Going Out of Town? What to Bring, What Not to Bring & Tricks of the Trade

suitcaseJoe is definitely the points and miles person in our family. Me, I enjoy the benefits of his hobby but really don’t care about which plane is newer, bigger and better, how many cents a point is worth at any given moment, or what hotel gives you feather pillows and a personal concierge. As long as we get from Point A to Point B in a reasonable amount of time, and as long as our room is clean and relatively quiet, I’m good.

However if there’s one thing I’ve gotten really good at for all these trips to all these different places, it’s how and what to pack. For those of you who travel a lot, you probably already know all the ins and outs of this stuff. But for those of you who only go out of town here and there, here are some things to consider:
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Want To Keep All Of Your Travel Plans Organized? Use TripIt

Keeping track of travel reservations can be quite a chore. You’ll have an email box clogged full of airlines, hotels, car rentals, trains, meetings, appointments, tickets and whatever else you’re planning for your trip. Back in the day, I used to keep a folder with printouts of all this information and brought it with me wherever we traveled. I also needed to bring a backpack full of maps and travel books. Now I’ve traded in that folder for a website and phone app that keep all this information organized for me.

Travel back in the day included carrying and reading endless guidebooks. It was especially fun in the rain.

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How To Get Free Upgrades On Hotels

I’ve been able to score countless upgrades in hotels using this trick. It’s totally legal, amazingly easy to do and doesn’t throw off my moral compass. Even those who are timid about asking for upgrades can make this trick work for them. I’m not saying it’ll work 100% of the time but when it does, it’s nice to feel like you’re getting more than you paid for.

Of course, the easiest way to get a hassle-free upgrade is to have a high level of status with a company’s loyalty program. Now, I don’t travel enough to earn status and have no intention of chasing status and locking myself into one specific brand. I get some perks by strategically choosing certain credit cards, such as the American Express Platinum card, which give me certain perks or mid-level status. Hotels will often proactively upgrade members with status to a higher level or “executive” room before checking in.   Continue reading “How To Get Free Upgrades On Hotels”

Tipping While Traveling! Who, What, Why, Where, When and How Much?

Tipping. In some countries it’s an important norm, whereas in others it’s considered an insult. Some folks tip people in certain professions whereas others don’t, and while some countries’ tipping culture suggest just a little bit of money for a tip, others’ say 20% is appropriate.

So who should you tip? And how much? And what if you’re in THIS country versus THAT country? Well, I think I’ve finally found a definitive answer. But first a little background…

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