Most importantly, luggage should err on the safe side of the standard carry-on size -- in inches that means slightly under 22 x 14 x 9 (height x length x width), or 56 x 36 x 23 in centimeters, which is the most common allowable size across airlines. Many bags claim to be regulation size carry-ons and in fact aren't, so double check dimensions before buying to avoid forced gate check.
One of the first lessons I learned on the road was that your plans will nearly always change. You’ll arrive in a place and hate it and want to leave immediately, or you’ll fall in love with a destination and want to spend longer there. You’ll make friends with a group of awesome people and want to change your plans so you can travel with them for longer, or you’ll find out about an amazing town that’s nearby and want to head there instead.
The number one mistake business travelers make is eating like they are on vacation. This type of lifestyle is unhealthy and expensive, especially if you eat out for every meal; however, convenient food service can seem like the easiest solution after a long day. To make your travel easier for you and your wallet, stock the hotel fridge with nutritious items that you can consume throughout your trip. Hard-boiled eggs make a great breakfast or snack option with protein to keep you full. A rotisserie chicken is another great option that allows you to reheat different size portions easily, storing the rest in the fridge for another meal. Also, try buying a veggie platter—they aren’t just for parties!—which will maximize your wallet by providing multiple days’ worth of nutritious snacks in one bulk purchase.
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.
Hi. We are just entering our 4th year on the road and I think I agree with just about everything above. It’s always changing, we find new, better ways, or what we want from this lifestyle changes, so for a few months we’ll be regular backpackers, then we’ll chill and rest for a while in a city apartment rental. Whatever, we love this life. Your picture of that little stove on the Everest trail brought back happy memories, we took the kids up there a few months ago, great times. Cheers!

Matt, great tips but can’t agree with you on Trip Advisor. Whilst I agree what you stated does go on as with a lot of similar sites ( false reports etc) , I have used it a lot as a guide to hotels, tour companies, private organizations, general travel advice and not once did I think I was deceived. The travellers reports were spot on when I got there and used them. So there is a lot of good in Trip Advisor as a helpful tool when I travel. I think you’re being a little to harsh on them. Keep up the great work for us. Cheers


Whether due to a travel delay, a never-ending meeting, or arrival in a different time zone, you're bound to end up hungry at some point with limited appealing food options. I always carry three to five energy bars of some sort for just these situations. Look for something that doesn't melt, crumble, or expire, and is well-packaged so it doesn't end up spilling in your bag. I like Kind bars, as they're still relatively tasty even when flattened and deformed after a few weeks in my laptop bag.
MetroResidences has a great selection of serviced apartments in Singapore, one of the world leading business destinations. Some are even pet friendly, and a lot of them have access to a pool – which is great, because it means I can get my workout at the end of the day. Getting a good place to relax and be comfortable is one of the top business travel tips.
Camping: In California, camping is everything it should be—pitch your tent under the stars at campgrounds scented with pine trees, next to alpine lakes and desert oases, or on a spectacular stretch of coastline. If “roughing it” isn't your style, try “glamping,” or glamorous camping, in outdoor settings with fully equipped tents or rustic cabins or even Mongolian-style yurts.

You know the socks you often get on overseas flights? The ones that don't fit quite right and come with weird treads that make them impossible to wear with shoes? Give them new purpose by keeping a pair on hand to protect items from getting chipped or scratched in transit. They're the perfect size to hold the trinkets you pick up on your travels—the ones that don't need to be enveloped in bubble wrap but do need a bit of extra protection before being tossed into your bag. And in a pinch, they can serve as a handy alternative to a glasses case in your bag or purse.


You might want to mention that many (most?) banks with online services allow you to instantly set daily & weekly limits on your ATM and credit card purchases, and many of them let you adjust those limits for a particular period of time, such as when you are traveling. I always set lower limits on my cards when I am traveling, just a bit of insurance.
"Packing in a soft-sided weekender or duffel gives you the flexibility (literally!) to shape your bag to what you're packing instead of the other way around. My canvas overnighter takes on a different shape depending on what I need it to hold and will squish, even when packed almost beyond its means, into spaces a hard-sided roller bag just won't go. I hope my current bag will last forever but I'm eyeing this simple weekender from Makr as its eventual replacement." — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor
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.

I keep a “quick fix” kit in my cabinet and grab it for trips. It contains earplugs, a sleep mask, lip balm, ibuprofen, and extra contact lenses. I also bring flavored tea bags to relax with a cup of tea no matter where I am. As for clothing packing tips, I keep it simple with lots of black. It goes with everything and is difficult to stain! Spanish Sabores
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. 
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 ;-)
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.
You can always spot the first-timers, hands subconsciously guarding their money belts, faces set to "suspicion", always trying to figure out what the scam is, who's trying to rip them off. It's hard when you first start out to spot the crooks from the friendly locals, so plenty of people just mistrust everyone. That's a mistake though. The vast majority of locals aren't out to get you. It can pay to trust them every now and then – you'll make a lot more friends.
Most people choose mid-morning to start their exploration. Get to the main attractions and famous sights as they open and relish the luxury of having the place all to yourself. It’s a great way to enjoy the otherwise crowded touristy places in peace. Be an early riser. Get ahead of crowds. As a family traveler, I’d say waking the kids up at the crack of dawn is hard but well worth an effort. Better than dealing with the hordes of tourists and cranky kids. Isn’t it?
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. 
People laughed at me when I said that I was carrying around a dozen spare passport photos, but they’ve been incredibly useful and saved me a ton of time and hassle. Who wants to wander the streets of some rural town in Cambodia searching for someone who can take your photo? I’ve used them to apply for visas around the world, to get a new passport when mine expired while I was on the other side of the world, and I even needed one to buy a local SIM card in Nepal! Having spares in my bag meant that I didn’t have to waste a day researching and then wandering around a city to try to find someone who could take a passport-sized photo of me.
Yet, I still believe that the positives of travel outweigh the negatives. Travel provides an unparalleled educational experience and is hugely beneficial to promote cultural understanding and world peace. So today, my tip is to embrace your travel experience by staying in a locally owned guest house or B&B, eating in locally owned restaurants, and hiring local guides.
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.

When you’re always traveling for your job, you’re always expected to be ready. But what about jobs like a truck driver or freight broker? These workers are constantly on the road to the point where their office can be considered “on the road”. Because of the nature of these kinds of jobs, you have to be prepared more often than not and have a great plan in place for when the road calls.

If it’s a long business trip, you may have plenty of time to connect with local companies. It is, therefore, a good idea to start contacting them via social media and email a good few weeks or months beforehand so you have pre-scheduled meetings when you land. Also, pack wisely and include a power bank that can recharge your phone. It is also advisable to land a few days before your meetings/events so that you have the time to relax and get rid of the jet lag. Lastly, make sure to do some sightseeing; sometimes inspiration comes from quite unlikely places.
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.
1. Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier. Double-check that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, if you have private medical insurance, as your provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.
When flying a crazy long-haul flight it is often nice to experience the business class lounge. Although Etihad’s lounge in Dublin is lovely, their lounge in Abu Dhabi is often crowded and warm (Etihad has recently been in the process of renovating their Abu Dhabi lounges). The food is good, though, and there is free top shelf alcohol. It is the extra special amenities that are offered that truly enhance the experience.
When you're traveling into a city, one of the best ways to make it profitable is to combine purposes. How much business can you do in that city while you're there? For example, can you let your clients know that you're going to be there and have a consulting day, do a one day training or host a lunch for your clients that they pay to attend? All of these work wonders to make your trips both multi-purpose and more profitable!
But what about work trips? Suddenly, the inconveniences of travel are mixed with the potential awkwardness of spending 24/7 with your co-workers. Like it or not, though, you’re bound to have conferences, client trips, or company meetings on the calendar at some point. So before you pack your bags, here are a few tips on making it tolerable and even—dare we say it—fun.
One of the best business travel tips I ever got was given to me by a friend back in 1998 (yes, that long ago). He suggested to join Alitalia Millemiglia program, so that each time I’d fly, I’d be awarded with some miles and then, as soon as I’d reach a certain number of miles, I could use them to get a free plane ticket or to get an upgrade to business class (discover the perks of flying business class in this post).
Make no mistake: The Conservatives pretend to be 'for the people,' but that couldn't be further from the truth. This is still very much the party of Stephen Harper, Trudeau said.==========================================Meaning we have nothing to run on. So we are stoke fear and hatred and division in the hopes the uneducated liberals will still vote for looks.
Didn't bring a lint roller (and don't travel with duct tape)? No problem, you're still likely traveling with an item that can do double duty and help you get out the door fluff-, lint-, and animal-hair-free. Just carefully remove the long baggage-tracking sticker from your suitcase handle, wrap it around your hand with the sticky side facing out, and blot at any area of clothing that needs cleaning.
Are drinks free in business class? Normally, yes. There are certain Middle East airlines that don’t serve alcohol at all. But generally, drinks are free in business class, even on domestic flights. One of the best business class perks is the Champagne before take off. It always makes me feel so glamorous. Business class drinks are often of a higher quality than in economy, both for liquor and for wine.
I always do carry-on luggage so there is no wait at the airport. I'm at my hotel by the time other travelers are just getting their luggage. And to do so, you must be a good packer. Clothes on the bottom; suits separated by plastic from the dry cleaners (so nothing wrinkles), shoes to match all outfits, toiletries on top. Pack clothes a day ahead and put something heavy on top to get the air out so you have room for even more.
Any recommendations of fun things to see and do in Boston?? And yes, this is an excessive list, but I like to think of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I could possibly need when planning for a trip. I will be weeding out the unnecessary things as I fit it into my suitcase 😬 . . . . . #bujo #bujolove #showmeyourplanner #bulletjournal #bujojunkies #bujocommunity #journal #bulletjournaljunkies #journalersofinstagram #bujoweekly #bujoaddict #happyplanner #planneraddict #bulletjournalinspiration #bujoinspiration #bulletjournallove #bulletjournaladdict #bulletjournalcommunity #habittracker #bujomonthly #bujospread #plannergirl #lettering #handlettering #handlettered #travel #packing #vacation #boston #summer
You need insurance. Even if you're just planning to lie around in a resort for a week. If you're in an accident, or you get sick, or your bags go missing, or any one of a million other mishaps occur while you're travelling, you'll be extremely pleased you spent that small amount on an insurance policy. (Read: The insurance mistake travellers keep making)
Here’s a confession: I gained around 20 pounds over my first few years of travel, mostly thanks to eating out for every single meal. While it can be tempting to treat yourself to junk food, and Pringles and Oreos will fuel your every travel day, resolve to have at least a few days every now and then when you go for the healthier option. Your body and mind will thank you for it. Aim to cut out the rice, bread, and beer to keep your calorie intake low if you’re feeling as though you’re gaining too much weight on the road.
The life of a business traveler is less glamorous than perceived. In addition to the stress that comes with travel, business travelers face many health risks as a result of frequent travel. Trying to figure out how to make business travel better? We have rounded up the most comprehensive list of business travel tips from start to finish. Following these tips may not eliminate all of the health risks caused by frequent travel, but it will make your next trip less stressful.
You got it. MINI EVERYTHING. When it comes to the items in your toiletry bag, pack the travel size of everything you need if you can find it. My face serums from SkinCeuticals come in travel sizes, plus my Lavender and Rose mists from Saje come in a smaller size as well. You can easily find travel size deodorants, shampoo, and conditioners, toothbrushes, etc.
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.
When it comes to travel and entertainment, my recommendation is that you bring your own. Your laptop is a media center, and with the addition of a small external drive and some light speakers (or great headphones) you can carry with you a huge collection of music, movies, and TV shows. So settle in, brew a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and fire up the latest episode of 30 Rock! This way, you also avoid hotel room pay-per-view movie charges.
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.
"After going on international adventures and suffering food poisoning, sudden fever, cuts and scrapes, terrible bug bites, and other ailments — and then having to navigate a foreign pharmacy — I've learned to always pack a small medical kit. I keep a toiletry bag ready to go stocked with Band-aids, Neosporin, pain relievers, cold medicine, medicine for stomach trouble, itch relief ointment, antibiotics (you can ask your doctor for an emergency prescription before you travel), and ear plugs (life savers on long-haul flights and trains). And if you never have to use it, all the better!" — Karen Chen, Digital Producer
If you’re suffering from food poisoning, it’s best to let it run its course rather than clogging yourself up with Imodium, but there are some situations where it just isn’t possible to do so. I’m talking flights, long bus journeys, booked tours, and anything that requires you to leave the bathroom. A large supply of Imodium is something I always have in my backpack for these emergencies.
A business trip is not a holiday. You will be expected to be on your game at the drop of a hat, so this is perhaps the worst time to disrupt your regular diet. Rather than turning to comfort foods, consider a healthy comfort meal that you can eat – as sad as it may sound – as frequently as possible, especially when traveling abroad. The best way to minimize stress on your body and disruptions to your routine is going to be keeping your meals simple and healthy. While some companies provide business travelers with prepaid meal cards for healthier restaurant chains, if you are one of those on your own with the company card:

“You’ll likely need to wash your clothes at some point, and carrying around a big bottle of Downy or Tide isn’t even enjoyable when you’re not toting your belongings on your back. My suggestion? Bring a ziplock baggie of powder detergent, and extra gallon size ziplock baggies (these come in handy in more ways than you can imagine). If you find yourself sans-washing machine, you can make your own by stuffing water/laundry/soap into the bag and giving it a little (okay, a lot of) shake. Rinse in water and voila: clean clothes. Easy peezy, fresh and breezy!”
These genius flight hacks minimize the headache that comes with busy airports and long flights. But surprisingly, not every frequent flier knows them all. We were familiar with some tips, like the speed of TSA PreCheck and the ability to cancel almost any flight within 24 hours of booking, but other hacks were shocking news: You could get in-flight food faster as a vegetarian? And you can buy a day pass to an airline lounge?!  So study up, learn ’em all, and pass this handy guide along to the travelers in your life. They’ll thank you.
I flew business class with Ethiad (CPH-SIN) ,June 2018. First time in bus.class. Great experience- esp. Dusseldorf – Abu-Dhabi with wonderful service though Abu Dhabi to Singapore was more impersonal. I asked about the possibility for the menu veg.option as I could see the pre-ordered meal was the same as the last flight. The hostess said no, rather abruptly. I was taken aback considering my last flight experience. She must have realised how she came across to me because she later came with BOTH options (I could only eat one :-/ saving space for the red-velvet cake :-). However I appreciated her efforts. My main complain is that Ethiad doesn’t give free wifi to business class passengers- you have to pay!?! Kind of weird from my perspective.
Based on no scientific data (but plenty of anecdotal proof), we're sure shaving cream is the most-forgotten toiletry in the travel tool kit. Man or woman, you're likely going to need to shave at some point on any trip, so finding yourself without can be problematic. Worse, most hotels don't offer shaving cream in their repertoire of free items. But hair conditioner, which comes standard with nearly all hotel rooms, makes a perfectly acceptable substitute. And it has the added benefit of being moisturizing, so you can be smooth and supple in one easy step.
Fittingly, I'm writing this article from an airplane headed down to Mexico City on a business trip, one of the 100+ flights that I take for business each year, and have been averaging for most of my career. I'm often asked how to make business travel easier, and should you find yourself staring at increased travel in the near future, hope you find a helpful tip or two.
"As my collection of skin-care products continues to expand (I’m not 20 anymore), so has the time required to sort through it all — at the last minute, with my Uber to JFK honking downstairs. I recently started keeping a separate Dopp kit stocked with travel-size duplicates of all my essentials. This means I can just grab my toiletries and go, with no risk of forgetting some crucial cream or spray — plus it gives me an excuse to go nuts on all those cute mini items in line at Sephora." — CB Owens, Copy & Research Editor
Perfecting the art of beating jet lag is a feat achieved by few, but there are a few important tips to at least get the amateur business traveler started. It’s always best to leave home well-rested so you avoid starting off on the wrong foot. From there, it is best to try to get as much sleep as you would in a 24-hour period at home. Your time in the air can either help or hinder you, as a plane is a great place to sleep, but often a difficult place to stay awake, if that’s what you need to do to settle into a new time zone. Either way, it is key to stay up until the local bedtime at your destination and not sleep in the following morning. Depending on which way you travel, the pros either recommend short naps and good coffee or short-acting insomnia medications like temazepam.
If you're traveling to a "regular" city and you're not taking clients out, a great way to save money is to get a gift card to a chain restaurant(s) you like. You save time, as you know the menu in advance and you potentially save money/hassles over unknown local options/hotel offerings. Of course, make sure that the chain exists where you're staying and this advice is for "regular" meals only - not trying local cuisine. This way, you can focus on business with one less distraction.

If you travel frequently for business outside your home country, an annual travel insurance policy is a great way to ensure you have coverage when you need it, even at a moment’s notice. This type of plan gives employers peace of mind, knowing their employees have high levels of medical protection, an emergency medical evacuation benefit, and coverage for lost luggage and baggage delay. As the global business world continues to expand, it’s important for business travelers to know their domestic health insurance may not follow them when they travel abroad. And, if they are traveling to an area without appropriate medical care, emergency medical evacuation coverage is key in making sure they can be moved, if needed, to a location that has proper medical care.

I keep a “quick fix” kit in my cabinet and grab it for trips. It contains earplugs, a sleep mask, lip balm, ibuprofen, and extra contact lenses. I also bring flavored tea bags to relax with a cup of tea no matter where I am. As for clothing packing tips, I keep it simple with lots of black. It goes with everything and is difficult to stain! Spanish Sabores


One of the top business travel tips I can give is to make sure to get a travel insurance (this is a good insurance you may want to check out).The last thing I wish for when I am traveling is getting sick, even less so if I am on a business trip. But it may happen, and it sure has happened. Like the time in Mexico when I ate a bad taco and ended up with a major stomach infection. I was really glad I could count on a good travel insurance, so that I could get medical assistance and get back on my feet fast.

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.

I used to work at a Consulate here in Germany for around 3 years. In my experience dealing with people and their lost documents, I can tell you that a photocopy/scan means nothing. We can only take originals. If they don’t have any (because of theft) we have ways to verify their identity through questioning and online electronic methods of checking their facial structure etc.


I’m fortunate to have never had to deal with lost luggage, but I did have my backpack ripped open on a flight and I was grateful to have not had anything valuable in it at the time. I’ve also been on dodgy buses in Southeast Asia where we’ve arrived at our destination and people have had valuables stolen from their backpack by someone hiding out in the luggage hold while we were transit.
If you’re travelling in a group or a pair, talk to your travel buddy about what you’re both packing so you don’t double up. For example, girls, if you’re travelling with a mate and can’t live without your straighteners, maybe one of you can bring a hair drier and one of you can bring the straighteners (although do consider going au-natural – it’s liberating!)
To keep wet swimwear, dirty shoes and leaky shower gels separate from the rest of your things. If you bring clear plastic bags, you’ll be able to stay super organised by separating out your clothes into categories (shorts/t-shorts/leggings etc) and packing them in separate bags. It will make things easier to find and will add another layer of waterproofing.
Any recommendations of fun things to see and do in Boston?? And yes, this is an excessive list, but I like to think of EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I could possibly need when planning for a trip. I will be weeding out the unnecessary things as I fit it into my suitcase 😬 . . . . . #bujo #bujolove #showmeyourplanner #bulletjournal #bujojunkies #bujocommunity #journal #bulletjournaljunkies #journalersofinstagram #bujoweekly #bujoaddict #happyplanner #planneraddict #bulletjournalinspiration #bujoinspiration #bulletjournallove #bulletjournaladdict #bulletjournalcommunity #habittracker #bujomonthly #bujospread #plannergirl #lettering #handlettering #handlettered #travel #packing #vacation #boston #summer
This list is incredible and so unbelievably helpful to me – I just wanted to say how happy I am to have discovered your blog and your book! I’ve been battling anxiety my whole life and am five days into my first ever solo-backpacking trip for in SE Asia. Two days ago I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed, so I googled how to deal with travel anxiety and stumbled across your work. It made me feel so much better and I’m doing my best every day to follow your example and push myself far beyond the limits of my comfort zone. Thank you for being you and for all of the inspiration you’ve given me in just a few short days – can’t wait to finish your book and catch up on the backlog of posts I’ve missed!
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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