Traveling is expensive; there’s no way around it. But that doesn’t mean you have to fall prey to the hidden costs and extra surprise charges. There are ways to avoid unnecessary fees that can come along while you’re traveling, so here are a few ways you can avoid the problem.
When you’re at the car rental agency desk and are asked if you want to buy their insurance, you can politely answer with a confident “no, thank you,” as long as you know that your standard car insurance policy covers rental cars (check with your agent to be sure). Also, some credit cards provide insurance for rental cars as well, like American Express.
Hunger strikes when you’re least prepared, and it seems like the only option available would be the overpriced airport and hotel food. Not true! Since you know you get hungry approximately three times a day, whether traveling or not, avoid that $3 bottle of water by packing your own empty one, and filling it at the water fountain. Better yet, fill it from the bottle-filling stations if available.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In order for travel to be efficient and enjoyable, organization of your stuff is key. This is where travel hacks can help. We’ve read a lot of articles, heard from a lot of travelers, and even spoke with our fellow road warriors. And, of course, we found a great article on Huffington Post about the topic of travel hacks.
Here are a few of our favorites.
- All those lotions, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreen, makeup foundation, and eye creams you use take up a lot of space. Seal off a drinking straw with a heat sealer, fill it with your favorite lotions and creams, and seal off the other end. Label them with tape, and you’ve got some single servings of your different products. It saves space and you won’t run afoul of TSA rules.
- If you’re like me, you’re tired of wrestling with all those different charging cables and earbuds you carry around. Rather than unpacking and unraveling a tangled mess every time you need a cable, put them in an eyeglass case you’re not using. The hard shell ones that spring shut work best.
Here’s a Technology I’d Like To See (TILTS) thought:
Having to make a tight connection is a source of anxiety for many travelers. When our originating flight is delayed, we’ll spend the entire flight rehearsing scenarios, wondering if our connecting flight was also delayed or what gate we’ll have to sprint to. Many of us teeter back and forth between hope and despair, working our stomach into knots.
With the increased automation available within the travel industry, it’s surprising some kind of app hasn’t been invented on behalf of some airline in order to facilitate a better experience for travelers.
For example, a simple email from my airline, informing me of the gate for my connecting flight or letting me know that the flight I’m so desperate to make has also been delayed would alleviate much of my angst and keep me from pressing my call button to pester the flight attendant for information that he or she can’t seem to procure either.
It seems everybody is busy these days. We never seem to have enough time to do things at a leisurely pace, and that includes flying. Even if we have some extra time, we feel like we have to rush through the airport. But you can avoid that rushed feeling if you use some of these techniques — which we read on Yahoo — to navigate your way through the airport.
1. Plan ahead. This may sound like common sense, but time adds up when you’re en route to the airport. If you don’t plan for it, you run the danger of missing your flight. Factor in traffic, security checkpoint wait time, and how long it takes to ride the off-site airport parking shuttle to the terminal into the amount of time you allot yourself to get to your gate. It adds up fast!
When traveling, it really isn’t enough just to fly the “friendly skies.” Friendly interactions with the native people of the places you’re visiting are what make the experiences you have the most memorable. After all, monuments can’t speak.
Ben Groundwater, well-known Australian travel writer and blogger, has compiled his own list of favorites. Groundwater looked up an old acquaintance in Scotland and was given a bed in his home, never left a pub alone in Ireland, was invited to play badminton in Laos, received genuine wishes for a great day and helpful directions from Americans, witnessed Fijians’ intense love for children and older people, found Indians notorious for their curiosity and their desire to truly know him, experienced abundant smiles in Thailand, discovered Kiwis of New Zealand completely lacking in cynicism, and felt emotionally and physically embraced in genuine love by Brazilians.
One of the least sexy things to think about when you’re traveling is how to manage your dirty clothes. I don’t know about you, but I’m a much better packer on the way to my destination than I am on the way home. I want my clothes to arrive unwrinkled and ready to help me look and feel my best, but on the way home I couldn’t care less if they’re folded neatly or not. The problem is my clothes seem to grow exponentially, making it challenging to get the same number of items back into my suitcase to come home.With this in mind, because I know I’m not alone, here are some options to help you get your clothes home without contaminating your suitcase.
Laundry pouches: Several of our luggage series have mesh pouches for separating dirty clothes from clean clothes. Unpack completely upon your arrival and then repack as you are finished wearing each item. Folding each piece neatly, even though it’s no longer clean, will help you remain organized when it comes time to put your toiletries, extra shoes, and maybe even a jacket in the final packing of the suitcase.
When given the opportunity to vent a little travel rage without getting arrested, 1,000 travelers took the opportunity to air their top grievances in Expedia’s annual Airplane Etiquette Survey.
The number one pet peeve of most travelers? The person who repeatedly kicks the back of their seat received 61 percent of the votes. The complaint ranged from children’s repeated thumps with their shoes to the constant pressure of the knees in the back of the seat from the long-legged passenger behind them.
We’re more mobile than ever, and not just in our day-to-day lives. Over 1 billion of us traveled internationally last year, and that number is expected to increase by three to four percent this year. There’s lots to manage when you’re on the road, and seven companies have new apps to help you get the most from your experience. We found several new travel start-ups and apps that can ease the burdens of travel and make it a lot more fun.
For those who operate hotels, getting customers to choose your establishment isn’t such a shot in the dark any more. Kaptivating targets potential customers by studying their social media activities and initiates a relationship with them to let them know how a specific hotel could meet their needs.
Want to get out of Dodge but don’t have a traveling companion? Eo will match your interests, budget, and travel plans with others wanting to go where you’re going. Scroll through profiles, make a connection, and make new friends before you leave town.
Ever wondered where in the world all the best jazz festivals or art festivals are held through the year? Cronomio is a travel calendar that will help you sync your travel with events you don’t want to miss (not just jazz and art).
If you’re a tour operator or travel agency desiring to make and maintain connection with your customers before and after a trip, Keeptrax makes that possible. Keeptrax collates travel information, details of places visited, and photos to help travelers remember all the good things that happened on their trips when they’re making their travelogues for friends.
Moving to Bora Bora and need a nanny? Expat Helpers is an app that explains local labor laws and currency denominations to expedite the process of connecting with and hiring local help.
Get Out is an app that connects those with less run-of-the-mill interests who are looking for out of the ordinary travel experiences with one another. This will help you find that needle-in-a-haystack adventure to do underwater basket weaving in the Great Barrier Reef.
Here are a few other apps that will help you travel safely.
STEP stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and is a free service of the US State Department that makes the US Embassy in the country you’re traveling to aware of your presence there.
SOS is an emergency app that provides you with local numbers for police, fire, and hospital. It has a location finder to help you know where you are in an unfamiliar city.
Medical ID is an emergency app that will allow someone to access health conditions about you even if your phone is locked and you’re unable to communicate.
Finally, Trip It is a password protected app that collates your itinerary, passport, visa, identification information in one place in case those documents are lost or stolen during travel.
Seeing the world is supposed to be fun, not a hassle. These new apps offer you, the savvy traveler, an individualized, unique experience, tailored to needs and desires.
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Photo credit: PraiseLightMedia (Wikipedia, Creative Commons)