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.
On one of our Etihad business class flights, from Amman to Abu Dhabi, our flight was pretty empty. In fact, there was only one more person in the business class cabin and only about 15 more people in economy. Despite this, they pulled up a business class bus to whisk us off to the terminal, while the economy passengers waited. Having been on the other side of the curtain more often than not, I find this to be a little excessive. But it is one of the Etihad business class perks I guess.
Hits the nail on the head on so many points. This brings back many memories of our travels, like when we packed too much and wanted to kill each other since we were both so miserable with our heavy bags. And the time we had to give up on the hostel in Morocco and paid for a pool day pass at the Sofitel. We felt like we were cheating, but in the end, we needed the rejuvenation. Always love your posts, thanks for the inspiration and congrats on all the years of traveling together!
When you travel, you’re in the sun more than most people thanks to months of island hopping and beach time, and entire days spent outside exploring. Wear sunscreen every single day, regardless of the weather and temperature, because you really don’t want your trip of a lifetime to result in skin cancer. Plus, it prevents premature ageing! I wear sunscreen every day, even in the middle of winter.
Great list of travel tips Dave and Deb. I would like to recommend to fellow travelers to book in very last minute, ideally on the day when you travel, to get the best rates. Most hotels and hostels are willing to give you half rate or even better price just to not have a free room (which does bring them exactly 0). I booked couple of rooms for just $1 with this method on my trip to Japan!
I love your suggestions, but I want to strongly caution against #73. I’m a retired chemist from the pharmaceutical industry, and I can tell you that prescription drugs sold in blister packs are that way for a very good reason; not simply because pharma likes higher manufacturing and shipping costs. They are that way because the drugs require them for stability, generally because of moisture, UV, or even atmospheric oxygen. Best case, they lose potency. Worst case, they create toxic degradation products. I personally take drugs out of the box, but not the blisters, and store them where they won’t get a lot of light and heat.
I am particular about having my toiletries organized and in one place. So, I was excited to find the "Hanging multi pocket cosmetic bag" from The Container Store. The hanging hook is the key to the product. It's great to bring to budget hotels that may not have much sink space. I can hang it on a lamp or on the door, and have my shampoo, perfume, makeup, cotton balls, etc. in one place. This is a travel essential must have!
Trying to make a tight connection between flights is a surefire way to add unnecessary stress (and a possible missed flight) to your journey. And you can't always count on airlines for guidance; their recommended connection-time minimums often leave frequent travelers wondering how anyone could possibly get to another flight in the suggested amount of time.
Each of the California Welcome Centers scattered throughout the state are staffed with personal travel concierges. These knowledgeable experts are ready to provide information that will enhance and enrich your visit including suggestions on where to eat, what to see, and where to stay. Welcome Centers also offer free maps and brochures on local attractions and things to see and do.
No-where did we find this more frustrating than in Cambodia. Like a lot of countries, Cambodia is quite cheap to travel when compared to Western countries, but are they still largely dependent on using the US Dollar, with the Riel only used for very small transactions. However, all the ATMs seem to be loaded with $100 bills, and don’t charge a % fee, they charge by transaction! This means it makes sense to get larger sums out, to avoid being charged multiple transaction fees.
This is a no-brainer, but it's something that many travelers don't think to do. If you missed the cancellation window for your hotel, restaurant, or car booking but can still change the reservation date free of charge, move your reservation back by several weeks or months. Then call back to cancel with a different representative. Sneaky? Sure. But it works, and you'll never get stuck with a lousy cancellation fee again.
Seriously. If you do only one thing before you leave, make it getting travel insurance. I’ve heard far too many horror stories of travellers injuring themselves in remote places and ending up in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you, because you know those travellers they thought that, too. I use World Nomads for my travel insurance provider and I’ve been really happy with them.
To maximize my business travel, I fly in meeting-suitable attire to avoid lost baggage disasters, and I strive to spend the night close to the next day’s meeting to limit traffic problems. A short confirmation text the night before a meeting or first thing in the morning has often avoided mistakes on the exact meeting location or time of the meeting. I pack in color schemes that will all match with one pair of dress shoes (worn on the plane if flying). Being mindful and treating all service people as real people and not objects has been the most helpful habit. I believe I get better treatment and more help when I have a problem, and it keeps me in a happier mindset too.

Whereas reserving a premium, high-quality car can cost you an arm and a leg, if one of these vehicles is available when you go to pick up what you do reserve, you stand a chance at snagging one for a much lower price. Simply ask if one of these upgrades is available, and come ready to negotiate. (It helps here again to flash that smile and be nice). Travel expert Eric Rosen also recommends being savvy when it comes to paying for car insurance, as many credit card companies include coverage already. “In my case,” he writes, “3 of my credit card companies offer this little perk which saved me $200.”
Want to speed through security? Want the desk clerk to give you a great room? Want the waiter to let you linger over your client lunch? Be nice. It's amazing how much more you can get accomplished on a biz trip if you are simply nice and polite to everyone you meet. Stuck in a line...happily share about your business. If you're enthusiastic, pleasant and open, you can turn line-ups and flights into relaxation time and "gentle touch" networking. A pocket full of biz cards is fine; a smile is better.
Once you know your travel dates, look for networking opportunities at your destination. Check events around the area and find a way to squeeze one into your schedule, if possible. You might want to consider extending another day if it also results in a lower airplane fare while acquiring new leads. Always be ready by having extra business cards on hand. If you don’t know where to start checking, Skyline listed tips on how to find business networking events in every destination
This rip-off is especially noxious because it is based on a lie—that the fuel surcharge somehow isn't part of the regular fare. How bad it is? Recently, British Airways posted a round-trip from Boston to London with a base fare of $208, plus $230 in government/airport/security taxes and fees and a $458 "carrier imposed" (read: "fuel") surcharge. Ridiculous!

A business trip is not a holiday. You will be expected to be on your game at the drop of a hat, so this is perhaps the worst time to disrupt your regular diet. Rather than turning to comfort foods, consider a healthy comfort meal that you can eat – as sad as it may sound – as frequently as possible, especially when traveling abroad. The best way to minimize stress on your body and disruptions to your routine is going to be keeping your meals simple and healthy. While some companies provide business travelers with prepaid meal cards for healthier restaurant chains, if you are one of those on your own with the company card:

Longing for a long-distance getaway but don't have a passport? You can still jet off to a faraway island overseas. Consider Puerto Rico, officially an unincorporated territory of the United States; the U.S. Virgin Islands, mere minutes from Puerto Rico by plane; Northern Mariana Islands, a collection of Micronesian islands governed by the United States since the Battle of Saipan in 1944; Guam, which is home to a heavy U.S. military presence; and American Samoa, a collection of five volcanic islands and two atolls between Fiji and the Cook Islands.
For us, that's Aeroplan. Recently, we bought tickets to Palm Springs and we made sure to purchase tickets on Air Canada. Now, when we fly, we'll automatically earn miles towards future travel. This saves us a lot of money each year because we can use our Aeroplan miles towards airline tickets or hotels. It really saves us a lot by picking a preferred airline and flying with them as much as possible.
The Bundle Approach: This ingenious method of packing, which we learned from Judith Guilford, co-founder of the Easy Going travel store and author of The Packing Book, has now become our favorite. It’s a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, but we’ll do our best. You need luggage that opens up and lies flat to do this. You will also need a flat, soft, pouch-like rectangular “core” with dimensions that are at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your luggage compartment. This can be a pouch filled with underwear or something similar.

So many travellers preach that it’s all about experiences not possessions, but you know what? Sometimes possessions can offer beautiful reminders of the experiences you’ve had. I only started buying souvenirs from every country I visited in the last year, and I wish I’d been doing so from the start of my trip. And if you’re worried about space in your backpack, just mail them off to a friend or family once you’ve bought them and your pack will be none the heavier. My friend Jaime collects magnets from every place he visits and I’m so jealous of his collection!
“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).”
This is all such great advice — thanks for sharing! My partner and I have been traveling full time for the past couple years, and we’ve found ourselves falling into these mistakes every now and again. We always take the time to reflect on each trip to pick out ways we can make our experience better (and the experience of people around us). You’re right about traveling with someone requiring compromise, and your advice to just relax every now and then couldn’t be better! Always being “on” can so easily prevent you from truly experiencing something. Thanks for this great post!

Sitting in an airplane seat is hard on your body. If you're not moving and stretching at regular intervals in-flight, you're putting yourself at risk. Opt to remain in your seat for hours at a time and you'll likely arrive with the aches and pains of tight muscles. More seriously, people who sit still for long periods have a higher likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which a blood clot forms, usually in the leg.
This rip-off is especially noxious because it is based on a lie—that the fuel surcharge somehow isn't part of the regular fare. How bad it is? Recently, British Airways posted a round-trip from Boston to London with a base fare of $208, plus $230 in government/airport/security taxes and fees and a $458 "carrier imposed" (read: "fuel") surcharge. Ridiculous!
The single biggest difference in my travels is seeking out local food. A lot of people go to a destination looking for a deal on fine dining or experiencing a famous Michelin restaurant. That is absolutely fine, but it's also where you'll dine with other tourists and not get a sense of how locals really live. Food is a great way to begin a conversation about history, politics and family values in a way that isn't intrusive or rude.

“You’ll likely need to wash your clothes at some point, and carrying around a big bottle of Downy or Tide isn’t even enjoyable when you’re not toting your belongings on your back. My suggestion? Bring a ziplock baggie of powder detergent, and extra gallon size ziplock baggies (these come in handy in more ways than you can imagine). If you find yourself sans-washing machine, you can make your own by stuffing water/laundry/soap into the bag and giving it a little (okay, a lot of) shake. Rinse in water and voila: clean clothes. Easy peezy, fresh and breezy!”
Traveling with kids like us? Then spend more time in fewer places. Don’t try and go everywhere and do everything – that’s a recipe for burnout and blowing your budget! Instead of racing from one end of a country to another, or tearing through 6 countries in 6 weeks, slow down and take more in. Constantly having to pack and unpack, spend time searching for flights and accommodation and transport, and deal with different time zones, currency changes, and even visa issues can be exhausting.

There have been so many times when I’ve been too shy to ask someone to take my photo in a place and I’ve almost always regretted it. After five years of travel, I probably only have around 200 photos of me around the world. Photos of the beautiful places you visit are great and all, but when you get home, they’re not all that different to the ones everyone else has taken there, too. Photos with you in them are special and they’ll come to mean a lot more.


The single biggest difference in my travels is seeking out local food. A lot of people go to a destination looking for a deal on fine dining or experiencing a famous Michelin restaurant. That is absolutely fine, but it's also where you'll dine with other tourists and not get a sense of how locals really live. Food is a great way to begin a conversation about history, politics and family values in a way that isn't intrusive or rude.
Everyone aspires to pack light. Some travelers are successful, others can’t help but bring everything and the kitchen sink. Here on our blog, packing light tips are the most popular posts. Even veteran light packers like Jeremy and I are always open to new ideas. Packing light is a process, not a goal. We can always get better. So we asked our favorite travel writers, speakers, designers, and CEOs, “What’s your best, non-obvious tip for packing light?“

Based on no scientific data (but plenty of anecdotal proof), we're sure shaving cream is the most-forgotten toiletry in the travel tool kit. Man or woman, you're likely going to need to shave at some point on any trip, so finding yourself without can be problematic. Worse, most hotels don't offer shaving cream in their repertoire of free items. But hair conditioner, which comes standard with nearly all hotel rooms, makes a perfectly acceptable substitute. And it has the added benefit of being moisturizing, so you can be smooth and supple in one easy step.


Making sure that you don’t lose good business opportunities any time you are traveling is key. While in Nepal, I had to rely on a local coffee shop for a decent connection, as the wi-fi at my hotel was practically not working. It was annoying. I wish I had listened to those who had suggested how to prepare for business trips and said to take a portable wifi device.
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