Jet Setting 101: The essential travel hacks you need to know
Travel, while always an amazing experience, is seldom as glamorous as it appears on social media. Here are my top tips for making the most of your experience.
1. Things WILL go wrong, don't let it stress you out and don't be an asshole about it, that doesn't do anyone any good. As Bob Bitchin (what a name) once said, "The difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude".
2. Pack responsibly. This means carry on luggage only whenever possible. Foregoing checked baggage isn't as difficult as it sounds but it does require a bit of forethought. This book is an amazing resource on how to pack. Going carry on only makes a huge difference-no checked bag fees, less time spent at the airport (no waiting to check bags or pick them up), easier to navigate transportation, more space in your hotel room, and you'll spend less time thinking about what to wear and more time exploring!
3. Invest in great luggage. This bag is chic, spacious, and practical. It comes with a built in charger for your phone, TSA approved lock, and an exterior pocket for your laptop which makes going through security so much easier.
4. Keep a cosmetics bag filled with travel sized essentials separate from the products that you use everyday so that you can grab it and go, without worrying that you'll show up in Paris without your favorite eyebrow pencil. This bag is beautiful and well designed. I have one myself and regularly give them as gifts to my travel loving friends and family.
5. Get shoe bags. Even when they don't look it, street are dirty and its gross to have those germs rubbing off on your freshly packed clothes.
6. Never put your suitcase on a hotel bed. Between this and the shoe bags I realize I sound like a germaphobe but I see this all the time, your suitcase goes some pretty gross places and resting it on your bed means you now get to sleep with that bacteria. so disgusting.
7. Avoid alcohol within 24 hours of takeoff, especially if its a long haul flight. Alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle and dehydrates which leaves you looking and feeling tired. Staying sober reduces jet lag.
8. Get yourself on your destination city's time zone ASAP. If I'm flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong and I know I'll arrive to in the evening, I make myself sleep for the first half of the flight (even if that means missing meals) then stay up for the second half so that I'll be ready for bed as soon as I arrive. If you sleep the entire flight then stay up all night, your sleep schedule will be screwed for the entire trip.
9. Do a quick workout as soon as you check into the hotel, your body will be happy to move after the flight and it will prevent you from over indulging while away. (Anyone else notice how much healthier they eat on days they work out vs days they don't? )
10. Pack protein bars, these are my favorite and they're vegetarian friendly! They're great to have because airport food is filled with sodium and notoriously unhealthy, you never know when you'll get stuck somewhere, and they're great as a "grab and go" breakfast when you're ready to be out and exploring!
11. Always bring an external charger for your phone, this is definitely the best one on the market. It takes less than an hour to charge my iphone completely.
12. Plan, but not too much. Spend a few hours reading about your destination before going. My favorite resources are blogs, the NY Times "36 Hours in" column, and Luxe Travel Guides (either the books or the apps). Pick a few things that you absolutely have to do (no more than 2 per day), then put everything else that interests you on a separate list. Look at a map and see which non essentials are close to your "must do's". You never know how things are going to play out and over scheduling yourself can detract from your enjoyment. Be aware of whats out there and tick things off your list as you come across them but be open to serendipity.
13. Use the "locations" feature of Instagram to see real time photos of places you want to go. This will give you a more accurate representation of a place's "vibe" than you'll get from write ups in travel magazines.
14. Turn on 'private browsing' to book cheaper flights online. Travel sites can record your visits by installing cookies on your browser, which can cause the prices you're shown to rise simply because you've viewed these flights before.
15. Keep a scanned copy of your passport in your email, just in case.
16. Don't buy in flight wifi, it never works. Save yourself the money and frustration.
17. Act like you've been there before, even if you haven't. Newcomers are always a target, no matter where you are. Most places are quite safe if they think you're a local but things like reading maps make you a desirable target for local mischief makers.