Ziplock Bag on Car Mirror (and 3 Other Viral Travel Hacks That Work)

wing mirror reflecting snowy mountains - ziploc bag on car mirror and 3 other viral travel hacks that work

Trendy travel hacks pop up so often that they begin to blur together after a while. While lots of these “hacks” are nothing but clickbait, sometimes real, actual good travel ideas from real people who aren’t on the internet to sell you something pop up amongst the rubbish.

In the spirit of helping folks sort out the gems from the garbage, I waded into the trash heap that is viral internet travel hacks and pulled 4 actual ideas that might be genuinely useful to you. Here they are:

Why Put a Ziplock Bag on a Car Mirror?

This question is one that’s popped up a lot of over the past few years. It became so popular on clickbait sites that Snopes did a fact check on whether putting a bag on your mirrors does anything at all. Turns out it does. It keeps the frost off your side mirrors.

Obviously, then, this hack is of limited usefulness. But if you do a lot of winter car travel, this would definitely save you time and aggravation in the mornings, especially if you tend to leave in a rush.

You might also have seen articles with titles like “Why Put Ziplock Bag on Car Mirror When Traveling Alone?” I dug into that, too, but that question remains a mystery. It’s never made clear why it would be an especially good idea not to have frost on your mirrors while alone. The titles imply an extra layer of danger, but the danger remains unspecified…

Can You Just Stuff a Pillowcase with Clothes to Avoid Extra Baggage Fees?

This trend comes to us courtesy of Tiktok user Anya Iakovlieva (@nolimitua), who fills a zippable pillowcase with clothes instead of a pillow when she travels. This lets her pack a few extra items without worrying about the weight of her carry-on luggage.

As she explains, the pillow “flies for free.” It doesn’t count as carry-on and no one is likely to check what the pillow is stuffed with. Airlines might start now that every traveller has cottoned on to this trick, but then again, I would eat my hat if Iakovlieva was the first person to have tried this out. 

There are many reports from commenters that they’ve since tried the trick with great success. One commenter even added some extra punch to this hack by suggesting travellers vacuum seal a bag of clothing and stuff it in the pillow, which would create even more space.

This isn’t just budget-friendly—it’s practical. A few extra clothes can go a long way if luggage gets lost, so if you try this, make sure you pack a few sets of clothes and not just 12 cute t-shirts.

Many airlines are sure to count a pillow as a personal item, so consider that if you try this. And there’s a risk, of course, that someone from the airline or from security would have an issue with the pillow and ask you to check it, which wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Can You Waterproof Your Gear with Beeswax?

backpacks on ground in front of hills - ziplock bag on car mirror and 3 other viral travel hacks that work

It almost seems too good to be true that you could use a simple, natural product to waterproof everything from leather shoes to a canvas tarp to a nylon backpack, but this hack is true. 

Results will vary depending on the material you’re working with. A smooth material like leather will absorb beeswax best, but rougher materials should still at least resist water if you’ve properly applied the wax.

Charlotte Anderson of Carolina Honeybees says the trick is to warm up whatever you’re hoping to waterproof, in addition to melting the beeswax. Warming up your gear will help the beeswax to penetrate the material, rather than just sitting on top. Needless to say, anything you try to waterproof should be clean and dry—otherwise, the beeswax won’t stick. 

Coat whatever you’re waterproofing with a cloth or a brush, rubbing the melted wax into the material. Really work the beeswax into seams, stitching and any place where the material has been perforated. 

Anderson suggests keeping a hairdryer or a heat gun on your material as you work so you can keep the wax melted until it’s all absorbed. As with any treatment, test out a small, hidden area first if you’re concerned about colour changes.

Should You Buy Airline Miles and Points for Flights Instead of Paying in Cash?

This question has been floating around for a while, with strong opinions on each side of the matter. While it turns out there is some merit to this way of buying flights, travellers should be aware that the circumstances in which you’ll end up saving money are limited.

JT Genter of Forbes breaks it down. He argues that it “rarely makes sense” to buy miles, but it might in some cases with last-minute flights and upgrades to business or first class. 

Genter explains that since airlines hike prices in the last week before a flight is scheduled to depart, the money you’d have to lay out for a ticket would be much more than you’d normally pay. However, airlines might offer award flights for much less than the cost of a cash ticket.

Ideally, he says, travellers would have enough points saved up that they could make the purchase that way, but it still might make financial sense to “top off your account with a purchase of miles and then redeem them right away for an award.”

Similarly, business or first-class tickets might cost much more to buy outright than it would to purchase the points you need to upgrade using your miles. Genter emphasizes, though, that there’s “almost always a better option than buying miles,” such as transferring points or going the old-fashioned route of using a credit card to earn those miles. 

It’s a great, detailed article and if you’re serious about travel miles, you should definitely read it.

So there we have it. 4 travel hacks with a bit of substance to them. I hope they save you a bit of time, a bit of money and/or a bit of trouble. Happy hacking!

Feature image: Saketh GarudaImage 1: S&B Vonlanthen

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