Below are a handpicked selection of articles by our team of travel veterans and our favorite travel experts. These are people, just like you, for whom necessity is the mother of invention. Over many trips, suffering the frustration of lost luggage or bags that weighed them down, they learned to pack better, and lighter. They learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.
Hotels & Motels: Hotels and motels are the tried-and-true standard for most vacations—providing a safe, clean, and comfortable place to go to sleep at night. They’re important here. Remember, California invented the motel back in the 1920s. Top chains are well represented statewide, and are often located in larger metropolitan areas and near tourist attractions and travel routes. Boutique hotels tend to offer a more intimate and luxuriously stylish environment for travelers. In more rural areas, consider independently owned lodgings, some in historic buildings.
Save time packing by keeping a carry-on suitcase packed with the minimal amount of clothing, shoes and accessories you need, including 3-ounce toiletries in a Ziploc bag. Trade bulky laptops for thinner laptops and tablets such as a MacBook Air or an iPad. Replace hardcovers with eBooks. If you must bring a coat or bulky shoes, wear them on the plane to avoid taking up space in your luggage.
Whether you dream of a posh suite overlooking the ocean, a boutique hotel in the heart of a city, a full-service resort, or a serene campsite under the stars, California has the perfect place to spend the night. Book a stay at a major chain almost anywhere in the state, or consider accommodations as distinctive as California itself—handsome stone-and-timber mountain lodges, restored Gold Rush hotels, snug inns, and ultra-exclusive retreats in one-of-a-kind settings. There are also millions of acres of unforgettable parkland where all you need is a tent, a sleeping bag, marshmallows, and a few good campfire stories. (And, maybe, a reservation.)
When you take your seat on the plane, make a habit of adjusting the air vents. To get that Goldilocks sweet spot (not too hot, not too cold), open the air vent about halfway, and then position it so it blows right in front of you but not on you. Not only will you boost circulation in your personal zone, which can counteract that stuffy plane feeling, but some experts suggest that you may also be protecting yourself from germs.
As for being open, most folks on earth are nice, kind and will chat you up for a bit. I made a few awesome friends here in Fiji by being open, by saying “bula!” and by extending the conversation just a little bit. Sharing your thoughts, and connecting, helps you make friends and if you haven’t made at least a handful of travel buddies over the years you’re missing the point.
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.
We love this TSA-friendly recipe for stone-fruit oatmeal squares. Filled with natural fruit flavors but not overly sweet, they can serve as a quick afternoon snack or ready-to-go breakfast treat for an early-morning flight. Even better, they can be baked and frozen in advance so you won't have to scramble to prep right before you depart. Just take one or two out of the freezer as you head to the airport and allow them to thaw on your way. The recipe is also quite versatile. You can use any stone fruits, such as nectarines, peaches, or plums, making the squares especially ideal in summer (though pretty much any fruit, including apples and berries, can be substituted as the seasons change).
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Eagle Creek is an invitation to discover the wonders of humanity and our planet. From city parks to exotic destinations, we equip you with the durable and versatile gear to take you beyond your fears and outside your comfort zone. We believe the experience of the unknown inspires a deeper understanding of each other, a curiosity for the unfamiliar, and fresh perspectives on life. We know the further we travel, the closer we become to each other and to the planet we share.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Concerned about losing your phone while on the road? Change your phone's lock screen to an image that displays your emergency contact information, including your email address and an alternate phone number. If your phone is lost or stolen and a Good Samaritan finds it, he or she will easily be able to get in touch with you to return it, even if your phone is locked.
“When there are problems with the flight, most people start out annoyed or even hostile. If I tell the agents what a great job they’re doing and how I admire their patience, they'll often go to extraordinary lengths for me,” says motivational speaker Barry Maher. “I once had a gate agent spend 45 minutes to get me rebooked on another airline. Then she called the gate, grabbed one of my carry-ons and ran with me to security. When I got to the gate, the agent bumped me into first class.”
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.
Very informative post Lauren! I use most of these tips myself but there were a couple that I hadn’t thought of before – I especially love 89. I google image places to see what they look like too. I have also always used Skyscanner but have started looking on Momondo a lot more as there have been a lot of times when flights are cheaper on there. I also recently discovered Secret Flying which publishes error fares and great deals for flights – some of the deals on here are unbelievable!
4. Research your route. Check out bike mobile app Strava’s city guides for routes in Bakersfield, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, and more—coffee shops and photo ops included. Also, the California Bike Coalition has a solid list of free online maps for routes from Humboldt County down to San Diego. You can also get turn-by-turn directions using Google maps: Dark green lines denote protected bike trails (read: no cars), light green lines show dedicated bike lanes, and dashed green lines indicate bicycle-friendly roads.
Decades ago, before the Internet, one of the standard tips for travelers visiting Europe went this way: If you find you need to rent a car after you arrive in Europe, don't pay the high local rates. Instead, call the rental-car company's U.S. office and rent at the much lower rate quoted to U.S. travelers. Surprisingly, this recommendation is still valid. Book your car rental from a U.S. website to pay about half the local quote.
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."
"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
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!
I travel a lot for work, from Florida to Vegas to Ecuador, and I’m usually on a bus, train, boat or airplane! I visit trade shows, I speak at conferences, and I visit clients. The key to success when you are constantly traveling is organization. I have a written day planner where I can see my week at a glance, which helps me prepare my flights and schedule, as well as not overlap or miss any details.
We all want to keep our money secure while traveling. Prepaid credit cards, which are often billed as a safer and more convenient alternative to carrying cash abroad, might seem like a smart option. You purchase a card and load it with funds in your preferred currency ahead of your trip. And if your card gets lost or stolen, you can cancel it immediately. Simple, right? Unfortunately, it's not so simple.
We were first business flyers to arrive for our morning flight. We were asked if we wanted to sit in the dining room to order a hot, fresh breakfast from an a la carte menu. Yes, please! A fresh cappuccino, fresh squeezed orange juice, and crepes made to order. I was so impressed. I am accustomed to buffet style snacks and treats, but having a menu to order fresh food was quite enjoyable, particularly sitting alongside the floor to ceiling windows with a view of the runway (Eric liked that).
I always smile, say thank you, and compliment the people I interact with. If I like a necklace or a smile, I let them know. People appreciate honest praise. You might be the friendliest person they meet that day. I don't do it to get upgrades, but it has been known to happen. A ticket agent or desk clerk who hears complaints all day is happy to be treated as a person and shown respect. I do it because I used to do those jobs back in the day. I never regret being nice to people.
Get ready to roll. With its mild climate, outstanding highway system, and nonstop-gorgeous scenery, California stands out as the perfect place for a road trip. And renting a car is about as easy as it gets. Whether your trip itinerary is a statewide tour of California’s greatest hits, a all-in-the-family visit to iconic theme parks, or an off-the-beaten-track adventure, there’s a vehicle to match your mood and style—snazzy convertibles, family-friendly vans, rugged models that can handle all types of conditions (even snow), even campers and Rvs, all in excellent shape and with good road assistance and optional insurance policies.
For campers, hikers, kayakers and other adventure-bound travellers, packing for travel means more than tossing a toothbrush and change of clothing in a bag. To be prepared for rough terrain, unpredictable weather and small living quarters, you need to plan ahead. A light backpack with an internal frame is a good option for carrying essentials without weighing yourself down. Dual-purpose clothing that's both windproof and water-resistant can help you stay warm and dry, while taking up minimal storage space. Bandages, water bottles, flashlights, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a GPS may take up some luggage real estate, but you'll be happy you have them when and if you need them.
You don’t even have to stick to the airlines’ schedules. Many companies provide private jet memberships, for example, the Private Jet Membership program from Paramount Business Jets allows members to fly at the lowest possible price and enjoy extra flexibility as they can fly in as little as an hour after booking. The membership program lets you have access to the best jets without having to buy them.
Things are going to go wrong. And that's not because you're a rookie – things are always going to go wrong. That's part of travelling. The mistake first-time travellers make is letting it get to them. So your train didn't turn up, or your hotel has lost your booking, or $50 has gone missing from your wallet. You'll sort it out. Getting upset or freaking out is only going to make it worse.
Don’t forget to squeeze in some light exercise in between flights and meetings. A 30-minute walk around the airport or a simple stretching routine when you feel tired is often all that is needed to refresh. Exercising also keep the body metabolizing at the ideal rate, which means you can sleep better at night and not have to worry about possible health problems ruining the trip.
Before you go on a big trip, it is tempting to try and plan every aspect of it. As tempting as it might seem, make sure to leave plenty of room for serendipity. Try to just plan the skeleton of your trip and leave room in between for discovery and for things to come up which you didn't plan. Talk to other travelers that you meet on the ground and you'll have a much better idea of what you want to do once you land.