BH travel tips?

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leftcoaster
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BH travel tips?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:17 am

Let’s share some BHish approaches to travel. Here are a couple to start...
  • pack to purge old shirts, socks, pants, underclothes? Travel with them and discard after use. Yes, you can drop them at goodwill on the road if you insist.
  • packing cubes available on amazon, these are thin canvas pouches (not actually cubes) that you load up with rolled clothing.
    • staying at one hotel? Unload the cubes on arrival and reload them as clothing is “done”. Boom, packing at the end of the trip simplified
    • changing hotels on the road? Leave cubes packed. Bring extras and transfer to the empty cubes as clothing is used
  • super light packing if you work in an industry where no one dresses up... for short trips, I find I can get everything I need into one packing cube and get that into my backpack w/laptop. NO LUGGAGE! No overhead space, no problem! Speed through security and down the concourse. No awkward fumbling in transit or in the sidewalk. Truly life altering.

jayk238
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by jayk238 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:26 am

If youre travelling to europe and a country you are unfamiliar with - eg dont know language etc get Rick Steves. Probably the best travel advice book.

If youre a frequent traveler having a chase sapphire card w access to priority passes is a huge plus.

Limit your travel luggage. We only use one suitcase for check in on international flights for up to 10 day trips. You should too.

leftcoaster
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:29 am

+1 for the sapphire. I was in Portland’s airport and my card got me $28 free food/drink at a market. Could also have had a $28 free flight of whiskey.

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lthenderson
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by lthenderson » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:36 am

I pull out a map and locate all the hot travel destinations and then pick a point somewhere in the middle that avoids all of them.

ronno2018
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by ronno2018 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:41 am

For vacations we find home exchanging to work great. You do need to sign up for a service -- we use www.homeexchange.com but there are several others I believe.

Drawback is you need to clean your house and make space in your closets, document all home services for temporary visitors (where to put out trash, how to use DVR,etc).

Positives are seeing how others live in other countries, sometimes get to know the other family, and of course "free" housing at your destination.

Daughter is heading off to college, but we managed to visit several places over the past four years -- Limerick, Ireland, Brest, France, Stockholm, Sweden, Sydney, Gold Coast, and Cairns, Australia, and upcoming in August this year, Amsterdam.

A travel credit card that earns points is worthwhile too, especially if part of a banking relationship.

aprilcpa
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by aprilcpa » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:42 am

I would love to hear some tips about traveling with shoes. We tend to pack at least two pairs of shoes - one pair of boots and another pair of everyday shoes, which makes it difficult to travel with only a carryon.

My travel packing revelation was that regardless of where I went, I could usually find a laundromat. Bring some Tide pods and some quarters and my packing became much lighter (other than the shoes).

Freefun
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Freefun » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:51 am

I usually only do carry on. If I'm hiking then I'll wear my boots and pack sneakers and flip flops.

Laundry is one of many reasons I like Airbnb. Don't need laundromat or detergent as the place I'm renting would have them.. also I prefer to bet eating recommendations from Airbnb hosts / locals as they're usually steering me to the best places for locals - i much prefer authentic than what a hotel concierge says. Some travel books get outdated quickly.

Exxoficio underwear. Only 2 pairs needed. Hand wash and very quick dry. Also use wicking shirts.

Convertible pants.

I carry extra travel wallets and go out only with what I'm ok with being stolen - small cash, credit card with small credit limit. I have experience getting mugged during decades of lots of global travel.

Depending on location, I take pics of rental vehicles. Haven't had issues with major companies but have with places I never heard of. Had an issue in one of the Greek islands until they saw the pics I took - they re-thought blaming me for something that was there in the first place (language issues handicapped me from explaining this at time of rental).

Travel whistle- good for getting attention when safety is compromised. I also use it hiking in case I'm lost or injured. If you want a good one, search for Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG on amazon. Crazy loud. There are loads of emergency apps for phones but these assume your phone hasn't been stolen.

Copies of paperwork on me - passport, emergency #'s & contacts , global assist #'s.

Buy local sim cards in most countries- almost always cheapest option. I have backup phones that can hold 2-3 sim cards at the same time (useful when I know I'm changing countries several times).
Last edited by Freefun on Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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midareff
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by midareff » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:05 am

aprilcpa wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:42 am
I would love to hear some tips about traveling with shoes. We tend to pack at least two pairs of shoes - one pair of boots and another pair of everyday shoes, which makes it difficult to travel with only a carryon.

My travel packing revelation was that regardless of where I went, I could usually find a laundromat. Bring some Tide pods and some quarters and my packing became much lighter (other than the shoes).
We travel with flexible shoes such as Skechers with socks and stuff packed inside them. Dark pair for night and a spare day pair. Magellan (no affiliation) sells a calf wallet that I find invaluable for credit card(s) and larger denomination bills while on ground tour. Only carry the equivalent of a couple of bucks in pockets and use a Swiss Army style men's shoulder strap bag for cell, pocket camera and anything else that needs to go along like ID, ship or hotel cards, local maps and such.

No jewelry worn outside USA. Pressure socks for long flights. No fee for international use credit cards or larger reward than the fee. We use cards for the relevant airline when booking for free first bag and priority boarding. International cruises we book far enough in advance they include the air. We always travel with antibiotics... have seen a couple lose two weeks of a three week Viking cruise as something picked up on the plane became pneumonia for him a week into the trip,.... when it could have been short circuited by starting a course as soon as he got sick. Imodium is a must take along too.

Besides locking our luggage with TSA locks we use locking cross straps in bright colors to help identify our bags at the luggage carousel. We caught someone trying to slip out with my wife's bag using a porter about a year ago.

Definitely be careful out there, lots of people want what you have and have no qualms about trying to get it from you be it by pick pocket, smash and grab or whatever.

I'm sure others will have more.

leftcoaster
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:08 am

Refillable travel size containers are nice - sunblock, shaving cream.

THY4373
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by THY4373 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:06 pm

A few tips I have:

1). Travel light, hand baggage only. This has completely transformed my travel experience more than anything else. It is really hard to stress how freeing this is. It makes me very mobile. It has even taught me to downsize all the stuff I have at home (still working on that). Stuff owns you not the other way around and this is even more true when you travel.

2). If you have flexibility travel in the off-season. I went to Portugal, Monaco, Italy and San Marino in February. I loved it. It was cooler but I prefer that to sweating in summer and I had some major sites to myself or with only a few people. The only place that felt crowded was Sintra outside of Lisbon and I can only imagine what a mad house it must be during the summer.

3). Make sure you have a cell phone with foreign data service I find this incredibly helpful. There are many ways to do this but my preference is Google's Project Fi. Like another poster above I also carry a backup phone in case my primary is lost or stolen this has a free Project Fi data only SIM in it.

4). Carry multiple wallets, extra credit and debit cards in different locations. I usually have a standard wallet, a hidden pouch and some additional cards locked up at hotel. I have thankfully not been mugged but I have lost a wallet.

5). Don't fear travelling by yourself. I think folks hold themselves back because they don't have somebody to travel with. I personally love travelling on my own as I can do exactly what I want when I want. It also lowers my travel costs so I can travel more.

6). Learn to travel light (this is worth mentioning again).

SrGrumpy
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:29 pm

aprilcpa wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:42 am
I would love to hear some tips about traveling with shoes. We tend to pack at least two pairs of shoes - one pair of boots and another pair of everyday shoes, which makes it difficult to travel with only a carryon.
My tip? NEVER travel with more than one pair of shoes (YMMV if on hybrid business/holiday trip).

I second the OP's innovative suggestion to bring old clothes that you can dump along away. Somewhere in Paris a landfill contains some of my hole-y socks and boxer shorts that I couldn't bring myself to throw out at home.

I wear the same thing every day - who's going to care? Specifically my shirt of choice is a WoolX shirt that I need to wash lightly maybe once a week. My one pair of pants is a pair of Prana Stretch Zion, with cargo pocket. Convertible trousers are tacky, and I would never wander about in shorts and/or (gasp!) open footwear.

There are shops overseas. If there's a clothing malfunction you can always buy a cheap replacement.

Rick Steves is overrated - see the multitude of threads on TA for pretty hilarious comments.

Bring some Emergen-C sachets. Even with the best of intentions, you'll probably eat badly, so a glass of vitamins will make you feel less guilty before you plow into your 2nd pizza and 4th pint of the day.

Needless to say, take care of banking/bill pay before you go overseas. Every time I travel, without fail, I try to do some sort of funds transfer, and it can get messy, possibly resulting in an account being blocked.

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Hayden
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Hayden » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:49 pm

I love my travel vest. I wear it every day. It is indispensable for me.
My favorite brand is ScotteVest. They are pricey, but they are always having sales, so no reason to ever pay the list price.

SrGrumpy
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:59 pm

Hayden wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:49 pm
I love my travel vest. I wear it every day. It is indispensable for me.
My favorite brand is ScotteVest. They are pricey, but they are always having sales, so no reason to ever pay the list price.
Interesting site, thanks. They can't do more than 21 pockets for the hoodie?

Freefun
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Freefun » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:01 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:59 pm
Hayden wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:49 pm
I love my travel vest. I wear it every day. It is indispensable for me.
My favorite brand is ScotteVest. They are pricey, but they are always having sales, so no reason to ever pay the list price.
Interesting site, thanks. They can't do more than 21 pockets for the hoodie?
Too funny! I personally wouldn't buy a hoodie without 100 pockets minimum.

Interesting site!
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Theseus
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Theseus » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:12 pm

Merino wool clothing.

You need 2-3 pairs of underwear and 2-3 pairs of shirts. That's it. I know it will gross out some people but you don't even need to wash them. You can easily go for 15-21 days without washing them. There is absolutely no smell.

I have used them on my long treks and also some non-hiking travels in Europe. They are expensive, but worth it.

neilpilot
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by neilpilot » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:15 pm

ronno2018 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:41 am
For vacations we find home exchanging to work great. You do need to sign up for a service -- we use www.homeexchange.com but there are several others I believe.

Drawback is you need to clean your house and make space in your closets, document all home services for temporary visitors (where to put out trash, how to use DVR,etc).
We considered house exchange, but my wife does not want to let a stranger use our home. We would not only need to clean, but we'd need to carefully store valuables and private documents.

So, since retirement, we've arranged to house & dog sit in exchange for free accommodations in areas we wanted to visit. We've done this 5 times in the past 10 months, and in 2 of the 5 cases we also had free use of the homeowner's car. Our last house & dog sit was in SW France for 2 weeks, and we drove all over and had a great time. In the morning we walked and fed the dog, feed and water a cat, and were then free drive all over as tourists the rest of the day. It was also great to come home to a well equipped house rather than a hotel room. Easy to save on meals.

This is the web site we used: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/su/uXTgZDcX

UpperNwGuy
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:23 pm

So I'll be the oddball here. I go to Europe or Latin America twice a year, and I always check a 50 pound suitcase with enough clothing for two weeks. I try to carry on as little as possible. After I take my seat on the aircraft, I amuse myself by watching all those folks with the oversized backpacks trying to squeeze them into the overhead luggage compartments. Now I know that some of them are Bogleheads.

My domestic trips are never more than 3-4 days in length, and I use a small roll-aboard suitcase for those flights.

Invisi8
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Invisi8 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:27 pm

Freefun wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:51 am
I carry extra travel wallets and go out only with what I'm ok with being stolen - small cash, credit card with small credit limit. I have experience getting mugged during decades of lots of global travel.

Depending on location, I take pics of rental vehicles. Haven't had issues with major companies but have with places I never heard of. Had an issue in one of the Greek islands until they saw the pics I took - they re-thought blaming me for something that was there in the first place (language issues handicapped me from explaining this at time of rental).

Travel whistle- good for getting attention when safety is compromised. I also use it hiking in case I'm lost or injured. If you want a good one, search for Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG on amazon. Crazy loud. There are loads of emergency apps for phones but these assume your phone hasn't been stolen.

Copies of paperwork on me - passport, emergency #'s & contacts , global assist #'s.
Good tips here! A few questions: when carrying copies of passports, etc. where do you keep them? I'm asking because we just got back from Mexico, and besides my pockets and a backpack there was no place else to store them on my person.

I had a neck wallet, but didnt use it because it was obvious under my shirt and around my neck. Next time might get a money belt instead, a little more inconspicuous IMO.

Would you give them your dummy wallet from your pocket and your pack if they asked and hope they don't search your person for a money belt with the document copies?

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Will do good
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Will do good » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:33 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:36 am
I pull out a map and locate all the hot travel destinations and then pick a point somewhere in the middle that avoids all of them.
Smart!

ResearchMed
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:35 pm

Invisi8 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:27 pm
Freefun wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:51 am
I carry extra travel wallets and go out only with what I'm ok with being stolen - small cash, credit card with small credit limit. I have experience getting mugged during decades of lots of global travel.

Depending on location, I take pics of rental vehicles. Haven't had issues with major companies but have with places I never heard of. Had an issue in one of the Greek islands until they saw the pics I took - they re-thought blaming me for something that was there in the first place (language issues handicapped me from explaining this at time of rental).

Travel whistle- good for getting attention when safety is compromised. I also use it hiking in case I'm lost or injured. If you want a good one, search for Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG on amazon. Crazy loud. There are loads of emergency apps for phones but these assume your phone hasn't been stolen.

Copies of paperwork on me - passport, emergency #'s & contacts , global assist #'s.
Good tips here! A few questions: when carrying copies of passports, etc. where do you keep them? I'm asking because we just got back from Mexico, and besides my pockets and a backpack there was no place else to store them on my person.

I had a neck wallet, but didnt use it because it was obvious under my shirt and around my neck. Next time might get a money belt instead, a little more inconspicuous IMO.

Would you give them your dummy wallet from your pocket and your pack if they asked and hope they don't search your person for a money belt with the document copies?
We keep copies of all travel docs in paper copy with us, but we also have copies of ALL of it "somewhere in the cloud", so we can download it if ever needed.

RM
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Hyperborea
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Hyperborea » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:39 pm

jayk238 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:26 am
If youre travelling to europe and a country you are unfamiliar with - eg dont know language etc get Rick Steves. Probably the best travel advice book.
I like Rick Steves and his books but they only go so far and cover only certain locations in a country and with some predetermined routes. I like to use the Rough Guide series of books out of the UK when I travel and the Rick Steves book. They are quite complementary. The Rough Guide sits in that nice spot between the Lonely Planet series (too cheap) and the Fodors series (too expensive) and yet they have some info at both ends of the price scale too.

In the past, I would carry one and my wife the other in our luggage and then we would tear the pages out of the book for the region/city we were in and only carry those around for the day. No need to do that anymore - either get the electronic versions or snap pictures of that day's section of the book plus use Google Maps along with either Project Fi data/local SIM and/or predownload map data in advance (hotel wifi or at home).
"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

TravelforFun
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by TravelforFun » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:42 pm

Invisi8 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:27 pm
Freefun wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:51 am
I carry extra travel wallets and go out only with what I'm ok with being stolen - small cash, credit card with small credit limit. I have experience getting mugged during decades of lots of global travel.

Depending on location, I take pics of rental vehicles. Haven't had issues with major companies but have with places I never heard of. Had an issue in one of the Greek islands until they saw the pics I took - they re-thought blaming me for something that was there in the first place (language issues handicapped me from explaining this at time of rental).

Travel whistle- good for getting attention when safety is compromised. I also use it hiking in case I'm lost or injured. If you want a good one, search for Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG on amazon. Crazy loud. There are loads of emergency apps for phones but these assume your phone hasn't been stolen.

Copies of paperwork on me - passport, emergency #'s & contacts , global assist #'s.
Good tips here! A few questions: when carrying copies of passports, etc. where do you keep them? I'm asking because we just got back from Mexico, and besides my pockets and a backpack there was no place else to store them on my person.

I had a neck wallet, but didnt use it because it was obvious under my shirt and around my neck. Next time might get a money belt instead, a little more inconspicuous IMO.

Would you give them your dummy wallet from your pocket and your pack if they asked and hope they don't search your person for a money belt with the document copies?
I always email myself and my wife a copy of our passports, reservations for flight, car rental, hotel, etc. before a trip. Of course, we have to remember our email passwords.

TravelforFun

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VictoriaF
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:44 pm

I travel abroad without any telephones, smartphones, or computers. This allows me to focus on the people and places I visit rather than the electronics. And I have fewer concerns about theft.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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VictoriaF
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:48 pm

Get Global Entry. It will let you to board faster via TSA PreCheck and to go through the customs faster on you return from abroad.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

neilpilot
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by neilpilot » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:59 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:48 pm
Get Global Entry. It will let you to board faster via TSA PreCheck and to go through the customs faster on you return from abroad.

Victoria
I suspect that, like me, many Bogelheads are old enough to often get free TSA PreCheck from the airlines and are too cheap with their $$ and time to get Global Entry.

The solution: download the free Mobile Passport app. It has allowed us to clear US Immigration and Customs at JFK and BOS at the speed of Global Entry.

Coinsinthefountain
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Coinsinthefountain » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:02 pm

If you’re going to use an ATM to get cash in the country’s currency be sure your spouse has an ATM card too, preferably in his/her own name. A bank ATM in Greece ate my card on a holiday which would have left us with very limited funds. We found another ATM and used my wife’s card with no problem. Yeah, you can call toll-free numbers on the back of the card (which you won’t have if the card has been eaten) but there’s no way someone at the help desk is going to get money to you quickly.

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Pajamas
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Pajamas » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:05 pm

leftcoaster wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:17 am
Let’s share some BHish approaches to travel. Here are a couple to start...
  • packing cubes available on amazon, these are thin canvas pouches (not actually cubes) that you load up with rolled clothing.
    • staying at one hotel? Unload the cubes on arrival and reload them as clothing is “done”. Boom, packing at the end of the trip simplified
    • changing hotels on the road? Leave cubes packed. Bring extras and transfer to the empty cubes as clothing is used
  • super light packing if you work in an industry where no one dresses up... for short trips, I find I can get everything I need into one packing cube and get that into my backpack w/laptop. NO LUGGAGE! No overhead space, no problem! Speed through security and down the concourse. No awkward fumbling in transit or in the sidewalk. Truly life altering.
Packing cubes are just unnecessary bulk and weight for use with a suitcase. I carry only what I need and simply open my suitcase and use it as a drawer. I use plastic bags to organize small items and contain shoes and wet or dirty clothing. For shoes I just use plastic bags from the grocery store. For toiletries, electronic accessories, etc., I use the heavier food storage bags that are made for use in the freezer.

When backpacking, stuff sacks work well because they conform to the shape of the backpack better than most packing cubes would, and they are also lighter and some are water resistant.

Whatever works for you, though, is best.

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Hyperborea
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Hyperborea » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:07 pm

Coinsinthefountain wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:02 pm
If you’re going to use an ATM to get cash in the country’s currency be sure your spouse has an ATM card too, preferably in his/her own name. A bank ATM in Greece ate my card on a holiday which would have left us with very limited funds. We found another ATM and used my wife’s card with no problem. Yeah, you can call toll-free numbers on the back of the card (which you won’t have if the card has been eaten) but there’s no way someone at the help desk is going to get money to you quickly.
Get one that has no currency exchange fee and perhaps ATM fee reimbursement. Schwab does both of those and Capital One has no currency exchange fee. Also, be sure to specify local currency rather than US dollars when you withdraw or the ATM owner will be doing the currency exchange and charging you a high fee.
"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

SrGrumpy
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:18 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:23 pm
I always check a 50 pound suitcase with enough clothing for two weeks ... After I take my seat on the aircraft, I amuse myself by watching all those folks with the oversized backpacks trying to squeeze them into the overhead luggage compartments. Now I know that some of them are Bogleheads.
No, we slide our minimalist bags under the seat in front (because we are good citizens of society), and then we amuse ourselves by looking at the people waiting at the baggage carousel as we make a beeline from customs/immigration to the exit.

leftcoaster
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:24 pm

Some airlines still pass out US customs paperwork on reentry. You don’t need to fill those out anymore. The kiosks do it for you.

Ilikesparklers
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Ilikesparklers » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:26 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:35 pm


We keep copies of all travel docs in paper copy with us, but we also have copies of ALL of it "somewhere in the cloud", so we can download it if ever needed.

RM
+1 for virtual copies. I don't want copies of important docs on me b/c that's just one more thing to worry about. Anything important I take a photo of or scan and email it to myself, so even if I lose my phone, I can hop on a computer and access those attachments in my email. There have been countless times when I'm not traveling that I need proof of ID and I realize I don't have anything on me. I simply pull up a color photo of my passport on my phone - amazing how many people will accept that... even for buying alcohol at Trader Joe's!

neilpilot
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by neilpilot » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:28 pm

Travelers still buy data packages for their phones expressly to enable the use of their phone as a GPS. However, if you pre-load the map(s) at home or on your hotel's wifi your GPS will work just fine with data switched off.

02nz
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by 02nz » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:36 pm

Hyperborea wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:07 pm
Coinsinthefountain wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:02 pm
If you’re going to use an ATM to get cash in the country’s currency be sure your spouse has an ATM card too, preferably in his/her own name. A bank ATM in Greece ate my card on a holiday which would have left us with very limited funds. We found another ATM and used my wife’s card with no problem. Yeah, you can call toll-free numbers on the back of the card (which you won’t have if the card has been eaten) but there’s no way someone at the help desk is going to get money to you quickly.
Get one that has no currency exchange fee and perhaps ATM fee reimbursement. Schwab does both of those and Capital One has no currency exchange fee. Also, be sure to specify local currency rather than US dollars when you withdraw or the ATM owner will be doing the currency exchange and charging you a high fee.
+1 on paying with local currency, whether at the ATM with your debit card, or at merchants/hotels/restaurants with a credit card. Can be a 5, sometimes 10% surcharge if you choose to be billed in U.S. dollars. Sometimes merchants (somehow always in places w/ high tourist traffic) will say they can't change the currency setting - this is BS. Refuse to pay, or write on the credit card receipt that you decline dynamic currency conversion, and take a picture. (AFAIK merchants are not permitted by their agreements with the card networks to force you to use DCC.) I've had do this a few times, and always got the charge corrected in the end.

My own tip for frequent travelers is to get T-Mobile. Their postpaid plans have free international data roaming and texting in most countries and reasonable calling rates. The free data is slow but usable for email, Google Maps, and the like.

Re: the Global Entry suggestion above, yes it's pricey but a lot of credit cards (including the Chase Sapphire Reserve also mentioned in this thread) reimburse the fee.

duckcalldan
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by duckcalldan » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:43 pm

Just got back from UK and Ireland this week. So, while it’s fresh in my mind:
  • Used iPhone as my credit card and (in London) my Oyster card. Nearly all businesses take contactless credit cards: a rarity in the US but common throughout Europe. But I used Apple Pay which functions exactly the same way...no signature needed is a bonus. And on London buses, tube and trains from Gatwick, Apple Pay gives you the same fares as an Oyster card without having to deal with reloading or a refund at the end. If you don’t want to mess with your mobile phone as a payment device, Amex will send you a contactless version of almost any of their cards if you ask.
  • Any EU SIM card gives you free roaming in every other EU country. I used my Vodafone sim I got last year in Amsterdam. Loaded €10 which gave me 1GB to use over 30 days. Worked like a charm.
  • Roll up t shirts in a small cube. Other cube is for undies and socks. 2 pairs of shoes max (1 worn, 1 in case)
  • Low fare airlines mean more rules on carry on and checked bags. Do your research before leaving home. Weigh your bag. We flew Norwegian which gives you a 10kg limit, but I didn’t know they included your personal item in the 10kg limit. That cost us an additional $65.
  • Global Entry is the smartest $100 we ever spent. Except that it was reimbursed by our credit card company, so it was the best $0 we ever spent. Mobile Passport works well but it doesn’t give you PreCheck.

jane1
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by jane1 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:56 pm

Hyperborea wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:07 pm
Coinsinthefountain wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:02 pm
If you’re going to use an ATM to get cash in the country’s currency be sure your spouse has an ATM card too, preferably in his/her own name. A bank ATM in Greece ate my card on a holiday which would have left us with very limited funds. We found another ATM and used my wife’s card with no problem. Yeah, you can call toll-free numbers on the back of the card (which you won’t have if the card has been eaten) but there’s no way someone at the help desk is going to get money to you quickly.
Get one that has no currency exchange fee and perhaps ATM fee reimbursement. Schwab does both of those and Capital One has no currency exchange fee. Also, be sure to specify local currency rather than US dollars when you withdraw or the ATM owner will be doing the currency exchange and charging you a high fee.
For credit card purchases in Vietnam, we were often asked if we wanted to pay in USD or VND. It seemed that USD would actually work out better but I didn't try. Lot of businesses price in USD and if you offer to pay in VND, convert at a less-favorable-rate-to-you. Hadn't seen this anywhere else. Anyone know?

duckcalldan
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by duckcalldan » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:06 pm

I had always thought that ATMs give you the best exchange rate, no exceptions. But when in Rwanda last year I found the exchange rate at bureau de change to be quite a bit better than the official Visa/MC ATM rate. The only caveat is to bring $50s and $100s in good shape, as those consistently give you a better rate than $20s and smaller throughout the country.

I am sure there are other countries in which this applies.

radiowave
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by radiowave » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:17 pm

Some additional items to add to the excellent list above:

- I didn't see it mentioned, but you'll need AC electric converters to interface with the various plugs you'll find along the way.

- A small role of duck tape can fix just about anything

- We travel carryon, and I have a 20+ year old TravelPro. I have a small strap with TSA lock I wrap around while traveling in case the zipper busts

- Most travel stores have a belt loop pouch to put you wallet and then it hangs inside your pants, I have a throw away wallet I keep in my zippered back pocket If I get pickpocketed, it just a small amount of money to lose.

- Dr. Bronners peppermint soap works wonders for personal use and clothes washing in a hotel sink

- ageee with above, it is liberating to fly carryon only. I smile when I breeze past baggage claim :) I have the TravelPro and a small backpack that fits under the seat. I carry some essentials, change of clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. in case the TravelPro gets separated (twice over the years in a foreign country was told the carryon needed to go below. One it never made the flight transfer, glad to have the backpack)

- We use the vacuum packs, it shrinks things down to save space, and keeps everything dry in case of wet weather.

- consider a money belt and keep photocopy of documents and money.

- +1 on Global entry/TSAPre

- I got in additional to my regular passport at renewal, the passport card. I use is mostly US travel so I don't have to dig out my wallet and drivers license. I use a small long pouch for boarding pass and pp card that I keep in my outside zippered pouch of the TravelPro for quick access at the airport.

- I have the small clips you get at HomeDepot for each zipper on my backpack to make sure none come open and adds an extra layer of security. I also have a large carabiner i use to clip the two shoulder staps together if I'm at a restaurant and put the bp on the chair I'm sitting. Is also is handy to use to clip my baseball hat if needed.

- I use double socks for comfort and support. I can wear the outer socks multiple days, wash the inner merino wool sock in the sink at night for quick dry.

- I always carry a few bars in the backpack just incase we can't find a good restaurant.

- I always avoid drinking anything but water on the aircraft just incase it spills.

That's all I can think of for now, hope the extra tips are helpful
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THY4373
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by THY4373 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:29 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:23 pm
After I take my seat on the aircraft, I amuse myself by watching all those folks with the oversized backpacks trying to squeeze them into the overhead luggage compartments. Now I know that some of them are Bogleheads.
To be clear my one bag is small enough to fit under the seat in front of me and it is undoubtedly smaller than your roll-aboard.

URSnshn
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by URSnshn » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:42 pm

Love all the tips. One thing that has come in handy for me is zip lock bags for packing my rolled clothes - very handy also for keeping things organized and separating dirty laundry from clean clothes.

Question #1: I would love to travel with no check in baggage. But how? There is the whole liquids thing issue - so I end up checking one bag that I could do without. I can see using substitute bottles for a weekend, but what about longer trips when you're going to places that are unlikely to have some of the products you use. Would love some tips on this.

Question #2: What kind of substitute bottles (or other do you use)?

Freefun
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Freefun » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:28 pm

URSnshn wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:42 pm
Love all the tips. One thing that has come in handy for me is zip lock bags for packing my rolled clothes - very handy also for keeping things organized and separating dirty laundry from clean clothes.

Question #1: I would love to travel with no check in baggage. But how? There is the whole liquids thing issue - so I end up checking one bag that I could do without. I can see using substitute bottles for a weekend, but what about longer trips when you're going to places that are unlikely to have some of the products you use. Would love some tips on this.

Question #2: What kind of substitute bottles (or other do you use)?
I put liquids in diff size bottles like these. Sometimes multiple bottles.

https://smile.amazon.com/Clear-Plastic- ... l_huc_item

Edit: forgot to mention I try to tape bottle caps in ziploc bags.. they open :oops: learn the hard way
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Will do good
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Will do good » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:06 pm

I can wear my Merino socks for 3-5 days before washing them, it stay fresh and no smell at all. Worked for our month long trips to Europe and Asia.

Instead of buying expensive travel clothes that are oder free and quick drying such as REI, I like Uniqlo AIRism line for half the price.

stan1
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by stan1 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:44 pm

- Off season travel, especially to Europe where cold temperatures can be dealt with by wearing long underwear and a coat
- Public transit in most cities for 1-2 people (but there are places where it doesn't work)
- Watch for airfare sales (including premium classes). I haven't flown in economy on a transoceanic flight in about 10 years (personal choice).
- Eat at local "fast casual" restaurants
- Light one bag travel (sometimes carry on, sometimes checked)
- One pair of casual black walking shoes with at least some waterproofing (if disaster hits I'd buy another pair and wear two pair of socks and bandaids to avoid calluses but have never needed to do so)
- Only black/grey/dark blue clothing (all can be worn together, doesn't show a stain if there's a spill)
- No souvenirs or shopping except for a necessity I didn't pack
- Guided small group walking tours. Reviews are a good indicator. I do not do free tours though. High quality private guides occasionally where there's a lot of history or compressed time (such as Forum/Coliseum in Rome or St. Petersburg)

michaeljc70
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:53 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:23 pm
So I'll be the oddball here. I go to Europe or Latin America twice a year, and I always check a 50 pound suitcase with enough clothing for two weeks. I try to carry on as little as possible. After I take my seat on the aircraft, I amuse myself by watching all those folks with the oversized backpacks trying to squeeze them into the overhead luggage compartments. Now I know that some of them are Bogleheads.

My domestic trips are never more than 3-4 days in length, and I use a small roll-aboard suitcase for those flights.
I thought I was going to be the only one not washing my underwear in the sink and having 4 pairs of shoes! On a longer trip 2+ weeks, I typically bring one free (all my trips that long are international) checked bag and pack it close to the weight limit not worrying too much about if I can only bring 2 shirts and if I have to wear my pants 5x or if I have to wear hiking pants to a nice restaurant. I bring electronics, prescriptions and valuables in a smallish backpack on the plane.

I get the packing light thing if you are moving around a lot. I also get some people just don't care about clothes.

If your cell phone carrier doesn't have a good international option, buy a SIM for whatever countries you are going. I bought a 1GB SIM on Amazon good in 90 countries for $30 (data only). You can buy sims locally cheaper often, but then you have to figure out where to buy it, how to use it there, etc. and if it isn't a language you speak, it could be difficult.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:54 pm

We're pretty good at keeping travel costs down (family of three) so thought I'd chime in too in case it is helpful to anyone (apologies for not being more succinct).

For the past five years, my wife and I have each been opening up Chase credit card accounts. A typical year means we each open maybe two accounts.

We keep these accounts open:
Chase Ink (wife’s account) - we charge cell phones, cable, and Internet to this card for 5% back (no fee)
Chase Freedom (my account) – 5% back on rotating categories (no fee)
Chase Freedom Unlimited (wife’s account) – 1.5% back on all purchases (no fee)
Chase Sapphire Reserve (my account) – 3% back on travel and dining plus other benefits ($150 annual fee after accounting for $300 credit on travel purchases)

We have opened and closed these accounts (some more than once):
Chase United Explorer
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred

All the points accumulated on the various cards other than the airline cards are transferred to Chase Sapphire Reserve. We then either use the Chase Ultimate Rewards site to book travel which makes the points worth 50% more or transfer the points from Chase Sapphire Reserve to a travel partner where the value of the points is often worth even more.

We’re not big travel hackers and stick with just Chase accounts since doing so offers simplicity. As our kid (currently three years old) gets a bit older, we may open accounts elsewhere in order to travel more often, for longer stretches, and further distances.

Our 2018 Trips:
Disneyland Trip (taken in January, 5 days):
Transportation to and from airport: Family member dropped us off and picked us up
Admission to Disneyland and California Adventure (3-day park hopper pass), Meet the Characters Brunch, Shuttle to Airport, and Hotel (directly across the street from Disneyland): These items were booked by calling an agent in the Cruises and Vacation Packages department for Chase. We booked using points we had in the Chase Sapphire Reserve account and this resulted in a nice discount on things like park admission since the points are worth 50% more than a dollar spent.
Airfare: Booked using the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card. The bonus to open the account was 60k points and round-trip tickets for three used up 18k of those points.
Meals: My father-in-law gave us a $200 giftcard to Disneyland and this covered most of the food
Highlights: We did this trip with my sister’s family. Our daughter was in Disneyland with her three cousins and that was very special
Out-of-pocket costs: $200 for gifts and some food that was not covered by the giftcard

Las Vegas (taken in April, 6 days):
Transportation to and from airport: Family member dropped us off and picked us up
Car Rental: $150 for 5-day rental of SUV and $75 for parking at the hotel – we paid for this out of pocket
Hotel: We stayed at The Four Seasons, which is the top floors of Mandalay Bay. We booked using Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Points
Airfare: Used points from the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Card
Meals: We had Amazon deliver groceries on the first evening. We had some room available in the minibar fridge and stuffed the groceries in there. We made PB and J sandwiches one night, ate cereal another night, shared a $10 plate of spaghetti from a food court, went to McDonalds, etc.
Highlights: The lazy river pool at Mandalay Bay was great but the warmer, less crowded Four Seasons pool was really nice. We also visited family on this trip and that was wonderful too.
Out-of-pocket costs: $500 for car and food (due to some luck at a slot machine, the bill came in $15 lower than it might have otherwise. I immediately stopped gambling as soon as I was ahead).

Maui (7-day trip planned for this summer):
Transportation to and from airport: TBD
Ground transportation: TBD (my in-laws may possibly take care of this since we'll be traveling with them)
Hotel: Staying at Maui Marriott (my in-laws have a two-bedroom timeshare so their generosity means no cost to us)
Airfare: Used Chase United Explorer Points (wife opened this card in 2013 and then closed it, I opened in 2016 and then closed it, and wife reopened it in 2017 and it is still open). Doing this resulted in about 200k points, more than enough to cover the flights completely.
Meals: We’ll make some grocery store trips but will likely splurge a bit on this trip at restaurants
Expected Highlights: Grandma and grandpa spend time with the kid while wife and I go on a snorkeling cruise
Out-of-pocket costs: maybe $800 or so for food and the snorkeling cruise

TSA precheck and having a ride to/from airport really helps make things go more smoothly.

We pack everything in one large suitcase and my wife and I each wear a backpack so that we have our hands available. We’re thinking about skipping the stroller on the next trip since our daughter will be a big four-year-old by then and she prefers to walk when possible.

I keep an extra set of toiletries ready to go for upcoming trips so that nothing gets forgotten. It also saves time with packing.

We each bring one pair of shoes and one jacket (often kept in our backpacks).

michaeljc70
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:58 pm

Coinsinthefountain wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:02 pm
If you’re going to use an ATM to get cash in the country’s currency be sure your spouse has an ATM card too, preferably in his/her own name. A bank ATM in Greece ate my card on a holiday which would have left us with very limited funds. We found another ATM and used my wife’s card with no problem. Yeah, you can call toll-free numbers on the back of the card (which you won’t have if the card has been eaten) but there’s no way someone at the help desk is going to get money to you quickly.
That is a good tip. In Italy/Spain last year, none of the cards (I only brought 2, 1 debit 1 credit) seemed to work. Luckily spouse had cards. My brokerage said they didn't deny the ATM withdrawals, but I tried 5 different banks!

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climber2020
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by climber2020 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:54 pm

leftcoaster wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:17 am
Let’s share some BHish approaches to travel.
Woolite is an excellent laundry detergent for travel. Much faster than using something like Tide for sink washing. I don't see this mentioned much, even among light travel aficionados. Really great stuff.
aprilcpa wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:42 am
I would love to hear some tips about traveling with shoes. We tend to pack at least two pairs of shoes - one pair of boots and another pair of everyday shoes, which makes it difficult to travel with only a carryon.
I can usually get by with a single pair of shoes on most trips, unless I'm going someplace really cold (uncommon) or doing some serious hiking. Usually either Chacos sandals or a pair of running shoes. What purpose are the boots for? Shoes take up a ton of space regardless of packing technique, so the best method is to just take the one pair on your feet.

For those of you who hand wash your own clothes, a Flexo-line is a useful tool that doesn't take up much space and weighs close to nothing.

Though it doesn't lighten the luggage much, another thing I always do when leaving the country is disconnect from the world except for the occasional email check every couple of days when I have access to free WiFi. It's so nice having a week or two where I don't have to communicate with anyone other than the people in my immediate vicinity.

livesoft
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by livesoft » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:15 pm

I got my luggage down to 27 pounds which includes the backpack, 2-man tent, stove, fuel, cookset, sleeping bag, air mattress, pillow, clothes for snow camping, 7 days of food, bear canister, water filter, cell phone, camera, Anker power bank, toiletries, map, compass, etc.
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Exterous
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Exterous » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:27 am

-Look at the public transportation options where you'll be visiting. It will usually be cheaper than driving or a cab and can often be faster. Google maps does a great job with public transportation time tables too if you have service. We'll frequently book hotels near train or metro stops which makes getting around the city easy.

-GPS works just fine without cell service.

-Download Google maps ahead of time for cell-less navigation

-Sprint and TMobile offer a lot of international data and texting coverage for free. Speeds are highly variable. With Sprint we got full unthrottled LTE in the middle of no where NZ but slow 3G in downtown Amsterdam.

-Day trips by train in Europe are easy and often cheap. When visiting a city I'll often check this site https://www.seat61.com/ to see what options are available for us and the best way to go about booking tickets. Some tickets will go up in price the closer to departure or if the route is busy. Others are set and don't change so you can just show up to the train station whenever you want and buy a ticket.

-Take at least one card that does Chip and PIN. We've been places where that was the only payment option allowed - not even local cash. For us right now thats our ATM card but there are a (very) few credit cards like the Barclays Arrival card that have that option

-Many credit cards offer things like compensation for late\lost luggage and flights. Be aware of your coverage options. The annual fee on my CSP card has more than paid for itself many years over just because of this coverage.

-Probably only applicable if you travel a lot but we have a variety of travel luggage and bags we can choose from depending on our trip and the airlines involved. Hard sided, soft sided, large checked bags, small bags for international flights that enforce small carry-on sizes etc.

-Many airlines are pretty lenient when it comes to 'personal items' and frequently don't have weight restrictions on them while they do for larger carry-on luggage. We travel with camera gear a lot so that always goes in my Tenba backpack. While putting a camera, lenses, tripod, extra batteries etc could put our carryon over the weight limit we stick those in the backpack and then the carryon is just fine. It's got heavy duty Velcro liners that can be put in or taken out depending on the trip so it works incredibly well for us. I think its the only luggage\bag thats been on all my trips regardless of whether its business vs vacation, hiking vs city or international vs domestic.

-Know if the airlines being used have weight limits for the luggage you're bringing. If so consider taking a luggage scale with you. They don't take up much room or weight and can save a ton of hassle or $ at the airport

-If you travel internationally a fair bit take any left over bills and coins and throw them into a labeled plastic bag for your next trip. That way you're not digging through Euros and NZ dollars to find your Hungarian forints.

THY4373
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by THY4373 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:43 am

Exterous wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:27 am

-GPS works just fine without cell service.

-Download Google maps ahead of time for cell-less navigation

Unless something has changed very recently Google Maps *walking* navigation requires data service, downloading the maps in advance does not resolve this issue. There are other apps that provide walking navigation offline.

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Info_Hound
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Re: BH travel tips?

Post by Info_Hound » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:43 am

I haven't seen anyone mention the communication app called 'Whatsapp" yet. My DD and I use it when either of us is traveling (including overseas) and it does not cost you extra charges on your phone plan. The app is free.
https://www.whatsapp.com/

It works with all carriers and does not use data from the data plan, it only needs a WiFi signal somewhere in order to send text, audio or video messages. However the person you want to send a message to/from must also have the Whatsapp app installed on their phone.

When we do our solo trips (DD or I) we use Whatsapp to keep in touch. Word of advice about using it on cruise ships, save your messaging until you hit port where there are plenty of WiFi signals available for free.
Last edited by Info_Hound on Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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