You can always spot the first-timers, hands subconsciously guarding their money belts, faces set to "suspicion", always trying to figure out what the scam is, who's trying to rip them off. It's hard when you first start out to spot the crooks from the friendly locals, so plenty of people just mistrust everyone. That's a mistake though. The vast majority of locals aren't out to get you. It can pay to trust them every now and then – you'll make a lot more friends.
This sunny region along the state’s southern coast is California’s most populated region, best known as the capital of the entertainment industry. Here, movie stars really do work in Hollywood, play in the surf at Malibu, and shop in Beverly Hills. Looping freeways make the car king, but the region also has a surprisingly good network of buses and light rail—a hassle-free way to explore.
When planning your next outing, it’s always best to recheck what others have to say about the place or accommodation you plan to stay at. I’ve been lucky to find great places to stay at most of the time and only one that turned out to be a bit smaller than expected. It’s always important to look at red flags. Yes, you look at the usual area, distance from attractions and transport, reviews, ratings, verified accounts, host rules, and all that. But also check for the average number of ratings the host accommodation has had before. Say, if you had 5 ratings with an average of 4 stars, it’s definitely better than 1 rating with 5-star.
California is made for road trips. An easy-to-navigate network of more than 50,000 miles of good-quality highways and freeways link just about every corner of the state, with secondary routes leading to even more under-the-radar finds. Some of these roads are famous—Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast, legendary Route 66, and Avenue of the Giants (Highway 101 winding through towering redwoods). Some are workhorses—most notably Interstates 5 and 80—getting drivers (and truckers) up and across the state as quickly as possible. But even these heavy-lifters can lead you to surprising destinations.
If you can afford to travel, you’re luckier than an enormous chunk of the world’s population. Be grateful that you were born in a country that’s safe and stable. Be grateful you have a passport that allows you to easily travel. Be grateful that you have your health. Be grateful you were able to get a job; that you had the ability to save up enough money to travel. Yes, you worked goddamn hard to get to this point, but you’re still unbelievably privileged. Never forget it.
Now, over the years, I’ve accumulated my fair share of packing wisdom, from the basic ‘no duhs’ to some unconventional gems of genius. Today, I’d like to share all of my best tips with you! While I’m still the world master of ‘panic packing’ (aka throwing all my stuff in a suitcase while sobbing), having these tips in mind often helps me hold things together. Without further ado, here are my golden essential tips for smart packing.
If you're traveling to a "regular" city and you're not taking clients out, a great way to save money is to get a gift card to a chain restaurant(s) you like. You save time, as you know the menu in advance and you potentially save money/hassles over unknown local options/hotel offerings. Of course, make sure that the chain exists where you're staying and this advice is for "regular" meals only - not trying local cuisine. This way, you can focus on business with one less distraction.
However, experts warn against passing up extremely cheap flights for the sake of accumulating points. Sometimes there are offers out there that really are too good to miss, and one ought to stay level-headed within the points game. The same goes for balancing frugality and practicality. The cheapest flight is often not the one that gets you from Point A to Point B the fastest, so it is important to know what makes sense for the trip at hand, or how much you can handle as a traveler. Although, it is beneficial to try to consolidate a trip into one or two airlines if possible (less distance to cover when running between gates!).
You may think you're in the clear for communicating if you're visiting another English-speaking country, but think again. Certain words could cause you embarrassment across the pond or down under. Avoid words like "pants" (it means "underwear" in the U.K.), "fanny" (slang for a part of the female anatomy, and we're not talking about the rear end), and "pissed" (hint: to the Brits and Irish, it doesn't mean you're angry).
"Let go of the idea that you have to take a different outfit for each day," advises Foster. "The key to packing light is selecting versatile and interchangeable pieces." Foster chooses her clothes by focusing on one basic color, such as black, white, brown or khaki, then adds variety with additional tops and accessories that have more color and personality. This approach allows you to pare down the number of garments you need while making it easy to change up your look with creative mixing and matching.
I always do carry-on luggage so there is no wait at the airport. I'm at my hotel by the time other travelers are just getting their luggage. And to do so, you must be a good packer. Clothes on the bottom; suits separated by plastic from the dry cleaners (so nothing wrinkles), shoes to match all outfits, toiletries on top. Pack clothes a day ahead and put something heavy on top to get the air out so you have room for even more.
Decades ago, before the Internet, one of the standard tips for travelers visiting Europe went this way: If you find you need to rent a car after you arrive in Europe, don't pay the high local rates. Instead, call the rental-car company's U.S. office and rent at the much lower rate quoted to U.S. travelers. Surprisingly, this recommendation is still valid. Book your car rental from a U.S. website to pay about half the local quote.
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth
Sure, you know how to book a hotel on your own because you’ve got a credit card and the Internet. But chances are you’re not booking a hotel as well or as cheaply as you could. Don’t feel bad about your amateur mistakes. All you need is a little instruction, and, well, a credit card and the Internet. To turn you from hotel amateur to hotel pro, we’ve probed the minds of lodging experts to hear their tips on saving the most money and maximizing every hotel stay you book. These are their essential hotel hacks.
Instead, an hour or two before leaving for the airport, I’ll take two pain relievers. I know from experience I’m almost certain to get a headache from dehydration, a neckache from carrying heavy bags or a stomachache from eating at strange hours. Of course, I try to avoid those possibilities, but an early dose of a pain reliever can help mitigate unnecessary suffering.
Most prepaid credit cards come with some surprising hidden fees, such as inactivity fees, reloading charges, monthly fees, activation fees, and so on. John Ulzheimer, CEO of SmartCredit.com, told CNNMoney, "Consumers need to realize that any insinuation that a prepaid card is less expensive than a debit card is false, and any claim that it will help you rebuild credit is just a lie."
I always thought money belts, neck wallets, and bra purses were for carrying “extra” cash or so you didn’t have to leave money behind in your room or lose it all if robbed. For example, I have $50 in my regular purse. If I spend all of it, when I have some privacy, I’ll pull $50 from my hidden stash in my bra purse (attaches to the strap or side of a bra) and put it in my purse. There are comfortable bands that can be strapped around the thigh. These aren’t meant to be accessed during transactions.
“I’m a firm believer that everything you need for a trip — whether it be three days or three weeks — should be able to be packed in a carry-on. This is simple once you master the art of layering your clothes. Choose a color combination for your attire and pack only pieces that match this so that you can mix, match and layer to create different looks (instead of packing completely separate outfits).”
Hotels hate having empty rooms, so if you can, wait until the last minute to book your stay to get the best rates. On the other hand, if you need to cancel your hotel reservation last minute and want to avoid a cancellation fee, you can often manipulate a small loophole by rescheduling for a later date (which is usually free), and then calling and requesting a cancellation through another representative.
If you disregard all other advice about carrying money when traveling, take this tip to heart: Whenever possible, divvy up your travel cash and even credit cards into multiple safe spots. If you've got all your money in one place, it only takes one time for a thief to totally wipe you out. You can even apply this idea when you're out and about by keeping some money attached to your person and some in a bag you carry. That way, if your bag gets lost or snatched, you'll still have enough to get to a police station or back to your hotel.
When I travel, I am often invited to stay with a local contact. I almost always accept the invitation. Staying in someone's home provides an opportunity to get to know them on a much more intimate personal level. Either I get a home-cooked meal or we eat at the best local restaurants. The closer connection allows for a deeper, more enduring relationship...or pretty fast clarity that it isn't a good match. In any case, it adds an interesting angle to the trip. (The photo is from a recent business trip.)
On average, travelers save about 30 to 40 percent when booking a vacation rental versus a comparable hotel. So in most cases you're already ahead of the game when you sit down to haggle over price. That's right, haggle. Property owners may not advertise that prices are negotiable, but often they are; and if not price, then at least the length-of-stay requirement may be flexible. A property may say it requires a week's stay, or a Sunday arrival, or any number of other rules. What this really means is the owner would prefer it. It can't hurt to ask, politely, if there's room for negotiation.
Carry-on vs Checking Luggage: Business travelers tend to prefer to carry-on only, especially for shorter trips. This reduces the change of lost luggage and saves time when you arrive. Some frequent travelers hate lugging luggage through the airport and always check a bag. Personally, I think carry-on the way to go, even for long trips. If you are traveling for more than five days, plan on getting your dry cleaning done at your hotel or locally to save luggage space.
Main thing that i have to add in this list is How do you usually organise all of your electronics, cables, those fiddly bits that take you ages to dig out at security? Stuff them in like the rest of us? Well, if you want to organise your packing then get yourself a stash of ziplock bags. Phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones – take extra plastic bags (the same ones you’d use for hand luggage liquids) and use them to store electrical items, things for the journey home (house keys, parking ticket and car keys), medication and other loose accessories..