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Stop Checking Your Bags And Start Living Free

Don’t Check your Luggage Airlines and airports are modern marvels which I’m amazed run as well as they do, but even well-oiled machines have their problems. Hundreds of airplanes, thousands of people traveling in different directions and each with bags of personal belongings, mistakes are bound to be made. There are too many moving parts […]

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Don’t Check your Luggage

Airlines and airports are modern marvels which I’m amazed run as well as they do, but even well-oiled machines have their problems. Hundreds of airplanes, thousands of people traveling in different directions and each with bags of personal belongings, mistakes are bound to be made. There are too many moving parts to trust a machine that big, that’s why I never check my luggage.

 

I hate checking my luggage when I fly and you should too. Checking a bag just complicates things and is essentially a waste of my precious time. I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of airline miles and the one thing I can definitively say is that checking luggage is bad news.  

I’m a professional traveler, one who lives out of a suitcase for weeks at a time and I never check my bag with the airlines. Checking luggage is another cost that these airlines tack on to an already hefty price tag. Checking bags cost extra money that I’d rather spend on my trip. Some airlines do offer free checked bags but restrictions usually apply, so its best practices to figure out your carrier’s baggage rules ahead of time.

 

Not only do most airlines charge you to check luggage, they regularly go lost and sometimes are even ransacked by airport employees. My mother had her digital camera stolen from a checked bag, granted she shouldn’t have checked her digital camera in the first place.  Theft and damaged bags is a serious problem that airlines and airports don’t seem to take seriously.

It’s no secret that airlines lose luggage and never give you a good excuse as to why. Many times they are just delayed because they missed a connecting flight, but any delay in not having your personal belongings can really ruin a trip.

 

Is there anything worse on a trip than the airline losing your luggage? How about checking your suitcase and when you get to your destination, something of value has gone missing? These scenarios can ruin a perfectly good vacation, so why put your fun in the hands of others? I’ve been burned by the airlines enough to learn my lesson and hopefully you can learn from my experiences too.

If you learn how to pack your carry on bag correctly and only bring the bare essentials, anyone can forgo checking of bags altogether. Now I understand that not every trip allows you to go checked bag free but to ease your travels I suggest you make an effort. Packing smart and planning ahead are your two keys to victory and a hassle-free experience.

 

I always tell people that if you can’t wear something multiple times during a trip then you probably don’t need to bring it. Of course, circumstances arise where you need to bring something special, in these cases you can make sacrifices to make it all fit. I tend to pack one less of everything I think I need. If I’m packing two pairs of jeans, I’ll toss one last second and go with my gut.

Always remember that hotels have laundry and it’s easy to do a quick load or two mid-trip to essentially double your wardrobe. Resorts and higher-end hotels will even offer a laundry service so you don’t even have to break a sweat. I love staying at AirBnb’s where you can choose laundry as one of your search criteria, so you know you’ll have in-house laundry.

For some people packing light is a terrifying ordeal and you can’t imagine not having choices. Sounds like my wife, but once she planned ahead and packed smart, she was amazed at how convenient packing light truly is. Save yourself the hassle of having a bulky bag when you get to your destination and enjoy the freedom of packing light.

Time is the most valuable asset we all have and you only get so much, so save as much as possible by not checking a bag. Arriving at the airport hours in advance and waiting at the gate for an hour or so is a real drag and is seriously cutting into your pina colada time. Save yourself an hour on each end of your flight and get your vacation on.

 

Tips to Pack Smart

Russian Doll

Everything has a home when you are packing smart, so learn from the Russian Dolls that your grandmother probably had. Russian dolls perfectly fit inside each other to save space, think about this principle with packing. Socks balled up can fit inside your shoes; extra purses should be packed with underwear or other small garments. If you pack like this then you will be amazed at how little space you actually need.

Plastic Bags

Pack each individual article of clothing in a plastic bag that has a zip top enclosure and vacuum seal each bag by sucking excess air out.  This packing trick is an excellent way to make extra room in your luggage and also helps you organize your bag.

Make a List

I’m a list maker and a double checker, but these practices actually help with packing smart. I try and plan out my outfits by checking what the weather will be like and packing accordingly.

Layers

Layers are your best friend when packing light. Believe me when I say that three shirts and a windbreaker pack much easier than a bulky winter jacket. Each layer can be worn separately to create varied looks.

Pack smart, pack light and never check your luggage again.


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Destinations

Zip Lines For The Adrenaline Junkie

We talked to our travel team and came up with our favorite zip line adventures around the globe so you can keep on zipping you crazy zipper!

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     Riding on a zip line is the thrill of a lifetime. There is nothing quite like jumping off and feeling the wind rushing through your hair as you propel over various bridges or trees. No matter where, you’re bound to feel like a true superhero. We talked to our travel team and came up with our favorite zip line adventures around the globe so you can keep on zipping!

Zip World Velocity
     If you find yourself in Wales then be on the lookout for the longest zip line in all of Europe. This thing travels along 1,600 yards… you will definitely be getting your money’s worth here. You will take a long, effortless ride over beautiful mountains and water, glazing over many beautiful sites. We suggest you have a convenient camera handy. If that sounds too big for you, they have a smaller version available to you as well. You can still get your thrills without freaking.

El Monstruo
     Puerto Rico is home to many great zip lines but none better than “El Monstruo,” translating to “The Monster” in English. This is officially the longest zip line in the world according to the Guinness World Record books. This line is astoundingly 8,300 feet long so you will be zipping on down for over a mile. Jungles are cool, especially when you get to experience them from a bird’s eye view, literally! You will be one fast bird too, considering this ride gets up to speeds of 95 mph so if you’re looking for a serious thrill then this is the one for you.

Cloudscraper
     Thrillseekers beware, the Cloudscraper is scarier than you may think. This zip line is super high up and will definitely make the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you take in the whole experience. You will get a beautiful view of the incredible Royal Gorge as you fly overhead. You’ll feel a lot like Wile E. Coyote right after making a wrong turn, except you won’t fall when you look down, you’ll just scream in ecstasy as you enjoy your fantastic ride.

Zipflyer
     When most people think about Nepal they don’t think about the awesome thrill-seeking adventures they can partake in besides climbing Everest. Well, maybe Everest will soon take a back seat to zip-lining thanks to the Zipflyer in the Himalayas. This zip line is unique because you will partake in a 2,000-foot vertical drop that will leave you squealing with delight. You better be an adrenaline junky if you want to take this zip line on because it is for sure to shock and amaze you all the way down.


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Destinations

Souvenirs That Won’t Cost A Thing

Spend all of your money on traveling safely then use these tips to take home some free or practically free souvenirs that are great mementos from your fantastic vacation that you can hold onto for a lifetime.

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     Traveling costs money. We all spend so much on airline tickets, lodging, as well as destination and touring costs. Rarely do we plan on saving enough money to buy souvenirs. Don’t bother skimping on your lodging or flight just so you can buy some souvenirs. Make sure you’re staying somewhere safe so that you make it to that lodging safely… and in one piece. So, we recommend spending all of your money on traveling safely. Therefore, rather than buying pointless purchased items, use these tips to take home some free or practically free souvenirs that are great mementos from your fantastic vacation that you can hold onto for a lifetime. 

Photos

     You’re going to take dozens of photos when you’re on a trip – those evoke many more memories than some small tchotchke you buy at a shop. A refrigerator magnet is not worth 1,000 words. In fact, it’s worth about 2 words, refrigerator, and magnet. A photo, however, reminds you of your memorable trip. Plus, there’s typically a far more interesting story behind it compared to the refrigerator magnet. People will much rather look at your photos than your magnets and your trip will seem a whole lot more dazzling when you show them. 

Postcards

     Postcards are photos that have been taken by another party but have already been printed for your convenience. Postcards aren’t free but they cost hardly anything and they’re sturdy enough meaning there’s a strong chance they’ll survive the trip back home. If you buy a vase or something similar, odds are that it’ll break when you attempt to transport it home. Further, the designs in foreign countries are very unique – making it very different compared to whats at home.

Sand and Seashells

     Talk about cheap! Filling a zip lock bag with sand and shells is the cheapest souvenir possible. You may feel a little funny spending a day on your vacation scooping sand into a bag, but once you get home and throw the sand and shells in a jar you will be left with a beautiful memento from your trip that will surely be the envy of all of your friends. 

Ticket Stubs

     You’re going to go see these wonderful sites and shows while on vacation anyway. So why not save your ticket stubs so you have a free piece to not only remember your historic trip to the museum, theater, or concert? Ticket stubs make great mementos and are often linked with some of the most memorable moments of your trip. Therefore, save the stubs and bring them home. All of these souvenirs are way more meaningful than ones you can buy in stores, anyways.


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Homepage

When A Sweet Tooth Travels Around North America

We spoke with our colleagues and compiled a list of three of our favorite cities that are chock full of sweets.

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     So, you have a crazy sweet tooth but no one nearby has quite the ideal selection to satisfy your sugar-addicted palette. What are you to do? You might be able to find poor/cheap knock-offs on Amazon or another online candy conglomerate, but we both know your true feelings. You won’t be sweetly satisfied until the real-deal sweetness touches your tongue – sending your dopamines into a frenzy. When the cravings hit, there’s no turning back. 

We talked to our colleagues and compiled a list of our favorite cities that are chock full of sweets so you can satisfy your sweet tooth while on a lovely vacation. I mean really, why can’t you have both?

OCEAN CITY, NEW JERSEY

     Ocean City is known for its historic boardwalk. There are a variety of specialized shops that sell all the sweets you can imagine. From ice cream to fudge to taffy, you will find it all at the Ocean City boardwalk. Bakeries, candy shops, and ice cream parlors will leave you foaming at the mouth and you’ll be in a sugar coma in no time. But don’t worry, if you need to get your salt levels up then just hop in the ocean and take a few swallows. Now your salt and sugar levels are balanced out. Is that how it works? We have no idea, we’re not scientists. Whatever your plans are, Ocean City has you covered when it comes to your east coast needs. 

ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO, CANADA

     If you love donuts, then St. Catharines is the place you’ve got to check out. This place has a huge selection of donuts, so bring a big appetite and some waist-expanding pants. You can put down dozen after dozen of donuts and never eat the same one twice. One store alone offers up to 20 different donuts each day. So, expand your donut horizons while stuffing your face. Donuts are heavenly and so is St. Catharines.

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

     The home of Snoop Dogg is also home to the ice cream capital of the US. Residents in this city eat more ice cream than any other city in the country. Now that’s a lot of ice cream! You can find the regular flavors everywhere, or you can experiment with new ones like goat cheese, whiskey fig ice cream, or salted caramel fudge. No matter what kind of ice cream you want, you’ll find mounds of it in the LBC. Now that’s what I call sublime.

Remember, your hometown surely has a secret treat that you’re not really aware of but remember, a vacation can bring you much more than just some R&R. Let it bring with it the sweets of your dreams. 


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