One of my top travel hacks is to create an Excel/spreadsheet that I share with my other travel companions to ensure that we thought about the major details of the trip.  A lot of people get really overwhelmed when trip planning as there are so many details to think about.  However, if you like to do independent travel, a spreadsheet can be really helpful for figuring out the logistics of your trip ahead. This way, you can just show up at your destination with no stress.
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.
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.

Will you be spending a lot of time in one particular country? A prepaid SIM card for the region you're visiting is an economical choice for overseas phone usage, and it allows you to make calls and use data exactly as many locals do: through a local provider. Switch your SIM card and you'll have a new local phone number and likely an affordable plan that puts scary-expensive international calling packages to shame. You won't be able to make or receive calls via your usual phone number, though.
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..
We almost always book our flights with points and miles, which we accumulated over the years through our miles-related credit cards. I know this is a lot easier for Americans than for others. I know for Europeans it is much more difficult to play the travel hacking game. (If you are Kiwi, check out this guide to travel hacking in New Zealand.) Travel hacking is a method for collecting miles and points for serious travelers. It’s one of the best ways to earn a business class trip. If you want to be a business class traveler but don’t have an expense account, this is how to do it. It’s one of the most important business class tricks.
There is always a solution to these issues you may face during your business trip. You can quickly find another flight or use the Jet Card program we talked about earlier to secure a private flight to the destination. Accommodation issues can be solved by turning to booking apps and services such as Airbnb. When you are prepared, no challenge is to difficult to handle.
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.
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 ;-)
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.
Traveler's checks are now widely considered outdated and a hassle. You run the risk of wasting time looking for a place that's actually able to cash your checks, and you'll be hit with hefty fees and poor exchange rates when you do. We advise you to rely primarily on plastic for travel money—credit cards for big-ticket items and debit (ATM) cards for cash.

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.


Some people will want to take advantage of you, but the vast majority of people you meet when you travel are good, decent, and will want to help you. Don’t let bad experiences prevent you from trusting anyone again. As long as you have your wits about you, expect that tuk-tuk drivers or anyone who comes up to you with amazing English and wants to be your best friend for no reason at all is out to scam you, and be most wary of the people in the most touristy places, you’ll be all good.
I always love travel tips. One tip I always have a hard with is trying new food while traveling. I want to know the food is good before I spend the money or else I feel like the money is wasted. So what we started doing is buying one item I know I’ll like and my husband buy’s another item we want to try. That way we can share the food and at least I know I’m getting something I will like.
Shrink it. Jessica Ellis, a graphic designer who travels between New York City and Chicago every other week, piles clothing into Eagle Creek Pack-It Compressor bags ($10 to $26, rei.com). “Zipper them, and they take out 80 percent of the volume.” Warning: This can have wrinkly consequences, so if the clothes don’t yet require laundering, lay them flat and place fabric-softener sheets between them. Consider your fresh-smelling clothes a welcome-home present.
Put your toiletries in a plastic bag inside your laptop case, since those need to come out during security, anyway. Forget about bringing running gear along. It takes too much space in your bag, you will not have the time to go running anyway and chances are, it will make your fresh shirts smell of old trainers. Instead, bring a bathing suit and hop in the hotel pool.
"Unless you're traveling super long haul, you don't need a $50 neck pillow or $300 noise canceling headphones. Bring some foam earplugs if you want to sleep on the plane, and roll up your jacket for a pillow. Same comfort for a lot less money," says Hester, a writer at Our Next Life early retirement blog, and veteran of "100+ flights a year and 80+ hotel nights."
One thing I thnk you’d love which you may not yet know about is PortaPocket. Lets you safely, hands-free carry small essentials ON your body. Much more than any neck safe, money belt or leg wallet. It’s a patented, wearable system that’s modular, so it’s really ALL of those in one, and works almost ANYwhere on your body (& either under/over your outfit). Super confy, detachable/interchangeable, easy to use. Go from a workout to a night out without skipping a beat. I won’t leeave home without ’em, and haven’t relied on a purse to carry my valuables in over 10 years. Freedom = GOOD!!
Travel can be hard on leather shoes, purses, belts, and jackets, so if you find yours looking worse for the wear while you're on the road, turn to your hotel bathroom for a quick fix. Liquid shampoo has an amazing superpower: a small amount, rubbed in circles with a cloth, can clean and restore the rich color of leather. It can also be a handy and quick way to protect leather shoes from winter salt stains.
When it comes to packing, procrastinators fall short. Start your packing process days or even weeks ahead of your departure date; this gives you time to craft a complete list, plus purchase any additional items you might need for your vacation. Creating a packing list is a fail-safe way to ensure that you never, ever forget to bring something important.
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.
Sharing Space: It may be awkward to share quarters with your colleague, but take it in stride and make the best of it. Be polite and give them privacy when they ask. Avoid using shared spaces such as the bathroom for extended periods. Get dressed and undressed in a private space to avoid awkward encounters. Offer to leave the room for a half-hour or so while they get ready. Hopefully they’ll get the hint and return the favor.

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.
One easy way to gain more luggage space? Reduce the number of shoes you bring along. Brown only packs one pair of flats and one pair of heels for every trip. "Both can be used to make pants, shorts or a dress casual or dressy," she says. When packing, place shoes toe-to-heel in the bottom of your luggage along the edge, and make the most of the empty spaces inside your footwear by filling them with fragile items wrapped in socks.
Along freeways with heavy traffic, carpool lanes (also called “diamond lanes” for the diamond-shape pattern painted on the lane’s surfaces) are identified by black-and-white signs that include details on times and days of enforcement (usually during peak rush hour periods on weekdays). To drive in most carpool lanes, you must at least two people (including the driver) in the car (some lanes in the San Francisco Bay Area have a three-person minimum. Tempted to use the lane when you don’t have the required number of riders? Don’t—fines are staggeringly high, close to $400 in some areas. In the Los Angeles area, carpool lanes may have specific entry and exit zones; adhere to them or you could get a hefty fine.  

This may sound corny, but in an age where travel is stressful and everyone is grumpy, you'll find you go a lot farther if you lead with a smile. I've gotten free First Class upgrades, room upgrades, even free products and services just because I was polite, courteous and cheery. Sometimes, I have to fake it -- after all, business travel is HARD, but you'll find it's easier on you and on others if you lead with kindness.
Go in them to get some insight into the local culture and cuisine by comparing their menus to the ones back home. Check what types of chocolate bars McDonald’s uses in their McFlurrys. (In Geneva they had Toblerone and in South Africa there’s a neon green lime flavor.) See what unusual spices Starbucks adds to their coffee. And compare the prices to the ones back home and other countries you’ve been, just like the Economist does so with their Big Mac index.

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!


For an easy and often fun way to get around California’s larger cities and communities, do what an increasing number of locals do and hitch a ride on a bus, subway, ferry, or light rail system. Using public transportation can be an efficient, affordable, safe, and eco-friendly option, particularly in areas where roads, parking, and urban traffic can be confusing and frustrating. Some transit systems let you buy multi-day passes; check ticket options online before you arrive to get the best deals. Two companies, Citypass and Go, also offer deals on local transportation options in San Francisco and Southern California. 

Pack light! Vegas loves to give stuff away and if you like to shop, buying a new suitcase can be pricey on the strip. So, bring an empty bag for your new stuff! Vegas in the summer is super hot- sometimes 120 degrees! You don't want sweat your clothes out before your important meeting, so dress light! Bring at least one outfit in case you get invited to dinner, a club, or VIP event as the club owners & restaurants don't allow you in if you are not dressed to impress.


Wearing a money belt or neck wallet lets you keep your valuables close to your body and away from prying hands. Review all the different styles here to choose what works best for you and the type of travel you’ll be doing. You may also want to choose an option with RFID protection. RFID protection keeps all passports with an RFID chip (issued after 2006) and credit cards/debit cards safe while travelling. How? It’s simple. Identity theft can occur when someone is able to “read” through your purse or pocket via the microchip, which has personal information stored on it. By using an RFID blocking technology, your personal information is protected. You can learn more about RFID safety from Scott Shelter, freelance journalist and frequent traveler.
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.

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?“

It’s good to have a budget to stick to, but most people tend to go over. Start saving as soon as possible (like, now) and aim to bring more money than you think you’ll need. The more money you have, the more you’ll be able to treat yourself to nicer accommodation, splurge on fun tours, and not spend your entire trip worrying that you’ll run out of cash.
The number one thing to remember if you’re going on a business trip is that you have limited time in your hands. Plan your days, weeks and month ahead. Maximize this time by organizing and setting meetings before you fly out, use the travel time to do one of these two things: your research on the place and people you are visiting or event you’re attending or administrative work. 

And instead of a normal wallet I take a tiny leather pouch with a zip with me on travels. It’s probably meant for keys and maybe for some coins (has two sides and it fits into palm of hand) but I use it even for notes and it’s much lighter and smaller than my normal wallet. When I’m back home and switching to it, I’m like “why the hell do I even have a wallet this heavy?” :D

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).
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 ;-)
Trying to figure out what to wear on a business trip can be a real struggle. The modern, professional woman needs a wardrobe and a service to keep up with her busy lifestyle. Take the stress out of packing and consider a continuously changing wardrobe, without the guilt of buying new clothes, growing tired of them, or going through the hassle and cost of dry cleaning. Businesses like Armoire offers a data-driven and curated closet for women based on style and fit preferences. This includes unlimited exchanges so you always have something new to wear for every occasion. Forget about the days of “What should I wear?” and focus on what really matters.

I found all the tips very useful, I use some of them. I would like to add a few I use. Packing bijoux jewelry, I pass necklaces through a straw to prevent tangling, put rings and earrings seperately in small ziplocks then all together in a small cosmetic pouch and into my suitcase. For expensive jewelery I put it in a small cufflink box which accomodates two diamond rings, a medium sized locket and a brooch. This protects them from being compressed. Then I carry it in my handbag in a small zippered compartment. Hope this may help somebody.
3. Always keep an energy bar in your carry-on bag. During one seven-hour delay I experienced in Miami, the airport vendors had literally sold out of food. If it’s a winter blizzard or a massive string of delays, you may be out of luck. Prepare in advance by keeping an energy bar in your bag so you’re always ready in case disaster strikes. Pro tip: At the grocery store buy your favorite kind in bulk -- they often sell them in boxes of 12 or more.
But more than this, I love building a rapport with a person, and then getting to ask them big questions about their countries. With the car doors closed, and no-one else listening, it’s amazing how much people open up to what life is really like. One of my biggest aims when travelling is to learn, and it is in these conversations I learn more than at any other time.
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