Traveling with kids like us? Then spend more time in fewer places. Don’t try and go everywhere and do everything – that’s a recipe for burnout and blowing your budget! Instead of racing from one end of a country to another, or tearing through 6 countries in 6 weeks, slow down and take more in. Constantly having to pack and unpack, spend time searching for flights and accommodation and transport, and deal with different time zones, currency changes, and even visa issues can be exhausting.
One of the greatest aggravations when flying for work is getting to the airport late; well, when not checking bags, you can usually skip the lines at the counter and head straight to getting probed and prodded at security (after checking in online). Brought your company notebook and worried about it getting tossed about by the luggage handlers? You avoid that anxiety when you handle it yourself for the entire trip. Additionally, you have eyes on your bag for the whole trip, so you can rest (and fly) assured knowing that your bag won’t get misplaced en route.
Keep your clothing organized in compartments based on outfit type or activity type by using packing cubes. These zippered organizers make it easy to keep your bag neat and provide quick access to all the different things you'll need during your trip. You can use compression sacs or cubes to reduce the volume of your clothes by up to 80%. This is especially convenient for bulky items such as sweaters and jackets. And folders are great for keeping dress clothing nice, neat and folded.
Ever wondered if there’s a magic number of days before a flight when tickets are at their cheapest? Science has an answer for that. Fifty-four days before takeoff is, on average, when flights within the continental U.S. are at their absolute lowest price. And if you don’t hit 54 days on the head, you should usually book between 105 to 21 days before your trip ― within a so-called “prime booking window” ― for the lowest possible prices. In this period, ticket prices typically hover near the lowest price they’ll ever reach.
Seriously. If you do only one thing before you leave, make it getting travel insurance. I’ve heard far too many horror stories of travellers injuring themselves in remote places and ending up in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you, because you know those travellers they thought that, too. I use World Nomads for my travel insurance provider and I’ve been really happy with them.
Figuring out the airlines' tricky and befuddling baggage-fee policies is key to any budget-minded packing strategy. While most airlines permit travelers to check at least one bag on international flights, the majority of U.S. carriers charge big bucks for bags checked on domestic flights. Spirit Airlines—that notoriously customer-unfriendly discounter—even charges as much as $100 for carry-on bags.
Another fun way to explore California is to travel by train—a great way to enjoy the scenery instead of focusing on the road ahead. Amtrak’s legendary Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner trains follow ultra-scenic routes up and down the coast. The Capitol Corridor provides an easy east-west route across Northern California, while the San Joaquin slices through the broad and sunny Central Valley with connections to Yosemite National Park and other destinations. Along the way, there are options to link to Amtrak Thruway buses, which serve more than 90 destinations statewide. (Plus, you can disembark and rent a car at major stops to do additional exploring.) Depending on the route, you may be able to book a space in a special sleeping car, with access to an exclusive parlor car.
I’d always been all about the packing cubes, until I discovered vacuum-sealed versions of them! You throw your clothes in, seal the bag, then roll it up to push out all the air. I can literally fit twice as many clothes in my backpack when I use these! Even if you don’t want to carry more things in your bag, it frees up so much space that if you need to pack in a hurry, you can just chuck everything in.
I made a lot of mistakes over the past five years. I’ve been scammed in Russia, China, Laos, the Maldives, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka. I managed to lose half the things I was originally travelling with. I’ve got lost more times than I can count. And homesick. I fell in a rice paddy. I sat next to a dead body. I was caught up in a tsunami. You guys know my list of travel disasters is seemingly never-ending!
Great advice! I’m a BIG fan of packing cubes… I can’t believe I had never heard of them until a few years ago. Never have tried the tissue paper method. Will definitely have to, especially on business trips. I also recommend shoe bags as a way to keep organized and clean. Plastic bags are a great alternative but they often leak or get dirty too quickly. Hope you don’t mind but I linked your blog on my own about essential travel items. Thanks again!
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.
Resorts: Certain parts of the state—the Deserts region, coastal communities, mountain resort towns—are renowned for five-star retreats, with many championship golf courses and tennis complexes, spectacular swimming pools, destination restaurants, and elegant spas (often open to the public). California’s celebrated wine regions also have ultra-luxe retreats, with romantic settings, unparalleled farm-to-table cuisine, and, of course, incredible wine lists. Many resorts also offer special activities for kids, like movie-and-popcorn nights, so parents can enjoy time alone while their children have experienced childcare. Weddings and reunions can book private event spaces and exclusive catering services. For top resorts statewide, check California Welcome Centers and local tourism agencies.
Even if you're not sitting next to someone who is obviously ill, there's still a good chance that germs from passengers past are lurking in the cabin. Bathroom door handles, arm rests, tray tables, seat-back pockets, and seat-back screen controllers are among the surfaces that get dirty fastest and might not be properly disinfected between flights. Shared airplane blankets and pillows, especially those not sealed in plastic when you board, also tend to be germ factories.
I love that you put try the local food at the top of the list. I have friends who love to travel but will never venture outside of restaurants like McDonald’s and the Hard Rock Cafe. These are also the friends who have gotten sick more times traveling then any person I know. Best advise is to look for the long lines of locals outside a restaurant or food stall and get in the line.
As I mention above, every minute you pass without a seat assignment is another minute that your aisle or window seat is given to someone else. Your best bet is to check in online, which can typically be done up to 24 hours before your flight. But note that not all flights, airlines or classes of travel permit advance check-in (or seating assignments).
If humans were shaped like shrimp, the C-shape of most airline seats would be super comfortable. Since we're not, passengers regularly stumble off the plane with achy backs, necks, and legs. Sitting for long periods is already hard on your back, and without lumbar support, your spine and the muscles in your lower back have to work even harder to maintain healthy alignment. Counteract the crush by wedging a blanket, scarf, or rolled-up sweater behind you to allow your lower back to maintain its natural curve.
"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."
Like one of your correspondents above said – practice pack and pitch. Any old clothes that are serviceable but may have a spot or are heavily worn get packed and pitched along the way. You can always tie a scarf so it covers a spot and you’re never going to see these people again. Your pitch will equal your stuff purchased. And stuff left in Peru, mark it trash bastuda, doesn’t worm its way back into your closet. I also just purchased an Elizabeth and Clarke unstainable tshirt and can’t wait to see if they work well.
This is always my number-one travel tip -- there are just so many benefits and so few downsides to taking less stuff with you when you travel. When we first set off on our travels, we maxed out the full baggage allowance, and it slowed us down. Carrying so much also caused various types of pain and annoyance: actual physical back pain, the irritation of having to lug around a whole lot of not-so-useful gear, the difficulty of finding somewhere to store our stuff on transit days.
Buy a sectioned vinyl pocket folder, preferably 6 to 10 pockets, and subdivide information. Pocket 1 holds travel info like ticket information, boarding passes and car/hotel reservations. Pocket 2 might be things to do or see at your destination. Pockets 3-6 might be work to do on the plane subdivided into different projects. One pocket could hold some fun things like a word search puzzle, my favorite.
According to the 2018 Corporate Travel Index by Business Travel News, businesses spend an average of $1,425 to send an employee on a three-day business trip. Business travel is often an essential and expensive part of many jobs, so it would be more prudent to maximize the value of every trip. To help make the most of your business travel, here are 25 of the best business travel tips from the pros.
Aside from necessities like a universal charger, local currencies and so on, one important factor that every business traveler should know before getting on the plane is the business etiquette of the travel destination. Don’t expect your hosts to excuse your faux pas when it only takes time to go online and do a little research. Remember that you have the task of impressing your clients and showing that you have the initiative to learn about their culture will go a long way. Read more in this article to find out.
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.
Don't take a sleeping bag unless you're actually going camping. They're useless. Most hostels won't even let you use them. Don't pack too many clothes – remember, you'll buy things while you travel. Don't take a huge first aid kit. You really just need a few necessities. Don't take more than three pairs of shoes. Don't take more than two pairs of jeans. But do take soap – most hostels don't supply it.
You can also land a cheaper flight by knowing when to shop. Although not all business travelers have the luxury of planning a trip six weeks in advance in order to catch that well-known Tuesday at 3:00 P.M. trick, most flights are also slightly cheaper just after midnight any night, after all 24-hour holds are lifted. Deleting browser cookies can also work to your advantage, as, with them, ticket prices tend to go up after you’ve visited multiple travel websites.
Hmmm, it really depends on which countries you’ll be visiting and how you’ll be travelling. During my first year, I stayed mostly in hostels, spent the majority of my time in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe and was on a tight budget and spent around $11,000. Last year, I was travelling on a mid-range budget — lots of Airbnb apartments and a few splurges in luxury hotels — and spent my time in Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand and spent $20,000.
Our business class tips focus now only on tips for flying business class but also includes what airlines have a great business class product. Because once you learn how to travel in business class you’ll never want to stop travelling in business class. You’ll be researching all of the business class tricks and traveling hacking opportunities to make sure you can fly business class as much as possible.
That said, however, there are scammers out there, and it's the naive rookie travellers that provide their easiest targets. I was scammed the first time I travelled. And the second time. And the third time. There's no easy way around this – you're often dealing with pros who've been doing this their entire lives. Just roll with the punches and try not to part with too much cash. (Read: Ten classic travel scams)
4. Record room numbers. If you’ve been on the road for weeks on end, it can be very hard to remember if you’re staying in room 304 -- or if that was last week’s hotel. When I park in a numbered spot or check into a new room, I create an entry in the “notes” function of my smartphone, so I can quickly remember where I’m going. It may sound unnecessary, but it’s saved a lot of confusion and grief.
For example, when I went to Cuba, I collected several bags of computer cables, electronics, and other household and personal items to donate through a local casa particular run by a family. When I went to Myanmar, I linked up with a group of punk rockers who volunteered to feed the homeless and provide school supplies to rural areas. My friends and I brought supplies and supported their compassionate work, and I wrote multiple articles about them.
Recently, for example, a nursing mother was told by a TSA agent that she couldn't bring a breast pump with empty milk bottles on board the plane. (Legally, she could.) In 2007, the TSA lifted its ban on regular lighters, but many screeners still confiscate them. (Legally, they can't.) The moral of the story: Familiarize yourself with the TSA's rules and regulations, because you can't necessarily expect your security screener to be well informed.
I always thought money belts, neck wallets, and bra purses were for carrying “extra” cash or so you didn’t have to leave money behind in your room or lose it all if robbed. For example, I have $50 in my regular purse. If I spend all of it, when I have some privacy, I’ll pull $50 from my hidden stash in my bra purse (attaches to the strap or side of a bra) and put it in my purse. There are comfortable bands that can be strapped around the thigh. These aren’t meant to be accessed during transactions.
It also helps to know which items are, according to the TSA, considered liquids or gels and thereby subject to the 3-1-1 rule. This isn't as simple as it sounds. Foods such as peanut butter, pudding, mashed potatoes, and icing are classified as gels. Mascara, lip gloss, and aerosol items are also classified as liquids or gels. But keep in mind that liquid prescription medication is exempt. (Read more on that on The TSA Blog.) See a more complete list of liquids and gels that are not permitted in carry-on luggage in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces here.
“For those trying to pack light, it’s difficult to choose worse items than bottled liquids (and gels, and aerosols). They are heavy, bulky, prone to leakage (especially on airplanes), and a security concern. And with but a little forethought, the vast majority of them can be eliminated entirely. From shampoo/conditioner to toothpaste, from sunscreen to insect repellent, from facial cleanser, foundation, and moisturizer to mascara, bronzer, and face mask, even exfoliants and perfumes, all come in solid versions that will save you weight, space, hassle, and the environmental cost of excess packaging.”
Little rubber doorstops hide out behind hotel-room doors, waiting for fleeting moments of glory. And while the unassuming devices are put there so guests can prop open their doors, they're just as effective at keeping doors shut. So if you want an added level of security when you turn in for the night, wedge the doorstop under the bolted door. Voila, you've just added an additional lock.
It’s important to be memorable to your clients in each of your business travels. Not being able to leave a lasting positive impression in their minds can only mean your trip is not as successful as it should be. But, there’s more than one way to impress, and it’s a good idea to know all of them. Read about the four essentials for being the person people remember.
If you have lots of different types of activities you plan to do, that means you have a fair amount of gear you need to pack into your suitcase. Keeping everything organized can be a challenge. One of the best things you can do when you're packing for any trip, especially one that requires you to pack lots of layers, is to make sure you use packing organizers.
Use ExOfficio boxers. Seriously. Just do that now. On a 10 day trip to Asia, I will be completely comfortable only bringing 3 pairs of boxers (1 pair I’m wearing, 2 pairs in the bag). They pack down super small, they’re extremely lightweight, they can be washed easily and dry really fast (way faster than cotton). The other knock off brands don’t come close either. Lifetime warranty. Love mine.”
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!
To be able to avoid checking in your luggage, you’ll have to pack strategically. It might be a business trip, but you are also excited to explore the sights and let your hair down afterwards. Gather your most versatile clothing. Bring shoes that look sharp in the meeting room but can also hold up to a night on the dance floor. A semi-formal, single-color blazer makes a perfect multipurpose fashion piece, functioning as half of your business suit during the day and a nice accompaniment with jeans for the evening.
In countries that have seen the worst side of British colonialism or been on the wrong side of our many wars, you will often find the older people to be quite nervous of westerners. But strike up a conversation with the someone from the younger generation and you’ll often find people who want to share their love for their country with you, and are genuinely interested in learning about yours.
A study from budget airline easyJet claims to pinpoint the perfect airplane seat: 7F. Their reasoning? It sells the best. But these results conflict with an earlier survey from Skyscanner that claimed 6A was the best according to a poll of travelers and a consideration of “lucky numbers.” Ticket sales and lucky numbers are great, but neither of these methods seems entirely sound to us. So which seat on the plane is the BEST, and how do you pick it? Check out this article for what flight attendants and experts have to say.
If travelling for a long time, take your own device that can pick up wifi, like a smartphone or tablet. We didn’t do this because we didn’t want to bring an expensive item backpacking, but it turned out to be incredibly expensive to use the internet, or impossible to find any. Yet there is free wifi in places all around the world, and you quickly realise how often you need to tap in to things like bank accounts or travel bookings. More: 10 ways to cut your smartphone roaming costs
“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!”
One of the best travel tricks is to visit destinations out of season. It’s a great way to save money, as both flights and accommodation are generally available at reduced rates. Unfortunately, not all destinations are suitable to visit out of season – for example, you probably wouldn’t want to visit the Philippines during the typhoon season! That being said, visiting out of season it one of our top tips for traveling South America and is a great way to visit many other places on a smaller budget.
Set yourselves up for a fun family vacation by properly packing for your travels. Giving the kids their own tote bags or duffle bags filled with handy distractions such as snacks, crayons, books, handheld video games, portable DVD players, and travel games will help keep them busy and take some of the pressure off of you. Anticipating "emergencies" such as depleted electronic devices, and messy faces by having extra batteries, and baby wipes on hand can be a parent's best friend. Packing sun block, children's cold medications, bandages, diapers, and other necessities will save you the hassle, and expense of purchasing them on your trip. A change of clothes stowed away in your children's carry-ons is always a good idea in case of spills or accidents.
Furthermore, if you're in a higher-risk situation—if, say, your medical insurance doesn't cover you abroad or you're heading to the Caribbean during hurricane season—travel insurance might be a smart purchase. Otherwise, maybe you're better off pocketing the extra hundred dollars or so and taking your chances on the road. To learn more, read Travel Insurance 101: What to Know Before You Buy.
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.
Much of California has a Mediterranean-like climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. On the coast, the average daily high temperature hovers around 70°F/21°C and up), but can occasionally spike to 80°F 27° C or more on hottest summer days; freezing temperatures are rare, even in winter. The state’s legendary fog often hugs the coast from roughly Monterey north, usually during summer months; it often burns off by midday before rolling in again at dusk. Farther inland, summers are hot and dry, winters cool and wet, with occasional brilliant blue days and temperatures cold enough to freeze puddles on the ground, but not much more than that. At higher altitudes, the weather reflects more of a four-season cycle, with beautiful summers, striking fall color, and cold, snowy winters followed by snowmelt springs (waterfall season!).
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.
All of these tips are essential. I’ve learned a couple myself lately. Earplugs are truly number one, and not necessarily during travelling (I actually always have a pair with me, just in case I’m going to sleep out of home). Smiling at strangers and saying hello does work indeed. Also, an occasional splurge makes sense. However, I’m still tough at this. And saying YES to some seemingly insecure offers certainly pays off. My two latest cases were horse safari and swimming in a freezing cold mountain waterfall—as you said these have become some of my coolest stories so far.
Many major attractions allow you to reserve your spot and skip the line. Always look online to see if this is an option. This will you to avoid wasting time in multi-hour lines and go right in. I’ve seen people wait hours for the Paris Catacombs, Louvre, London Churchill War Rooms, churches, temples, historic fortresses, and more. Pre-book the day before, skip the line, get to see more during your day!
Rushing around like this prevents us from being present as everything begins to blur together, and the travel experience becomes less connected and more superficial. It's good to have an idea of what you want to do in a place, or a destination in mind, but then allow yourself to be open to going off-plan, to getting lost along the way and discovering something completely different.
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.