In some respects, I’m amazed at how staggeringly little I’ve grown as a traveler: I still roam cities with nary a clue as to what I’m doing, I’m still motivated largely by my quest to stuff as many baked goods into my mouth as possible, I still weep a little when forced to read a map. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t learn anything. I have picked up a few tips and tricks that I’ve gleaned from my many copious mistakes. Here are the best of of them – my my top travel tips and lessons learned from the last few years.
Choosing lightweight suitcases not only makes it easier for you to get about, it also often gives you more space to pack. At 8.8 pounds, Eagle Creek's Hovercraft 25 features an expandable main compartment that adds an extra 15 percent capacity. If you're planning on doing lots of shopping during your trip, pack an extra travel tote or daypack that folds flat in your luggage—it can even double as a place to carry essentials on day outings and bring back your travel treasures on the flight back. Patagonia offers an extra-lightweight travel tote that you can hand-carry or wear as a backpack, then stuff into its own pocket when it's no longer needed.
Don’t judge other travellers, either. Don’t judge people for visiting the most touristy cities in the world, don’t judge them for travelling with a backpack or a suitcase, don’t judge them for being a budget or luxury traveller, don’t judge them for carrying a selfie stick, just accept that everyone’s different, travels for different reasons, and likes different things.

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!
How do you usually organise all of your electronics, cables, those fiddly bits that take you ages to dig out at security? Stuff them in like the rest of us? Well, if you want to organise your packing then get yourself a stash of ziplock bags. Phone charger, camera charger, adaptors, headphones – take extra plastic bags (the same ones you’d use for hand luggage liquids) and use them to store electrical items, things for the journey home (house keys, parking ticket and car keys), medication and other loose accessories. And if you do love a gadget, then you should check out our top travel accessories.
"If it's a longer trip that requires two suitcases," says Shiona Turini of Cosmopolitan, "I always pack evenly between the two (e.g. a black shoe in one and a black shoe in the other). In the event my luggage gets lost, I know that I can survive with one suitcase. It takes more time, but I've heard horror stories of people putting all of their shoes in one bag and the airline losing that piece of luggage."
Go in them to get some insight into the local culture and cuisine by comparing their menus to the ones back home. Check what types of chocolate bars McDonald’s uses in their McFlurrys. (In Geneva they had Toblerone and in South Africa there’s a neon green lime flavor.) See what unusual spices Starbucks adds to their coffee. And compare the prices to the ones back home and other countries you’ve been, just like the Economist does so with their Big Mac index.
Step 1: Gather all the garments you anticipate needing. Then put half of them back. Select clothes in the same color family, packing more tops than bottoms. For a five-day trip, you’ll likely need five shirts, two pairs of slacks or jeans, and one skirt, says Kathleen Ameche, author of The Woman Road Warrior ($15, amazon.com). The average 22-inch check-in bag fits roughly two pairs of jeans, three sweaters, two dresses, and five shirts.
While we're on the subject of packing, remember to fill your suitcase with clothing appropriate to the occasion. Most importantly—if you're going to be flying with co-workers or meeting clients at the airport, make sure that your travel outfit can’t be described using the words "velour" or "sweatsuit." Ditch the Uggs and opt for something cozy yet professional—ballet flats and a soft maxi skirt, for example.
Being hired as a Keynoter or Workshop Leader does not mean that you only have one opportunity to work. Once you have a signed contract, look for other opportunities to speak. Chambers, Business Incubators, other conferences or chapter meetings would welcome the opportunity to have a "non-local" speak and as a bonus, they won't have to pay your airfare. Bonus Tip: Add packages of instant oatmeal to your luggage for a healthier breakfast or snack.
When you’re always traveling for your job, you’re always expected to be ready. But what about jobs like a truck driver or freight broker? These workers are constantly on the road to the point where their office can be considered “on the road”. Because of the nature of these kinds of jobs, you have to be prepared more often than not and have a great plan in place for when the road calls.
5. Get a good meal. Yelp isn’t as sexy as some of the newer apps, but I use it on every single trip I take. There’s nothing more depressing than coming into a new city, being ravenously hungry and not having a clue where to eat (except for the decrepit hotel lounge). Use Yelp’s advanced search functionality to determine what’s “open now,” and within either a quick walk or a short drive. You can sort by type of cuisine and also by ratings, so you can ensure you’re looking at the best. This has led me to fantastic spots I never would have found, from a Thai/Vietnamese place in Akron to small gems on the side streets of Paris. (Note that Yelp is particularly strong in the U.S.; TripAdvisor may be worth consulting as an alternative if you’re traveling abroad and don’t see a lot of Yelp listings for the region you’re in.)
Hmmm, it really depends on which countries you’ll be visiting and how you’ll be travelling. During my first year, I stayed mostly in hostels, spent the majority of my time in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe and was on a tight budget and spent around $11,000. Last year, I was travelling on a mid-range budget — lots of Airbnb apartments and a few splurges in luxury hotels — and spent my time in Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand and spent $20,000.
Laying by the beach and chilling with a trusty gather organiser! Only this one is special. It’s woven by our artisan communities! . . . . . #giftsandgraces #fairtrade #handmade #upcycle #socialgood #socialimpact #philippines #filipino #pinoy #pinoymade #proudlypinoy #madeinthephilippines #locallymade #proudlylocal #trylocalph #gadget #gadgetorganizer #organizer #flatlay
Choosing lightweight suitcases not only makes it easier for you to get about, it also often gives you more space to pack. At 8.8 pounds, Eagle Creek's Hovercraft 25 features an expandable main compartment that adds an extra 15 percent capacity. If you're planning on doing lots of shopping during your trip, pack an extra travel tote or daypack that folds flat in your luggage—it can even double as a place to carry essentials on day outings and bring back your travel treasures on the flight back. Patagonia offers an extra-lightweight travel tote that you can hand-carry or wear as a backpack, then stuff into its own pocket when it's no longer needed.
While we're on the subject of packing, remember to fill your suitcase with clothing appropriate to the occasion. Most importantly—if you're going to be flying with co-workers or meeting clients at the airport, make sure that your travel outfit can’t be described using the words "velour" or "sweatsuit." Ditch the Uggs and opt for something cozy yet professional—ballet flats and a soft maxi skirt, for example.
To each their own! I would rather have photos that differ to the million identical photos that other people have taken of a place. It’s a souvenir; it’s something to send my family and friends, so they can see I’m safe and happy (my mum definitely wishes I’d take my photos of myself to send her when she misses me!); it’s something I can one day show my grandkids, so I can teach them the importance of travel and show them what I spent my twenties doing.
Not using a money belt is not great advice. Not showing you have a money belt is. I was express kidnapped in Peru by a fake taxi, robbed at night on a train in India and was pick pocketed in the Philippines. I had an additional incident in Peru with a mugger who slammed into us at tried to snatch and grab one of my two companion’s bag. I carry several extra credit cards, a second cell phone and my passport and hundreds of dollars in backup cash when traveling, which I keep in pockets that are going to require my cooperation for a thief to access. I keep cash and my preferred credit card in separate pockets in my outer garments, and figure that whatever is there has to be of low enough value that it is expendable in the event of criminal action. Amazon has packs of 20 zipper pocket pouches that can be sewn into clothing. In addition to shooting pictures of the serial numbers of my phones and cameras, I email photos of my birth certificate, passport, passport photo, driver’s license, and credit cards (front and back). Plan on being robbed at some point. If you travel long enough, it is going to happen. I live near Khao San Road, and just going to the market is an opportunity for a smash and grab or a sleuthy pick pocketing. I plan accordingly, and use money belts for my passport and Departure Card as well as secondary credit card and emergency cash. Having been to emergency rooms twice in Thailand and Vietnam once, it is necessary to have several hundred dollars worth of cash on hand for emergencies. ATMs and bank balances are nice, but can be pretty worthless if you are not in a major city when fortunes change for the worse.

If you are constantly visiting the same location, find a hotel you like and make that your go-to accommodation on each trip. This way, over time, you can negotiate the rates of the hotel; if you know you will be staying in this city for at least two weeks throughout the year, that’s two weeks that hotel needn’t worry about their rooms being empty. This gives you grounds to negotiate some sort of special rate in advance of your trip. Many hotels are famous for giving corporate rates and discounts for loyal customers, so it can’t hurt to ask. Furthermore, returning to a hotel you know you will like will seriously help to reduce your stress levels. You know what you’re going to get, and you know you like it.
1. Learn the basic road laws. Ride in the direction of traffic and use the bicycle lanes when available. California law says you must ride as close to the right side as possible, unless the road is too narrow to be shared—in which case you are allowed to “take the lane.” (Not all motorists understand this, though, so always take precaution in this situation.) The California Bicycle Coalition outlines all the bike laws to know before you ride.

If looming baggage costs and stronger airport security measures have you in a tizzy, you're not alone. Things we once took for granted when flying, such as complimentary beverages and checked luggage, are fading fast. Most U.S. airlines charge at least $25 to check a bag, and some even charge for carry-ons exceeding backpack-size—but there's no need to panic. Learning how to pack efficiently is the key to lightening your load (but not your wallet). Here, our travel experts share their tips to streamline your packing for a stress-free vacation.

I always say that a stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet, so I like talking to people in each of the airports I travel through, so I make sure I have enough business cards with me to give out. As a franchise broker, I see individual franchisees in every market and visit their stores, offices and so on. For example, I was recently visiting a Club Pilates franchise in Nashville. The next week, I was in Kansas City, so I visited St. Gregory Development Group, home of Club Pilates, Bishops Barber Shops, Local Barre and more. In Milwaukee, I hosted a franchise networking group. Prior to that evening meeting, I set up an office at the CBS affiliate, so I can hopefully “make a friend” out of a reporter or two while killing time ahead of the meeting.
Tucked between San Diego and Los Angeles Counties, this region is known for flawless beaches and “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland Resort. Anaheim, the theme park’s home, offers a surprisingly hip vibe in a refurbished downtown. Newport Beach has dazzling yachts, Huntington Beach has iconic surfing, and Costa Mesa beckons with top shopping.
If you visit costly cities frequently, set up an office there. Become a member of several airlines and hotel chains to get discounts. Buy a business class ticket. Use coupons while traveling. Carry some ingredients with you and cook your meals at hotels. Stay in corporate housing. Do online research to find the cheap hotels. Select garments which are versatile and can be rolled quickly. Become friends with the hotel staff to get perks. Involve them in celebrations to get a free bottle of wine.
It’s very important to have copies of such documents, should you lose them and then require emergency assistance. To cover all eventualities, scan the documents and email them to yourself, then save the email somewhere where it is easily accessible. I would also recommend taking photos of them on your phone and saving them to your favorites. It is also a good idea to make some photocopies of these documents. Keep a paper copy for yourself in your important documents folder and leave copies with your next of kin. That way, if you need help and can’t get hold of your copies for any reason, they can act on your behalf quickly with all the necessary information.
"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.
"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
Now, over the years, I’ve accumulated my fair share of packing wisdom, from the basic ‘no duhs’ to some unconventional gems of genius. Today, I’d like to share all of my best tips with you! While I’m still the world master of ‘panic packing’ (aka throwing all my stuff in a suitcase while sobbing), having these tips in mind often helps me hold things together. Without further ado, here are my golden essential tips for smart packing.
This densely populated Southern California region has surprising alpine getaways, like Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, in the impressive San Bernardino Range. On the region’s sunny east side, explore the inviting Temecula Valley wine region. The university town of Riverside is the region’s largest city. San Bernardino, the second largest city, has museums and impressive shopping, while Fontana has NASCAR racing.
Reversible clothes can add color to your travel wardrobe and give you plenty of options, all in one garment. Look for pieces that have bright patterns on one side and basic neutrals on the other for maximum use. The reversible V-neck pullovers from L.L.Bean are great for winter getaways, while tank tops with neckline options, such as this one from Anthropologie, add versatility (and endless outfit permutations) to an otherwise basic garment. For men, we like this plaid jacket from yoga outfitter Prana.

It is almost May. I’m slightly alarmed by this. Not just because the year is zipping by, and I’m wondering how I squandered away all that time with so little to show for it (Whither the sample chapter of the great American travel memoir, Everywhereist? Whither the clean laundry you were going to do?), but because I am coming up on another anniversary.
Our favorite (above-board) tip is to download a program such as NetStumbler, which goes above and beyond your computer's built-in Wi-Fi detector by locating "hidden" Wi-Fi networks your PC might have missed. If you're on a Bluetooth-enabled Mac, iStumbler will provide the same service. Smartphone users can get apps like JiWire's Free Wi-Fi Finder, whose directory tracks the exact location of nearly 150,000 free networks worldwide.
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