Traveling Like the Experts

May 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Recently, Matt Long, creator of Landlopers and self-described normal person who just wants to get the most out of his traveling, shared his best tips with Yahoo Travel, on engaging and embracing your destination when you take a vacation. We thought you’d benefit from his sage advice.

Except his first tip worried me a bit. He suggests getting lost. As in, on purpose. Long believes there’s much lost from visiting a place if you seek to remain comfortable, only “exploring” the well-known tourist areas of any given city. So, in order to force himself to experience wherever he is like the locals, he intentionally shuts off Google maps and takes off on foot from his hotel for a walkabout.

“Along the way,” Long says, “I always discover little things I would never have found otherwise and, more importantly, I start to get a feel for the real city away from the tourist bubble.”

Items in a Dutch grocery store.

Items in a Dutch grocery store.

This leads to his second tip: shop a local grocery store. Besides being economical, Long believes you will learn more about the culture you’re trying to experience if you peruse one of its easiest-to-engage gateways, food.

“Food and travel go hand in hand,” Long wrote, “and it really is the best way to become a part of a new culture, rather than just a voyeur.” You’ll be able to purchase snacks and drinks cheaper at a grocery store than at your hotel, and you could even put together a light meal there to take al fresco.

Long also recommends talking to people. “Whether we vacation as a family or a couple, we all tend to stay fixated on our own packs,” Long said, “rarely engaging other travelers or locals. For me, travel is about personal enrichment and growth, and to do that I need to talk to people.”

If you don’t feel comfortable striking up a conversation, Long suggests joining a local walking tour. You’ll meet other travelers, and you’ll have access to someone with a breadth of knowledge who also likes to talk to people from other countries!

Becoming immersed in a different world is part of the appeal of traveling. What are your suggestions for making the most of your time away from home? How do you engage and embrace your destination? Leave us some ideas in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Top Five Technological Advances in Travel

May 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Technology is changing all aspects of our lives, from how we communicate to how we work to how we watch TV. Even our travel is benefitting from new technological advances.

A screenshot of a Google map

You can now download a localized Google Map to your phone for use even when you don’t have wifi or data access.

In fact, technological and engineering advances top the list of coming travel-related improvements. DestinationTips.com recently published 15 new travel advances we can expect to see, and we picked out a few of our favorites.

If you have a smartphone, you’ll be especially jazzed by what you can do with that ever-expanding, multi-tasking device.

Hilton and Marriott are in the process of updating the mechanisms that lock their guest rooms so travelers can unlock the door using their smartphone. By simply downloading an app when you check in, your phone acts as a key, and you have one less thing to keep track of during your visit.
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TSA Wants 25 million Travelers to choose Precheck and Global Entry

May 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

What’s the worst part of the travel experience? Take an informal poll and you’ll find “going through security” to be in the top three, if not number one. Since 9/11, Americans have developed strategies for removing their shoes, unloading their laptops, and shrinking their toiletries to three ounce travel sizes in order to streamline their security screening.

TSA Pre-Check signWhat if you could skip all that rigamarole and stroll through security without removing anything? You can, and The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) wants to tell you how. While many frequent business travelers are familiar with Precheck, TSA is on a campaign to get more travelers to sign up.

The process is relatively simple: you fill out a form online and schedule a brief, in-person interview at the airport where you present the required documentation (a passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate) and are fingerprinted. The $85 fee provides Precheck security clearance for five years.
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Travelpro Teams Up With Romina Arena to Celebrate Her New Book

May 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Share your travel story for a chance to win a two-piece Travelpro® luggage set!

Have you ever watched a movie like Roman Holiday, The Talented Mr. Ripley, or The Bicycle Thief, and wondered where they filmed it? The answer is “Italy,” of course. But where?

Where Did They Film That book cover by Romina ArenaIn many of these films, Italy has been the silent character that says so much. Only the streets of Rome, Florence, Palermo, and Milan can truly portray the country in a way no movie set ever could.

To showcase her country, Italian singer, Romina Arena, the “Queen of Popera,” is releasing her first book — Where Did They Film That?: Italy — as a way to show movie fans where some of their favorite movies were made, and the must-visit locations in the area, like restaurants, museums, and hotels. The book is set to be released in May 2016.

Travelpro is partnering with Arena to help celebrate her new book with the Where Did They Film That?: Italy sweepstakes. We’re giving away a 2-piece set of Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 bags to the winner — an International Carry-on Spinner and a 29″ Expandable Spinner — with an MSRP value of $1,400.
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Don’t Let Negative Thinking Stop You from Traveling

May 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, it’s a lot of work to go on a vacation. You have to plan your itinerary, find the best airfare, decide where to stay, and perhaps who to travel with. But everything in life requires effort, and we don’t want to see you miss out on a great experience because of the following negative myths:

It’s too expensive

In case you were waiting to win the lottery, the reality is everything costs money. There’s no free lunch, but there certainly are a plethora of free and discounted sites and activities to participate in, no matter where you decide to go. (Look at the activities you do at home — museums, sporting events, festivals.)

Backbid.com screnshot

Backbid.com works like Priceline, but in reverse: hotels bid by offering lower and lower prices to win your business.

And there are ways to take vacations that don’t cost much more than your regular living. For example, if you could drive to a new city 1,000 miles away and stay in an Airbnb apartment, you’re looking at the cost of gas and lodging. You can cook your own food, which you would have to do anyway, and you can just walk around and experience a brand new city for an entire week, and try the inexpensive and discounted activities.
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Want to Get Healthy? Travel More

May 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Would you like to grow your brain, have more energy, eliminate stress, and decrease your risk for a heart attack?

A British Airways 747 - coach cabinBelieve it or not, you can achieve all that if you just travel more. It seems too good to be true, but there are scientific studies to prove it.

How does travel grow your brain? Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, explains.

“When you expose your brain to an environment that’s novel and complex or new and difficult, the brain literally reacts,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2014. That exposure causes the brain to sprout dendrites — dangling extensions — which Nussbaum said grow the brain’s capacity. Who doesn’t want a bigger brain?
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The ONE Thing Travelers Can’t Live Without

May 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you had the choice between being able to maintain adequate hygiene or take a selfie while on vacation, which would you choose? If you said selfie, you have good, albeit stinky, company.

iphoneEvidently, 60 percent of travelers from 19 countries would rather risk offending others with their breath than leave their phone behind while on a getaway.

According to a recent study by Expedia of 9,642 travelers, 33 percent said they use their phones more during vacation than while at home. Aman Bhutani, president of Brand Expedia Group, said that participants claimed having their smartphones with them “improved the quality of their vacation.”

How? By providing them with the nagging sense that they’re falling behind on their work every time they gave into the urge to check email or voicemail? The device does offer quite a few helpful applications, but at what cost to truly relaxing?
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The Tall Person’s Guide to Airline Legroom

April 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Airline travel is a necessity for me, but as a taller-than-average guy, I think more about the two inches of extra space some airlines offer, than most people do. Two inches doesn’t seem like much, until your knees are jammed into the seatback in front of you, and you’re wedged in for three to four hours.

Southwest Airlines Airplane

Southwest Airlines offer 32 inches of legroom, which is one of the biggest among the US airlines.

According to a survey conducted by Conde Nast Traveler (and reported on Huffington Post), the three airlines that provide the most legroom on US domestic flights include Jet Blue, with 33 inches; Virgin America, with 32 inches; and Southwest, with 32 inches. The bottom two are no surprise: Frontier and Spirit, each with 28 inches (although Spirit offers no recline). Twenty-eight inches is just a non-starter for me.

It’s somewhat surprising to me that the “big three” U.S. carriers — Delta, American, and United — all average 31 inches. It goes to show that utilizing a smaller airline might actually prove to be a better choice, not just for a lower price, but because there can be an extra two inches of legroom.
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Five Tips for Packing Light from the Pros

April 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems everyone has a tip for how to make the most of the space you have in your suitcase. No one knows better, though, than flight attendants. Many of them use the Flight Crew Series Rollaboard from Travelpro.

Here are a few of their expert packing tips, as shared with Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

Heavy items such as toiletries and shoes take up a lot of space, but where you put them in your Rollaboard will determine your ease of maneuvering the bag through the airport. If you place your toiletries and shoes in the bottom of the case nearest the wheel base, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. By doing this it keeps the center of gravity low and it avoids heavier items falling into your clothing when the bag is being pulled upright. Flip flops and some sandals are by far the most versatile shoe with the smallest packing “footprint.” They go with many casual outfits and can serve as slippers in the hotel.

Don’t use a garment bag. Generally, they don’t fit in the overhead bins well, and closet space on planes is reserved for use by first class passengers first. If you insist, most likely it will be checked and then you’ll have wrinkled clothes when you arrive.
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The VERY First Thing to Do When You Get to Your Hotel

April 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I can almost tell how my trip is going to go by how efficiently I can get set up when I arrive at my hotel. Unpacking begins with thoughtful packing, and by that I mean strategic placement of items in my luggage or garment bag. So, the first thing I do when I get to my hotel room is remove the items I’ve folded, usually shirts, to assess how they weathered the trip.

This isn’t rocket science, but it stands to reason that folded items will only become more wrinkled the longer they remain folded. Because I really try to avoid ironing if I can possibly help it, my strategic packing begins with placing my folded shirts in the mesh pocket in the lid of my suitcase. This way, the weight of the other items in my bag is not creating more wrinkles than already exist from folding them in the first place.

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

Travelpro Crew 10 with suiter

If I have to take dress clothes, I use one of Travelpro’s cases that has a Suiter in it, like the Crew 10 22″ Exp. Rollaboard. This protects my suit coat and pants from excessive wrinkling and creasing. The Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 and Crew 10 50″ Rolling Garment Bag has a foam rollbar to keep pants from creasing in the middle.

Thanks to the miracle of gravity, most wrinkles will hang out with time. That’s why I make hanging my folded items my next priority. Bringing an especially wrinkled item into the bathroom while I shower also helps those folds relax.
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