Some travel tricks can make your trip better. Others will save you money. But these travel hacks can get you out of a true jam—or even save your life.
Display vital health information on your phone
Certain smartphone apps let you display essential health information (such as severe allergies or medical conditions) right on your lock screen so doctors and first responders can see them even without your password or fingerprint. This is particularly useful for solo travelers who don’t have a companion to advocate for them. Such apps include the Health app on your iPhone and the Medical ID app for Android.
Stow money in your shoe
One ageless and deeply analog tactic to get you out of a jam is to keep a $100 bill (or the local equivalent) in your shoe.
While traveling through the Alps in the late ’80s — back when ATMs, train station ticket machines and weekend access to cash barely existed — I woke up on a Sunday morning at a border crossing and needed to purchase a new ticket for the country’s rail system. I didn’t have enough cash in my wallet to pay for it, they did not take credit cards, I had a flight the next day, and the border agents were not sympathetic. I was in trouble.
However, on the day before my trip started some 18 days prior, I had gone to my local bank, asked for a $100 bill, and put it in my shoe outside the bank. Without that bill, I was stuck at a remote border crossing with nowhere to stay, no money and no friends in sight. With it, I paid to continue traveling and made it to a bank the next day.
While it’s easier to get cash and pay with credit these days, this can still be a life-saving travel hack if your wallet is stolen and you’re left without your credit and debit cards. It’s best if the money is in the local currency, so when you first arrive in the country, take a bill from your initial ATM withdrawal and stash it.
Split up your valuables
If you’re traveling with a friend, don’t have one person carry all the critical stuff such as passports, credit cards, cash and hotel keys. If one person loses or is robbed of their wallet or purse, you don’t want to lose all the critical thin