If you can afford to travel, you’re luckier than an enormous chunk of the world’s population. Be grateful that you were born in a country that’s safe and stable. Be grateful you have a passport that allows you to easily travel. Be grateful that you have your health. Be grateful you were able to get a job; that you had the ability to save up enough money to travel. Yes, you worked goddamn hard to get to this point, but you’re still unbelievably privileged. Never forget it.
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.
Despite the constant rise of popularity in Skype and other modes of video conferencing, meeting in person has not become an extinct activity. If you are a young professional or recent graduate, business travel will likely be part of your job at some point. If you happen to be a lucky consultant, you will reach frequent traveler status faster than you can say “priority boarding." After reaching the frequent traveler status just a few months into my new job, I hope to bring some value to those who share aspects of my life on the road.
When you arrive to check into your hotel, make sure you are upbeat and smiling. Greet the hostess and say, "It has been a very long day. I'm betting that you have a really nice room waiting for me." Normally, they smile and keep checking you in. At this point, just keep quiet. I am betting you will be very pleased when you open the door to your room. A smile and upbeat personality will get you a long way.
Determine Scale: The lightest shoes I found online were a pair of 3-oz. foldable ballet flats. However, in women's shoes, most travel-oriented options built for all-day wear weigh in at somewhere between 10 oz. and 1 lb. For comparison, a sample pair of flat boots (women's size 8.5) weighed 2.8 lb., and a pair of wedge sandals (also women's size 8.5) was 1.7 lb.
All these tips are great, but I truly appreciate the perspective about Sunrise is better than Sunset. I know I am probably in the minority here, but the freshness of morning is a rebirth for me. And a dazzling sunrise does more for lifting my spirits than almost anything else. Whatever problems I had yesterday, now, with this new sunrise, I have a chance at a fresh start. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a romantic sunset too!)
If you know that there is a good chance you will be traveling, especially if you will be traveling during a peak season or holiday, start looking into your travel arrangements. Many times, it’s best to book your flight, hotel and car together as you will get a better deal. If you have to travel last minute, there is always the Skiplagged option, but make sure you are fully aware of the stipulations associated with booking travel through such a site. If you find you are booking travel for more than one employee often, it’s best to use a travel management site like American Express Global Travel. I know it doesn’t seem like a cost-effective option for all small businesses, but it is something to consider as they have saved my clients and me the expense of having to change last-minute travel plans.
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!
It's tempting, on that first daunting trip away, to get everything locked in – every hostel, every transfer, every breakfast, lunch and dinner. That way you don't have to worry about anything, right? But you'll soon come to realise that it pays to have some flexibility. Book in the big things, sure. But also leave yourself space to change your itinerary and take opportunities as they present themselves.
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No matter where you drive, remember the basic rules of the road. California law states that everyone in a vehicle must wear a seatbelt, and motorcyclists must wear a helmet. Speed limits are posted in miles per hour (mph). Generally, the speed limit on multilane freeways is 65mph/105 kilometers per hour (kph); on two-lane highways, the limit is generally 55 mph/90 kph. The speed limit on city streets is usually 35 mph/55 kph, though in residential areas and near schools, the limit is generally 25 mph/40 kph. It is against the law in California to write, send, or read text-based messages while driving, and drivers must use a hands-free device when speaking on a mobile phone.
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.
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.
Other smart garments include vests with elaborate hidden storage systems, scarves with savvy pockets, and ExOfficio's insect-repellant button-downs (perfect for a trip that takes you from indoors to out). Convertible bags will also extend your wardrobe and lighten your carry-on load; this option from Tumi converts from a flight-friendly backpack to a tote bag for everyday use.
Flimsy shower cap or custom shoe cover? You decide. In every suitcase, there's a constant battle between dirty and clean items. Score a victory for fresh-smelling shirts and dirt-free trousers by keeping your shoes contained in a shower cap. Place them in, soles down, and let the shower cap's elastic band cradle the shoes so that any dirt, grease, or unidentified muck stays safely tucked away inside the plastic pouch. Depending on the type and size of your shoes, you may need more than one shower cap, but housekeeping is usually pretty generous with them.
The biggest tip I have to make travel more efficient and affordable is simply to book in Airbnb rather than hotels. When we are going out to a conference and need to bring several people, you are looking at $250 per room per night for three nights (and that equals $2,250 in our case). Rather than paying that huge sum, you can book at an Airbnb near the convention center and pay $250 per night, or $750, saving the cost of two conference tickets!
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.
Disasters happen. It’s always good to have a backup in case you get robbed or lose a card. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds. I once had a card duplicated and a freeze put on it. I couldn’t use it for the rest of my trip. I was very happy I had an extra and not like my friend, who didn’t and was forced to borrow money from me all the time!
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.
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.
Bugs always seem to be on vacation, which explains why so many people return from their travels covered in bites. Spare yourself a trip to the pharmacy and treat an itchy bug bite with a basic bar of soap from your hotel room. Simply wet the bar a bit, rub it on the bite, and let it dry. Some people recommend rubbing the dry bar directly onto the bite, so experiment to see which method offers more itch relief. Take it with you and you'll have the perfect travel-bite remedy, since as a solid, your trusty miniature bar of soap isn't subject to the TSA regulations that itch-relief gels and creams must follow.
A good pair of earplugs is an essential item on any packing list. No matter where you’re traveling, whether it’s on the other side of the world or in your home country, there’s always a good chance that you’ll end up somewhere that’s just too noisy. It could be a hotel with poor noise insulation, an Airbnb with noisy neighbors, or a hostel dorm with noisy roommates.
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.