Great travel ideas

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by techauthor, Feb 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. techauthor
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    techauthor Silver Member

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    We've all got a few must-do secrets that would be nice to share. Let me kick it off with two and see who can add more.

    1. Fly to Europe on a morning flight from EWR or IAD to LHR (arrive around 9PM local), sleep in a nearby hotel, then take a morning flight to wherever you need to be on the continent. No jet lag.

    2. On the way home, stop at the airport Starbucks and deposit remaining local currency (pounds, euros, etc) on your Sbux card and get bank rate conversion with no commission.

    Your turn
     
  2. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    I really like that starbucks one. I wish they took foreign currencies at my local starbux.
     
  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    <Thumbs Up>
     
  4. diver90
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    diver90 Gold Member

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    Great, Great, Great Idea re: Starbucks
     
  5. Tax Dude
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    Tax Dude Silver Member

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    I've started doing this on flights to LHR when traveling with Mrs TD who hates the overnight flights. There's a daytime flight from YYZ that gets in about 9:30. I take the HEX to Paddington and stay in a hotel there. We can usually make last call at one of the local pubs and there are a few late-night eatery places still open. In the morning we have a nice breakfast and grab a cab to our "real" hotel. One of her better ideas.
     
  6. Mike1625
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    Mike1625 Silver Member

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    This is sort of a simple one that won't work for everyone, but I always try to pack things I can throw away or use up on the trip. If I have a t-shirt, socks or something else that I am about to throw away, I take it on the road, wear it, then toss it. That makes my bag ligher, makes more room for trinkets. I'll really plan this out, like for example, if I take a vitamin every morning, I might save an old vitamin bottle, so that when I go on my 6 night trip, I put exactly 6 vitamins in the bottle, so on the last morning I can just toss the bottle. (not a good idea for important medication, just incase you get stuck on a longer trip)
     
  7. Biu
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    Biu Silver Member

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    I do the same thing, but when I tell (real) people this, they usually think I'm crazy: "what? THROW away your clothes?!"
     
  8. Robin
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    Robin Silver Member

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    Love the Sbux card idea. I also prefer day flights to LHR. Otherwise due to jetlag I lose the first day anyway.
     
  9. b1513
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    b1513 Silver Member

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    About 10 years ago I read this tip on a Travel message board and it has been helpful. Take a pocket compass. It is great for when you come out of a subway so you know which direction to head. I don't head off in the wrong direction anymore.
     
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  10. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    People are always suggesting the take things to throw away as your travel approach to me, and having tried it a few times i'm no longer sold.

    I hate wearing clothes I don't like, that don't fit well, and look horrible. Nothing worse than being picked out as a traveler from afar.

    Nothing wrong with being a traveler or anything, just sometimes its better to fit in.
     
  11. Mike1625
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    Mike1625 Silver Member

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    You have to be comfortable, so anything that takes you out of your comfort zone is not worth doing. For example, I am going to CPH next week. I've got a stained, t-shirt with a small hole that is going on that trip. I don't want to look like a slob, but no one will ever see the t-shirt, because it will be under a sweatshirt and jacket at all times.

    It doesn't have to be clothing, it could be snack food, gifts for people you are visiting, magazines you can read and throw (or recycle if possible) ...... I just love the feeling that walking out my front door on the start of a trip is the heaviest my bags will be.
     
  12. techauthor
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    techauthor Silver Member

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    I also find it cheaper to buy new undies and socks at Walmart or equivalent than to have them cleaned at the hotel. LIke you, I'm a fan of discard rather than wash. (It also keeps me from wearing and washing the same garments for years. They can get a bit ratty after a hundred trips thru the laundry.)
     
  13. East_Yorker
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    East_Yorker Gold Member

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    OK, let's get back on track with good ideas.

    If you're going to be in the same place for more than a few days, investigate getting an apartment rather than a hotel room. Normally the rate is lower and you can take the opportunity to explore the local markets for meal ideas.

    There are several good website available to check out your options.
     
  14. East_Yorker
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    I discovered the joy of Marks and Spenser when we went on a 5 day trip to the UK and left one suitcase on the bed at home...mine!
     
  15. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    Excellent tip. We stayed in an apartment in Paris 8th when we spent the summer in the city. It was the best experience, bar none. The SBUX tip above is a great one as well that we used when leaving Paris (sadly.. we really wanted to reup our apt lease for another month).

    One thing we have found helpful is checking the Apple Store/Android Marketplace for city and metro/subway maps. We were never lost in Paris and to prevent issues with roaming and the like we used an old iTouch to hold our maps.

    We also kept an old T-Mobile GSM flip phone when my wife upgraded to a new Android phone. We ordered an international chip from Mobel Communication with a UK number. Now that old phone has a new life as our international phone. And Mobel only charges when you use the phone. (Sub-tip; don't put that chip into a smart phone unless you've disabled the "smart" portion... unlocking her new phone cost us $2.50 just for booting it up to make sure it took the chip. Silly thing synced over the network during bootup)
     
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  16. Nicole Blaess-Smith
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    Nicole Blaess-Smith Silver Member

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    1. I have an unlocked phone which I travel with incase I'm in a city for two + weeks (I will usually buy a cheap sim + $10 credit for emergencies/to text or ring fam)
    2. I download iPhone apps! Maps, language guides, city guides, transport guides are helpful, especially when options in English are limited in certain countries. (JasonH mentioned a similar tip!) Remember to turn off global roaming!!
    3. Girls, keep spare money in the cup of your bra! Just incase of emergencies.
    4. Take a couple of plastic zip lock bags (large size). Perfect for dirty laundry. Wet items. Toiletries your taking on board... the list is endless!

    They're rather simple ideas but that's what I do!
    And I'm doing to adopt the starbucks idea :)
     
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  17. alpinesoccer
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    alpinesoccer Silver Member

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    I stayed at an apartment I found on hostels.com in Venice for 4 nights. It was 45euros a night and i shared it with 3 female friends. It was a 3 min walk from St. Mark's square. Best moment....drinking Prosecco on the steps of St. Mark's square at night with Opera playing from a cafe and NO ONE around. Tip: Stay in the city of Venice, all the tourists leave during the day.

    Other tips:
    1. Always travel with one change of clothes in carry on.
    2. Bring a moleskin notebook to jot things down and hide money in. (Just went through mine and found 5 email addresses of travel partners)
    3. Universal Charger
    4. melatonin + whiskey = sleepy. [​IMG]
     
  18. techauthor
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    techauthor Silver Member

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    As the original poster, I'm embarrassed that I didn't add this too. I always search the local city for "apartment hotels". I've had great luck in Utrecht (Havaa-Apartments), Budapest (Adina chain) and many other places. It is usually much cheaper than a hotel room where you can almost touch all 4 walls. Plus, you get amenities like fridge, dishwasher, microwave, cooking gear and often a washer/dryer. High speed internet and full range cable tv is normal.

    Oh, and one more thing, I carry a 10meter Ethernet cable and a barrel connector. I'm really tired of the 1 meter cable attached to the desk. I'd rather sit on the easy chair or couch or sometimes even the bed. Also, wired connections are somewhat more private and usually have better usable bandwidth.
     
  19. Rom Sac
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    Rom Sac Silver Member

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    Great idea. Another totally obvious suggestion: bring an extension cord, especially one that splits one outlet into several. Useful for hotel rooms and (especially) airports!
     
  20. ArizonaGuy
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    I've definitely been awake too long. I misread this. "...keep money in the spare cup of your bra!" I was so confused.

    For leisure travel, I take older socks / boxers and discard as the end of the trip nears. Less to pack and more potential room if I've picked up souvenirs or gifts.

    I've also learned that sock liners really do keep your feet dry when doing a lot of heavy walking in warm weather. Alternatively pick up spray deoderant in a local shop. I was actually advised of that idea by a doctor as a means to cure athlete's foot but it works the same for travel needs.
     
  21. Here's a list of tips we've amassed over the years:

    If you have a smart phone bring a USB and AUX cable with you to take advantage of the connectors in your rental cars/hotels.

    Bring a pillow case with 1-2 dryer sheets for dirty clothes; sure makes a difference when packing space is at a premium (does a pretty good job of locking the odor in the pillow case).

    If you're going to a beach area bring some baby powder with you and watch the sand slide right off, works especially well when you're wet!

    Create contacts in your phone regarding your FFP's (account number, concierge numbers, etc), but don't forget to passlock protect your phone, or better yet get an encrypted app AND passlock your phone. Cloud based sites are great but be mindful of no data access and having you privacy compromised (OPEN WiFi's)!

    We like to get the most out of our trips so we always create a 'Master Itinerary' Word/Excel list before we leave and upload them to our phone (remember to save it locally on your phone in case you don't have data access). In it you would find a chronological A-Z of the entire trip broken down by day, e.g.


    November 13th
    Rental Car from Alamo.
    Level one of Terminals A and B.
    Under ******, Confirmation 4470**** Pick Up 10:30am
    (888) 826-6893 ext: MAIN or 407-825-1800 or 407-825-1876/1886 ext: LOCAL

    Hotel (13th and 14th): Wyndham Orlando Resort, 8001 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, 407-351-2420
    Check In to Wyndham Orlando Resort under ******, Confirmation 622****
    Parking $0

    Super Market near Wyndham Orlando Resort:
    Publix, 7640 W Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819
    Pick up Orlando GoCard
    5250 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819
    Smart Destinations 800-887-9103
    Order number GoORL-45***

    Also, where feasible/applicable don't forget to look at sites like World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and Help Exchange (I did a three week volunteer run in Hawaii via Help Exchange) . It's a great way to volunteer, make friends, discover your new surroundings from a locals point of view, and save a bit of money.

    Again, where feasible/applicable check out Couch Surfing.

    On long trips we like to bring a collapsible cooler, great way to keep items cold (food/batteries/etc.), keep food cost way down (we shop and local grocery stores), and in a pinch the melted water can save your butt, e.g. a rental car we picked up in Montreal apparently hadn't been checked for radiator fluid and when the dummy light went off doing 60MPH on the Highway the nearest water was 30 miles away!

    If your big on eating out when on trips don't forget to use Restaurant.com certificates, to avoid headaches while on the road print them out before you leave.

    If you're really trying to keep cost down or out in the sticks, pack 2-4 sets of plastic dinnerware and a few Ziploc bags (so you can eat out of them) and slowly perishable/low weight food (Peanuts, Cheerios, Oats, etc.) We especially like raw oats, they don't spoil easily, can be smashed and contoured to fit in tight spaces, and readily available condiments (coco powder, sugar, cinnamon) can really spruce things up.

    100% polyester clothes is your friend, light weight, for the most part wrinkle free, wicking, quick drying, and again when laundry isn't doable keeps odor at minimal :).
     
  22. Rom Sac
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    Rom Sac Silver Member

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    Great idea, I used to do this by hand. Then I discovered TripIt (I think from a NY Times article?) and my life is so much easier.

    For those of you who don't know about TripIt, you forward them all you confirmation emails and it creates the itinerary and puts it on your calendar. They have an android app also. I believe there are competitors also, but I've been happy with TripIt.
     
  23. techauthor
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    techauthor Silver Member

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    I have a Monster MP OTG400 bought from Amazon for about $15 that lives in my briefcase. It is a 4 plug power strip whose cord wraps around once, lengthwise, and plugs into a port. On a 4 hour mechanical delay at LHR I was surrounded by new "friends" as we shared the one wall outlet using that and my travel adapter. I use it myself in non-US hotel rooms for cellphone, kindle and other battery chargers overnight, thus needing only one travel plug adapter.
     
  24. techauthor
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    techauthor Silver Member

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    I do the same, but forward as a PDF to my Kindle. Separate document for each leg of a trip so it is easy to grab the reservation or flight info.
     

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