The Best Time to Purchase Flights for Your 2019 Vacation

Planning a vacation can be tricky, not least because the prices of flights change constantly. Everyone has a different rule of thumb as to how far in advance to buy tickets, but it's definitely not a science. If you're hoping to get away sometime in 2019, though, the experts at Kayak have your back.

Kayak's 2019 Travel Hacker Guide is an online cheat sheet designed to help you figure out where to go in the upcoming year based on price, location, and the type of vacation you're interested in. Its most useful feature is the "When to Fly" section, which surfaces the best domestic and international travel deals organized by month. In January, for instance, there's still time to head to Osaka, Japan or Tampa, Florida, both of which have great discounts on flights right now. If you're still saving up your vacation days, May is a better time to head to Hawaii or Reykjavik. If you can wait until September, Cozumel, Mexico is the place to go on a discount flight.

When it comes to buying flights, how far ahead you want to book might depend on the region you're flying to. According to Kayak, if you're flying from the U.S. to somewhere else in North America or to the Caribbean, you should book a month in advance, while U.S. residents flying to Europe, the Middle East, or Asia should book six months out. Flights from the U.S. to Central America should ideally be booked three months before takeoff, while flights to the South Pacific should be booked four months ahead of time. Flights to Africa should be booked five months beforehand.

Expedia has previously recommended booking flights a minimum of 21 days in advance, and ideally booking the trip on a Sunday. Skyscanner, meanwhile, has reported that flights for the upcoming year tend to be cheapest within the first two weeks of January, so get planning. And if you end up regretting your purchase, be sure to check out our guide to getting your money back when switching flights.

Check out the rest of Kayak's travel-planning guide here.

Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.