All great tips! I’ve learned many of these the hard way. I’d also include carrying some stomach meds in that first aid kit, just in case. They’re usually easy to find in big cities but might be tougher if you’re in more rural areas or traveling on a day stores are closed. Plus that way you might not have to be as paranoid about eating the delicious street food!
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.
Our best example of this was whilst in Siem Reap in Cambodia. We were desperate to see the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk, but couldn’t find any tour companies who would take us there for less than $120. After joining the local Facebook group, I asked the question, and within an hour had received a dozen private messages. It took a bit of time to sort them all out, but all seemed legitimate, and after some more research we ended up getting a private driver for $80 from a small company who wouldn’t have shown up in many Google search results.
Download the Google Translate app before you leave and use the camera feature for translating menus, signs, posters, and anything else you need to read. You simply press the camera icon, aim your phone at the text, and it translates it all in real-time for you. This was so unbelievably helpful for menus in Taiwan, where I had no idea what anything was.
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.
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.
"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
California is big—nearly 800 miles/1287 kilometers from the Oregon border to the north all the way to the Mexican border just south of San Diego, and an average of roughly 200 miles/321 kilometers wide. Fortunately, California also has a lot of airports, so flying is relatively easy, and a great way to get around the state, especially if your time is limited. Easy airport access also makes fly/drive vacations an attractive option.
DVT causes leg pain, but the real concern is that part of the clot could break off and flow to the heart or brain, causing severe injury or death. In its DVT pamphlet for travelers, the FAA advises airline passengers to increase leg-muscle activity while flying by walking around in the cabin or exercising lower legs and ankles from a seated position.
Tissue Paper: For delicate items, one of our favorite packing tips is to use tissue paper. Lay the item face down and place tissue paper on top. Fold it up with the tissue paper inside. Use additional layers of paper as you fold the garment so it is completely wrapped in and around paper. This is easy enough the first time you pack, but becomes a pain if you have to keep repacking. We only use this approach for evening clothes that we don’t want to crush. 

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 ;-)
Wherever you are headed, you’re going to have great time! Just make sure you think through your list of activities beforehand so that you’re able to bring everything you need and pick the right luggage. And pack light if you can using this ultimate packing checlist. It always helps with mobility. And remember, you are a traveler. Respect the people and places you go to visit. Respect their customs, tip accordingly, try and learn their language, and truly immerse yourself in the culture. Travel changes us to be better than we were by opening our eyes and giving us newfound respect.
If you're going to be traveling routinely, it's worth buying duplicates of key items and leaving them in your travel bag, versus remembering to repack them after using them at home. For me, this is things like laptop and phone chargers, toothbrushes, and basic toiletries. I rarely forget these necessities since I have a travel set that's always in my suitcase or laptop bag.
When possible, even on business trips, I try to avoid hotels and stay with a member of one of my homestay networks. I find the genuine contact and family atmosphere a welcome change from conference hotels. Yes, there's some transportation logistics, but generally, I find it worth the schlep across town to make new friends and get my batteries recharged.
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.
Downtown San Diego is less than 20 miles/32 kilometers north of the Mexican border and about 130 miles (210 kilometers) south of Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, it’s 385 miles/620 kilometers) north to San Francisco and from there, another 90 miles/145 kilometers) northeast to Sacramento. You’d put about 190 miles/305 kilometers) on your car driving from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park, and about 600 miles/965 kilometers) driving from Los Angeles to Mount Shasta in Northern California. Needless to say, California is ideal for road trips. 

Whether it’s that steamy romance novel, thrilling sci-fi, or a dog-eared travel guide, download it before your trip.  Even if at home you’re a paper-til-I-die sort, save the space and weight for your holiday.  And don’t count on wi-fi to jump back into the story from your perfectly positioned beach chair.  Make sure it’s on a water-resistent covered device (check out Otterbox for some serious protection for your cherished e-reader, phone or tablet).
Everyone aspires to pack light. Some travelers are successful, others can’t help but bring everything and the kitchen sink. Here on our blog, packing light tips are the most popular posts. Even veteran light packers like Jeremy and I are always open to new ideas. Packing light is a process, not a goal. We can always get better. So we asked our favorite travel writers, speakers, designers, and CEOs, “What’s your best, non-obvious tip for packing light?“
Now, we travel with just carry-on sized luggage. This saves us money on check-in fees (though budget airlines are now starting to charge for carry-on bags too); it reduces the risk of our bags being lost or stolen, and; it means that we're a lot more mobile. Walking a kilometer or so with our bags is not a problem, which it would be with the enormous backpacks we used to travel with.
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.

Whether it’s that steamy romance novel, thrilling sci-fi, or a dog-eared travel guide, download it before your trip.  Even if at home you’re a paper-til-I-die sort, save the space and weight for your holiday.  And don’t count on wi-fi to jump back into the story from your perfectly positioned beach chair.  Make sure it’s on a water-resistent covered device (check out Otterbox for some serious protection for your cherished e-reader, phone or tablet).

Thanks for sharing the link, Hayley! I’ll check it out. The flights I buy are usually super-cheap, though, so I don’t feel as though I’m spending a ton of money on them as it is. As an example, this year, I’ve flown Lisbon to Cape Town for $250 return, Copenhagen to Los angeles for $100 one-way, and Rome to Tokyo for $200 return. So I’m not like, oh man, I really wish I wasn’t spending this much money on flights. But as I said, will check it out nonetheless!
Packing your electric toothbrush or razor? Make sure you either take the batteries out or tape the item's switch in the "off" position. Battery-powered devices can easily turn on after being jostled around in a carry-on, which can in turn draw the attention of security. Play it safe and pack your batteries separately from your battery-powered items.
The single biggest difference in my travels is seeking out local food. A lot of people go to a destination looking for a deal on fine dining or experiencing a famous Michelin restaurant. That is absolutely fine, but it's also where you'll dine with other tourists and not get a sense of how locals really live. Food is a great way to begin a conversation about history, politics and family values in a way that isn't intrusive or rude.
You may think you're in the clear for communicating if you're visiting another English-speaking country, but think again. Certain words could cause you embarrassment across the pond or down under. Avoid words like "pants" (it means "underwear" in the U.K.), "fanny" (slang for a part of the female anatomy, and we're not talking about the rear end), and "pissed" (hint: to the Brits and Irish, it doesn't mean you're angry).
If your business travels frequently, a business travel credit card can make your travels easier and more affordable. A business travel credit card usually earns rewards like travel points, which means the more your organization travels, the more opportunity there is for free or discounted trips. These cards sometimes include perks like lounge access and upgraded seats for your employees, which makes traveling easier. Lastly, using a credit card provides benefits such as purchase protections, extended warranties and travel insurance.
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.
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!

Car rentals are available throughout the state; most major companies have locations at major airports and in convenient city locations. To rent a car in California, you must be at least 25 years old (in most cases) and have a valid driver's license and credit card (used as a security deposit). Non-U.S. citizens must have passports. Rates may vary, with factors including location, car size and style, accessories (a child safety seat or GPS, for example, may be extra), and the day of the week that you rent. Picking up and dropping off a vehicle at different locations can also increase rates. For best rates, try booking a car at the same time you reserve your flights.
However, there are a few applications that business travelers can complete online to become eligible for special expedited security or customs programs to guarantee a slightly better airport experience every time. The most widely known of these are TSA Precheck and Global Entry. However, there are some differing views across the Internet on the pros and cons of these, so best to do some research if such opinions have stirred some skepticism in you. Big names fall on both sides of the debate, like USA Today or Skift for these programs, and Business Insider and Scott Mayerowitz of Associated Press against them, so, best to educate yourself, scout out some objective comparisons, and decide for yourself.
What great tips! I’ve been traveling for years and there is a learning curve for sure. I had a sharp learning curve when the kids arrived because boy are traveling things different when you take the littles! One tip that never changes no matter the group or your changing situation is your #25 “Tell your traveling partner how much you appreciate them. That is SO true. Being appreciative of your family makes all things better – good times, bad times and everything in between.
×