There's an entire world of frequent traveler programs and credit card benefits that consume some people to the point of obsession. While collecting points might be a worthwhile hobby, it's also worth knowing if your company or credit card provides benefits that can save you some money and help keep your sanity. These programs might allow you access to airline lounges, provide special phone numbers for restaurant bookings, or provide insurance and help during travel disruptions. Generally, if you or your company pays a fee for the card there are likely some benefits. As you fly more, airlines and hotels might provide upgraded seats and rooms, and if nothing else, usually provide a special phone hotline that gives you priority service when things go sideways.
“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.”
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!
Smart explorers know that clothes should have more than just aesthetic value, so look for multipurpose pieces to accentuate your basics. Travel outfitters offer lines of vacation-friendly but stylish separates with a whole slew of side benefits, from sun and bug protection to ample hidden storage. Check out this wrap with 30 UPF sun protection from Magellan's and, for men, these sun-blocking T-shirts from TravelSmith (they would make great foundations to any ensemble).
If you pack light in a carry-on bag, you are able to be more flexible and mobile in your travels. Make sure that your clothes can all do double duty for you. Your sleepwear can double as work-out or lounging clothes. Your pants are resilient from stains and wrinkles. Your tops are quick dry and you stay with one color scheme, so everything in every season fits in one small bag!
Even if you don't normally use lip balm, it can still be an important item to pack. Breathing dry airplane air, being out in the sun, eating salty foods in transit—travel inevitably leads to mild dehydration and chapped lips. And there's something off-putting and vaguely predatory about constantly licking your lips. Lip balm can also be used to tame frizzy hair ends, soothe dry cuticles, protect skin from windburn, and even unstick a stubborn zipper.
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.
This advice is twofold: Wear layers and pack in layers. First, your on-the-road wardrobe should feature plenty of layers, which will help you jetset through multiple climates in style and comfort. Second, the items in your bag should be packed in neat layers for easy screening. According to the TSA, "Pack items in layers (shoes one layer, clothes one layer, electronics one layer, etc.)" so that the security agent screening your bag can get a clear picture of what's inside. The faster the TSA agent can screen your stuff, the faster you'll get through the security line.
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!
Our favorite (above-board) tip is to download a program such as NetStumbler, which goes above and beyond your computer's built-in Wi-Fi detector by locating "hidden" Wi-Fi networks your PC might have missed. If you're on a Bluetooth-enabled Mac, iStumbler will provide the same service. Smartphone users can get apps like JiWire's Free Wi-Fi Finder, whose directory tracks the exact location of nearly 150,000 free networks worldwide.
"There's nothing more annoying than struggling to stuff everything back into your suitcase at the end of a trip only to realize you didn't even wear half the clothes you brought. That's why I started strictly packing by outfit — not individual item — and only letting pieces I had a plan for make the cut. I'll take a skirt only if I know I'm bringing a top and shoes that I would wear with it, and I'll think about the activities on my itinerary and what I see myself wearing while doing them. I hate checking a bag but love clothes, so being realistic and planning ahead is key." — Nina Ruggiero, Senior Digital Editor
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.
For campers, hikers, kayakers and other adventure-bound travellers, packing for travel means more than tossing a toothbrush and change of clothing in a bag. To be prepared for rough terrain, unpredictable weather and small living quarters, you need to plan ahead. A light backpack with an internal frame is a good option for carrying essentials without weighing yourself down. Dual-purpose clothing that's both windproof and water-resistant can help you stay warm and dry, while taking up minimal storage space. Bandages, water bottles, flashlights, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a GPS may take up some luggage real estate, but you'll be happy you have them when and if you need them.
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!