Gifts for Travelers

Gifts for Travelers
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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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Tips for Traveling with Friends

Tips for Traveling with Friends
Travel companions from fraternity formals to spring break to much more chill and upscale 30-something reunions

Recently, I’ve been traveling quite a bit with friends (see: The Berkshires, San Diego, Spain), which is the best kind of travel! That being said, traveling can be stressful on a relationship unless you follow these tips for traveling with friends.

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. When you’re traveling with friends especially for the first time, it’s important to know each others travel preferences ahead of time: Can you spend all day at a museum or is that akin to torture? How early can (or will) you wake up to catch a train? Do you prefer staying in Airbnb rentals or do you need only the best luxury hotels? Sharing these preferences up front helps ensure every person will have her needs and wants met.
  2. Be honest about your a budget. Everyone’s finances are different. What I consider to be expensive might not cause my companion to blink and vice versa. Especially when it comes to lodging and food costs, set price limits early on and stick to them.
  3. Keep track of shared expenses using Splitwise. Depending on where you’re traveling and how big your group is, splitting costs across credit cards isn’t always possible. The Splitwise app makes it really easy to input costs throughout your trip. Since it integrates with both Paypal and Venmo, settling up is super easy once you’re home.
  4. Delegate planning tasks according to strengths. Who in the group is the most detail-oriented? That’s the person who should coordinate travel, make hotel reservations, and so forth. Who in the group is tapped into what’s cool? That’s the person who should suggest activities, restaurants, and other outings. Spreading out responsibilities ensures that no one feels like they’re doing all of the work.
  5. Be flexible. As the Rolling Stones sing, you can’t always get what you want. In the planning phases and on you trip, you’ll inevitably need to make a few compromises along the way. Regardless of how you end up spending your time, you’re there to build new memories and deepen your friendship. That’s what’s most important.
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