Kristin from Vacation Couple
Travel Blogger Secret Top Travel Tips:
I invited my favourite Travel and Lifestyle bloggers to share some of their secrets with us! Who better to ask for some travel tips than top bloggers who travel the world year round.
First up are Kristin and Shadi from Toronto. You must click on their blog link and take a look at their amazingly good website. http://www.vacationcouple.com and their excellent youtube video http://bit.ly/rrctour
The luxury of traveling can be less than enjoyable if you’re not prepared for life along the way. When getting from Canada to our next tropical destination we’ve fallen into a certain routine for packing our carry-on to avoid potential mishaps. I’m what you call a worrier and thoroughly packing for any occasion is something I do for the both Shadi and I. Here are some of our tips for packing your carry-on.
Always pack an extra outfit. You leave your home, travel to the airport, fly through the air to your tropical retreat and you finally make it to your destination… only to find that you’ve beaten your checked luggage to your room. You don’t want to wait in your room; you want to immediately jump into that Ocean! Having an extra outfit, bathing suit and ‘undergarments’ allows you to start the fun as soon as you can, remain comfortable, as well as saves you from having to purchase certain clothing at your destination if your luggage is lost.
Kristen and Shadi, Vacation Couple
Carry all of your liquids in a sealed bag. Okay this one doesn’t seem as straightforward as the last one. But this will save you so much time going through security at the airport. I bring my sanitizing wipes, make-up, lip balm and medications and put them all into a clear plastic bag. When it’s time to go through the security line I take it out and place it next to my laptop and phone and I’ve never experienced a delay. Also, it protects my purse from any potential spills, which is a necessary perk.
Find the Right Backpack for you and your needs. Having a bag that’s too bulky or too small can lead to a carry-on disaster. We use a hard shell carry-on for our drone, camera and accessories because it gives maximum protection and space. We’ve found our other ‘perfect’ backpack in the form of a slender, sleek grey cloth backpack with several pockets and zippers. Our valuable documents are hidden safely away, there’s a secure pocket for our laptop & accessories, and it tucks everything away perfectly while fitting comfortably on my back. We’ll need to update our carry-on tactics as we change our travel plans but for a tropical resort vacation, we have it down to a science!
Many thanks to Kristen and Shadi
Next up is The BlondeCitizen. A wonderful blogger based in Florence, make sure you read her blog too.
The Blonde Citizen Travel Tips
I have travelled rather extensively in my life thus far, living in over 7 countries in the past 6 years alone, so it’s safe to say I have accumulated some great tips over the years; everything from packing, how to get free upgrades, to what to always keep with you whilst on board your flight! With my recent move to Florence, followed by a complete career change which you can read more about on my blog www.theblondecitizenblog.com I’ve been focussing on gaining inspiration from my fabulous surroundings and discovering more of Italy! With that being said, I feel now is a better time than ever to put all that experience to good use and share with Marias wonderful followers some information of my own, so that no matter where in the world you live, or are traveling to, you too can hopefully benefit from my mishaps and travel success’!
Benefits of Airmiles:
Airmiles, if used correctly can save you and your family a ton of money in the long term, it will also allow you to travel more often to the places you love! Nevertheless, sometimes we rush straight to finding the ‘cheapest’ deals which often involves dragging yourselves out of bed at 3am to get to the airport and spend less time planning, which is key. Airline miles, also known as frequent flyer miles or travel points, are part of a loyalty program offered by airlines and/or credit cards. Airmiles work on a point based system which typically allows you to earn points as you fly, or in some cases when you use a credit card, that offers you airmile ‘points’ as you spend. If you or a family member travels often for work, get them to sign up to a family sharing airmile account, with whichever airline they most use; I personally use British Airways. This allows them not only earn points as they fly, but for every 20,000 points they generate, they will receive a free return trip in economy. With family sharing active (which you can sign up for at any stage, as well as claim past flights up to two years) you can combine your points and use them to get great discounts, off from your holidays, hotels and family vacations, in economy, right up to first class. I travelled so much through work, that I could send my parents for free; business class return to Dubai from the UK. Other bonuses include access to the lounge and getting ahead of those enormous lines at check-in, so worth sticking to one airline. Another hack is, even if you use an external site like sky scanner to purchase a cheaper rate ticket with for example BA, you can type the flight code into your BA account, and still receive the airmiles.
Over the years I have received free upgrades that were not pre-booked, at check-in around 9 times. Here are some tips on how you can give yourself the best chance to get the same.
When I travelled from NYC to London with United airlines I had 8 suitcases (I know ridiculous but I did LIVE there for two years) upon check-in they asked for payment for the bags which is a flat rate fee (gotta love the Americans for that), $50 for a small bag and $100 for a large bag. My economy flight cost $356 which allowed me two free checked in bags. Total excess baggage charge was $300, so the lady offered me an upgrade to business class for $300 rather than spending it on baggage charges. A good exchange in my mind!
Travel at quiet times: this also gives you the best chance at being upgraded for no extra charge. However, to be offered this, you must be dressed nicely which means no lounge suits, no sneakers, no ball caps! If you want to be comfy on a flight, do what Victoria Beckham does and walk on looking glamourous and then get changed after take-off in the bathrooms, into your lounge wear. Also, do not be afraid to ask for an upgrade when travelling alone or with a plus one, invariably they say yes, but if there is no room, they may offer you access to the lounge instead. Keep in mind that airlines love loyalty, so you have a better chance of success if you collect points from them.
Arrive early for your flight: I am bad for this, you’re lucky if I get to an airport 1 hour ahead of check-in closing for an international flight, however on the rare occasions I have arrived early, they have offered me an upgrade. The airlines tend to have at least two free upgrades available on their system for every flight, depending on how busy it is and you know what they say about the early bird.
If like me, you have no chance of getting their early, sometimes arriving late can work in your favour. Airlines can often over book flights and as a result, if you are not in a rush, they will offer you an upgrade on a later flight (often the same day) as a reward for giving up your seat.
On Board Essentials:
Here is what I find is a must for on board your flight, whether you are traveling alone or with children, in my case, my god daughter.
If traveling with children that you know won’t settle easy, pop into the sweet shop/pound store and pick up some sweets pre-flight. Not for your children, but for those sitting next to you. People are often more gracious and understanding of children if you are pre-prepared with ‘peace offerings’. I once saw a woman do this, she placed a few different sweets into a little pouch with a label on it saying ‘please be patient with my children’. It worked a treat, pun intended.
A good moisturiser, my favourite is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturiser (also available in duty free) this is a must as the cabin air is notoriously dry and air stewardess use this to keep their skin looking and feeling hydrated whilst traveling.
If in economy always bring an eye mask, unless you know your airline provides them – there’s always someone insisting on using the light at an unreasonable hour – this also keeps your eye make-up looking fresh, if placed flat!
Always bring a pen, especially when traveling long haul. Often the staff don’t carry as many as they need and you don’t want to be filling out custom/visa cards once you’re off the flight as there is rarely table tops available before customs.
Make sure you have fresh underwear, a disposable toothbrush and fresh wipes in your carry on! The amount of flights I have been on and we have had to make either an unexpected stop somewhere or my luggage has been checked in and there is an over-night delay is ridiculous. These items are a must have for those just in case moments.
The most important tip is to always have a photocopy/print off, of your passport and those that travel with you, both at home on a desk where someone can access it for you, AND in your carry on. You never know when you could get robbed, need to go to your Embassy whilst abroad, or face an emergency. I was once robbed in Miami and having a photocopy of my passport enabled me to get an emergency passport within 3 hours! So even if it’s a long-haul flight or short, please remember to do this.
Finally, if you are traveling alone or with children, you will understand how important it is to have in-flight entertainment available in the case of a delay, or there’s nothing of interest on the screens…or if like me, you need your phone fully charged once at your destination but love listening to music. Having a portable charger for the ipads, ipods, iphones, ifixmylife’s whatever it is, this will make sure that your devices are available to you when you need them. I of course, (she says nonchalantly) use my own brand, which just happens to be a fabulous Unicorn Power Bank that brightens up any persons day when they see it, from old to young and from a drained battery charges my phone to 98% in two hours.
Speaking of useful accessories and my above mentioned drastic career change as some of you may know, I used to work in finance… upon moving to Florence, Italy and becoming immensely inspired by all this beauty around me, I set up and iphone accessories company. Sick of ordering cases that where overpriced and arrived in not so glamourous packaging that claimed they were made from brown cardboard, to quote ‘save the planet’ when it in fact, just saved them money and all whilst STILL a silicone case…I decided that there was room for a company whose quality gave the leaders in the market a run for their money and that arrived looking luxuriously packaged at a more affordable price point! Everything from our accessories, to our cases, to our boxes and even the black custom jiffy wallets they are posted in, screams fairy tale glamour for every age. The Blonde Citizen™ is a luxurious Italian line of mobile accessories. Designed over fine wines and gelato in the beautiful city of Florence, our unique and imaginative designs are inspired by our love of fairy tales and all things glamorous. We are proud to deliver your order worldwide and beautifully packaged. The Blonde Citizen™ brand is managed by the Cittadini Group SRL, Firenze, a family enterprise which promotes the best in Italian designed products & services, worldwide. Our logistics center ensures these high-quality products will arrive with you, beautifully boxed in premium packaging, perfect for all occasions.
The Blonde Citizen
Thank you so much Frances, The Blonde Citizen for the great tips.
Next up is the divine Victor de Monaco
Victor de Monaco
Victor is a Paris/Monaco-based project manager specialising in international communication and marketing. After having worked at the headquarters of global firms in the luxury industry, he is currently launching his own fashion brand and works as a part-time consultant. His mission is to find the right balance between a brand’s digital and offline presence. In his spare time Victor enjoys writing feature stories for lifestyle publications. You can reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org
My Top Traveling Tip: Choose Your Travel Buddy Wisely
So it’s almost the time of the annual ski vacation, and you are preparing your bag for hitting the slopes of the fabulous white Alpes. You are looking forward to spending some time in a luxurious resort you have booked a couple of months ago.
You are throwing some of your favorite ski gadgets and outfits here and there, but wait, have you remembered to choose the right travel buddy? Because that’s definitely something you cannot pack, but will be one of the most important elements of the success of the trip.
Trust me, I have heard horror stories of people who have ended their relationships (friendly or romantic) right after they spent a holiday abroad.
So in the case of escapades that are neither a family nor a forced vacation, i.e. the no-strings-attached kind of leisure time, I have one golden rule for you: set up an “imaginary” casting for your travel buddy. Because it’s only during a vacation when you get to discover the real personality of a person, as people tend to remove the social mask they put on a daily basis. And that authentic version of the person will accompany you during the entire vacation, from day to night.
And when I say an “imaginary” casting, I mean shuffling a list of potential candidates in your head, until you fall upon the right applicant for the assigned mission.
For instance, what if you want to pass your time skiing and your travel buddy doesn’t know how to ski? He/she will have to stay indoors, and will eventually be angry and make you feel guilty, since you are the only one having a good time
My rule doesn’t mean that you should always choose the same traveling companion, but rather choose a buddy that corresponds to the vacation destination. So you can have your party lover friend accompany you to Ibiza, and invite your Zen cousin on your trip to India. Therefore, you will have plenty of different opportunities for many of your friends and relatives. And no one will be left out, while you spend a good time and strengthen your relationship with that perfect travelling partner.
Thank you Victor, really good advice on choosing a travel companion!