Usually, just having a smile seems to get me what I want. I always ask when I check in however, if there is an upgrade available, if they give extra points for anything, and what specials might be available. Just last night (although at a stage theater) I asked if I could upgrade my row. Although they don't do exchanges, they made an exception and upgraded me 8 rows.
Spice up a basic outfit with compact accessories, such as belts,jewelry and scarves. These suitcase space-savers add instant color and can easily take an outfit from day to night. Kelly Vrtis, an organizational travel spokeswoman for The Container Store relies on a lightweight Pashmina shawl as her go-to accessory while traveling. "You can use it over the shoulder, around your elbows or even wear it as a scarf."
Many of our favorite places are best traversed on foot. Skip the expensive sightseeing trolley and instead sign up for a group walking tour in your destination. If you're wary of being led around a tourist trap by someone in cheesy colonial garb, don't worry: Many destinations offer innumerable walking tours for every type of traveler, from the art buff to the culinary enthusiast. (Plus, a brisk walk between neighborhood nibbles almost outweighs the calories—we hope.)

When you are in a new country, meeting locals is one of the best ways to experience the country’s authentic culture. Smile at strangers, try to learn the local language, and ask questions to the people you meet who live there. You never know, you might end up making a friend who can take you off the beaten path and offer you some true insight into what life is like for those who live there. This kind of experience and knowledge can’t be bought on a tour and can only be achieved by making genuine local friends!

I used to be disastrous with my tech, but now that I have cases for everything, I’m doing much better. It’s worth getting a shell for your laptop, a keyboard cover for accidental spills, a sturdy case for your Kindle, and a waterproof case for your phone. Replacing tech is expensive and spending a day trying to figure out which island you need to fly to in the Philippines in order to get your laptop repaired is frustrating.
Asking is the quickest way to get a discount but it’s also the quickest possible way to piss off an Airbnb host. This is what differentiates the pros from the newbies. My general policy as a host — which I’ve been doing since 2011 — is to turn away hagglers because it signals a problem guest. It’s still possible, though, to get a confirmed booking and save some money without irritating a host so much they end up declining a guest’s inquiry outright. The trick is learning how to do it delicately.
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.
"Let go of the idea that you have to take a different outfit for each day," advises Foster. "The key to packing light is selecting versatile and interchangeable pieces." Foster chooses her clothes by focusing on one basic color, such as black, white, brown or khaki, then adds variety with additional tops and accessories that have more color and personality. This approach allows you to pare down the number of garments you need while making it easy to change up your look with creative mixing and matching.
Many of our favorite places are best traversed on foot. Skip the expensive sightseeing trolley and instead sign up for a group walking tour in your destination. If you're wary of being led around a tourist trap by someone in cheesy colonial garb, don't worry: Many destinations offer innumerable walking tours for every type of traveler, from the art buff to the culinary enthusiast. (Plus, a brisk walk between neighborhood nibbles almost outweighs the calories—we hope.)
“You can ‘de-materialize’ certain objects by replacing them with apps on you phone. The obvious example is the camera, but also think of the travel guide book, maps, the moleskine, books, magazines, etc. Also, if you are taking a long term trip, you can buy clothing from locals as you go with apps like Modabound (an Airbnb for clothing) and others.”
When I travel, I am often invited to stay with a local contact. I almost always accept the invitation. Staying in someone's home provides an opportunity to get to know them on a much more intimate personal level. Either I get a home-cooked meal or we eat at the best local restaurants. The closer connection allows for a deeper, more enduring relationship...or pretty fast clarity that it isn't a good match. In any case, it adds an interesting angle to the trip. (The photo is from a recent business trip.)
It's great to have a guidebook, something to point you in the right direction and give you background information on the places you're visiting. The mistake first-time travellers make, however, is only doing things listed in the guidebook – only visiting the restaurants, staying in the hostels and visiting the attractions that get the guidebook's stamp of approval. There's more to the world than the bits listed in those pages.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
Other smart garments include vests with elaborate hidden storage systems, scarves with savvy pockets, and ExOfficio's insect-repellant button-downs (perfect for a trip that takes you from indoors to out). Convertible bags will also extend your wardrobe and lighten your carry-on load; this option from Tumi converts from a flight-friendly backpack to a tote bag for everyday use.
There have been so many times when I’ve been too shy to ask someone to take my photo in a place and I’ve almost always regretted it. After five years of travel, I probably only have around 200 photos of me around the world. Photos of the beautiful places you visit are great and all, but when you get home, they’re not all that different to the ones everyone else has taken there, too. Photos with you in them are special and they’ll come to mean a lot more. 

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.


What are the benefits of flying business class? What are the best business class perks? Most of the benefits of flying business class are listed above, but business class air travel really depends on the airline. Some airlines are just better than others, as discussed above. Some offer the best business class flights (like the Middle East Airlines) whereas others just offer typical travel in business class (like some of the American airlines).
I do a lot of back-to-back business travel. To save time, I keep my suitcase partially packed - with a full toiletries kit, basic jewelry, makeup bag, snacks, heels, notebook, pens and business cards always. When I get back from one trip, I repack the basics - pajamas, under-things. Then, I just have to top it off with some business clothes and I'm out the door every time.
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.
There is always a solution to these issues you may face during your business trip. You can quickly find another flight or use the Jet Card program we talked about earlier to secure a private flight to the destination. Accommodation issues can be solved by turning to booking apps and services such as Airbnb. When you are prepared, no challenge is to difficult to handle.
I used to be disastrous with my tech, but now that I have cases for everything, I’m doing much better. It’s worth getting a shell for your laptop, a keyboard cover for accidental spills, a sturdy case for your Kindle, and a waterproof case for your phone. Replacing tech is expensive and spending a day trying to figure out which island you need to fly to in the Philippines in order to get your laptop repaired is frustrating.
So, when it comes to packing personal items, it is best to keep it scant. Dark colored clothes are a plus because they hide stains well and can often be reworn. Shoes without laces are extremely convenient for getting through security. A Dopp kit or toiletry bag can be within your set of go-to’s to ensure you don’t show up to a meeting with rancid breath because you forgot toothpaste. Gather the essentials here and ensure that the rest is versatile.
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