Want to improve your travel experiences? British writer Paul Oswell lives in New Orleans and he travels so frequently that he started to notice holidaymakers’ behavioural patterns and travel company practices. His observations have helped him write a book, Essential Travel Hacks, full of time and money saving tips.

Paul found lots of suggestions online but felt it would be useful to put all of the advice together in one book. There are ten chapters covering topics including booking, air travel, camping, skiing, cruises, theme parks and how to make your hotel room more comfortable. I asked him how you could ‘hack’ your hotel room?

“One of my favourite ones works well if you are staying with children. If you’re eating food inside the hotel room you can turn the ironing board into a makeshift table to hold the plates. There’s no need to book a suite.” Paul also has a tip for ensuring you get a darkened room. “If the hotel curtains aren’t great you can take bulldog clips with you which can hold the fabric together to stop light getting in.”

Paul has given each tip or hack he has uncovered a star rating. One star represents well-known advice. If there are more stars then its more likely that you’re learning something new. His theme park tips range across that rating spectrum. “Most are fairly obvious, like not going during a school holiday if possible. Visit during the week rather than the weekends,” he says. “But also going early, and starting at the far end of the theme park then working your way back to the entrance, rather than following the crowds, can make a difference. You basically stack the odds a tiny bit in your favour. Just think one step ahead of the crowd,” he advises.

Paul has a favourite tip, which he uses regularly when he’s booking flights for himself and his girlfriend. “To increase your odds of having more room, we book seats which are in the window and aisle positions of a three-seat row. That seems to reduce the chance of somebody booking the middle seat as most people travel with someone. If they do book the middle seat, if you ask them to swap they’ll most likely agree to switch because it’s polite.”

Essential Travel Hacks is available on Amazon.

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