By far the best way to enjoy maximum value in hotel accommodations and rental cars is to buy through one of the opaque agencies, where you either "bid" on a room or car or accept a price "blind" without knowing the hotel or rental company until after you make a nonrefundable purchase. The two biggest opaque agencies are Priceline (bid) and Hotwire (blind price), but several other OTAs now offer opaque options.
As President of Fastport Passport, a passport and visa expediting company, I know that one of the most important changes for 2016 involves adding passport pages. Previously, the U.S. Department of State issued a standard passport with 28 pages (17 of which could be used for visas). As of January 1st, 2016, U.S. travelers who run out of visa pages will no longer have the option to add pages. Travelers must now apply for a
This was a great read. I enjoyed all of your tips, but number 3. Don’t Expect Things to Be Like They Are at Home has really stood out for me. This is one of the primary reasons most of us travel, because we are tired of seeing and doing the same ol’things. If we can afford it, we may want to journey out for a change and see new things, and we’d hope this new scene is not like our home residence. Lol! We want to see something new. The world is entirely too big for us to just stay in one place. I bet you’ve learned lots on your travel. 🙂
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 an easy and often fun way to get around California’s larger cities and communities, do what an increasing number of locals do and hitch a ride on a bus, subway, ferry, or light rail system. Using public transportation can be an efficient, affordable, safe, and eco-friendly option, particularly in areas where roads, parking, and urban traffic can be confusing and frustrating. Some transit systems let you buy multi-day passes; check ticket options online before you arrive to get the best deals. Two companies, Citypass and Go, also offer deals on local transportation options in San Francisco and Southern California.
Here's a novel idea: Leave some of your toiletries behind and use the soaps and lotions provided by the hotel. "I love to try the new shampoos and conditioners when I travel," says Kelly Vrtis, packing expert and travel spokesperson for The Container Store. "My hair enjoys the break from the usual routine." Besides, adds Christopher Elliott, ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler and columnist for MSNBC.com, "the one thing people tend to forget is that there are stores where you're going and you can always buy those items once you get there."
"There's not much that makes me feel like an organized human as much as dividing my belongings into color-coded cubes. It's so wonderful to know exactly where everything you brought is as soon as you unzip your suitcase. Plus, you can very easily move your packing cubes into the drawers of your hotel dresser and instantly be done unpacking and ready to go." — Richelle Szypulski, Assistant Digital Editor
Your best bet for flexibility in these areas comes if you book your stay during the shoulder season when the owner might simply be pleased to fill an otherwise-open weekend or midweek-to-midweek slot. The additional savings in that case might be on your flights to and from your destination, because you won't be paying exorbitant weekend fares to get there and back.
Work-Around: Theoretically, you can check ahead and find a place that doesn't charge. But finding out about the parking charge isn't always easy. In our experience, hotels sometimes don't show parking charges on their websites. The best solution is often to check the hotel listing on an OTA such as Expedia or Hotels.com, regardless of where you made the reservation, because those sites may offer additional information.
When’s the best time to book a flight? How can a free upgrade actually cost you money? Why are duct tape, petroleum jelly, and dental floss among the most valuable things you can pack? Find out the answer to these and many other questions with our list of the 101 travel tricks you need to try. (And then add your own tips and tricks in the comments area below!)
Packing is pivotal. Forget an essential item and you're left disappointed and scrambling to find the nearest store in your destination. Pack too much and you end up disorganized, burdened with heavy bags, and hemorrhaging money to pay for pricey airline baggage fees. So we thought it best to revisit the most basic—and most useful—packing rules. Here are 10 fundamental packing strategies that every traveler should learn.
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.
Among the best business travel tips around, there are those that suggest how to pack. Indeed, packing for a business trip is not the same thing as packing for a holiday. There is an unspoken rule that one should dress smartly on business meetings. I always make sure to carry a pair of smart pants and a skirt, a couple of dressy tops and nice shoes that I can wear at meetings, and a dress and heels to wear at events and parties. Packing cubes help keeping things in order inside the suitcase, and minimize the risk of creasing.
Meeting and schedule changes at the final hour make last-minute travel sometimes inevitable. Booking last-minute flights usually leads to sky-high airfares, but there are ways to keep premiums at a minimal. Recent SAP Concur data revealed it’s best to book flights at least eight days or more in advance—tickets booked fewer than seven days prior to departure can be on average 44 percent more expensive than the same ticket booked 15 days in advance. You can save $148 per ticket by booking at least eight days out.
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.
No trick here - use a credit card that gives rewards for your favorite hotel chain and you can sleep and eat (breakfast) for free. We use our Marriott and Hilton credit cards for lots of business expenses and average around 24 free night stays each year - that's about $4500 worth of Residence Inn, Hampton Inn and breakfasts for two. Better still, use the cards to pay for business expenses and the rewards for personal trips. Pay yourself to take a long weekend off!
9. Develop a routine for sleep and eating. Eat before you get on the plane to maximize the amount of time you can sleep, particularly for red-eye flights. Transcontinental and transatlantic flights are often too short for a full night’s sleep. So maximize your Z’s by “preparing for bed”–brushing your teeth and getting into comfortable clothes–before the flight. Go to sleep as soon as you hit the seat. Scoring a window seat avoids being disturbed by fellow passengers during the flight.
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)
For something a little more unique, pay a visit to www.RoadsideAmerica.com. This website lists unusual landmarks and tourist attractions by state. (Headed to Omaha? Get your photo taken in front of the city’s 6-foot bronze statue of Chef Boyardee!) Convincing your co-workers to do something silly or partake in the local culture will provide some surprisingly good team bonding time (not to mention photos for the break room).
19. To check a bag or not to check bag. Each airline has its own set of guidelines as to how many bags can be checked or carried on for free. Make sure to look up what your airline’s rules are to avoid any incremental fees. And, if you are connecting during your trip, know the luggage rules/fees for those airlines as well -- especially for regional or low-cost carriers.
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.
2. Blend in with your surroundings. Once you’ve done your research, you can start your visit to a new destination as if you were one of the locals. This is not only sound exploration advice, but a good safety tip as well. You’ll make yourself more vulnerable to con artists if you stick out like a sore thumb with your massive backpack, two cameras and confused look on your face. and you will draw much less attention if you make an effort to blend in. You also don’t want to disrespect or offend with improper dress or manners. If you’re visiting places of worship, make sure to dress modestly in order to prevent upsetting the locals.
Be a regular, not just another, guest. Too often, business travelers play the "points" game to get the perks at all properties or the points for family vacations. I've changed that approach and become "property" loyal as a regular. What do I get out of that? I get the best in house upgrade all the time, at the same rate of a regular room, VIP Lounge access, and free Internet all the time. I even get rooms when the hotel is sold out, at my regular rate. At other properties, the hotel GM has me treated like a VIP.
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!
Airports can be a drag. It seems one is always either rushing through security in a panic or waiting for what feels like eternity in the uncomfortable seats at Gate 23. While there are a few hacks to get you moving more quickly through the chaos, frequent business travelers recommend that above all, what earns a traveler the gold star is in fact not acting how you may feel. What gets you the big rewards here is really being a decent person. Having empathy for airline workers and shaking off a “resting grump face” often results in some good karma (being selected for an upgrade over another grumpier pa
Unfortunately, UK residents (and basically anyone who isn’t in the US) just don’t have access to the crazy amount of points that Americans can get with credit cards and whatnot. It’s not much of a thing in the UK — there are rarely signup bonuses, and if there are, they’re crap. I’m really not loyal to one particular airline, either — I fly with budget airlines 99% of the time, which don’t have rewards programs, and I only take one or two long-haul flights a year. Also! Because I spend a lot of my time in developing countries, I very rarely pay for things with a card, so I probably wouldn’t meet spending requirements.
Wherever you're planning to go, pick luggage that is versatile, lightweight and big enough to hold all your essentials. The most important decision you'll make is (as far as luggage is concerned) is buying a bag that has an awesome warranty. Traveling with a piece of luggage with broken wheel, handle or zipper is the absolute worst! Brands that back their gear with stand-up warranties build that promised durability into their gear. It’s also important to finding a travel bag that's as versatile as you need it to be, while also fitting all your stuff and being easy to carry.
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.
One thing I thnk you’d love which you may not yet know about is PortaPocket. Lets you safely, hands-free carry small essentials ON your body. Much more than any neck safe, money belt or leg wallet. It’s a patented, wearable system that’s modular, so it’s really ALL of those in one, and works almost ANYwhere on your body (& either under/over your outfit). Super confy, detachable/interchangeable, easy to use. Go from a workout to a night out without skipping a beat. I won’t leeave home without ’em, and haven’t relied on a purse to carry my valuables in over 10 years. Freedom = GOOD!!
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.
It’s good to have a budget to stick to, but most people tend to go over. Start saving as soon as possible (like, now) and aim to bring more money than you think you’ll need. The more money you have, the more you’ll be able to treat yourself to nicer accommodation, splurge on fun tours, and not spend your entire trip worrying that you’ll run out of cash.
Most prepaid credit cards come with some surprising hidden fees, such as inactivity fees, reloading charges, monthly fees, activation fees, and so on. John Ulzheimer, CEO of SmartCredit.com, told CNNMoney, "Consumers need to realize that any insinuation that a prepaid card is less expensive than a debit card is false, and any claim that it will help you rebuild credit is just a lie."
Excellent advice about talking to locals. When you get to know the people who live there, it really makes for a wonderful experience. And you are so right, they have the best insider tips! We’re guilty of focusing only on photos at one point as well. When we started blogging as a career, we nearly lost ourselves in the work. We now always have to remind ourselves to have balance. It’s amazing to be able to capture a moment at our fingertips, but we feel it’s just as important to stop and take it all in. It’s easy to miss the moment when you’re looking through the lens. Thanks for sharing!
Some of my biggest highlights are things that sound so normal: it was drinking and singing with newfound friends in the Philippines, hiking alone in the mountains surrounding Taipei, trying to guess what everything was at a wet market in Saigon, dropping my travel plans to fly home and surprise my mum for her birthday, and spending six weeks in Madrid because that’s where my friends were spending the summer.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said. Travel is a life changing experience which draws people together and educates. Even if you don’t have plans to sell everything and travel continuously, the best tip I could give is to travel to a different country at least once in your life. See how other people live their lives. Witness the day to day things like going to the market, or how something simple like lunch is done in Spain, France or Italy. Having this perspective is a good thing and helps understand the world a little bit better.
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.
Don’t bother with those fancy, expensive travel towels. Instead, get a sarong. It’s cheap and multi-use: use it as a wrap, lay it out for picnics or sunbathing, or dry off with it. They’re super light and dry quickly, even in humid places. For packing, invest in packing cubes! They make packing and living out of a suitcase/backpack more organized and much easier. It’s one of my best packing tips. 1 Dad 1 Kid
"In the days leading up to travel, adding raw turmeric in your diet can help avoid headaches when flying, with its powerful anti-inflammatory properties," says Marra St. Clair, co-founder of Project Juice. "Once you arrive at your destination, if possible, add in green juices that contain celery, which naturally helps restore electrolyte balance. Also incorporate sparkling water for electrolyte replacement."
California is made for road trips. An easy-to-navigate network of more than 50,000 miles of good-quality highways and freeways link just about every corner of the state, with secondary routes leading to even more under-the-radar finds. Some of these roads are famous—Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast, legendary Route 66, and Avenue of the Giants (Highway 101 winding through towering redwoods). Some are workhorses—most notably Interstates 5 and 80—getting drivers (and truckers) up and across the state as quickly as possible. But even these heavy-lifters can lead you to surprising destinations.
5. Arrange for voice and Internet access before you go. Depending on where you travel, Internet access can be great or it can be pathetic. And having to pay $30 a day for an Internet connection in a $300-a-night hotel is not unusual. So buying an international data plan for your mobile device may be cheaper than paying daily local rates. Then, use your mobile device as a hotspot for data. Check with your carrier or with an international telecom service before you go.
I liked reading #15. In 2009 my wife and I taught English for 3 weeks in a tiny town in Central Vietnam that is still suffering from the effects of the Vietnam War. We will never be able to replicate those 3 incredible weeks of warmth, openness and sheer happiness from our students and the local community. It’s incredible to think that many of our student when on and have since graduated university.
Good news, globetrotters: Traveling a ton doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you’re wondering how to pack efficiently, find the cheapest flight or score major hotel deals, you’ll love this ultimate travel hack list for explorers. Say sayonara to those pre-travel jitters, because your jet-setting ways just got way easier. You can thank us later.
Technology affords us the opportunity to work wherever we are. Take advantage of these opportunities to get to know other business travelers' needs and find ways to serve their business. Wi-Fi enables you to be easily connected, so there is no need for a delay of task completion. Display your web page and view others. Show interest in what they do and what they have to offer, and don't forget to leave them with your card! You never know when one chance encounter may lead to a big break.
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.
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.
When it comes to travel, your flight(s) will likely be your biggest expense. Save money by signing up for flight deal websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, The Flight Deal, and Secret Flying. You’ll get epic flight deals straight to your inbox, saving you time and money. Also be sure to sign up for airline newsletters, since that is where they will announce their sales first!
Number 2 and 4 rings so true for me. I hate the burnout of travel. I always feel I am going to come back to a place so I try to do less and enjoy a more rich experience, hoping to build on that the next time I come back. Traveling even after having kids is one of my big beliefs. I am not one to want to wait till the kids are out of the house to experience the world. While i am healthy and at my most active self, I want to experience the world – with the kids when possible.
Major airport can provide on-site assistance to and from flights, including wheelchairs; call your airline in advance for details. Some rental car companies offer specially outfitted vehicles with hand controls, wheelchair accessibility, and other assistive devices. Amtrak train service provides added services for passengers with disabilities, as well as a 15% discount on regular travel fares.