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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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Travel

Ecotourism is NOT Environmentally Friendly

There is a trend in travel that has picked up a lot of steam over the last few years. That trend is called Eco-Tourism. As the environment has become more important to people over the last decade – and especially so in the last couple…

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Ecotourism is a new term; something created in the last 10 years, so what does it really mean? Eco-tourism is basically capitalism’s answer to the environment and people’s growing concerns. Companies are cashing in and its becoming big business. Although the initial intent was probably good-natured, the results are usually less than favorable. The costs don’t always outweigh the means, so is ecotourism actually a good thing? Let’s find out.

Time to investigate what companies are actually trying to accomplish with their eco-tourism. The term greenwashing keeps coming up in my research and it’s a pretty interesting phenomenon. Apparently, greenwashing is an attempt to appear as being eco friendly. Seems like a pretty lame thing to be involved with, but you’d be surprised at how many large corporations actually are involved in greenwashing.

Many if not all of the major hotel chains are now putting placards in their rooms that inform guests that they respect mother nature and because of this they don’t wash the linens every night. This comes off as a great thing that a large corporation is doing. But in reality they are greenwashing us all by using the environment to service their own needs. It’s obvious to me that these companies are only doing this because it saves them an enormous amount of money and they look good in the process.

Cultures are destroyed by tourism and they can’t even profit because the major corporations suck all the money from them. Tourism only feeds off the stereotypes of a culture and the actual culture suffers and often slowly disappears. What’s left is a washed out shell of the culture and the true spirit is lost forever.  

Eco-tours are usually an environmental nightmare, by bringing in people by the busload or boatload; these eco-tours are actually harming the local surroundings.   These tourists don’t come alone, they eat, drink and consume anything in their way and what’s left is the garbage and used up Mother Nature.

Eco-tours profit from large disasters, allowing the general public to feel like they helped, when in reality all they do is scratch the surface. The tourists come to a disaster for a few days, pick up some garbage, help with some injured and then go home feeling like they made a difference. The problem is that if they really wanted to help, they would’ve just sent aid in the form of money, food or medicine,

If a company truly wanted to be involved in eco tourism responsibly, they would do these things.

Only using local products would actually benefit the environment and would help the community profit.   If ecotourism companies cared, they would limit the number of visitors to limit the impact on the environment. Educating tourists on their impact on the environment would help the cause. Allowing the local culture to be in charge and to protect their interests is the best way to help the environment.

 

Hopefully by educating people about ecotourism eventually leads to more conscious travelers and compassionate people in general.

 

Enjoy the full article at NomadicMatt

Photos courtesy of HoiAnEcoTour and GetYourGuide

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Travel

Best Travel Laptops

How to Choose a Travel Laptop When traveling with technology, my rule of thumb is simple: pack light. I understand that you want the best functionality with your travel laptop but sometimes it pays to go with the minimal option. I always look at multiple choices when I’m contemplating buying technology and laptops are no […]

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How to Choose a Travel Laptop

When traveling with technology, my rule of thumb is simple: pack light. I understand that you want the best functionality with your travel laptop but sometimes it pays to go with the minimal option. I always look at multiple choices when I’m contemplating buying technology and laptops are no different.   I look at cost, battery life, storage, functionality and portability.

 

It’s smart to weigh your options and figure out what exactly you plan on using the laptop.

Do you want to watch movies?

Are you trying to surf the web?

What programs will you need to run?

Will you need internet accessibility?

How much are you trying to spend?

Just how portable do you need your travel laptop to be?

 

These questions and many more may arise in your decision process and I’m here to help.

There are 3 main types of lightweight travel laptops: 2-n-1s, ultra books and Chromebooks.

 

2-n-1s

These are versatile laptops and tablets in one, hence the catchy and practical name. These are very functional and convenient for travel since they have multi-functionality. They convert from a laptop to tablet easily and extremely portable. Sometimes you just want to watch a movie and other times you need the capability to access Microsoft office, so a 2-n-1 may be for you.

Microsoft really owns this market with their functional Surface Pro 2-n-1. The highlight is obviously their transformative properties and touch screen capabilities.

You will enjoy how easily they change from full laptop to e-reader or tablet.

The Surface Pro starts at around $800 USD and can be upgraded easily. The baseline model weighs less than 2 pounds and the battery lasts on average for 9 hours. That’s plenty of time for a long flight and layover.

Surfaces can be used with or without a keyboard, which adds to its portability.

 

Chromebooks

Chromebooks are your budget friendly option but are cheap for a reason. These computers don’t run a full operating system like Apple OX or Windows; instead they run off a basic OS that uses the Chrome browser. Now that the name makes sense, lets discuss these laptops.

Chromebooks are hampered by their weak operating system, which doesn’t allow Adobe products or Microsoft. Their simple functionality allows users to browse the internet, watch movies or back up files like your travel photos. If all you need are these basic functions, then a Chromebook may be for you. Without internet connection however, you may not be able to perform basic word processing.

Check out the Acer Chromebook for only $225 USD, which is really cheap for all that it does. With an 11-inch screen and extreme portability these guys are great picks.

 

Ultra books

These bad boys are your traditional laptops but made smaller and lighter for your travel needs. They blend high performance speed and functional portability to create the high-end travel technology you may need. These are best for people who actually have to get work done while traveling. They can do all the normal functions of a laptop but with less weight and bulk. 

The Apple Macbook Air is my clear pick; especially since I’m an Apple man myself. These slick powerhouses pack all the frill with half the weight. They start at around $850 USD and pack the same processor as their bigger brothers the Macbook.

Do your own research and figure out what your digital needs may be, and purchase your travel laptop.

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Travel

Must Have High Tech Suitcases

Must Have High Tech Suitcases   Suitcase technology hasn’t changed must in the past twenty years, except for maybe the advent of advanced roller wheels. Times have changed now that smart technology is making it s way into suitcases. The luggage business is a multi billion-dollar industry that technology is just making its way into. […]

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Must Have High Tech Suitcases

 

Suitcase technology hasn’t changed must in the past twenty years, except for maybe the advent of advanced roller wheels. Times have changed now that smart technology is making it s way into suitcases. The luggage business is a multi billion-dollar industry that technology is just making its way into. From smart tags to charging capabilities, suitcases are making their way into the 21st century, so hold onto your bags, cause they are going places.   And leading the way literally is Modobag, the world’s first rideable suitcase. Yea, I said rideable, this suitcase turns into a mini scooter to catch that distant connecting flight or just kill time cruising the airport.

 

Modobag

The world’s first motorized luggage is here and so very cool. The upstart company boost that their rideable suitcase can carry passengers up to 3 times the average speed of walking and the battery lasts up to six miles. Yes, SIX miles, which almost replaces the airport, shuttle as well. Their bags carry a maximum weight limit of 260 lbs so don’t go eating that extra donut at the morning meeting if you plan to cruise in your Modobag after work. Another great feature is the ability to charge up to two electronic devices using the attached USB plugs. The Modobag will be fully charged in less than one hour and ready for your trip, wherever you may be cruising.

 

Raden

Developed by a private equity lawyer, the Raden was engineered by consultants from Tumi and Beats by Dre, so you know this bag is hip. It features built in chargers, GPS functionality and a built in scale so you never have an overage fee again. All Raden bags are scratch proof to help deal with the ground service tossing them to and fro. They come in two sizes a carry on and checked bag dimensions. Prices range from $400 – 600 USD and are pretty sweet little bags. I certainly can appreciate the GPS functionality so you always know where your bag is and if it gets lost, is it really lost?

 

Rimowa

This specific bag is designed to make check in a hassle of the past with its digital display. Rimowa is revolutionizing the way people travel with this particular bag. They decided that the old school paper tags that airlines were using for bags was out of date and needed an upgrade. The digital display is great and totally replaces the scan able destination tag and your personal identification tag, all paper that could be lost easily.

Unfortunately these bags aren’t yet available in the US but the technology is advancing daily so the future of Rimowa is very bright. Available in Europe for around $700 Euros, so next time you are on the other side of the pond, check them out. Currently Lufthansa allows the use of these bags and their cool technology to bypass the old paper tags.

Technology is amazing and with these cool updates to the standard luggage we are all used to make traveling quite exciting again.

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