while traveling, it’s crucial to balance cost savings with convenience, safety, and reliability. Evaluate each transportation hack based on your specific travel circumstances and preferences. Remember that the goal is to make your journey smooth and enjoyable, so prioritize efficiency, comfort, and your overall travel experience when selecting transportation options.


Sightseeing Hacks

Exploring the sights and attractions of a new destination is often a highlight of any trip. Many travelers seek out sightseeing hacks to optimize their experience and make the most of their time. However, not all sightseeing hacks may deliver the expected results. Here are a few sightseeing hacks that may not be as effective as they claim:

  1. Racing through a destination to see everything: It may be tempting to rush through a destination to see as many sights as possible. However, this approach often leads to a superficial experience and prevents you from truly immersing yourself in the culture and atmosphere of a place. Instead, prioritize quality over quantity and focus on a few key attractions that resonate with your interests.
  2. Joining large group tours for convenience: Group tours can offer convenience, especially when visiting popular sights or attractions. However, they can also be impersonal, limiting your freedom to explore at your own pace. Consider mixing guided tours with independent exploration to strike a balance between convenience and a more personal experience.
  3. Skipping popular attractions to avoid crowds: Avoiding popular attractions to escape the crowds may seem like a smart hack. However, some attractions are popular for a reason and offer unique experiences that are worth braving the crowds for. Consider visiting popular attractions early in the morning or during off-peak seasons to enjoy a more peaceful experience.
  4. Over-relying on guidebooks for sightseeing recommendations: Guidebooks can be valuable resources for sightseeing recommendations. However, they may not always provide the most updated information or reflect personal preferences. Use guidebooks as a starting point and supplement them with online resources, local recommendations, and travel blogs to discover hidden gems that suit your interests.
  5. Obsessively sticking to an itinerary: While having an itinerary can provide structure and organization, it’s important to allow flexibility for unexpected discoveries and spontaneous adventures. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the original plan and seize opportunities that arise during your travels. Embrace the serendipity of travel and leave room for unplanned experiences.

When it comes to sightseeing, remember that it’s not just about ticking off a checklist, but about immersing yourself in new experiences and creating lasting memories. Take a balanced approach, choose experiences that resonate with you, and be open to embracing the unexpected. By doing so, you can truly make the most of your sightseeing adventures and create a more enriching travel experience.



Travel hacks can be enticing, promising to make our journeys more efficient, cost-effective, and enjoyable. However, it’s important to approach these hacks with a critical eye and separate fact from fiction. Not all travel hacks are created equal, and some may not live up to their promises.


In this article, we explored various travel hacks across different aspects of travel, from packing to sightseeing. We debunked misconceptions and highlighted hacks that may not work as well as they claim. The key takeaway is to be selective and discerning when implementing travel hacks, considering their practicality, effectiveness, and impact on your overall travel experience.


While there are certainly valuable and proven travel tips out there, it’s crucial to understand that each journey and destination is unique. What works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to consider your own preferences, needs, and the specific context of your travel to determine which hacks are worth implementing and which ones are not.


Ultimately, the goal is to have a smooth, enjoyable, and memorable travel experience. This can be achieved by prioritizing comfort, safety, and authenticity throughout your journey. Embrace the spirit of adventure, be open to new experiences, and don’t be afraid to deviate from the typical travel hacks in pursuit of the unexpected.


By staying informed, being adaptable, and using common sense, you can make the most of your travels and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. So, go out there and explore the world, armed with the knowledge to choose travel hacks wisely and navigate the beautiful complexities of travel with confidence.