Photos take a long time to edit.. because of this I am officially declaring that Thursdays on the blog will now be known as Travel Thursdays. I have a small series of Travel Tips & Tricks to share and plenty more posts about cities I visited in the month of December. The first round of this tips and tricks series is all about hotels and airports.
Now I’m no expert in travel, but over the 20 years I’ve been exploring the world I have picked up a few things.
Lets start with Hotels ~
Now hotels are an interesting breed. There are chains that you know what to expect and the odd boutique that may have some interesting amenities, but you have no clue what you may or may not have access to. Millions of blogs and travel guides will give you a list of things to pack (I’ll have a post on this later) and what to bring along. But here’s a short list on things to do:
Clear the Minibar – This is one I’ve started to do lately. When you travel for a month, eating like you’re ‘on vacation’ can’t be an excuse the whole time. I’ll typically call ahead or ask at checkin for the hotel to clear the minibar or provide a mini fridge so that I can store some lunch meats, cheese and fruit. It makes it easy to pack some little food bags for during the day and also helps reduce the budget for over priced hotel food.
Laundry in the Sink – Again. When traveling for a month there is only so much you can pack in a smaller checked or carry-on bag. For things like underwear and socks, you can save time and money by just washing them in the sink. There are a variety of guides on the interwebs for how to do this, but it works and seriously helps.
Higher Floors – This is more of a personal preference, but being on a higher floor often means less noise from around you and can also provide a nice view of where you are staying.
Look for your Essentials & Look for Deals – When searching out a hotel. Know what you need and what you don’t. Not looking for a gym? Skip the ones that have them. Looking for breakfast to be included? Search for it. Websites like hotels.com, booking.com, etc can provide you with more than just deals, they can help you find hotels that meet certain criteria.
Use the Sign – Traveling abroad, hotel staff is much more on top of their game in the morning so don’t be surprised when housekeeping shows up at 7.30am and starts opening the door (this happened). I quickly learned that it was vital to put the Don’t Disturb sign out every night. Even if you plan to get up ‘early,’ put it out!
Onto the next half of the post, Airport tips (these can also be applied to Trains):
Easy Shoes – The number of times someone holds up the line at security because they are in 5 inch heels or lace up boots is ridiculous. Make it simple and wear flip flops or shoes like toms in the summer and simple boots in the winter. You will get through the line faster & people will appreciate you.
Pack cary-ons appropriately – Along the same lines as the previous tip, put some thought into your cary-on bag. Have you laptop easily accessible, put liquids into a single bag, etc. It saves so much time and makes everyone happier.
Layers – Airports can be a mixture of a thousand climates. As someone who travels from east to west coast in the spring, I can leave Arizona in shorts and a tank top and get back to Philadelphia needing a boots, pants and a down jacket. Wear layers and know the weather you are heading to. It makes everyone happier when you get off the plane and don’t need to dig through your suitcase for the one pair of shorts you brought.
Filtered Reusable Bottle – Airport food is expensive and water is vital to drink when flying. Make sure to empty the bottle before security and once you get to the other side it’s as simple as heading into the bathroom to fill the bottle back up.
Manners – This is a stupid one to have to write, but I can’t count the times I see people freaking out about the smallest detail. Sure, the flight might be delayed or you may have missed a connection, but yelling won’t solve any problems. Flight attendants, gate attendants and every other person working at the airport is having a longer day than you and does this regularly. Just take a breath, smile and be polite and patient if something isn’t working out. A smile does wonders and may just get you more than you need.
Seat Selection – On airlines like Southwest, you better check in on time to get a decent position to board, but for most other airlines this is how I typically pick a seat. Aisle seats are my go-to for a longer flight. It is SO awkward when you need to use the restroom and the guy next to you is asleep. Also, it makes you the first person in the row to get off the plane. Window seats are better on short flights or if you are the person to sleep on a plane. The window provides a natural wall to sleep against and also a nice view while flying. Middle seats are a lost cause.. no one wants them.. some people get them.. and lastly Sitting Up Front is always a good idea because you get off the plane faster.
Noise Canceling Headphones – These are the only cure for screaming children. They are the best investment I ever made.
Skyscanner.com – This website is basically the best when it comes to finding the cheapest flight available. It searches way more than Kayak (especially internationally) and can save you money + time.
Honestly there are so many tips I could share and at some point I’ll do another round of Airport + Hotel tips, but hopefully these make that next flight or hotel stay a bit better..
Have one to add? Leave it below.