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.
Things are going to go wrong. And that's not because you're a rookie – things are always going to go wrong. That's part of travelling. The mistake first-time travellers make is letting it get to them. So your train didn't turn up, or your hotel has lost your booking, or $50 has gone missing from your wallet. You'll sort it out. Getting upset or freaking out is only going to make it worse.
Avoid packing pitfalls by only bringing items that have an 80 percent minimum chance of being used—but be sure to plan before you pack. "Lay out everything that you think you want to pack on your bed and take a good hard look," suggests Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel. That way you can avoid packing, say, three floral tops when you only need one. "It's only when you lay your entire ensemble in front of you that you see where you've made mistakes and can make the appropriate cuts."
“For summer travel, choose clothing and fabrics that dry quickly, and if possible, are not too heavy even when wet. Whether from hiking hard or getting caught in a rain storm, wet clothes can add considerable weight to your pack. For colder weather, choose one great outer-layer that will keep everything dry underneath. Also, a trash bag or rain-cover for your entire pack can be essential.”
Though Amtrak is the largest train service in the state, it’s not the only way to roll. In Northern California, Caltrain has regular service between San Francisco and San Jose. In Southern California, Metrolink offers service on seven regional lines that connect L.A., Ventura County, Antelope Valley, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange County, and the Inland Empire. Trains dedicated to certain themes and in specific locales, such as the Napa Valley Wine Train, also provide a unique way to see some of California’s premier destinations.
Outdoor public bathing in warm pools is a deep rooted Icelandic tradition, dating back to the Viking days of original settlement. In Iceland, public bathing is much more than a mere pastime activity; Icelandic pools and public baths are community centres where people of all ages and professions gather to catch up with friends, relax after a hard day of work, or to recover from a long night of excessive indulgence.
If using room service, be nice to the order taker and make him or her your friend. When they tell the chef about the nice person from whom they just took an order, you’ve assured yourself of getting good food. If the food is great, call back and ask the order taker to thank the chef. I’ve had chefs call me back and say that no hotel guest had ever said thank you to them in their career. Always be nice to hotel workers and go out of your way to greet them with a good morning or good afternoon. They deal with loads of jerks and rude people. Visit the bank before your trip — hotels never have money to make change — and change $100 into $5 bills.
Maintain your in-flight comfort and cleanliness by wearing breathable fabrics (materials that allow air and moisture to pass through them) such as cotton, silk, or linen. Fabrics that don't allow air to circulate will hold sweat on the skin, likely making you feel dirtier faster and probably necessitating a good spin in the washing machine upon landing. Natural fabrics are great, but moisture-wicking manmade fabrics are suitable options as well.
If a) your baggage is lost or delayed; b) you miss your connection and will be late checking in; or c) you are going to a destination you’ve never visited before, you’ll want to have complete contact information for your hotel on your person. Before you leave home, print out the hotel’s name, address and phone number, and program the latter into your cell phone. It’s also a good idea to print out a map of the hotel’s neighborhood, whether for your own use or to show to a confused cab driver.
For starters, using an unlocked smartphone when traveling internationally will save you money, as you can purchase local SIM cards and use them for local calling, texting, and, of course, for wireless data to connect you to the internet. This is really helpful as you can tether your other phone, tablet or computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, effectively sharing the connection and avoiding roaming charges. An unlocked phone with a local SIM card means uploads of photos and videos can happen as you take them versus waiting to get somewhere that Wi-Fi is offered. Speeds are faster than roaming and if you’re taking part in business conference calls, those sound better, without the delay that comes about when you roam.
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.
6. Recharge gadgets using USB ports. Almost all devices have some sort of USB connection cable through which they can be recharged. Rather than drag along a spaghetti of cables, I find I can get by with just one plug when I charge my gadgets using my PC’s USB ports. This comes in particularly handy in the many international hotels that think that electrical outlets are an extravagance.
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.
You’ll learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Traveling solo taught me how to fend for myself, talk to people, and handle unfamiliar situations with ease. It’s made me comfortable with myself, helped me learn about what I’m capable of, and allowed me to be super selfish and do whatever I want! It can take some getting used to if you’ve never done it before but do it at least once. Make yourself uncomfortable and surprise yourself. You’ll learn valuable life skills when you push yourself!
When traveling abroad, know the 4 key words that open doors for you in that country's language: Hello, thank you, please, and goodbye. I've used those key words in German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Russian and have gotten big smiles, lots of friendliness, and superior service. If you can say, "I'm sorry I don't speak French or German or..." in that language and sound like you really mean it, that's the icing on the cake.
when staying in a hotel, just below the peephole in the door, there is usually a sign describing protocol for emergencies. next to this sign is (usually) a card inserted with room prices, check-out times, etc. pull this card halfway out and use it to cover the peephole for privacy. this gave me peace of mind when my young daughter and I traveled alone. an alternative would be to cover the peephole with a small piece of blue painter’s tape. I also locked and bolted the door and placed the (empty) plastic trash can a few inches from the door before we went to bed. this would give us valuable seconds if someone tried to enter our room while we were asleep!
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!
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 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.
I carry a spare 300 USD that’s split up in various places in my backpack, daypack, and occasionally, my shoe when I’m nervous I’ll be robbed. It means that in a worst case scenario, I can pay for some food, a dorm bed, and a Skype call to my family to get an emergency wire transfer until I can get back on my feet again. I went with U.S. dollars because it’s the most widely accepted currency around the world and easy to change.
Analysts at CheapAir.com reviewed more than 351 million individual airfares sold on more than a million international routes in 2016. They tracked flights from the day they went on sale (usually about 11 months in advance) until the day of takeoff to see when each fare hit its lowest point. The resulting map shows how many days before takeoff you should buy your ticket to score the best deal, on average, depending on your destination.