Monday, May 1, 2017

10 Quick Travel Tips

And I think we are done traveling for a bit (after five weeks of vacation, chilling on the couch is a decided luxury).  Here are some quick travel tips which have proven useful over the past month or so...

  1. Take a nice, sturdy bottle of water (like Aquafina, etc), drink the water, then save the bottle for travel.  You can take it empty through the security check point then fill it up prior to boarding your plane.
  2. Take photos of all of your prescription meds.  The spouse ended up in the ER during our vacation and when the nurse asked me about prescription meds, instead of giving her a blank look, I whipped out my cell phone, clicked on photos, and the nurse was able to swipe through the photos and input all of the spouse's meds into the computer with ease.
  3. Ditto for taking a photo on your cell phone of your hotel room number.  After staying at more than a half dozen hotels, our room number becomes a bit blurry so as soon as we check into the hotel, our first task is to snap a quick photo of the room number.  If you have trouble remembering which hotel you are in, take a photo of your hotel and it's address/business card/brochure.
  4. Get the Uber and Lyft app on your cell phone.  I can't emphasize how much better these services are than your run of the mill taxi.
  5. If you will be flying a lot, do yourself a favor and sign up for TSA PreCheck; it will save you a lot of time and frustration getting through security checkpoints.  Ditto for Global Entry if you will be traveling back and forth overseas.
  6. Take photos of (and back up) copies of your passport, driver's license, credit cards, car insurance card, health insurance card, boarding passes, car rental reservation, etc.  If you lose these items you will at least be able to show that you indeed have them (getting them replaced is a whole other hassle).
  7. I was thrilled with my T Mobile cell phone service which includes free international roaming/data/texting/teathering-HotSpot.  All of these things were useful at various points in our travels and all of these things were free (years ago, using your cell phone overseas would incur extremely high charges).  Note that TMobile doesn't seem to work in remote or even semi-remote areas but in cities it works great.
  8. If you don't have to work and/or use special software, consider traveling with a tablet instead of a laptop.  General travel stuff (like reading books, saving maps, doing basic internet searches) can be easily accomplished on a tablet and it will save you a great deal of weight over a laptop.
  9. Travel with one bag.  I've done this for years and slowly the spouse has come around to this way of traveling.  Avoiding checked luggage and--more importantly--not having to schlep 50 pounds of luggage around makes traveling infinitely easier.  My 32l backpack easily carries enough stuff for a week, or a month, or six months, of travel.
  10. Bring food always.  Generally we always carry some sort of food at all times while traveling since you never know when/where your next meal will be.  Granola bars, bread and cheese, nuts, fruit, etc all are easy to carry and most welcome when you are starving.  The one time we didn't do this on this past trip I had the spouse waving a turkey sandwich in my face grumbling about how it cost $15 at the airport.  So prepare ahead of time or be prepared to pay out the nose for basics that would cost a fraction were you not a captive audience.

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