A Love Letter to London

A Love Letter to London_11

This past January, I snuck over to London for five days (really four, on account of spending a day in Paris, too) and finally realized: I love London. On previous visits, I merely appreciated London for it’s familiarity: a vibrant, diverse city, the lack of a language barrier, and endless culture. But in the past, I got swept up in pounding the pavement and trying to visit every must-see attraction and flat out missed its character. There was also the time R. and I were visiting while managing on one salary and the exchange rate crushed most of our enjoyment (e.g., “$40 for a mediocre hamburger?!”). But, the third time was a charm: the days were leisurely paced and un-rushed, I revisited favorite museums and exhibitions, got lost among the English mansions of Notting Hill, and the food, oh, the delicious food! I get it now, London is lovely.

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A Love Letter to London_8 A Love Letter to London_7

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Gifts for Travelers

Gifts for Travelers
via

It’s that time of year again: it’s officially the holiday season. I took advantage of Black Friday sales and did most of my shopping from the couch. Today, I have a few more items to pick up via Cyber Monday sales and then it’ll be time to pack everything up to ship to the East Coast. For those of you looking for gifts for travelers in your life, here are some finds that are sure to please even the most seasoned road warrior:

  • This wallet has spots for multiple currencies, a Passport, and travel documents
  • A leather tech roll is perfect for organizing cords and headphones and eliminating annoying tangles
  • Packing cubes are a game changer for separating items or outfits
  • This travel adapter charges multiple devices at a time
  • An in-flight cocktail kit is perfect for the person who has everything (six drink options to choose from)
  • This travel jewelry case takes up very little space and comes in five colors
  • An adjustable sleep mask is a must-have item for red eyes (or just mid-flight naps!)
  • A monogrammed throw blanket is an upgrade from the thin blankets airlines provide
  • These Nalgene bottles are truly leakproof
  • An alpaca cape is cozy and chic for both in-flight and on the ground

 

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Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Thanksgiving Travel Tips
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Many of you are traveling this week for Thanksgiving. Sometimes, I don’t know which is worse: flying or driving. (I’m experiencing PTSD just thinking about the 10+ hour drives between North Carolina and New Jersey I experienced in college.) For the second year in a row, we’re staying in the Bay Area for Thanksgiving, spending the holiday with friends and likely a day or two in Sonoma.

For those of you traveling, here’s a few previous posts of travel tips to get your through Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season:

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How to Survive a Low-Cost Airline

How to Survive a Low-Cost Airline

Ryanair. Air India Express. Spirit Airlines. easyJet. These are some of the low-cost airlines I’ve flown on and I can tell you that the experience can make a Greyhound bus seem like luxury travel. Although you’re paying vastly less by booking a flight with a low-cost airline, you’re also sacrificing leg room, being able to choose your seat, and sometimes even free beverage service! That being said, when you’re looking to get from Point A to Point B, taking advantage of a low-cost airline can make sense. That being said, it will take some legwork and research. Here’s how to survive a low-cost airline.

Avoid sticker shock. Low-cost airlines are notorious for charging extra for even the most basic amenities. Your cheap ticket might end up being much more expensive in the long run. Before booking your ticket, read up on the airline’s extra charges (e.g., selecting your seat) and always buy add-on amenities at the time of purchase as the price tends to go up as your departure date approaches. Of utmost importance is understanding luggage allowances as some low-cost airlines only allow you you one free personal item! Again, check this policy at booking and plan your packing accordingly.

Proofread. Carefully review all of your booking details. Some low-cost airlines will say you’re flying into Paris, for example, but actually you’re flying into an airport an hour or two away from the city center, which requires additional transportation. Similarly, carefully review the purchase screen and your ticket once it arrives in your inbox. Contact the airline immediately if there’s any errors.

Pack light. Once you know your luggage allowances, make sure that you follow them to a T. There’s going to be no wiggle room for a carry-on that’s an inch too big or a pound overweight. I recommend purchasing a luggage scale so you can be sure that the weight of your bag complies with regulation.

Check-in online. Low-cost airlines love to collect fees anyway they can, including at check-in. To avoid paying an additional fee to check-in at the airport, make sure you check-in online and print your boarding pass at home. And on your way out the door, triple check that you have the hard-copy boarding pass.

Manage expectations. By booking a low-cost airline you’re acknowledging a no-frills travel experience. Plan accordingly by packing your own snacks and a water bottle. If it’s a red-eye, know that you need to bring a pillow and/or a blanket unlike traveling on a legacy carrier. It’s definitely not glamorous, but you can make it tolerable.

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