DIY Holiday Travel Hacks


By Jess Goulart

Photo courtesy of Thomas Quine.

The air chills (thank you Polar Vortex 2.0), the sun sets early, and winking lights string the cities. No other time of year ignites the desire to be closer to loved ones quite so much as the winter months, and that’s a beautiful feeling.

Decidedly less beautiful is the amount of money people have to spend trying to get to said loved ones. With the Holidays fast approaching, we at BTR know every penny saved counts, and we’re here to help.

Below are our top 10 best makeshift travel videos that will keep dollars in your pocket–so you can spend them on hot chocolate or ice skate rentals!

Tourist Eraser

An essential trick for Holiday travel when destinations are at their most crowded states and you don’t want to pay a professional editor to take out pesky tourists from your precious photos. After you learn these erasing skills, you can tell your friends you were somehow the only person who thought to visit the NYC Rockefeller Christmas Tree this year.

Edible Water Bottle

Stay hydrated when you fly, but don’t spend $7 on an Evian. To make this homemade water bottle you need some chemical called Sodium Alginate, and another one called Calcium Lactate, but according to the narrator you can easily get those online (it mentions nothing of safety). The process requires a few fancy kitchen appliances, careful measuring, gentle stirring, and patience…

BUT, once that’s all done, you have water and a snack all in one! As a handy travel hack, empty this awesome water bottle BEFORE the security line, then refill it on the other side at a drinking fountain. Then eat it.

Straw Necklaces

Don’t destroy your jewelry and wind up buying new. Instead, pack it into straws to keep it straight! As an added bonus, grab some tape and scissors and make travel sized single use shampoo and conditioner. If you’re on a saving spree, you can go even further by always collecting the sample bathroom toiletries from every hotel you stay at.

Open A Bottle Of Wine With A Shoe

No need to purchase a corkscrew (or cups!), so long as you’re not wearing sandals.

Save Your Maps!

Don’t buy maps, but don’t get lost! Watch this video for making Google Maps work even when you don’t have an internet connection on your smartphone.

Get Your Tech Together

We travel with so much technology these days that organized storage is essential. Companies like Neatnix and Gridit offer ready-made solutions, but you’re craftier (and thriftier) than that. DIY this tech organizer for with a few cheap, simple materials.

Backpacking Pillow

If you buy this type of pillow at the camping store it will cost approximately one zillion dollars. If you make it yourself it can cost less than five.

Watercolor Kit

Travel inspires. Sometimes it even inspires us to paint. Now you can bring a set of watercolors with you wherever you go, using a simple Altoids case. And for a canvas? That’s for you to find on the road.

Travel Stove

Perfect for when you want to roast marshmallows on a snowy cabin deck–and out of a beer can no less! Just don’t try and start a bonfire party on a train. It is frowned upon.

Check the travel stove video out on Vimeo.

Don’t Pay For Your Airfare

Commit to this six minute video to find out how to fly completely for free, but be wary about the part where the flier Bryce warns you have to be able to manage your credit score extremely well. When you have 23 credit cards, insurmountable debt is just one trip to Vegas away.

For more cheap travel tips year round tune into BTR’s own Twenty-Something Traveler!