So what is your favorite tip for the road warriors out there? I use to be one years ago and now I've come back to the weekly air travel game again. So what I'm looking for are tips and tricks about different things that you might share about these sub-topics:
One of mine I'll share to get things started is for those who are on a particular project that involves working/staying in the same place every week or so. I started out travelling with my "3-3-3" bag and decided it was a hassle to get this stuff out every time I went through the TSA line. So... I leave these in my cube at work. In fact, if you are staying at the same hotel every week, they may offer to keep your bag over the weekend for you. I haven't asked at the CY I'm staying in now, but they way they treat me, I'm sure they would.
So I'm hoping to get some great tips from some of you REAL veteran RWs out there and thanks in advance!!!
This is a very good topic for MRI! I hope this brings a lot of comments and suggestions.
My main contribution is recommending a "Checklist" for travel! I use two, one for driving trips and one for flying trips. It may sound dull, but if a person just uses these simple lists, you would be surprised on how many things "Don't get left behind"
Plan to publish the "Checklists", in the near future!
Thank-you for your post!
something I learned on the cruisecritic board that has come in handy even while staying in hotel rooms is an over-the-door shoe bag. It is so helpful in organizing everything from chargers to cameras to jewelry to wallets, etc... of course some of the items you would not want to stay there when leaving the room (wallet?) but it sure keeps everything from laying all over the desk top or vanity or having to search every time. They make them very light these days and I just hang it over the bathroom door. Everything is right at your fingertips.
I always carry a travel size of Downy Wrinkle Releaser. Just a couple of quick spritz and your clothes look like they've been newly pressed!
A sweater always doubles as neck or arm support on flights.
A Trusted Traveler program to avoid the Customs and Security lineups. All TT cards, passport, and foreign currency go into a Ziploc.
A fridge in the room for leftovers and cold water.
A review of a property on both TripAdvisor as well as MI so I know what to watch out for.
I have luggage racks at home to make packing and unpacking a little more convenient.
I put all my creams and liquids into Ziploc bags. That way, if they leak from air pressure changes, it's not all over my clothes. All my meds go in a Ziploc in my carry-on. I also carry extra sizes just in case one breaks or I want to keep something fresh like that bagel I decided not to eat.
A package of White Cloud wipes also goes into my carry-on. They're great for cleaning your hands before eating, as well as for freshening up and removing makeup.
A zip neoprene bottle jacket to keep my water cold and to stop it sweating onto my magazines.
When packing I lay out my clothes and do a mix and match. If I am going to be gone for one week I will say "This outfit for Monday. This outfit for Tuesday. Etc." I may throw in an extra top. This cuts down on my tendency to want to bring everything in my closet.
Shoes go into their own plastic bags so there's no chance of getting dirt on my clothes.
My motto is "If I've forgotten anything then I can buy it there." That helps me deal with any packing anxiety.
A list of house to-do's helps me with the "Did I remember to... ?" (Plants, temperature, lights, etc.)
I've finally convinced my wife to pack - no matter how long the stay - in a carry-on, roller bag, plus small hand bag, except when we're traveling via auto domestically. When traveling in other countries, especially via trains, ascending/descending train platforms, this is especially helpful. I pack my pants in a dry-cleaner bag, which keeps them from wrinkling too much. If you do check your luggage, keep your medicines and all electronics (cameras, phones, music players, etc.) in separate, carry-on bags - NO valuables in checked luggage, or you might never see them again!
Quite frequently when traveling in the UK we stay at B&B's and country homes, particularly if we've moving about frequently. You can locate these on Internet, but I've accumulated a variety of these directories in previous travels. However, we normally stay in larger hotels - such as Marriott - in the cities to enjoy all their amenities. Even here, we carry luggage locks to secure our personals when out of the room.
I usually book on Internet my airline tickets and request seats on exit rows, aisle; try to avoid the very rear of the plane. Frequent flyers usually have access to shorter security lines via TSA and other agencies in domestic/ foreign airports.
The general rule is to not eat in the hotel where you're staying; however, this depends on the place and it's reputation. For instance, the William Tell Restaurant in the Georgian Hotel in Vancouver, B.C., is one of only 5-star restaurants in the city; the buffet breakfast and dinner at the Marriott Grand Flora, Rome, Italy; Marriott Huntingdon, England; and the Marriott, Champs d' Elyses, Paris, breakfast are well worth dining in. Before leaving on your trip, check the hotel site for near-by eating establishments, and don't forget the hotel concierge services. If you know someone in the area where you're staying, ask for recommendations. If you're ever privileged to stay at the Salish Lodge, east of Seattle, you don't want to eat anywhere else but their dining room or lounge!
JUST IN CASE
I prepare an itinerary, listing flight schedules, hotel contacts, (including phone and fax numbers), time zones, when traveling out of the U.S., and email this to each of my children, and leave a copy on my desk at home in case of emergency. I've prepared a list for my wife and children - "Just in Case I Don't Return" - including insurance, legal, accounting, investments accounts, bank, and other important contacts for them to access. I've taken my children to local bank to co-sign on bank storage box so they can access this as well in my absence.
I've got another exception to fschumpert dining rule. If staying at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, do checkout Sansei Seafood Restaurant. It isn't hotel owned, but is owned by local celebrity chef DK Kodoma and is one of my favorite dining spots on the island!
Only once a year when my wife has a convention in NYC where she needs a variety of dresses and shoes does she check luggage. We pack pretty simple with lightweight clothes and layer if need be, I usually have enough room to put in a leather flight jacket at the very end and it all goes into the roll-a-boards we have to carry on the plane. Always put thing in a pair of shoes such as medications, electric razor, camera and fold things very neatly or if they are something that can be rolled up and put in a crevice to fit even better. As Jerry mentions a mental checklist of items just before heading out the door and quick review of what is in the roll-a-boards. My backpack has the laptop, an reading material for the plane/trip, keys on a clip after parking at the airport, cellphone, printed copy of the hotel reservation just in case someone tries to tell us we didn't reserve this type of room and no upgrades are available, airline itinerary and any car rental reservation number. Off we go.
TSA, do we really have to do this? We signed up for and received Global Entry a couple of years ago, along with it from United then came Pre-Check, the single best program in the government with the exception of Global Entry. Knock on wood, but we haven't had to put liquids, laptop, or all the other things into the bins nor remove shoes in over 18 months at airports that have Pre-Check and most do we fly to/from. There is no line and the TSA agents actually are friendly in those lines for some unknown reason, yet put them in the regular line and we all know about those things.
Lodging is what we normally start searching for first when planning a trip. Near the water or close to spots we wish to see when in the city, if driving from the airport a spot not hard to find and then if a spot we frequent often and have a particular room we love such as Seattle Waterfront Marriott or Fisherman's Wharf Marriott, a call to the hotel and talk with the Front Desk Manager and ask for what we desire.
Flights, well this is where I'm very particular when selecting the aircraft type and airline. None of which has to do with any being less safe than another, just that we are in Houston which is UA largest HUB operation so we fly UA now since the merger while before it was CO and my preference is being on former CO airplanes which for the most part are much newer than former UA airplanes., Over 200 of them have DirecTV or the larger with a nice AVOD system to pass the time away as well as crewed by CO crews which we just might know some of the crew.
Seats, being fortunate to get upgrades I book Row 1 keeping in mind the time of day and side of the airplane to avoid the early morning sun or late afternoon sun from coming in the window. Even with a window shade down which I don't like, the temperature is much higher than on the other side of the plane. On the CRJ7's still Row 1 and the E145 Row 12 as you have the exit row extra legroom. If we get stuck on an old UA B752 with the 24 FC seats at all cost avoid Row 1 as the bulkhead is very very close and it is difficult to even cross your legs. Why on that plane and only that plane it is like that is a mystery for sure.
Eating out, MI and the excellent restaurant reviews we get here, favorite dining spots we have or the most fun just walk in and have a seat!
We love to travel and rarely get disappointed, yet I don't like the devaluation of airline or hotel elite benefits.....in the end upgraded rooms and good service I completely believe is the end result of how you treat those customer service folks you meet along the journey. Keep a smile on your face and be friendly, it will make traveling much more enjoyable and more bearable than what others will experience in their adventures.
Great topic and thank you for the thread captbigguy.
Message was edited by: IAHFLYR
My wife and I flew FC from EWR to OGG last year with a connection in SFO. The SFO to OGG flight was on a 757-300 and the FC seats were awful. Hard as a concrete bench, the whole seat squeaked every time you moved/shifted around, and overall very very tired looking. I was shocked that the FC cabin was for a lack of a better word, crappy. We used miles as did probably everyone else in FC or were upgraded premiers, but had I paid cash I would have been really upset.
You most likely got the old ATA airplanes that CO was purchasing and when the merger hit they didn't change out those seats. I know the very seats you are referring to and they are horrible at best. A great reason to avoid that plane for sure and glad you reminded me of them.
You are welcome IHAFLYR...
Another tip for you weekly project commuting guys... Check out the airline rates round trip M-Th then try a reverse flop - Th-M. Sometimes you get a better rate if you book a one way to your destination then round trip the rest from work to home... W-H-W vs. H-W-H. That puts a Saturday in between and can make a difference. Of course, if you are not paying, who cares, right?
Dining coupons!!!! Especially if you are on a Per Diem for meals. This can help you out a lot. Also, sign up for Groupon or similar offerings for the area where you are travelling. You can get some good half-off deals on restaurants and might even get some other great deals that you would like... And I LOVE pocketing extra per diem $$$s!!!!
I interviewed for my Global Entry last week, so hoping the card is in the mail... TSA lines at ATL can be HORRIBLE! I'm hoping to avoid that line a LOT in the future...
NIce replies! Great topic! The first thing that entered my mind and brought a smile to my face was...."zippy pants". At least that's what we call them. Columbia makes them...they are super lightweight pants that have hidden zippers so you can unzip them and instantly have a pair of shorts! My hubby and boys love them! And they are easy to wash and dry quickly....great for leisure travel. Columbia's line of performance fishing gear is great...so nice looking for casual travel, and light weight, so they can be washed an dry the next morning when traveling. I was skeptical, but now they are my favorites...so easy to pack and comfy to wear. One of my favorite photos I took while we were in Rome was of my hubby in front of a nice restaurant, bending over with a cute smile on his face, zipping the legs of his "zippy" pants on! very cute!
MAny of my tips have been covered by the generous travelers above. I am out of time...have to pack our zippys for our trip later today!
Heres to great travel!
1. I pack each day of clothing in a separate 2 gallon ziplock baggie and slip in a small hotel size soap to make them continue to smell fresh. The clothes always stay folded nicely. When TSA checks bags they stay clean. When it rains they stay dry. Makes dressing in the morning easy and quick.
2. Shoes go in the zip locks too.
3. Global Entry is a must.
4. NEVER, EVER, EVER sit in the Exit row window seat of the United Planes. They are hard as rock and they lose 1.5 inches of width due to the unmovable armrest.
5. I too liked the Continental planes and crews but we are now stuck paying double and using the United crews and equipment. Particularly noticeable is the difference between Aisle and Window first class seats........ pick the aisle........ the window has reduced area for your feet.
Do you mean UA planes and include the Regional Jets in that classification as well? Because the E145's the exit row which is Row 12 has the most leg room on the entire airplane other than Row 1 or Row 3 which are bulkhead rows, but the wind noise from the two doors (galley and boarding door) is very loud during cruise and descent. The seats cushions are the same in all rows of coach for UA planes as well as RJ's.
Please expound on the FC window and aisle issue, as the only airplane I've flown on with reduced area for your feet are the old UA B752's in Row 1.
United planes out of Houston are the old United planes most of the time. The FC window seats have a curvature at the wall and the power box that cuts into some your feet room.
The exit row window seats are the larger planes. In the small jets that seat is fine. And YES it still has leg room but the seat (where your butt goes) is narrower because of arm rest being wider on that seat and a solid piece.
Actually the old UA planes haven't ruined the Houston HUB totally, I'd guess about 60-70% are still CO planes coming and going one just has to know how to avoid the UA metal. What they have done is take most of the CO wide body jets and swapped them for UA junk which is a shame.
All the seats have a curvature at the wall when you look at the inside, unless I'm completely missing your point (very possible) and you're correct about the power box however; that's why I grab the bulkhead each flight I can except for the old UA B752 things.
I drive my car to the airport parking almost weekly. Though I always try to park in the same section - so that I can find my car when I return - I always take a photo of the parking section with my phone - so that I always have a record of where I parked. After seven days of travel - and a few beers along the way - it is not always easy otherwise to remember where one parked at the airport.
That is a splendid tip......can't even tell you how many people I find wandering the garages looking for their car.
I always park attempt to park in the same plot as well and it has saved me a time or 10 from the complete embarrassment of walking the garage. I will now take a picture as long as I can remember where I put the phone!! Kidding, I always leave it in the car...wait that won't work. Seriously an outstanding tip specialed.
My system - which works for me - is to pack the same things for every business trip. The only exception is I may bring an extra pair of pants and a couple of extra shirts. I can pack in a few minutes because it is just repeating what I always do. I only take deodorant and toothpaste, no other cosmetics. If the hotel does not offer it, I don't need it. Several years ago I eliminated a second pair of shoes. I wear the one pair I take which eliminates a lot of space and weight in my small carry-on. For less than 4 nights, I take one pair of pants. For any more, two. Two or three shirts max. If I need more I have them lanudered. Same with socks and underwear. (and sometimes I wash these in the sink with hotel shampoo. If you need to dry socks fast, push the opening of one sock over the end of the hair dryer. Does the job in minutes!). Ok, I realize my system is not for everyone, but it sure makes packing and travel simple.
Shoe covers? I use the plastic bag my newspaper is delivered in to keep my the shoes in my carry-on/suitcase away from my clothes, but as lakersfan says, usually one pair (on my feet) is enough. I keep a pair of flip flops in my bag if I need to visit some other part of the hotel (pool, lobby, vending), but they hardly take up any space or add extra weight.
Haha! Yes IAHFLYR! Slippers! Sodapop is also simply known as soda here. Oh, and locals don't really use "aloha and mahalo" in everyday conversation. I personally use it for business pleasantries when e-mailing, but otherwise, I don't use it at all.
Interestingly, I do own slippers and wear them around when I'm outside at home, to the pool or to the beach, but don't otherwise wear. I prefer shoes
I use the shower hats from hotels. They are invaluable for many things such as: covering shoe bottoms in your suitcase without bulk, wrapping gym clothes for the flight home, covering a bicycle seat in case of rain, covering a salad (if not previously used), place on feet with moisturizer on them first while sitting working for butter smooth feet... oh and sometimes in the shower. I love shower hats.
Sunshine. It's all about getting acclimated to your environment - and the more daylight you can absorb, the more likely you are to conform to the timezones that you've traveled to. So, when it's possible, I always try to do something that gets me out in the daylight, beit sunshine, moonlight, whatever. I sleep great, and am not constantly looking at my watch to determine what time it feels like at home while on the road.
Ugh. I have a terrible time with time travel. I cannot sleep on a plane (or a car or a train ) so I get double-whammied on the overnight flights. I do my best to stay awake as long as I can, but sometimes that backfires on me. I always add at least two days onto the front end of my trip to adapt to the new time zone when flying overseas. Strangely enough, I have no problem adapting when flying cross country. I guess my time change limit is 3 hours. lol
If you take some 2BC along with you on these long trips and drink it all you'll sleep just fine, of course your head will kill you the next morning!
NO! your "Head" does not hurt in the Morning, with 2bc!
Had a grilled Caesar tonight with a wonderful three course dinner at "Touch" in Springfield, Mo. The dinner was great and the place was packed, due to Wed. Happy Hour! Did not participate in "Happy Hour", but the only regret was the glass of wine was $10, and my 2bc bottle is $3! Maybe it was just me, but that's a bad deal at $10 a glass.
BTW, I got a "Whiff" of the Captains BBQ, and he must have been cooking something special!
In Branson, Mo, at the RI, and they spoil you here!
Are you off the medication your Dr., ordered for you or what? No HH participation yet got the high priced regular prescription huh.......was it part of a new health care plan?
Yes, I am "Off medication" because the gov't will take care of me!
Am enjoying a good week at The RI, Branson, where "The Family" here takes great care of me!
Don't you enjoy going to a place where you know and enjoy wonderful Marriott Staff?
I just hope they don't forget that feature of their product!
You know I love those places where one knows the staff is going to provide excellent service, is almost like family and the property stands out. It increases the anticipation for the next visit.
Oh, and sad to hear you lost your prescriptions, looks like 2BC is going to work as a generic!
That is a wonderful point about looking forward to traveling to certain properties, because of the wonderful staff! It is just like re-visiting friends. (This subject would make a great post,) Can think of many Marriott properties where I really look forward to again seeing staff members.
BTW, no 2BC in Rome, but I did find a place that was just as good. Right behind the hotel. Dr. "Prescribed" some Chianti while in Italy. it really helped my severe malady, "A lazy eye"! He offered a "Handi-cap" parking pass, but I refused it!
Thank-you for your continued concern!
I love all the tips I've seen, one of the things I always bring with me is a small mesh back (for example: Hosiery laundry bag), this com is great for rinsing grapes or berries that you may buy at the grocery store, a couple of clothes pins can be used to hold it up in your ice container to dry.
Here's a Black Friday deal that starts today, Nov 27, 2013 for anyone who wants to go to Medieval Times before Jan 31, 2014.
By entering BFDEAL when purchasing online, all seats are $29. Also, every ticket sold to their Thanksgiving show will have $10 donated to Red Cross for the Philippines relief effort.
I get my Medieval Times messages from the Myrtle Beach location, but I'm assuming this is nationwide, even though the price of the seats vary from location to location generally with MB being the cheapest.
In US check Urbanspoon.com and Yelp.com for restaurant reviews.
For driving trips:
1. Keep ducktape in car for all kinds of emergencies.
2. Always make sure your meds are in coolers in summer.
3. Remember you need sunglasses in winter (glare)
4. I always use Chicago Bears stickers on my luggage to make a fashion statement and easy to identify.
5. I always look for hotels near upscale shopping for better area of town.
6. Always park in an area that is well lit, on the high side (in case of flooding), and near where the employees park (they keep a close eye on their own cars.)
Great thread and tips.
Global Entry, Marriott Laundry bags for shoes, wet clothes, if trip more than a few days, each days clothes in separate bag. If hotel offers shoe shine(free) use it. Mayflower in DC does. Water and fruit for lunch from lounge, procured when eating breakfast in lounges, and take advantage of appys at night, seriously cuts down on eating out. Lastly, two carryons pre packed for winter,rainy destinations versus sunny hotter locales. Not fully packed, but things like goggles swim trunks, sunscreen, - sweaters toques, fleece heavier jacket etc..
I find the best tips are ones that help speed you through, improve comfort, or improve enjoyment.
If you are not a member of Global Entry/Trusted Traveler, spend the $100 for 5 year memebership (or check your Amex rules which sometimes will reimburse you for the fee). It will get your through TSA security as quite a few airports quickly.
Download the airlines' app to your smartphone. You can usually pick and change seats on this so you can get the best seat possible anytime day or night. Use it to check-in and get your eboarding pass so you can avoid check in lines and not worry about paper.
When selecting seats use SeatGuru (either online or their App). They will help to understand which are good seats and which are not. (please upload your reviews as that will help other travelers).
If you have a choice of Car rental, get Hertz Gold service (plenty of differnt ways to get this free now). Also sign up for electronic receipt delivery. These two combined save a lot of time and hassle. The first lets you go right to a car assigned to you and drive straight out. The second lets you return the car and just walk to the shuttle or airport without waiting for the check-in and your receipt will be sent electronically.
When choosing dining options use Urban Spoon (online or App ). Some use Yelp but i have found it to generic. Urban Spoon is easy to use and the App lets you find restaurants "nearby" based on GPS. You can also select by cuisine and sort on ratings, distance, etc. It rates restaurants on a simple like / don't like method so you can see how many votes and likes (%). Read the user reviews as this also helps decide if the users are along the same line of thought you may be. (please upload your reviews as that will help other travelers).
As one last tip, to unload your wallet of all those membership cards get an app like Cardstar or Key Ring and upload them to your smartphone (they now use the camera to scan barcodes for easy entry if the card has one).
Totally agree about Urbanspoon. But when you use it you have to filter it through your own lens. Sometimes people hate the service on one night but the food stands out. Recently, in Charleston we entered one Mexican restaurant that was highly praised but it was dirty so we left immediately. I use Yelp less but I do use it to crosslist. Google sometimes lists both sets of reviews. All matter if you are on a budget.
Not sure if anyone flies a lot between Canada and the United States but to bypass Customs line-ups I recommend the Nexus card. For $50 for 5 years, you get priority lanes for security in all Canadian airports and bypass Customs line-ups, completing everything on a kiosk using your eye-scan.
Having this card has been a HUGE time-saver for me!
I stay at an MEA property 3 or 4 times a year. For several weeks at a time. I leave 2 large bags with all the clothes and personal fun stuff (guitar stand and amp for practicing, seasonings for cooking the food I like, etc.) with the hotel when I leave. They have no problem holding it for me for a month or two until I return.
That way I can travel with far less luggage.