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?“
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.
When in doubt, technology can help you out big time here. Apps like FitStar, Daily Burn, and Yoga Studio can help you put together your own personal workout. However, what more and more business travelers are turning to are digital fitness trackers like Fitbit. These work not only like pedometers, but actually keep track of when you step, and encourage you to take a short walk or do some light exercise after long periods of immobility.
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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.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons that I would love to share with budding entrepreneurs, saving them from making the same mistakes I did. I have two tips when it comes to saving on hotel bookings. One, call the hotel and book directly. They would gladly offer you a better deal as they will save money from paying commission to the booking websites. Two, it also pays off to book last minute, reserving a room after 6 p.m. on the day of your arrival could bag you an even better deal.
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.
A good pair of earplugs is an essential item on any packing list. No matter where you’re traveling, whether it’s on the other side of the world or in your home country, there’s always a good chance that you’ll end up somewhere that’s just too noisy. It could be a hotel with poor noise insulation, an Airbnb with noisy neighbors, or a hostel dorm with noisy roommates.
No matter where I’m traveling, I like to maximize my business trips by scheduling time for what I like to call the big three — existing client visits, new business meetings and professional development opportunities. Before heading out, think about which contacts are based in that area and plan to host a dinner or grab a quick coffee with them. These face-to-face meetings go a long way in maintaining relationships with existing clientele as well as forming connections with potential business partners. To maximize your time out of office, look into any additional conventions or meet-ups you can attend to either strengthen your skill set or learn something new. Being in a foreign learning environment can also be fantastic for networking. If you seek out opportunities in these big three areas, no minute will be wasted.
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.
I do it this way: I walk inside the terminal and take a look at both the length of the line for check-in, and the clock. If the line isn’t too long, and I have enough time, I head for the check-in; I get your seat assignments, can make any special requests, get credit for frequent flier miles, and can best address any problems with the flight such as delays or cancellations.
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.
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.
Duct tape can fix just about anything—including baggage. That's why we picked duct tape as one of the Top 10 Travel Essentials that Cost Less Than $10. Pack duct tape in your bag to protect your bag. Broken zippers, rips, and torn handles can be fixed with a sliver of trusty silver tape. Don't worry. You don't need to pack the whole heavy roll. Pick up a package of travel duct tape before your next trip.
Will you be spending a lot of time in one particular country? A prepaid SIM card for the region you're visiting is an economical choice for overseas phone usage, and it allows you to make calls and use data exactly as many locals do: through a local provider. Switch your SIM card and you'll have a new local phone number and likely an affordable plan that puts scary-expensive international calling packages to shame. You won't be able to make or receive calls via your usual phone number, though.
In the same breath, your business trip is not the time to throw your exercise routine out the door either. Always try to book a hotel with a gym and go first thing in the morning if you can. That way, you won’t have an excuse to not go later in the day, or the opportunity to schedule something that cuts it out. Learn bodyweight exercises or yoga at home, so that if, for whatever reason, you find yourself without a gym, you have a few go-to’s on hand. Picking up running is also a great idea. This will be a great way to both burn calories and explore a bit of the city you’re in.
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.
You can always spot the first-timers, hands subconsciously guarding their money belts, faces set to "suspicion", always trying to figure out what the scam is, who's trying to rip them off. It's hard when you first start out to spot the crooks from the friendly locals, so plenty of people just mistrust everyone. That's a mistake though. The vast majority of locals aren't out to get you. It can pay to trust them every now and then – you'll make a lot more friends.
“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!”
The duty has escalated to a healthy hit on tourists returning from a British airport to the U.S. or Canada: £69 (about $113) in economy class, and double that in any higher classes, including premium economy. The duty also applies to award tickets. Rates are lower for flights within the U.K. and for short hops to Western Europe (£13) and higher to Asia and the South Pacific. Northern Ireland opted to reduce the duty to zero on direct flights to the U.S. or Canada.
So many travellers preach that it’s all about experiences not possessions, but you know what? Sometimes possessions can offer beautiful reminders of the experiences you’ve had. I only started buying souvenirs from every country I visited in the last year, and I wish I’d been doing so from the start of my trip. And if you’re worried about space in your backpack, just mail them off to a friend or family once you’ve bought them and your pack will be none the heavier. My friend Jaime collects magnets from every place he visits and I’m so jealous of his collection!