Bring This, Not That: Huggies Wipes Versus Purse Tissues or TP

July 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

How do we put this delicately? There are times when you need. . . personal hygiene items. Maybe you have babies and toddlers who need to be cleaned up during a diaper change. Or maybe you’re going to be out in the wilderness for several days. Or you’re one of those moms who’s über-prepared for everything, and your purse holds so much stuff, it should have been in a Harry Potter movie.

So the question becomes what should you carry? A small packet of tissues, moist baby wipes like Huggies wipes, or even a small roll of toilet paper?

There’s really only one choice: baby wipes.

English: Wet wipe (2 Thai models)

Wet wipe (2 Thai models) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every young parent knows about the importance of baby wipes. Not only are they great for wiping up baby, but they’re really useful everywhere else. Most parents we know swear by Huggies brand, but there are plenty of other great brands out there too.

My wife and I have a daughter, and we always have some wipes on hand, which we use for a lot of things. We can wipe down tables and chairs when we go to a restaurant, and I’ve used them to wipe up spills on our clothing.

I know someone who used to go to Canada on week-long fishing trips, and he said they would pack a box of Huggies wipes, rather than a lot of TP and paper towels. They could clean anything, especially food stains on shirts, plus anything else they might need them for.

Even if you don’t have kids or if your kids are older, the wipes are still worth carrying, because they can be used for so many different purposes while traveling. Anyone whose gotten used to having wipes available knows their usefulness goes way beyond cleaning up a dirty child.

When space and weight are an issue, wipes are a good choice. They’re more compact, they’re already moistened and they can clean a lot of things. And if you need regular tissues, a small pack in your purse or briefcase make a great backup.

What do you carry for personal cleaning? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.

Bring This, Not That: Refillable Water Bottles versus Buying Water

July 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Ever since the TSA has not allowed more than 3.4 liquid ounces to pass an airport security checkpoint, travelers have dealt with the high prices that are charged for beverages, like bottled water and soda in the convenience and magazine stores at the airport.

But if you’re a water drinker, you can always pack an empty bottle with you to fill. It’s a good way to save money, but it also brings with it the possibility of picking up some germs from the drinking fountain. We tend to recommend against filling your bottle at the drinking fountain, but it’s definitely a personal decision based on how much of a germaphobe you are.

Drinking water fountain

Drinking water fountain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, more airports have begun installing water bottle filling stations, which can be presumed to be cleaner as they’re set up in a way so germy mouths can’t come into contact with them. And if you’re concerned about the environment, packing a refillable bottle can be a great way to make a difference as water bottles do create a lot of waste.

Of course, you may want to consider whether you want to carry a large, bulky refillable water bottle with you. If you’re traveling light, try to stick with disposable bottles, so you don’t have to buy a bottle only to lose it on the second day of the trip.

Finally, consider how long you have to wait for your plane. Most flights still offer beverage service, which means you can get relief in a fairly short time. So if your airport stay is going to be short, you may not need to buy a drink at all. Just wait until you’re up in the air and guzzle down some complimentary water.

What are your hydration habits at the airport? Do you buy your own water or soda, drink at a fountain, or just fill up on the plane? Leave us a comment or head over on our Facebook page and let us hear from you.

How Millennials Are Transforming the Travel Industry

July 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A week or so ago, we talked about how Baby Boomers are traveling more and more, changing the face of leisure travel. But as the largest demographic group in the US, Millennials are making their own voices heard as millennial travelers.

Road Warrior Voices recently published an recent article by Jessica Festa, who self-identifies as a millennial traveler. She notes the image people have of Millennials as young folks is starting to age out, along with Millennials themselves.

Right now, Millennials fall between ages 16 – 27. Older people on this spectrum are getting both families and fancy jobs. Millennials are growing up and earning money to spend on travel.

English: beach () Русский: Пицунда, пляж ()

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As it turns out, Millennials are also a bit more frugal than other groups. A November 2014 survey by Resonance indicated that Millennials spend considerably less per trip than the average U.S. traveler: about $888 per trip versus the average traveler’s $1,347.

This can be seen as part of the millennial mindset that seeks out happiness rather than focusing just on money. Millennials tend to seek meaningful connections when they travel, which is forcing some companies to offer more meaningful experiences, but for less money, which is increasing the popularity of volunteer vacations and ecotours.

The same survey found that Millennials travel more than other age groups and have a greater tendency to take group vacations.

Although there’s another stereotype that says Millennials use social media to the point where they don’t even enjoy being in the moment, the fact is they often use social media to form closer connections to the places they traveling to. (Which should be a hint to travel destinations to be on social media themselves, in order to grow those relationships and encourage return visitors.)

They also use social media to plan their trips and find deals while they’re out on the open road. They’re also not averse to staying with complete strangers as proven by the couch surfing and AirBNB trend. They’re certainly not the only folks using these technologies, of course.

How about it, Millennials? What kinds of things do you do when you travel? Leave us a comment, or visit our Facebook page on your mobile phone and let us hear from you.

Delta Promises 20 Minute Baggage Reclaim To Domestic Passengers

July 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the worst things about airline travel — other than having the person in front of you lean their seat back on your knees — is waiting for your bag to arrive on the baggage carousel. While we normally encourage people to take carry-on bags, that’s not always an option.

So when Delta Airlines said they would deliver domestic passengers’ bags to the luggage carousel within 20 minutes, we took notice.

Their new policy went into effect in February, and although it was originally just a trial run, they’ve since made it a permanent policy.

Plane of Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Plane of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The feedback from travelers was positive, and it has been a great way for Delta to differentiate itself among the pack. The established airlines tend to be fairly similar, so this has been a good way for Delta to stand out and get some positive buzz.

Knowing your bags will be delivered within a short, 20 minute window makes the baggage retrieval process a lot more bearable and may encourage more people to check bags, something the airline would prefer as they get more fees and fewer headaches than dealing with the carry-on luggage nightmares.

Plus, it’s a good way to encourage travelers to join Delta’s frequent flier program, because members will get a 2, 500 point bonus if their wait for luggage exceeds the 20 minutes.

It’s an interesting promise, and we definitely like it. We wonder how many bonus miles they’ll hand out, especially in the beginning. It offers security and comfort to passengers who may feel that airlines are mainly out to gouge money out of them through new fees.

Will you take advantage of Delta’s new 20 minute policy? Leave us a comment or head over on our Facebook page and discuss it over there.

Travel Goes Boom in 2015 as Retirees Stay Active

July 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the dream of many retirees to travel more once they finally leave the workforce, and it looks like it’s happening.

A recent article in the Huffington Post discusses the “booming” market as an aging population with expendable income is on the move.

They’re going by themselves, they’re going to warmer climates, they’re going more frequently than they have in the past, and they’re planning on traveling a lot in 2015. According to an AARP study, a decent number of boomers plan to take four or five vacations in 2015. And nearly half the people they surveyed plan to travel more this year than in previous years.

Free Travel-Shirt @ Berlin-Tegel Airport

Berlin-Tegel Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Further, many of those boomers who are still employed plan to work while traveling and not even take vacation time while they’re on the move. The upsurge in the ability to work remotely has been a great boon to those who plan to travel more during their working careers. And it’s something the younger Boomers and older Generation Xers are comfortable with.

Another number expected to rise is the number of people taking solo trips. An AARP survey from last year indicated that 37 percent of adults 45 and older took solo trips in the preceding two years and 80 percent of those surveyed planned to travel on their own in 2015.

Solo travel is more popular with people whose spouses have passed or who are divorced. And there are travel companies seeking the singles market, looking to help those who want to travel alone get out and about, something that has not always been the case in the past.

Despite the upsurge in travel, most of the folks responding to these surveys said that cost is a high priority when traveling so older travelers are looking to save money while on the move, just as are their younger counterparts.

What about you? For those of you who are retired, or nearing retirement age, are you going to travel more? Let us hear from you and leave a comment here or over on our Facebook page.

The Ultimate Easy Trip Guide for the Disorganized Traveler

June 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent article on Yahoo Travel doles out some life changing tips for the traveler who has a hard time keeping things together in order to make a plan. We all know those folks — they’re the artists, the right-brainers, the free spirits.

The disorganized.

How do they get any work done?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Working at traveling may seem like too much for them. They’re more of the throw-some-clothes-in-a-bag-and-go type. But you can still have a successful trip if you just follow a few simple tips, especially if you’re not a frequent traveler.

We really believe in using travel apps to help you plan your trip and to take screenshots of good ideas. Pick a couple apps you really like and start using them around your home town. Use them to pick some places you’d like to visit on your trip.

Also, pack your clothes with a color scheme in mind, so you can mix and match more easily, which means you don’t have to pack as much. There are also some tips on what to pack in order to make your outfit look different very easily. You really don’t need a different outfit for every day of the trip. Instead plan on doing laundry or reusing certain items. And just mix and match different items for different looks. Over packing is easy to do if you’re not careful.

It’s not a bad idea to wear shoes that are easy to take off, and don’t take any more than three pair for the entire trip. Wear the heaviest pair on the plane so you have more room in your suitcase for your smaller shoes.

One item we didn’t see in the list, but we think it’s important: if you’re flying, prep before you get to the front of the security line. Make sure you have the items you’ll need to remove from your luggage in an easily accessible part of your luggage. Make sure your ticket and ID are also easy to find. The last thing you want to do when you get to the front of the line is fumble around for your identification.

What about our frequent travelers? Any advice you would offer new travelers, especially those who are a little more. . . ah, carefree about their organization? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Hotel Safety Tips for Wifi

June 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Should you use the free wifi at your hotel? That depends on how sensitive the information is that you’re accessing online or you have on your computer. Even if you feel comfortable and safe and have good security measures in place, you still want to exercise caution when using it; avoid extremely sensitive tasks such as online banking or accessing sensitive business information.

Norton, a well-known antivirus provider, has several suggestions about Internet security within hotel rooms.

Chicago Hilton hotel room

Chicago Hilton hotel room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing you should do when checking into a hotel is to make sure that you choose the proper wifi network. Hackers are known to trick users looking for free wifi by creating a network that will trick them into using it. Don’t jump on something called “Free Wifi” for instance. Before you ever log on, call the front desk and ask for the name of the network.

Another solution Norton discusses is using a VPN or virtual private network, if you’re traveling for work. If your company has a VPN, logging onto it will give you the same security you enjoy while working from your office behind the security firewall.

Next, change your passwords frequently. You’ve probably heard this a million times; we all have. But it keeps being repeated because it’s great advice. Set up a system to remind yourself to change passwords every three months. Don’t use single words or names of family members or pets. Use a password management system like 1Password to generate long passwords with random letters, numbers, and special characters.

Also, avoid network sharing. Norton says to avoid situations where other computers are communicating directly with yours while you’re in a fairly unsecure location, such as a hotel.

These are also good tips for working in the local coffee shop, your hotel room, or anytime you’re on a public network. What are some other computer security tips you follow on the road? Share them with us in the comments.

Brussels Airport Seeks to Reduce Wait Times With Passenger Tracking Sensors

June 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent article on the Future Travel Experience website discusses a new initiative at the Brussels Airport: tracking customers via their personal electronic devices in order to create estimates of how long it will take passengers to travel through the airport. They’re hoping this will help reduce queues at the airport: If officials know when to expect passengers at the gate, they can effectively staff for the influx.

According to the article, “the sensors, which are supplied by BLIP Systems, track passengers via their personal electronic devices. They collect the unique Media Access Control (MAC) addresses of phones, tablets and other devices searching for a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.”

Brussels Airport Terminal A

Brussels Airport Terminal A

The sensors will record as passengers pass by them to help predict the length of the passengers’ travel time through the airport. This can also provide accurate times to airport and airline personnel about how quickly travelers will get through security and so on.

But many folks may not have their phone searching for a Wi-Fi connection or their Bluetooth activated, especially when traveling internationally. So this type of tracking may not work for everyone. (Of course, most Europeans traveling through Europe will already have their phones activated, so it will track with intra-continental travelers.)

We think this kind of tracking will continue to be on the rise. In the airport of the future, there may be a way to do this easily, and it will be more common as time goes on. Recording and predicting traffic patterns of travelers is something we think will become more widespread as time goes on.

However, it’s not clear whether this is a voluntary tracking system from the viewpoint of the traveler, although the system will only aggregate non-personally identifiable information. Is this something that travelers should be worried about? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

How Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers Travel

June 18, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The differences between Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers are never more evident than when we travel. Where we go, how we get there, what we do, and how much we spend all vary depending on our demographic. We’re alike in some ways, we’re very different in others.

Shullman Research studied households with an annual income of more than $75,000 to see how each group preferred to travel, and created an infographic to show us just what those differences were.

English: Dubrovnik old city and cruise ship.

Dubrovnik old city and cruise ship. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are a few examples of what they found.

  • Millennials head to Hawaii more than Boomers and Gen Xers: 19% of Millennials travel to the 50th state, compared to 6% each of Boomers and Gen Xers. Meanwhile, 10% of Boomers prefer Nevada’s dry climate, while 18% of Gen X prefers Florida.
  • When it comes to international travel, 23% of Millennials visit Asia, Generation X heads to the Caribbean (22%) or Canada (21%), while we Boomers head to Europe (61%) or the Caribbean (my favorite; I’m part of the 48% who vacation there).
  • Flying is the preferred method of travel, with 28% of Millennials, 36% of Gen Xers, and 31% of Boomers taking to the air. But 39% of Gen X also prefers to travel by car, since they can turn this thing around if you don’t settle down back there.
  • When it comes to cruises, we were surprised to see Millennials actually prefer them more than their older counterparts — 16% versus 11% (Gen X) and 13% (Boomers).

For more insights and information, you can see the entire infographic at AdWeek.com, and get a better insight into how different demographic groups prefer to travel.

What are your travel preferences? Do you match up with your demographic group, or do you prefer going against conventional wisdom? Leave a comment and let us hear from you.

Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Flight Attendants

June 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

If your image of flight attendants is one of “sky waitress,” think again. Even though many people unfortunately think of flight attendants as airborne waitstaff, the truth is that serving food and snacks is not the most important part of the job.

The most important aspect of a flight attendant’s job: your safety.

A recent article on Yahoo Travel gave us the lowdown on flight attendants. And while we thought we knew most of the “surprising things,” there were a few that even surprised us.

Singapore Airlines flight attendants

Singapore Airlines flight attendants (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, the government considers flight attendants to be first responders, just like fire fighters and paramedics. Many are trained in all kinds of ways to respond to emergencies including CPR training and helping people give birth. Some airlines even require their flight attendants to attend jungle survival skill training, and many require their flight attendants know how to swim.

We think it’s a tough, demanding job. Flight attendants have to deal with a lot of challenging situations, including the ones created by their own airlines. For example, as more airlines are charging for checked bags, this is creating a situation where there’s often not enough space in the overhead bins for all the carry-on bags.

Guess who gets to tell the last passengers they have to check their bags.

This brings us to another requirement of flight attendants: They also are often required to have a high tolerance for interacting with people behaving badly. Remember the last time you saw a passenger get irate with a flight attendant? That wasn’t the only time they had to deal with an angry passenger that day.

Finally, flight attendants need to enjoy flying. Not just tolerate it, enjoy it. That’s because some of them don’t live in the same city as their main hub airport. That means they have to fly into work just to do their job.

Do you have any good stories about flight attendants who made your trip a real treat? Let us hear from you. Leave us a comment here or over on our Facebook page.

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