7 More Must-Have Travel Tips
It's been a while since we've shared our favorite travel tips and since the world of travel seemingly changes everyday we wanted to bring you our latest tips to help your next trip be amazing.
1 - Lighten your load. This year so many new luggage designs focus on weight. We figure the lighter the bag the more you can pack in it. At this year's Travel Goods Show many companies lightened their offerings. We've got a lot of travel planned this year so we just purchased a new carry-on from World's Lightest. The IT-0-4, 20" carry-on weighs in at 4.28 pounds, and features a 10-year warranty. We'll let you know how it handles but it is by far the lightest carry-on on the market. Most of even the "feather weight" type weigh over 7 lbs. There are also many new bags that are collapsable - a very handy approach as well.
2 - More business travel. Business all over seems to be improving and this means more receipts to keep track of and scan. We recently discovered the TurboScan iPhone app. For $1.99 this replaces a travel scanner and fills in for your office scanner if it's on the fritz. This handy app seamlessly lets you scan and create a PDF of one or multiple documents at a time. You can also control the quality eliminating most of the wrinkles and folds of the original. If you're a road warrior this app is truly a life-saver.
3 - Get in & out of Dodge faster. Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program has always been great for getting back into the U.S. quickly. This service allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Yes, there is a $100 fee (paid once only) associated with this time-saver but we think you'll find it helpful if you travel internationally frequently. You will feel a surge of joy as you no longer have to wait in the customs lines. You simply go to the Global Entry kiosk, enter your information and head out of the airport. It usually takes about 30 seconds. The even better news is that TSA recently launched an Expedited Screening Pilot Program that Global Entry members qualify to participate in. This process cutting down your wait time in the security lines on outgoing flights from the U.S. Now you can save time coming and going!
4 - Be Connected 24-7 When traveling outside the United States you need to be extremely careful and aware of your cellular phone and data charges. There are a million horror stories out there of people coming home to find charges for hundreds if not thousands of dollars for unexpected expenses for looking at email or web browsing on their phone. Before you leave be sure to check your plan. A great way to solve this problem is to use MiFi by XComGlobal. You simply tell them where you're going and the dates of your travel. They will send you a device that will serve as your personal wireless hot spot. The even better news is that you can hook-up multiple devices - cellphones, laptops, e-readers, etc. - at the same time. This cell phone sized device eliminates costly internet charges at your destination and gives you the chance to browse without those insane data fees. We used the service on our trip to France last year and could not have been more happy. We found it perfect for wandering the streets and being able to navigate with maps and directions on the fly. The company will FedEx you the device and you just ship it back to them when you get home. Easy-peasy. There are several other vendors now, including some wireless carriers, that provide this type of service as well.
5 - Protect your devices We all travel with a host of gadgets - from cell phones to e-readers to video players to laptops. Most of them are expensive and items we don't want to think about replacing. Make sure you know before you leave the voltage, frequency, adapter plug and electrical outlet that are used in the country you're visiting. There are many online sources to get this information. We often use VoltageValet. Many hotels now provide an electrical strip with North American outlets in your room so you don't have to worry. However, more do not. Hotels will often have adapters for you to use or rent. If you travel a lot you may want to pick up a universal adapter, perhaps even one with a surge protector if you need to use it with a device, such as a computer, that would cause you grief if it were to lose power while operating. While you're at it you may want to pick up a portable power bank for your devices to extend the life of your batteries. If you don't have access to power this is a great alternative to charge your devices on-the-road and never have your device conk out right at the end of a great movie or book.
6 - Register with the U.S. Government The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. This may seem a bit excessive or even Big Brothery. BUT, if something does happen to you it's probably a good thing that the government knows and could potentially help out. They also provide embassy information and the latest information on travel warnings.
7 - Be Entertained For Free If you travel the same route frequently you've probably already seen all the movies the airline offers you. If you use iTunes, be sure to check out iTunes U. There are plenty of free lectures, courses and presentations from Harvard, Oxford, MIT and more on almost any topic. If you're a fan of the TED conferences, download the ones that interest you and you'll learn something while passing the time. There are also many great free podcasts on a broad range of subjects. If you want to fill up your e-Reader for free go to eReaderIQ and see the latest offerings. It's a handy little site that lets you search by genre, author, title, etc.
Do you have other travel tips you'd like to share? Send it along - if we share it with our audience we'll send you a PoshPorts gift! What are you waiting for? Send it in today to firstname.lastname@example.org