Nicknamed “California’s backbone,” this region of towering granite peaks defines much of the state’s eastern boundary. Visit Yosemite Valley, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, and the giant trees of Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks—all within a day’s drive of either San Francisco or L.A. In winter, enjoy snow sports; in summer, go hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or boating.

If looming baggage costs and stronger airport security measures have you in a tizzy, you're not alone. Things we once took for granted when flying, such as complimentary beverages and checked luggage, are fading fast. Most U.S. airlines charge at least $25 to check a bag, and some even charge for carry-ons exceeding backpack-size—but there's no need to panic. Learning how to pack efficiently is the key to lightening your load (but not your wallet). Here, our travel experts share their tips to streamline your packing for a stress-free vacation.
Prepare a digital backup in case your identification gets lost or stolen. With your camera phone, take a photo of your passport or driver's license and email the photo to yourself. You might also want to take a photo of the contents of your checked bag, which may come in handy if the airline loses your luggage. (Use the photo to help document your missing belongings when filling out a claim form.) Throughout your trip, take advantage of the camera on your phone and snap photos of anything that might serve as a helpful reminder, from your airport parking-lot spot to your hotel-room number.
I would definetely prefer an aisle seat on International flights, I frequently use the bathroom and it could be a little bit uncomfortable to bother other people while I´m on the window seat, plus on long flights I go to my hand luggage very frequently, to take out a book, to put it back, to take some slippers, to take them out, etc… I´m such a mess hehe…
I do a lot of back-to-back business travel. To save time, I keep my suitcase partially packed - with a full toiletries kit, basic jewelry, makeup bag, snacks, heels, notebook, pens and business cards always. When I get back from one trip, I repack the basics - pajamas, under-things. Then, I just have to top it off with some business clothes and I'm out the door every time.
Business trips are complex, and a lot can go wrong. The single best thing you can do is create a strict itinerary of meetings, transportation, and other logistics. Follow up with associations and transportation companies you are working with. Make sure that they are set and ready for the predetermined arrangements. It’s a simple and effective tactic. Create a solid itinerary to reduce waste and make the trip hyper-efficient. A set schedule will eliminate unproductive gaps in time and will give the employee a clear vision of what needs to get done. Soft arrangements in the schedule can be disastrous for the ROI of the trip. Cancellations can be used for something else. This is actually very common. Companies will make soft arrangements for business trips and oftentimes these arrangements are canceled. This is why you have to schedule well and follow up on all plans and arrangements.
They know about everything going on in town. They can point you to free activities, special events happening during your stay, and everything in between. They even offer discounts on attractions and transportation. It is their job to help you experience the destination better. It’s amazing how many travelers skip this when they are visiting somewhere but, as a savvy traveler, you know to use this resource! This is probably one of the most underused travel tips in the world. Use the tourism board! Save money!
The best business traveler knows how to pack both the absolute minimum and everything he or she could possibly need. The basic key to this is remembering the purpose of the trip: business. A pro business traveler packs his or her personal items efficiently and packs a disaster kit for business because being shy that one adapter or not bringing a flash drive can cost one a deal.
“When there are problems with the flight, most people start out annoyed or even hostile. If I tell the agents what a great job they’re doing and how I admire their patience, they'll often go to extraordinary lengths for me,” says motivational speaker Barry Maher. “I once had a gate agent spend 45 minutes to get me rebooked on another airline. Then she called the gate, grabbed one of my carry-ons and ran with me to security. When I got to the gate, the agent bumped me into first class.”
When possible, even on business trips, I try to avoid hotels and stay with a member of one of my homestay networks. I find the genuine contact and family atmosphere a welcome change from conference hotels. Yes, there's some transportation logistics, but generally, I find it worth the schlep across town to make new friends and get my batteries recharged.
As the TSA screening protocol has expanded, I've found small ways to save time during airport screening; I make sure that metal (watch, keys, change, phone, etc.) is in my computer bag - not on my person. And since airport requirements differ, I always assume the TSA will need to see my boarding pass a second time. Finally, for those wearing dress shoes through airport security, consider trading in your laces for a pair of slip-ons. You never know when you may need those two minutes you'll save.
Asking is the quickest way to get a discount but it’s also the quickest possible way to piss off an Airbnb host. This is what differentiates the pros from the newbies. My general policy as a host — which I’ve been doing since 2011 — is to turn away hagglers because it signals a problem guest. It’s still possible, though, to get a confirmed booking and save some money without irritating a host so much they end up declining a guest’s inquiry outright. The trick is learning how to do it delicately.
Work-Around: Theoretically, you can check ahead and find a place that doesn't charge. But finding out about the parking charge isn't always easy. In our experience, hotels sometimes don't show parking charges on their websites. The best solution is often to check the hotel listing on an OTA such as Expedia or Hotels.com, regardless of where you made the reservation, because those sites may offer additional information.
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.
Much of California has a Mediterranean-like climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. On the coast, the average daily high temperature hovers around 70°F/21°C and up), but can occasionally spike to 80°F 27° C or more on hottest summer days; freezing temperatures are rare, even in winter. The state’s legendary fog often hugs the coast from roughly Monterey north, usually during summer months; it often burns off by midday before rolling in again at dusk. Farther inland, summers are hot and dry, winters cool and wet, with occasional brilliant blue days and temperatures cold enough to freeze puddles on the ground, but not much more than that. At higher altitudes, the weather reflects more of a four-season cycle, with beautiful summers, striking fall color, and cold, snowy winters followed by snowmelt springs (waterfall season!).
What happens if you don't follow the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage? Attempt to bring a large bottle of shampoo or a full-size gel deodorant through the security line and the TSA will likely confiscate your stuff, holding you up in line in the process. So get familiar with the agency's rules: All liquids brought onto planes must be in 3.4-ounce bottles or smaller and inside a single, clear, quart-size zip-top bag.

Great list of tips! I do have to say that I have been very thankful in the past for a nearby McDonald’s. Years ago when I was not a very experienced traveler, I arrived on a train by myself in Munich. I don’t speak German beyond a very few basic phrases. The train station is large with numerous exit doors. I knew where I wanted to go but didn’t know which door to take that would put me in the right direction. After standing there indecisively for some time, I realized that I would simply have to select a door and go out. When I did exit, the sight of golden arches about 2-3 blocks away was most welcome. I knew that I could go there, order some coffee or perhaps something else breakfast-like and study my map to orient myself. It turned out that I had selected the best door to exit, but it was the ability to sit somewhere somewhat familiar that gave me the confidence to carry on with my travel plans. I agree with several other posters, too, that McDonald’s can be depended upon to have clean bathrooms, often the only ones available.
That said, remember that a work trip isn’t your own personal spring break. Even if you’re technically off the clock, after-hours events with your co-workers are not the time to ride the mechanical bull, challenge a local to a drinking contest, or re-enact your favorite scene from Coyote Ugly. What happens at the regional sales conference doesn't necessarily stay at the regional sales conference—and you don't want to run the risk of your bad behavior making it back to your boss. A good rule of thumb is not to drink more on a work trip than you would at any other business function.
I travel a lot for work, from Florida to Vegas to Ecuador, and I’m usually on a bus, train, boat or airplane! I visit trade shows, I speak at conferences, and I visit clients. The key to success when you are constantly traveling is organization. I have a written day planner where I can see my week at a glance, which helps me prepare my flights and schedule, as well as not overlap or miss any details.
8. Manage your money. If you plan on using your debit and credit cards, make sure to notify your bank in advance that you’ll be abroad, or you may find your card blocked for suspicious activity. Research beforehand where are the best spots to exchange your money into local currency as ATMs might be scarce in certain places. When out and about, always carry a small amount of cash with you.
If you've ever done a flexible airfare search, you know just how dramatically fares vary based on the day of the week. Choose your days wisely and you can save hundreds of dollars. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the least-popular travel days for domestic flights. For Europe flights, seats are in lower demand on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. So if you're looking for a deal, you might find that flying on these lower-demand days means better prices for you.

Work-Around: Theoretically, you can check ahead and find a place that doesn't charge. But finding out about the parking charge isn't always easy. In our experience, hotels sometimes don't show parking charges on their websites. The best solution is often to check the hotel listing on an OTA such as Expedia or Hotels.com, regardless of where you made the reservation, because those sites may offer additional information.
What great tips! I’ve been traveling for years and there is a learning curve for sure. I had a sharp learning curve when the kids arrived because boy are traveling things different when you take the littles! One tip that never changes no matter the group or your changing situation is your #25 “Tell your traveling partner how much you appreciate them. That is SO true. Being appreciative of your family makes all things better – good times, bad times and everything in between.
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.

When I decided to see if it was possible to visit the Maldives on a budget, information was so sparse that I couldn’t even find a photo of the islands I’d decided to visit. Well, that trip was one of my highlights of the past seven years and I’m so glad I went, despite not being able to find any information online. And the advantage to that lack of information was getting to be the only tourist on an entire island — I had the whole beach to myself!


I just recently discovered your blog and I want to thank you! This blog posting is the most helpful one I have read yet. On most of the other blogs that I have read, the tip are all very repetitive and not very descriptive. Many of your tips I have not heard of and are the kind that one would only figure out through pure experience. For someone with not that much experience traveling, but with a desire to do so soon I found all of these travel tips extremely helpful! Thank you!
Thanks Matthew, I’m a 65 Year old new Zealander and been travelling south America last 6 months aiming for world! I got sick in hospital Bolivia and just had accident falling down steps in Quito Ecuador Hostel, but been enjoying myself nevertheless! Insurance far too expensive someone my age, so have to risk travelling without it. I’m traveling on my fortnightly pension! Thanks for tips.
When we are on the road, speaking to groups about marketing, we have to bring our laptops and all the other cameras, wires and action guides and stuff that go with it. I have found that having a specific bag just for air travel trips (compared to driving) allows me to keep the weight and just as importantly, the excess stuff, from tagging along with me. It gets me through security much faster. As soon as we return from our marketing seminars, the first thing to do in the office is remove all the things we gathered along the way — most importantly, the sales forms and the business cards of entrepreneurs who need information about our business coaching programs. This is the best way to make sure that you don’t overlook an important sales lead.
At many hotels, check-in and checkout times are far from set in stone. Loyalty members often get the option of early check-in or late checkout, and sometimes hotels offer the option with certain packages or room types. And if you've got a late flight or just need a home base for a few more hours, it never hurts to call the front desk and ask. Often, the hotel will be happy to oblige.
Hello Lauren, great tips. thanks so much for sharing! I’ve been doing lots of searches as well for travel tips and your tips are very helpful. I’m not new in traveling, but end August I will be taking for the first time a 6 months trip and yes with a bag pack for the first time ha ha. I just lay out all the clothes that I want to bring with me. I still have to sort out what I actually need to avoid overpacking. Considering I’ll be traveling around in S.America where weather varies a lot from one country to another , packing is a little bit tricky I find. But you are right when in doubt do not bring them! I need to check out the solid shampoo and conditioner. i have dry shampoo as well but they only come in 200ml, was looking for something smaller. Will also check out HERE maps and make use of the camera on google translate! As you can see your post is really helpful! thanks a lot and keep sharing ;-)
This is why the group tours are popular, why people see things like "seven countries in 12 days" and think that that's a good thing. This is your big overseas trip and you want to see as much as possible – you want to tick as many boxes as you physically can. But that's a mistake. You have to trust that you'll travel again. Instead of trying to see everywhere at once, slow down, get to know one country, or maybe two, and your appetite will be whetted for a lifetime of similar adventures.
Let’s say you’re flying straight to Bangkok, where you’ve given yourself three days to see the main attractions. You can plan it all out, but you’ll most likely end up jetlagged and sleeping away a chunk of that time in the city. When you’re planning how long to stay in a place, take jetlag into account, as well as general travel fatigue. Remember you won’t want to be outside exploring for 12 hours a day every single day.
I have always searched for good business travel tips, and they used to be hard to come across. In my previous job as a human rights lawyer, I have had to attend many conferences that took me around the world. I admit it was the most pleasant part of my job, though admittedly business travel can be very stressful. Indeed, I was an avid traveler even before traveling became a lifestyle for me, and sure enough I always took advantage of conferences overseas to explore whichever place I had to go to.
Choosing lightweight suitcases not only makes it easier for you to get about, it also often gives you more space to pack. At 8.8 pounds, Eagle Creek's Hovercraft 25 features an expandable main compartment that adds an extra 15 percent capacity. If you're planning on doing lots of shopping during your trip, pack an extra travel tote or daypack that folds flat in your luggage—it can even double as a place to carry essentials on day outings and bring back your travel treasures on the flight back. Patagonia offers an extra-lightweight travel tote that you can hand-carry or wear as a backpack, then stuff into its own pocket when it's no longer needed.
I always say that a stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet, so I like talking to people in each of the airports I travel through, so I make sure I have enough business cards with me to give out. As a franchise broker, I see individual franchisees in every market and visit their stores, offices and so on. For example, I was recently visiting a Club Pilates franchise in Nashville. The next week, I was in Kansas City, so I visited St. Gregory Development Group, home of Club Pilates, Bishops Barber Shops, Local Barre and more. In Milwaukee, I hosted a franchise networking group. Prior to that evening meeting, I set up an office at the CBS affiliate, so I can hopefully “make a friend” out of a reporter or two while killing time ahead of the meeting.
One of the greatest aggravations when flying for work is getting to the airport late; well, when not checking bags, you can usually skip the lines at the counter and head straight to getting probed and prodded at security (after checking in online). Brought your company notebook and worried about it getting tossed about by the luggage handlers? You avoid that anxiety when you handle it yourself for the entire trip. Additionally, you have eyes on your bag for the whole trip, so you can rest (and fly) assured knowing that your bag won’t get misplaced en route.
Traveling is a fun activity but doing it repeatedly can eventually tire a traveler down. Because of this, many frequent travelers have realized the importance of preparing luggage that allows one to carry necessary travel items without compromising comfort. Much of the challenges come from identifying the trip, choosing and prioritizing the items that will be brought according to the trip, and finding the right packing technique to ensure that the luggage that will accompany the traveler will not cause any discomfort.
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.

Checking out is when you’re most likely to lose something. Whenever I check out of a place, I check the bathroom, I check under the beds, I check the desks, and then I make sure I have my passport, laptop, camera, money, phone, and external hard drive. I’ll be fine if I leave anything else behind. Having a routine that you go through every single time will help you keep track of everything. I learned my lesson with this one when I left my passport behind in a guesthouse in Bagan, then left it in an apartment in London two months later.

Travel is stressful when you’re worried about lost luggage or being late to a meeting, says Barbara DesChamps, author of It's In The Bag: The Complete Guide to Lightweight Travel. Bring only a carry-on, check in for your flight online and go straight to security at the airport. If you don’t check baggage, you won't have to wait for it when you land.
Travel with an unlocked smartphone and buy a local sim card with a data/internet package at your destination. Not only it is much cheaper than paying for data roaming from your mobile carrier back at home, but the service and internet speed is always better. With this, you can make local calls with VOIP apps, search for last minute information about your destination, book things on the go, use maps to navigate the city and find attractions, and much more.
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