7 Jun 2023DisruptorsWhy are people trying to hack their summer holidays?

Tight budgets are forcing people to think outside of the box to make savings when they travel this summer and beyond. Thankfully, TikTok is awash with people sharing their best travel hacks, from delightfully simple yet sneaky packing techniques to truly brazen money-saving tactics.

Alex StrangAlex Strang is a senior insight editor at Canvas8 who used to be in a punk band that was signed, shaped, and spat out. He enjoys using his experience of being the product to help brands understand how to sell theirs. After studying philosophy and critical theory, he found his feet in the market research world and has been over-analysing consumer behaviour ever since, including his own. He can usually be found playing board games, watching Seinfeld, or trying too hard to make his daughter laugh.

Summer is coming and that means it's time to get away from it all – soaring utility bills, panic-inducing inflation levels, and budgets being stretched beyond their means. But with the cost of living crisis in full swing, and people still hankering to jet off to distant places and forget their worries, how are people approaching travel when it comes to budgeting and experiences?

Well, they're hacking it. Taking matters into their own hands and trying to beat the system one step at a time, 2023's travellers are making their money go further than ever before thanks to a proliferation of tips and tricks online that mean corners can be cut, prices can be slashed, and baggage limits laughed at.

TikTok is awash with travel hacks; #travelhacks has over 3.2 billion views on the platform. While some of them are just straight-up terrible – spoiler alert: wearing all your clothes on a train or plane to avoid baggage fees is not going to work – some of them are utterly brilliant.

From in-depth tutorials on how to use Google Flights to snag the best deals, to mind-blowing videos that show you how to pack a pillowcase full of clothes and take it on the plane to avoid extra baggage fees, people are actively challenging the conventional boundaries put in place by the travel industry.

While these hacks might seem at worst insane and at best pretty useful, they’re representative of an overarching change in the way that people are thinking about travel. Just because people’s budgets are smaller than they have been, doesn't mean their desire to travel is diminishing – it just means they’re approaching it differently.

In the US, people are expecting to take an average of 3.5 leisure trips in 2023, up from 2.9 in 2022 – and this is despite flight prices being as much as 32% more year on year. Statistics also show that despite 45% of people in the UK being faced with higher costs when travelling than expected, they’re still looking to get away – albeit more cautiously.

Like most things on TikTok, #travelhacks could easily be dismissed as clickbait-y content created for attention. But amid the cost of living crisis, people are adjusting their behaviours to maintain a lifestyle that they've become used to and don't want to give up.

Travel hacks give people a sense that they’re winning, that they’re beating the system – in a world that all too often feels to be geared against the individual, finding hacks that can save time, money, and stress is going become increasingly popular – particularly in industries that feel like they’re becoming exclusionary as prices soar.

Small adjustments, slightly different choices, and ways to game the system are being embraced not only in the travel sector but across industries as people attempt to optimise and recession-proof the things that they enjoy doing in life, even if that means stuffing half their clothes into a pillow before a flight.