This is always my number-one travel tip -- there are just so many benefits and so few downsides to taking less stuff with you when you travel. When we first set off on our travels, we maxed out the full baggage allowance, and it slowed us down. Carrying so much also caused various types of pain and annoyance: actual physical back pain, the irritation of having to lug around a whole lot of not-so-useful gear, the difficulty of finding somewhere to store our stuff on transit days.
When in doubt, technology can help you out big time here. Apps like FitStar, Daily Burn, and Yoga Studio can help you put together your own personal workout. However, what more and more business travelers are turning to are digital fitness trackers like Fitbit. These work not only like pedometers, but actually keep track of when you step, and encourage you to take a short walk or do some light exercise after long periods of immobility.
Before you decide to visit anywhere out of season, it’s important to do some research. Many destinations in Asia have dry and rainy seasons, but overall the rainy seasons aren’t too bad – with just a few hours of rain a day. If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t be put off by visiting out of season. If there are other reasons, you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s worth saving money to visit at this time. As long as you’re happy going out of season then you’ll have the added bonus of fewer tourists too – so it really is a win-win situation!
Similar to the chauffeur service, I have often seen spa services offered at business class lounges. We experienced this for the first time during a lengthy layover in Abu Dhabi. I figured I had the time to make the most of a business class flight, so why not. After grabbing a snack and checking email, I booked a free mini foot massage. It was only 15 minutes, but it was well worth it. My feet ended up being a bit oily from the massage, but no worries. I was able to remedy that quickly.
We’ve all experienced hotel letdown. You arrive at what you thought would be a majestic place to stay, only to be assigned a corner room on the first floor, with a view of the parking lot and the faint scent of cigarettes in the air. Pro tip: This is why you should pretty much ALWAYS ask to switch hotel rooms after seeing the first one you’re offered. Oftentimes, the second room you’re assigned (or third, or fourth if you’re the daring sort) is much, much better than the first. All it takes is a gentle inquiry to land something spectacular, even when it’s not what the front desk initially prescribed.
Resorts: Certain parts of the state—the Deserts region, coastal communities, mountain resort towns—are renowned for five-star retreats, with many championship golf courses and tennis complexes, spectacular swimming pools, destination restaurants, and elegant spas (often open to the public). California’s celebrated wine regions also have ultra-luxe retreats, with romantic settings, unparalleled farm-to-table cuisine, and, of course, incredible wine lists. Many resorts also offer special activities for kids, like movie-and-popcorn nights, so parents can enjoy time alone while their children have experienced childcare. Weddings and reunions can book private event spaces and exclusive catering services. For top resorts statewide, check California Welcome Centers and local tourism agencies.
Your best bet for flexibility in these areas comes if you book your stay during the shoulder season when the owner might simply be pleased to fill an otherwise-open weekend or midweek-to-midweek slot. The additional savings in that case might be on your flights to and from your destination, because you won't be paying exorbitant weekend fares to get there and back.
Remember: Liquids, aerosols and gels that you carry on the plane must be in containers of 3.4 ounces or less and all fit in one 1-quart-sized bag. Need to swap your regular toiletries for ones that come in travel-friendly portions? "Sephora.com offers a whole section on their website dedicated to Airplane Approved Beauty," notes frequent traveler Kristin Grilli with Green Earth Media Group. Or transfer a favorite full-size beauty product into a reusable travel-size container: Nalgene offers a line of lightweight, unbreakable polypropylene travel-size containers.
Now, remember, we skipped the cocktail in the airport. We’re going to skip it again now. Traveling, especially onboard airplanes, can be extremely dehydrating. So, to put it one way, it’s best to not “drink and fly,” unless what you’re drinking is water. The air itself on the plane is also quite dry, so beyond hydrating, many travelers opt to bring moisturizers, eye-drops, and lip balms as well.
To further safeguard success, the pros also recommend a go-to packing ritual. Investing in a sturdy carry-on-sized piece of luggage will be crucial to this. To check baggage is to leave a great deal to chance – something a business traveler ought never to do. While you can protect yourself from certain hold-ups by doing some research and packing in accordance with airline-specific security guidelines, a good business traveler must be prepared for delays, and keep what they may need at a presentation or meeting in their carry-on bag at all costs, in case they need to go straight there from the airport. They must also be prepared for particularly high or low-tech circumstances at their destination, and carry the proper cables, connectors, and adapters for each. To ensure that he or she come off as professionally as possible, a good business traveler must be prepared for virtually anything, and having a set of dependable items that always come along will help greatly with damage control.
Good news, globetrotters: Traveling a ton doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you’re wondering how to pack efficiently, find the cheapest flight or score major hotel deals, you’ll love this ultimate travel hack list for explorers. Say sayonara to those pre-travel jitters, because your jet-setting ways just got way easier. You can thank us later.
"Packing in a soft-sided weekender or duffel gives you the flexibility (literally!) to shape your bag to what you're packing instead of the other way around. My canvas overnighter takes on a different shape depending on what I need it to hold and will squish, even when packed almost beyond its means, into spaces a hard-sided roller bag just won't go. I hope my current bag will last forever but I'm eyeing this simple weekender from Makr as its eventual replacement." — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor
Packing is pivotal. Forget an essential item and you're left disappointed and scrambling to find the nearest store in your destination. Pack too much and you end up disorganized, burdened with heavy bags, and hemorrhaging money to pay for pricey airline baggage fees. So we thought it best to revisit the most basic—and most useful—packing rules. Here are 10 fundamental packing strategies that every traveler should learn.
Spice up a basic outfit with compact accessories, such as belts,jewelry and scarves. These suitcase space-savers add instant color and can easily take an outfit from day to night. Kelly Vrtis, an organizational travel spokeswoman for The Container Store relies on a lightweight Pashmina shawl as her go-to accessory while traveling. "You can use it over the shoulder, around your elbows or even wear it as a scarf."
Even if you aren’t headed to a beachside city or major metropolis, work trips don’t have to be total snooze-fests. Every destination, no matter how small, has something to keep you and your co-workers entertained. Find the local hot spots using TripAdvisor and Fodor's, or search by city on the Food Network website for restaurants featured on shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. At the very least, you'll avoid an overpriced meal at a mediocre chain restaurant, and you may even become the office hero for discovering that the sleepy southern city you're visiting is home to the world's best hickory-smoked ribs.
My advice is never to watch a movie on an airplane. By that, I mean to make the most of travel time to work on projects or business-related tasks. An airplane is a great place to get work done because you’re stuck in one spot for an extended period with few options for how to spend it. You literally have people waiting on you! Without the regular distractions of being a workplace, you can get a lot accomplished, especially work that requires deep thought like strategizing or writing. Plan out what you’re going to work on beforehand, so you have any materials you need and aren’t distracted by in-flight entertainment.
Figuring out the airlines' tricky and befuddling baggage-fee policies is key to any budget-minded packing strategy. While most airlines permit travelers to check at least one bag on international flights, the majority of U.S. carriers charge big bucks for bags checked on domestic flights. Spirit Airlines—that notoriously customer-unfriendly discounter—even charges as much as $100 for carry-on bags.
No trick here - use a credit card that gives rewards for your favorite hotel chain and you can sleep and eat (breakfast) for free. We use our Marriott and Hilton credit cards for lots of business expenses and average around 24 free night stays each year - that's about $4500 worth of Residence Inn, Hampton Inn and breakfasts for two. Better still, use the cards to pay for business expenses and the rewards for personal trips. Pay yourself to take a long weekend off!
Are you lured by clever commercials that promise 4 star accommodations for the cost of a 1 star? Consider this: Booking directly with a hotel or chain has far more value than a quick fix. Here's why: Generally, hotels will not take your money until you show up. If you no-show or cancel, they will take only 1 night's cost, no hassle changes can be made to your reservation, and their website always has to have a better deal than what you can get from those 3rd party 'tempters'. Choose wisely!
Whether it’s that steamy romance novel, thrilling sci-fi, or a dog-eared travel guide, download it before your trip. Even if at home you’re a paper-til-I-die sort, save the space and weight for your holiday. And don’t count on wi-fi to jump back into the story from your perfectly positioned beach chair. Make sure it’s on a water-resistent covered device (check out Otterbox for some serious protection for your cherished e-reader, phone or tablet).